UX Portfolio Guide. By Sean Pook

I guess I'm in the fortunate position of seeing hundreds of portfolios a year, from both sides of the Atlantic. Over the last 7 years I've seen a transition from 'You're a UX designer? Great, you're hired' to 'If you don't have a portfolio that's stunning, we wont even look at your resume'. The majority of UX research jobs now have requirements for portfolios.

People have mixed feelings on portfolios and their value. One thing for sure is that if you wish to maximize your job hunt potential, make your portfolio the best it can be. It will open so many doors for you.

Here at eXperience Talent, we're happy to review and advise on portfolios free of charge (just email it through to portfolio [at] experiencetalent.com), but here are the main points to take away:


- If you don't have time to make your website 100% perfect from a usability standpoint, don't have a website at all, use a PDF. Too many candidates miss out on interviews because their own website have perceived usability problems. This is worrying when you consider your user base might be 1 hiring manager. Want to bet you've made something they like? Risky.

- If you're a Visual UI designer-your portfolio should show visual designs. If you're an IA or Interaction Designer, your portfolio should tell a story of how you think, how you approach design problems, getting from A to D

- Include examples of your work from all stages of the design process, from initial ideation or concept generation all the way through to hi-fi prototypes

- Annotate and explain the images-what do they mean, what were you doing?

- ROI-a very poorly represented facet of a portfolio. What impact did your work have on the product/service?

- Respect confidentiality. If you have worked on a project you cant show-replicate it with a mirrored project, change the brand and the data shown, but keep the process

- Don't have multiple files. It's good to have a repository of various file types to show someone who's interested, but when you present a hiring manager who's got 30 resumes to look through with a zip file of 10-50 images, PDFs, etc, you're going to the bottom of the pile

If in doubt, ask-we get portfolio feedback from companies globally on a daily basis. Happy to help anyone out.

Written by Sean Pook. @pooksean sean.pook@experiencetalent.co.uk


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