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Ten tips to ace a user experience (UX) portfolio

Giorgia Rossini, 16 Apr 2013

My name is Giorgia Rossini, my role at Futureheads is to advise the consultants on the best user experience candidates available in the marketplace. As a result I have already seen many portfolios.

A more experienced consultant, Andrew Rogers, has recently written a very popular piece on CV tips and I wanted to follow up with something on creating a good portfolio, so here are my top 10 tips:

1.       A good portfolio is simple and brief. You have to summarise large quantities of information to keep the reader interested. Sum up and make it easy.

 2.       The portfolio is being viewed by creative and other UX people - Show attention to detail, like style, colour and spelling. Treat your portfolio like a ux project.

 3.       Our clients like to see popular brands and products across business and consumers. If you are fortunate to have worked in this space, show off about it.

 4.       Your portfolio is likely to be shared across a number of agencies and clients direct. You need to make sure it appeals to them all – without being too tiresome to read.

 5.       It’s tempting to share ALL of the work you have put into a project. Use graphics and break up the content to make it digestible.

 6.       Be prepared to talk through your portfolio at interview and give credit to the colleagues and teams that worked with you.

 7.       Depending on where you are in your career, you will have a different number of work samples to add. Every single time you decide to add a new sample or project, justify how it differs from something else you have included.

 8.       Tell a story and show your process. David Mitchell told me that a simple way to do this is to remember S.T.A.R. = Situation, Task, Activity, Results – This gives you an easy template to follow so you can include all the relevant information.

 9.       Respecting NDAs while not limiting your chances to secure the right role, it’s tricky. 100% of our clients want to see a visual portfolio to move to the next stage of interviewing - so it is necessary. I would suggest you rebrand, password protect, blur key imagery or use imagery to highlight the project, rather than use actual screen grabs. I have seen a couple of instances (usually in telecoms) where clients have agreed to see the majority of work samples in a face to face interview – but that is such an anomaly so try and have something to get your foot into the door.

10.   The digital industry moves fast with new trends in methodology and technology, makes sure you are happy with the samples in your portfolio and keep it fresh.

 

If you are keen to learn more about portfolios, there is lots of information on the web. I particularly like this piece by Sjors Timmer which includes an excellent reading list.

We have also interviewed some of our key clients on portfolios and this is what they say

You can contact me, giorgia@wearefutureheads.co.uk, or connect with me on LinkedIn or Twitter. I look forward to hearing from you!

 

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