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  • Writer's pictureAriana Shives

How to Create a UX Portfolio

Show off your skills and get hiring managers talking!





In the rapidly evolving world of User Experience (UX) design, your portfolio stands as a testament to your skills, creativity, and problem-solving abilities. It is more than just a collection of your work; it's a narrative of your journey in the UX domain, showcasing your ability to transform user needs and business objectives into compelling digital experiences.


In this blog, we outline a comprehensive guide to creating a UX portfolio that not only highlights your expertise, but resonates with potential employers or clients, paving the way for a successful career in UX.


1. Documentation: The Foundation of Your Portfolio

Start with a habit that may seem mundane but is crucial: documentation. As you dive into the world of UX, make it a practice to document everything. From daily work logs filled with thoughts, accomplishments, and meeting notes to individual design documentation encompassing research, analysis, decisions, and even your ramblings. This extensive documentation serves as a rich repository from which you can draw insights and evidence of your thought process and problem-solving skills when compiling your portfolio.


2. Creating Mockups: Bring Your Designs to Life!

Mockups are pivotal in demonstrating how your designs translate into real-world applications. They provide a visual context, making it easier for others to grasp the practicality and aesthetics of your work. Familiarize yourself with tools like Figma for leveraging free community templates, Canva for easy-to-use mockup options, and Photoshop for a more advanced approach with templates from FreePik or CreativeMarket. These mockups will enhance the visual appeal of your case studies, offering a glimpse into how your designs materialize in a tangible environment.


3. Start Simple: Share Early and Often

Begin by sharing your work on platforms like Behance and Dribbble. These platforms allow for straightforward project uploads, including mockups, images, and even Figma files. It's an excellent way to get your work out there in a format that's easy to digest while you're working on more detailed case studies. This approach not only builds your online presence but also opens doors to feedback and opportunities early on in your career.


4. Writing Case Studies: Narrate Your Design Journey

A UX case study is a storytelling tool that details your design process, from identifying the problem to the final solution. Each case study should clearly articulate:

  • The problem you aimed to solve.

  • Your role and the team dynamics.

  • The timeline and tools used.

  • Your approach to tackling the problem.

  • The methodologies employed to find solutions.

  • The outcome, including design decisions and their impact.

This narrative structure not only showcases your technical skills but also your strategic thinking and ability to work collaboratively.



5. Designing Your Portfolio Website

While it's possible to rely on third-party sites to display your work, creating a personal website offers a unique opportunity to highlight your skills and personality. I firmly believe that your portfolio should be showcased on a functional website, "no ifs, ands, or buts about it!" as my grandma would say.


Choose a platform that aligns with your skills and budget, from simple and free options like UXFolio and Adobe Portfolio to more customizable solutions like Webflow. Select a memorable domain name, ideally your own, to make it easily discoverable by potential employers.


Your website should include:

  • An engaging headline.

  • A comprehensive about section.

  • A downloadable resume.

  • Detailed case studies.

  • Visuals such as images and mockups.

  • Contact information and links to additional work or social profiles.


Remember, your portfolio site itself is a UX project. Design it with your target audience in mind, whether they are freelance clients or hiring managers, and communicate how you can address their needs.


Portfolio Tip: User-Centric Design

When designing your portfolio, apply the same user-centric approach you would for any UX project. Understand your audience, whether freelance clients or startup hiring managers, and tailor your content to meet their expectations. Your portfolio should not only showcase your design skills but also demonstrate your understanding of effective communication and user engagement.



 


Creating a UX portfolio is a journey of self-discovery and professional development. It's an opportunity to reflect on your growth, refine your storytelling abilities, and articulate your unique value proposition. By following these guidelines, you'll create a portfolio that showcases your best work and tells the story of your passion for UX design, your dedication to solving complex problems, and your readiness to make a significant impact in the tech world. Remember, your portfolio is the bridge to your future in UX—make it count.


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