Portfolio
What to Include in Your First UX Portfolio
August 14, 2020
by Maddy Beard

The most important thing to know is that showcasing your process is just as important as presenting the final product. Think of your portfolio as a series of project summaries and not just a gallery of your work.

With that said, now I’m going to go through these questions one by one and get down to the details.

1. Where Should My Portfolio Live

Honestly, it doesn’t matter! Use whatever platform you’re most comfortable with. But here are my top 3 recommendations if you’re looking for a place to start.

Behance

Pros: 100% free. Their project creator is extremely easy to use and it’s honestly difficult to create an ugly portfolio on Behance. Plus, it allows you to share your work with the creative community and potential employers. I know tons of designers who have gotten hired off of Behance. It really is different from any other social network in that sense.

Cons: Not as customizable as your own website. *If you use Behance, make sure to add a detailed bio in your bio section as well as a good photo of you.

Webflow

Pros: Totally custom. No code. Great templates. I personally love Webflow and use it for my own personal website (which is incredibly simple right now but will eventually include my portfolio + more content) It’s especially a good option if you’re looking to freelance and present as a true business.

Cons: You’ll need to pay for hosting services and a domain name. Requires some time to build the actual site.

Adobe Portfolio

Pros: Beautiful templates. Easy to create & update. Free with Creative Cloud. Fairly customizable. Integrates with Behance. Ability to connect a custom domain name.

Cons: Must be a paying Creative Cloud member. ($10+ per month)

2. What Should I Include

Your work

We’ll cover the specifics in 3 & 4.

About you

Make sure to include a section with your face. Faceless designers are not very hirable. But if you include a clear photo of your smiling face and a little blurb about you and your relevant experience, then all of a sudden you’re a real human with so much potential!

Feel free to include your resume, but you don’t have to! At least give visitors a little preview of your resume (the most impressive pieces;) and they can always ask for your formal PDF resume if they’re interested.

A way to contact you

Make it super easy for someone to get in touch with you, preferably via email and not social media.

3. Which Projects Should I Include?

Only include your very best work. My design professors used to say, “You’re only as good as the worst piece in your portfolio.” Yikes! But it’s true, and now I’m saying it to you. 😂 I’d recommend having 3–5 projects that you’re really proud of.

If you’re transitioning to UI/UX from another creative field and looking for a junior position, I personally don’t see anything wrong with including work from another discipline. As long as it shows relevant skills, processes, values, and interests, I say go for it!

However, an exception to this is if you are going the freelance route. As a freelancer, you will continue to get the work that you show. So if you want to stop getting branding projects and get UI/UX work instead, then nix the branding portfolio pieces and only include UI/UX projects (even if they’re personal projects!)

4. How Should I Present Each Project?

Treat each UI/UX case study like a story. Introduce the problem, the hypothesis, the “why,” and the opportunities. Then move into the research, the insights, and the ideation.

THEN start showing and discussing the solution.

Also be sure to include your role, any collaborators, the goal or task, and when this was worked on for context.

Here’s an example of a case study I published this month: Smart Diffuser App

When it comes to assembling case studies, you want to find the balance between visual and written communication. If you use all images and no text, the viewer will have no context or background information as to how & why you made the decisions you did. But if you have TOO much text, it will be extremely difficult to get through… and rather boring.

I’d recommend putting together your case study, and then ruthlessly editing out excess information until it’s a succinct and compelling narrative. Usually, this takes another pair of eyes 👀 since it will be hard for you to look at your work with an unbiased perspective. Always phone a friend and get feedback before you publish it.