10 Tips to Design A Stellar UX Portfolio

Your UX portfolio is the most important tool in your job-hunting arsenal. It’s what hiring managers use to determine if you have the skills and experience they need, so it needs to be stellar. But how do you make sure your portfolio stands out from the rest? Today, we’re offering up 10 tips to help you design a portfolio that will wow potential employers and land you the job of your dreams.

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1. Simplicity is Best

First, keep it simple. Your portfolio should be easy to read and navigate, so avoid flashy designs or busy layouts. Make sure your work is presented in a clear, clean way that allows the hiring manager to focus on what’s important: your experience.

A simple layout is best, yes. But simplicity should carry on to the descriptions you write and how you explain your work as well. There’s no need to include a ton of industry-specific language or jargon. Keep your copy light, to-the-point, and understandable.

2. Showcase Your Best Stuff

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Second, make sure you only include your best work in your portfolio. Hiring managers have a limited time to review applications, so it’s important to show them the projects that demonstrate your skills and expertise. That means no filler projects – just the stuff that will convince them you’re the perfect fit.

3. Tell a Story

Your portfolio should also tell a story about you and your work style. Start with an introduction that explains who you are, what you do, and why you’re the best person for the job. Then, use case studies or other project descriptions to illustrate how you solved problems for various clients and companies and achieved results.

You want prospective employers to get a clear sense of what you’re all about by the time they’re done reading your portfolio.

4.  Show Your Process

Don’t be afraid to show your process. From sketches and wireframes to finalized designs, it can be helpful to provide prospective employers with a behind-the-scenes look at how you work. This will give them an idea of what kind of UX designer you are, and how you approach each project.

5. Make Sure You Have Approval to Include Items in Your Portfolio

Be certain you have permission to include any items in your portfolio. If you’re using work that was created as part of a team effort or if it belongs to someone else, get written approval before including it in your portfolio. This will ensure that you don’t run into any copyright issues down the line.

6. Include Descriptions

top-down view of someone working on a silver laptop with water and electronics nearby

Include descriptions of each item in your portfolio. Explain what you did, the process you followed, and the results you achieved. This will give hiring managers a better understanding of the impact your work has had on past projects and why they should hire you for their team.

Just make sure the focus of these descriptions is on the work you completed — not on the final product itself. That’s outside the scope of your portfolio.

Your descriptions should also focus on problem-solving — that is, how your work has helped to solve the problems of those who’ve hired you in the past. And if you have hard evidence of how your work has benefited companies, include that as well. Statistics and any other figures are welcome.

7. Follow the Example of Other Professionals

Take a look at the portfolios of other UX designers to get an idea of what works and what doesn’t. Don’t copy another designer’s portfolio outright – but use it as inspiration for creating your own unique design. This way, you can make sure that your portfolio stands out from the crowd.

For reference, most UX portfolios will, at the bare minimum, include the following:

  • Homepage: Employers should be able to see what kind of designer you are just by looking at the homepage of your portfolio. It should include a strong headline and a brief summary of who you are and what you do.
  • About page: Here you can go into a bit more depth about who you are, your design experience, and the skillset you’ll bring to projects.
  • Portfolio page: The portfolio page is where you can feature your best work. A simple layout is typically best where your projects can stand out. A busy layout with a lot of flourishes won’t serve you well here.

8.  Stay Up-to-Date

Don’t forget to keep your portfolio up-to-date and relevant. Make sure to regularly add new projects and update existing ones so that hiring managers can easily see your latest work. This will also demonstrate that you’re actively engaged in the UX design field.

9. Your Portfolio is a Portfolio Piece

Finally, don’t forget that your portfolio itself is a portfolio piece. Employers will evaluate the design and usability of your portfolio just as they would any other design project. Make sure it looks professional and is easy to navigate.

The goal is for employers to be able to quickly understand who you are, showcase your skills and experience, and get a sense of the kind of work you can do. So a strong UI is a must with solid color and typography choices that showcase your personality and style.

10.  Get Feedback

business people discussing a portfolio over a laptop

Before you launch your portfolio, make sure to get feedback from friends and professional contacts. This will help you make sure that it’s up to par with what employers are looking for.

Build a UX Portfolio You Can Be Proud Of

With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to crafting a UX portfolio you can be proud of. Just remember: Your portfolio should always be a work in progress, so keep revisiting it regularly to make sure it’s always showcasing the best of what you have to offer. Good luck!