The UX Portfolios session combined with Albert Camacho’s Using Tests in Hiring Designers included thoughts from those that hire and those currently seeking or recently seeking work. For those recently seeking work, websites were the main format their portfolios were presented in. The discussion centered on three points, how to talk about yourself, format, and content.
Talk about yourself!
One participant mentioned using a graph to talk about the skills she had. This struck a chord with a designer who does hiring because that is close to how her team evaluates designers. While there is not one way to talk about yourself the group said this was an important factor. A point was made that interviewing needn’t be one sided. Candidates should try interview ask the company as well. You may find that they like you, but you don’t like them. One designer said she wanted to join a team she could learn from and ended up declining a job offer.
Format of UX Portfolios
Designers and researchers currently seeking work display their portfolios in multiple formats. PDFs and websites were the most common. Meanwhile those with jobs found upkeep of their portfolio difficult.
Process or Products?
As the discussion turned toward what to show in a portfolio, most people suggested that how you solve a problem is more important than just showing a design with no description. The amount of work an HR or design team must go through when looking through portfolios one participant mentioned having to scroll through a single large PDF of several portfolios strung together by the HR team. This suggested a need for brevity and focus in a portfolio. It was advised that a good portfolio has three things:
- Honest description of what you can do
- A story at a glance over Dribbble-esque images
- Visual distinction that leaves an impression
My personal experience with UX portfolio’s is unique as a UX educator. I can say that my most successful students follow the advice above. Other advice I would give is to remain persistent and network as much as possible.