5 Steps to Creating a UX-Design Portfolio

To summarise a portfolio highlights your design process and any previous work as it shows others who you are as a designer. The process of creating a UX-design portfolio allows you to reflect on your skills and achievements.

What Hiring Managers Are Looking For?

According to research carried out by nngroup.com, they asked UX professionals what type of things they look for in a portfolio.

Ideally Mangers/Employers want to see:

  • the process of your work, sketches, how you developed the product and the research you carried out.
  • Start off explaining the problem and how you came up with the solution.
  • Talk about the role, constraints, development, and the research to help with the design.
  • It’s important to reflect on your work and talk about any improvements you would make.

The people who view your portfolio could be employers, managers, or other UX designers, so it’s important to appeal to everyone and make sure it looks professional and stands out from the crowd.

There are 5 main steps when designing a portfolio site.

Step 1: Take Inventory of All your projects. Basically, take a note of any previous projects that you have worked on. It’s important to ask yourself specific questions to help narrow down the choices. Therefore, choose your best and most appropriate projects based on the role or placements you are applying for. Make sure the projects showcase your best skills.

Step 2: Choose 3-5 Projects as Detailed Case Studies. When creating a portfolio, it’s important to have Quality over quantity. Make sure to choose a couple of better projects to showcase your work demonstrating skills etc.

Step 3: Choose Your Desired Format. It’s important for your portfolio to tell a story. Use a range of text and visuals to distinct projects. Plan the structure of your site. Designing a web-based portfolio is the most common. The website should mainly focus on your content and be user friendly.

Step 4: Create/Design your Portfolio. After you plan go on to creating your site making sure the content is all included.

Step 5: Get Feedback and Iterate. Once you create your portfolio site show it to someone and let them critic your work as they will help you make improvements. The portfolio will be a continuing work in progress.

 Reflection

Portfolios are the best way of seeing a designer’s process. When I am creating my portfolio site, I will use these steps. I will ensure I highlight my work and skills in way that is appropriate and visually appealing which will in favour help me land placement job which I am currently seeking for. I will hopefully do myself justice.

Week 8- Idea Generation

This weeks talk was on Idea Generation which in favour help us prepare us to to pitch out ideas for a digital product. This pitch will happen in week 12.

Examples of product could be a:

  • Web site
  • Native Application
  • Web Apps
  • eBook
  • Printed Book
  • Cards
  • Physical System
  • Packaging System
  • Game (app, board game)
  • Connected product
  • or literally anything…

Daniel explained the importance of taking risks and don’t be afraid to fail. Its important to try out ideas. It’s easier to simplify and dumb down an idea than it is to make a boring are exciting.

Daniel then spoke about the 9 generations methods that we could use to help us come up with range of ideas. These are the following:

  • Mind mapping
  • Brainstorming ideas
  • Visual Thinking
  • Sketching out
  • Making connections
  • Worst Way/ Unintended Consequences
  • Ask What if…? or How might we..?
  • Inspiration
  • Osborn Checklist

After our lecture we went to the studio, were we sat in groups to help and tried out of these methods. Our group choose the making connections system. As a group we tried coming up with ideas for a digital product. This allowed us to be as creative and innovated as possible. The categories we randomly got were GPS, Health, Documentary and Under 10. We came up with a couple of ideas but it was difficult at the start to come with many ideas.

Ideas

  1. A GPS App that documents the health of under 10.
  2. A wearable product that connect to an app and monitors under 10’s health. There is a button to press incase of an emergency.
  3. The App can show locations of the nearest GP, doctors, chemist to help with their health.
  4. Another idea is parents can track their kids location as well as their health and documents if they are sick.

Reflection

I thought this lecture was beneficial. I learned about a lot of different methods to help generate ideas. I will try use some of these methods to help me generate ideas for my own product which I will eventually pitch. Also I need to willing to take chances, as some of the best ideas may be crazy and weird but may interest others.

For this week I am going to try to brainstorm/ minds map and sketch a couple of ideas for my digital product.

User Persona’s

During class we learned about User Persona’s as we would eventually go on to create our own by asking specific users questions to do with our next project.

User personas

A User persona is a way to represent and communicate research about a specific person who has been surveyed or interviewed in some way. User’s personas are standard users whose goals and characteristics represent the needs of a larger group of users. Its normally completed in a 1-to-2-page document. It describes patterns, end goals, skills, attitudes, and a little background information.

How are Persona Created?

User Personas can be designed using several steps.

  • Firstly, start off interviewing or observing several specific users.
  • Secondly try and find patterns in the interviewees’ responses and actions and use the data from the answers to group similar people together.
  • Thirdly create archetypical models of those groups based on the patterns.
  • Next, once you understand the needs of users create user-centered designs.
  • Lastly share those models with team members.

Why it is important?

It’s important to help understand the needs of specific target audience. When designing a product its essential users are satisfied to achieve success. Personas can be good when used in right place and time. The main question to ask users is “Who am designing for?” Think carefully what questions ask the users.  It’s important to consider the main needs of the audience.

The key things to include in the user persona are:

  • Name
  • Demographic
  • Descriptive Title
  • Photograph
  • Quote
  • A day-in-the-life narrative
  • End Goals

Personas have several valuable purposes such as:

  • Build Empathy
  • Develop focus
  • Communicate and form consensus
  • Make and defend decisions
  • Measure effectiveness.

Most important things to remember are to ask:

  • users open-ended questions
  • participants to show more than tell
  • for specific stories, about anything which can help you understand

From using my own research and what I learned in, I will eventually create my own user persona’s.

Example of User Persona’s

From using my own research and what I learned in, I feel this knowledge will help me to create my own user persona’s on specific users.

Updated Portfolio Site on Webflow

I have recently made changes to my original site. I decided to change the background image in the header of the home page. I decided to instead to have a black background with White text which made it visually appealing and helped make my information stand out.

I fixed the layout of the content and kept my text, images and spacing, etc consistent throughout my site.

https://seansportfoliosite.webflow.io/

Click this link to see my updated website.

I am happy with my updated version of my site and I hope it will attract employers and fellow Ux designers to my site.

 

Task 1- Organising Raw Data

This week we were given a couple of tasks to complete. Firstly we were asked to organise raw periodic table data into a spreadsheet. Kyle supplied us with raw content which I organised different types of content into a spreadsheet. This will help seek relationships with the content. As designer its important to understand the content and organise data neatly and clearly.

Here is the raw data I was given below:

H Hydrogen 1 Diatomic Nonmetal 1 s 1.008 1766 He Helium 2 Noble Gas 18 s 4.002602 1868 Li Lithium 3 Alkali Metal 1 s 6.94 1817 B Boron 5 Metalloid 13 p 10.81 1808 O Oxygen 8 Diatomic Nonmetal 16 p 15.999 1772 Al Aluminium 13 Post-Transition Metal 13 p 26.9815385 1787 Sc Scandium 21 Transition Metal 3 d 44.955908 1871 Se Selenium 34 Polyatomic Nonmetal 16 p 78.971 1817 Cs Caesium 55 Alkali Metal 1 s 132.905452 1860 Ac Actinium 89 Actinide N/A f 227 1902

I organized the data into a spreadsheet which makes a lot easier to read as seen in the below Image.

I looked up a number of resources online which helped me to complete this task by structuring the content appropriately.

I felt this task was interesting and taught me how to organise my data as well as learning a bit about the Periodic table.

 

Week 7- Creative Entepreneurship

Today Daniel has a break from given the lecture instead we got a lecture from a guest speaker Ronan McKinless. He spoke about the different jobs roles in the industry and types of places/environments to work as well as his very own experience. During his presentation he talked about the difference between UL vs UX Designer, working in large and Small Companies, start up company’s and full time and part time work and freelance work.

Later on we had an opportunity to ask him questions and he provided us with valid and reasonable answers. I also enjoyed his wisdom and advice he give us through his own experience which was very helpful. This was good because in give me an indication and better understanding of the type of work environment and job role I would be interested in.

Week 7- Elements Brief and Group Critique

This week in class we started off with the brief for the next project. We are given the rest of the semester to work on this project so we have plenty of time to complete this. This project will be due on week 13. We learned about the periodic table. We looked at examples of lasts years work. We learned about Taxonmies and User Flows as well.

We received a talk from Little Thunder today. It was really interested in their work and the companies they work with especially EA.

Portfolio Critic

At end of the class we had a criteria from Kyle. This is were our websites were reviewed and we received some feedback from him and the rest class.

Below you can see screenshots of my published website on web flow.

At end of the class we had a criteria from Kyle. He reviewed are website and received feedback from him and the rest class.

He told me ways I could improve my portfolio site such as:

  • remove the grey background on the Nav section
  • removing the image on home screen as it’s not necessary
  • instead have a dark background with white text in Nav.
  • The call to action button on page should link to my Portfolio rather my CV.
  • I need to ensure my padding is kept the same throughout the whole site.

He highlighted the importance using appropriate headings for my website as it will help to structure my site as it will help make it look a lot better visually and make it easy for employers to follow.

I appreciate the feedback I received from Kyle and the rest of the class wrote was helpful.. Below are some of the comments my class wrote about my site.

This week I’ll work continue working on improving Portfolio site as well as making a start on the 2nd project.

Reflection

I felt todays session was very helpful as I know what changes I should make to my site in order to finalise it and attract potential employers. I think if I make these simple but important changes it will greatly improve my site. I will take all the feedback I can get to help me.

Week 6- Creative Entrepreneurship

This week we looked at the Business of Design. Daniel asked us this week to write a proposal for a website and brand to represent Hill street in Belfast. We could look at similar sites in Belfast for inspiration. When designing this Proposal I will look into the history of this area and the local heritage. At end we must include a timeline and pricing. This will be a formal document in PDF format.

He then briefly went through a recap what a proposal was and what should be included in one. We had some knowledge of the proposal from the research we done last week.

Daniel then went on to talk about internships, graduates and professional designers. He give a brief breakdown of what are expected pay should range from. We deserve pay for any work. The most important thing when working on a project is time management. For example Notion is a tracking board which could be used to track your work. Also Harvest is a site I can use to help manage time.

After break we went to studio. I had a one-to-one tutorial with Daniel as I missed mine on Friday. This is were he give a honest critique on my CV and Cover letter. I found this very helpful and glad I got an opportunity to speak with him.

To reflect I felt today’s class as very useful and was worth attending. I felt I had a better understanding were I am in terms of my work and what I need to change as well as learning about the business of design.

Research- Writing a Proposal

This week, Daniel asked us to research how to write a proposal. I looked at Chapter 3 of A project guide to UX Design.

Writing a Proposal

Chapter 3 in A project Guide to UD Design is initially about writing a proposal.

The old saying goes “no good deed goes Unpunished” The hardest challenge is writing your first proposal. It’s hard to know where to begin.

Once the core of the proposal is created, you can reuse the proposal for different projects but varying were possible.

When working on projects it’s important to write a proposal as it allows there to be an agreement in place between the client and vendor.  Don’t skip writing a proposal as it helps create a better understanding and gets you ready to start work.

Well-written proposals provide clients with a sense of stability and protection, which can help alleviate many of the concerns that night arise.

A proposal also allows you to define terms that protect both sides if something changes.

Always write a proposal no questions asked.

It’s important to write a proposal properly. Although the sooner you complete the quicker you can begin your work and start earning money for your work.

The main components of a good proposal are the following:

  • Title page. This is the first page which introduces the document. They can be styled in anyway. Title page normally includes elements such as: Clients company name & logo, Project title, version, submission date, authors, reference number, cost, etc.
  • Scope of Work is a section that identifies which components of the project you are responsible for, and which are the client’s responsibility. This is where you tell the client in writing what you are going to do and what they are doing.
  • Revision History which is a separate section that identities how many times you have updated your proposal from the original one. It’s important to include the version number, date, author along with any additional comments such as what was modified.
  • Assumptions is where you break down and explain to your client what is needed to achieve success in this project. This is also known as expectations.
  • Project Overview is a brief description of the project you will be working on. This should be a clear Image to your client of what you imagine the outcome will be.
  • Deliverables are the work product that you will create and turn over to the client. This section is where you give details to your client of the type of work, they can expect you to produce in this project.
  • Project Approach will vary depending on the type of project you undertake. It gives you an opportunity to explain to your client how you plan on working with them on the specific project.
  • Ownership and rights allow you to have a right to your own work and extent to which you will allow your client to use your work. Your work will fall under two categories work for hire and licensed work.
  • Additional Costs and Fees allows your client to understand the external expense of the project.
  • Payment Schedule is the schedule when payments should be made by providing invoices.
  • Project Pricing is indication to let the client know the cost by providing a quote.
  • Acknowledgement and sign-off. It’s important to ensure you have a proposal in place. Although it’s essential there is an agreement to start has been approved and signed off.

Reflection

To reflect I felt this specific chapter in this book was very insightful. It gave me a better understanding of how to write a proposal and what key components I should include when I write my own proposal. I thought it was good to know about this. It gives me a good indication of the responsibilities of both the me and the client.

Week 6- Promotional Strategy

Kyle give us a lecture on Promotional Strategy. This is ways to help us promote our work.  Promotional Strategy simply starts with a story. When writing our portfolio make sure it tells a story of our work. Stories stick in our memories therefore when we tell a story we want to stick in our potential employers minds. One way of telling a story is through different social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. Tell a story of your work by engaging with others. It’s important to use Social Media effectively To:

  • Sell
  • Add Value
  • Build Audience
  • Position
  • Network

Kyle spoke about some inspirational designers and showed examples of their work.

The 2nd step of Promotional Strategy is Socially speaking. This could be through word of mouth or online. Find people who are interested in you work. It’s important to be confident, talk about your work and have passion for what you do.

Thirdly use a discovery and engine like Instagram and Twitter to post and talk up your work to help promote yourself. When making posts think of the best time to post. Don’t spam or overwhelm people. I useful tools to use are Buffer or Medium. Design your twitter and Instagram profile appropriately. In your bio into external links to your portfolio. When coming up with ideas have a look at inspiration. Think of the type of thinks you can write about especially in the first post to grab the users attention.

Kyle shared a list of designers we should follow on twitter and Instagram for inspiration. In order to be successful invest in it.

For this week Kyle asked us to create an Instagram post to showcase my work. Basically tell as story of my work.

After the lecture we had talks from Global Payments and Rapid7. I felt both companies were interesting and sold themselves really well. They shared the what work we could expect to do and what all is involved.

I felt this week was very interesting to learn about ways of promoting myself and my work. I enjoyed both talks as I will soon start applying once my portfolio and CV is up to date.