Career Insight

How to Build Your UX Design Portfolio

design portfolio

User experience (UX) designers are experts in using their creativity, technical skills, and understanding of their audience to shape a user’s digital experience in an application, website, or other online product or service. If you’re a UX designer ready to lend your talents to an organization you believe in, you’ll want to showcase your skills, experience, and work in a way that maximizes your possibilities of getting the job. Enter the UX design portfolio, one of the most important assets in your job search process. Learn how to put it together below!

Choose Your Portfolio

One of the first questions you’ll ask as you prepare to showcase your UX design work is, what type of portfolio should I build? Your answer may change depending on the type of position you’re after, along with the experience you have. These are the most common types of portfolios: (Keep in mind your portfolio may include aspects of all three or two.)

  • UX Design: A UX design portfolio is elegant, easy to maneuver, and visually appealing. It should include your most creative and impressive work, along with a description of each.
  • UX Research: This is the process of studying your audience to understand their needs in the user experience. Similar to the UX design portfolio, a UX research portfolio will also showcase work. However, the approach will differ slightly. For instance, it may rely more on case studies, highlight the research you’ve done, and emphasize solutions you produced in the span of a project.
  • UX Engineering: UX engineers generally act as a bridge between the design team and the software development team, prioritizing the processes of both. Therefore, this type of portfolio can include demonstrations of strengths that speak to the relationship between design and development.

Let’s Talk Layout

Your UX design portfolio should be created as a website, visually appealing, and easy to navigate. While you can choose to create a portfolio on platforms such as Dribbble and Behance, creating your own website will provide you more control over its layout. As you organize your portfolio, you’ll want to focus on:

  • Simplicity: The practice of UX design strives for efficient usability and visual appeal, and your UX portfolio should too. A portfolio that’s clean and simple will be easier to navigate, admire, and absorb.
  • Consistency: Use a consistent structure in your portfolio to showcase cohesion and your organizational skills. You’ll want to use headers, body copy, and footers to make your portfolio easy to navigate.
  • Hierarchy: Draw attention to your best work! Organizing your projects by size, color, typography, and other design elements can help the most impressive stand out.
  • Mobile Responsiveness: Hiring managers and recruiters may view your portfolio on a mobile device, so ensure your work is easy to read and navigate on smaller screens.
  • Image Quality: You’re a UX designer, so your portfolio should have an excellent user experience. This means using high-quality images and videos.

UX design candidates are expected to have a portfolio, so build it as if you’re building a website at your job. Share it with friends, family, and colleagues for feedback!

UX Design Portfolio Components

The elements of your portfolio should shed light on your UX design work, experience, abilities, and your design process. As you craft your portfolio, keep these components in mind:

  • Introduction: Your design work is a focal point in your portfolio. However, your introduction can also capture the attention of hiring managers. Use it to introduce yourself, provide additional context to your portfolio, and share a few details about your background and the way you approach design. To make an impactful first impression, add a few fun personal details. Whether you want to reveal your passion for cooking or your affinity for live music, keep these facts short and to the point.
  • Case Studies: Case studies provide insight into your design process. They should include research, personas, wireframes, prototypes, and the final product you created. It’s also helpful to identify the issue you were faced with, the approach you took to solve it, and the outcomes of your project.
  • Samples: Your design samples reflect your skills in visual design, interactive design, and information architecture. While it’s important to emphasize your “bigger” work, you may want to share side gigs or passion projects you feel strongly about. These can include anything from ideas for apps to freelance projects.
  • Design Process: Your design process is just as important as the final product. Hiring committees want to see your methodology and get a feel for how your approach influences the work you produce.
  • Social Media Handles: Social media is so impactful, and you may want to leverage it as another digital space for representing yourself and your work. In fact, your Instagram account can function as a component of your UX design portfolio. For example, create buttons on your portfolio that link out to your Instagram account and other social profiles.
  • Resume/CV: While a recruiter may have already seen your resume or CV, there’s a possibility other members of your hiring committee have not. Include your resume so it’s quickly available as a reference.

Put Your Future In Your Own Hands

Your pathway to tech doesn’t have to involve coding or programming. In fact, your tech career can be as creative and imaginative as you! UX design would allow you to be creative and apply technical skills while ideaing solutions to enhance the user experience.

Are you ready to get started? Take the first step with the Kenzie Academy UX Design certificate program from Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU). With our project-driven curriculum and the support of a dedicated community, you’ll get the skills needed to take on tech across industries like healthcare, finance, film, art, government, and many others. Get creative with your future and apply today.

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