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How to Make a Portfolio & More Tips for Beginner UX Designers

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How to Make a Portfolio & More Tips for Beginner UX Designers

Today, a portfolio is an inevitable element of any job application, even more so for designers. Those who pursued a design program might have some projects to begin with. However, not every UX designer goes to design school. 
In reality, regardless of how you gained the skills of user experience design, you could use some tips on creating a catchy portfolio. And most importantly, to find design opportunities to feature the right projects in your portfolio. So, let’s dive in. 

How Do You Land Projects as Beginner?

Perhaps the most pressing concern for a beginner UX designer is how to get hired with little to no experience in the field. Fortunately, today, you have the internet on your side and a long line of doors to knock on. 
  1. Internships

These are the most obvious way to gain experience and valuable insight into your design degree’s real-world application. 
  1. Volunteering

Yes, it’s unpaid work. But, it will still allow you to implement your ideas and develop a product from scratch. A lot of startups and nonprofits are always looking for help in launching their websites. 
  1. UX courses

For those who completed a degree, you might already have design projects to feature. If not, you could take up some online course that requires you to complete a UX design. These practical courses will explain the methods and let you build real products from start to end. 
  1. Freelancing

If you are confident in your skills, freelancing is your best option to build a portfolio. However, as you know, you might first need a portfolio to attract clients. But if you are willing to work at lower fees, there might be those willing to hire you with your limited experience. 
Ensure that your client is aware of the risks, and you will have to work harder to make up for the lack of your experience. 

What to Include in Your Portfolio?

In the digital world, employers prefer an online portfolio to an attached pdf. This is, in fact, a perk for UX designers. What better than a website can exhibit your prowess as a user experience designer. 
Though every portfolio is thus unique, there are some common elements that your prospective client would prefer to see. 
  • A compelling headline;
  • An About section;
  • Detailed descriptions of your design process;
  • Graphics and related images of conceptualization;
  • Contact information.
If you need any help with writing the online essay for your curriculum, you can get help from pros who craft an impressive write-up about your journey as a designer. It is all about how you portray yourself.

How to Select the Projects?

As a beginner, you might feel the need to include every project in your portfolio. But that is not necessarily the right approach. Remember that attention spans are very short. Generally, a thumb rule is to opt for three to five projects, each diverse and unique in its way.
Weight in these aspects of your projects:
  • The impact the research had on the design;
  • Measurable key metrics; 
  • Interesting methodology. 
Try to strike the right balance between these three. Select the projects that best display your creative and problem-solving skills. 

How to Present Your Projects?

While you need to focus on your site’s overall presentation, you have to also pay attention to the way the visitor navigates your site. In effect, considering your portfolio as a website, how would you want your user to instantly grab your design. 
Take a look at Moritz Oesterlau’s portfolio. He has displayed only three case studies, but each addresses a different issue and features his research as well. In case you do not want to read, there is also a video that takes you through his works. 
This way, if they are skimping through your works, they will still get a glance of all areas of your expertise. Here is an idea of how to present each project. 
  • Define the problem;
  • Information on the client or the user;
  • The tools and techniques you used;
  • The conceptualization stage;
  • The process to arrive at the solution;
  • The final outcome.
It is a common misconception that design portfolios only need to feature the final UI designs. That is one of the first things you need to address. 

What Are Hiring Managers Looking For?

Well, let’s get honest. Your creative aspirations aside, your portfolio is for your clients and hiring managers. And according to a survey by essay writing service canada, this is what hiring managers are looking for.
  • How did you start with the opportunity to produce real value for the user?
  • What part of the research did not make into the design, and why?
  • The process, the concept, and the other constraints.
As you see, your users, both prospective clients and fellow UX professionals, are more interested in the backend aspect of your design as well. You need to showcase all components. 
On the other hand, they will rarely stop to go through your case study word-by-word. So how do you grab their attention?

Using Visualization and Imagery

As a designer, the visual representation is the star of your portfolio. You will need to incorporate a narrative style that will offer an immersive experience to your visitors. Product designer Elizabeth Lin‘s portfolio serves as a great reference for visual storytelling. She also presents her work as case studies, with sufficient documentation demonstrating the entire process. 
However, she has offered it in snippets with pictures, supporting the story she is weaving for the audience. Every step of the process is accompanied by a visual element, even if it is a post-it note or a screenshot. 
This narrative component makes the entire experience more engaging. 

The Key Takeaway

Every designer is unique in their own way. There is no hard-and-fast rule that everyone should follow. While the points here are expected, you can choose to divert if you think another approach is best for your skillset. Your portfolio should resonate with your personal brand of design and process. The best portfolios often have detailed studies best presented with stunning visuals and smooth navigation. Make sure you tick these boxes, and you are good to go. 

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    • Megan123

      This is a very useful piece of information! Thanks a lot! I’m sure, a lot of people find it helpful. Personally, I do. I’m going to create a portfolio as it is important for my customers to find the info about me online. I’ve already chosen one of the web builders for portfolio but still, I’m clueless about many things. I’ll keep your info in mind and will follow your post as a guide.

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