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Getting better UX work: Designing your UX portfolio

Ian Fenn@ifenn – mentioned that he participated on a portfolio workshop with Lane Halley (

He searched UX portfolios online and visited some. Problems found: breaking lines, third person sentences, mockup style, he thinks that personal rewarding task or job is not of relevance in a portfolio. He recommends us to tell WHY a specific solution was chosen; what you did, why you chose xyz, your thinking process, the final solution and also describe how you worked with people.

People are interested in your skills but also in how you think.

Goals of a UX portfolio:

  • Explain what you think about UX design/research, etc.
  • Get an interview (a sales device)
  • Establish yourself as an expert (perception is established but can be a dangerous game)


Format your PDFs, make it easily shareable, printed, presented, etc. (avoid web criticism)
Web is easy to share but print is more difficult, maybe a solution would be print stylesheets if you are ok with your portfolio being public.

Cover, about you and UX, client list, case studies, addition projects, training, public speaking, client testimonial (LinkedIn “clips”), add summary, explain UX and deliverables

Add logos to show off client list, it has a visual appeal.

Try to show case studies representing the breadth of your projects and skills, not only one type of project.

Be careful, don’t accept any job just to be a job, don’t do any mediocre work. Eliminate projects that are too similar and demonstrate your best work.

Ideally include a brief, what was done, key tools and deliverables, the results and possibly the aftermath (things learned)

Ask your client your permission before comencing the work to display parts (or all) of the work on your profile – some clients will work using NDA (non-disclosure agreements). Or disclose just enough based on public annual reports and add a line saying “subject to client NDA” (just-in-case)

When talking about difficult projects try to be professional and explain the problems as constraints.

For the projects that are not used as showcase/case study, they can be a list of logos and quick explanation of what was done.

Add or highlight improvements: training in “adaptive path”, user focus, lean, ux leans startups, courses to fill gaps.

Add a few testimonials, clients and “social proof”.

He recommended 10 pages maximum, but I do feel that could be a bit too much… however if we think this is not a CV, it is a portfolio, adding explanations and user cases on 10 pages could be ‘ok’.

If you are working on a same project and same company for a long time treat each task/development on project as a case and try to make a wider roundup. Try to use images that acompany the story. Take loads of pictures of the process from beginning to end.

Maybe avoid buzzwords because people interviewing you might not know, keep discussions as non-UX as possible.

“To me UX is just problem solving and design.”

His ebook ‘coming soon’:

Description of this event (on Eventbrite)

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