by Sarah Hawk, UX Mastery
September 19, 2016
We have a lot of discussions about UX portfolios in the UX Mastery community.
They range from debates over whether or not portfolios are important, to requests for feedback on portfolios-in-progress, and most frequently – how to find appropriate projects when you’re yet to get a job.
The general consensus is that a portfolio does help in the quest for that elusive first (and even second or third) job, but it’s important to remember that the purpose of the document isn’t to demonstrate your amazing visual design skills – the UX portfolio is all about documenting your process.
Building a portfolio can be daunting if you’re relatively new on the UX scene, so a while back I went hunting for examples that I think are inspiring for one reason or another. Some of those sites are now gone, so I’ve recently been on a new hunt – here are some updated examples that I love.
Every one of these UX portfolios does something very well, and it’s definitely an inspiring collection.
Here they are, in no particular order. Enjoy.
1. Bret Victor
This is a truly beautiful piece of the internet. Bret is a storyteller and a self-professed “purveyor of impossible dreams” and those traits are communicated perfectly through his portfolio. The site feels like a game, full of little gems of enjoyable reading, but most importantly, he communicates his design process in a comprehensive and easy to follow way.
2. Simon Pan
I love the simplicity of the design of this site, but more importantly look at these case studies! Simon’s portfolio takes the most comprehensively catalogued case studies award, hands down. Add to that some beautiful imagery and he’s onto a winning formula. I read this portfolio from end to end, just for pure enjoyment. It’s no wonder he’s been snapped up by Uber.
3. Frances Tung
Frances’ fun, magazine/blog style approach to her portfolio adds delight to the experience, but it’s the way she crafts her case-studies as stories that had me hooked. Her processes are laid out clearly and are well supported by imagery, and she injects just the right amount of personality into the portfolio.
4. Justin Edmund
Justin’s portfolio is clean and unassuming. It isn’t flashy because it’s all about showcasing his work. Case studies are carefully mapped out from inception, through philosophy and research, to execution. The process that Justin follows is described in depth and is backed up with great examples of imagery, giving a clear insight into the way he works.
5. Yitong Zhang
What makes Yitong’s portfolio unique is the way he tells a story. From his personal journey to his work, the communication is structured and easy to follow. When it comes to documenting his projects, I particularly like the way he progresses in a linear fashion from the initial challenge, through his process, culminating finally in learnings.
6. Anthony Anderson
Another example of an interesting portfolio, and this is how you document a UX process. Anthony’s site is a little confusing and hard to navigate at times, but once you get down to the documentation of his case studies, it’s pure gold. I particularly love the cute way the processes are annotated.
7. John Ellison
John does a fantastic job of clearly documenting the problems, the processes and the outcomes in his portfolio. Quantifying specific outcomes adds weight and value to the projects, and the detail that he goes into with each case study is epic. When I wrote this article the first time I felt that the only thing lacking was some sketches, which have now been added.
8. Gregor Kalfas
This particular example is close to my heart because Gregor is a member of our UX Mastery community and his portfolio came to my attention when he asked for a review. It’s fair to say, there isn’t much to criticise! Exploring this site is like spending time at a fun park – it’s absolutely delightful.
9. Christina Richardson
Christina’s portfolio is another that I came across by way of a community review request. I was immediately endeared by the way she tells her personal story just as one would document a design process. It’s the little things that make it stand out from the crowd.
So there you go. I hope this has left you feeling inspired.
If you’re struggling to find appropriate projects to include in your portfolio, or you need some tips about making yours stand out from the crowd, join our upcoming session on creating persuasive portfolios.
This article first appeared on UX Mastery and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.
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