An ePortfolio, or online portfolio, is a collection of electronic evidence that demonstrates your technical abilities while offering a record of your learning and achievement. It allows you to tell your unique story while providing samples of your work in one location. Class and personal projects can be included.
Being able to easily access a digital portfolio on a moment's notice might also open doors in a spontaneous networking opportunity. It is a good idea to include a link to your ePortfolio on your resume and LinkedIn profile. For anyone doing any kind of coding/scripting, this is essential. It is the first thing an employer looks at for students who want to do anything with coding.
Treat your portfolio like a (UX) design problem. Use a human centered approach and remember that the hiring manager will spend limited time reviewing your portfolio. Tell your story as a design professional with a statement of who you are, a demonstration of 1 to 3 case studies and your contact information and perhaps your resume.
Part of creating your own portfolio should include learning and research by looking at other inspiring portfolios. Simply Google "Inspiring UX portfolios". Be critical in what you see. Many results are portfolio software products disguised as portfolios. But you can be evaluating your own style by what you see In these portfolio samples.
Finally, know that your portfolio will always be evolving. Visit it and update it regularly. Share your portfolio with people and seek out feedback – what works well and what could be better. Apply feedback as you find value in it.
ePorfolios are critical resources, especially if you are interested in user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design jobs. UX/UI portfolios will easily showcase your work.
Many sites offer free digital portfolio services you might want to consider, with each site offering different options. Github is the preferred of professional platform, while other platforms tend to be more in the social media presence arena.
Hiring managers care about how well you can explain your process and thinking. They want to know WHY you CHOSE to use the steps, processes, and information that you have chosen. They want to know how well you communicate and how you handle criticism, feedback, and failure. They want to know and see how passionate you are about design. This is demonstrated through communicating your reasoning, your design process, your thought process, your expertise, your risk-taking, and your ability to learn from failure. Contrary to what we experience in most classes, failure is a great way to learn.
Hiring managers review portfolios very quickly. Their time benchmarks are roughly 2 seconds and 30 seconds.
- 2 seconds after opening your portfolio they will decide whether they look further or move to the next portfolio
- 30 seconds more and they will decide whether to consider you as a candidate or move on
Hiring managers do not want to see just the final designs, bullet point lists of the design methods you used or a bunch of wireframes with no explanation.
Stories have characters, who have goals, strengths, interests, experiences, predispositions. So should your individual statement. This is a holistic statement about who YOU are as a designer, should communicate your values, goals, experience.
Your 1 to 2 sentence statement should be on your home page. Optionally, you can have a longer personal statement of 2-4 paragraphs, but being able to distill your statement to only a couple of sentences is a good test of how you articulate your image.
Tell your story about who you are as a design professional.
- Where you are in your career
- Your values (as a designer)
- Your goals
- Your special “take” on UX design
- Example “takes”: technical prototyping, accessible design, business/management experience, talented artist, qualitative researcher, etc.
This is the heart of your portfolio. Fewer, better case studies are much better than a greater number of weaker case studies. One, two, or three good case studies is always enough.
Your case should alternate between showing what you did (pictures or graphics) and telling what you did and what you learned. This process should then be repeated repeatedly and should be the biggest part of your case study. Captions and annotations ensure that your visuals are legible and provide context to people who were not there. You are demonstrating your "process".
Wrap the case study up with a reflection and post-mortem. This demonstrates your ability to learn from your experiences. Do not hesitate to talk about mistakes and failures. These can be powerful opportunities to learn. Just make sure that you do learn from them. Be specific. Point to a specific step or decision or research finding and talk about what the specific thing taught you and how you used that information.
Here is a bullet point list that you can follow.
Key elements of case studies include the following:
- An account of the design domain
- User research (Empathize)
- Market/design exemplar research
- Design goals (Define)
- Ideation (Ideate)
- Sketching, scenarios, personas, what-if?
- High and low-fidelity prototypes (Prototype) and evaluate (Test)
- The glue: design insights, learnings
- What did you do? Why did you make the decisions you made? What did you learn? What will you do next?
- The "glue" is the story and information that connects the images and graphics or sketches you include.
- Reflections and post-mortems
- Giving credit
- Give credit to every image you use. (Not doing so is plagiarism)
- Get permission to use images or find work that provides a Creative Commons license.
- Credit your team for group decisions and what the team did.
- Credit yourself for what you led and what you did.
- Example: “The team agreed that our user research would include a questionnaire, interviews, and a diary study; My role was to lead the interview study, and Raj and I analyzed the data together; Fei led the diary study, but I helped with the data analysis”
Finally, do not forget your contact information. If you include a LinkedIn url, make sure that your profile is complete. If you include your resume within your portfolio, make sure that it is up-to-date and easy to access. You do not need to include a street address on either the portfolio or the resume.