Looking to land a UX or product design job? You’ll need a solid portfolio to show off your work!
A well-designed, professional-looking UX portfolio showcasing your skills and experience can set you apart in the interview process.
You’ll need to ensure that your portfolio matches the position you’re applying for, just like your resume.
Recruiters and others evaluating your work are busy—you only have a few minutes to engage them!
Effective UX portfolios focus on user-centered design processes and outcomes—how did you solve the user's problem? This focus is a vital part of being a UX designer.
Be clear about your skills, process, and specialty projects, but don't go overboard.
Portfolios shouldn't include all your previous work. Pick specific, recent, and outstanding projects that show your design skills.
Your portfolio and examples should show your knowledge of the following:
Some additional tips for building your UX portfolio for an interview:
In short, designers must prioritize good work, tell an engaging story, and demonstrate their UX mastery.
We asked Ann Grafelman, who co-created this guide, how she deals with roadblocks and common self-doubts as a designer.
The role of a UX designer is unique in that you can show your skills directly through your portfolio.
Your design skills and accomplishments are more than a bullet point on a CV—they’re right there for the hiring managers to see with their own eyes!
Show. Don't tell. Your UX Portfolio should clearly illustrate your design skills and accomplishments to hiring managers and recruiters.
The design of the portfolio should also represent your personal style.
No matter the style you choose for your UX portfolio, make sure it's clear and easy to understand.
What are hiring managers looking for in your portfolio interview? It depends on the type of company you're interviewing for.
Generally speaking, you can expect UX hiring managers to look for similar things in the UX design portfolios of their candidates.
In UX design interviews, you’ll need two portfolios:
At the very least, you should have a website that showcases your design work.
You could designit from scratch or use a template using something like WordPress, Behance, Dribble, or other design-minded websites.
Your online UX portfolio should include both projects and case studies.
A UX design case study is an in-depth analysis of a specific project focusing on how the user experience was:
An impactful UX or product design case study includes things like:
The goal of the case study is to show the value and impact your design provided to the user.
Be sure that each project or case study includes the following:
Many UX designers also include these alongside a summary:
So long as recruiters and hiring managers can look at your portfolio and feel confident in your skills as a designer, you’ll be in an excellent spot to receive a phone screen.
From there, you’ll need to present your UX design portfolio.
Several websites allow you to build a stunning UX portfolio quickly.
Here are some of our favorites:
Behance is a favorite for designers of all stripes. Behance is a platform that allows creatives to showcase their work and network with other professionals.
It provides users with tools to organize and present their portfolios, create custom landing pages, collaborate on projects, and find creative opportunities. The site also offers job postings from employers looking for talent.
Dribble is another platform similar to Behance that allows designers and creative professionals to share their work, find inspiration, give feedback and collaborate.
Dribble makes it easy to build a professional UX portfolio on the platform. All you need to do is upload screenshots of your designs, share stories about the design process, and show off animations or interactive prototypes you‘ve created. It is an excellent platform for networking with other designers in the community.
While Dribble and Behance are more designer-oriented, Squarespace is an all-in-one platform that allows you to create professional websites, online stores, and portfolios.
It provides users with a selection of templates (including some perfect for UX design portfolios) and drag & drop tools to help you quickly design your portfolio.
Webflow is like Squarespace, but it allows much more customization in the overall design of your portfolio.
With Webflow, you can easily create a UX portfolio with all the elements you need to showcase your projects attractively and professionally.
Finally, Adobe Portfolio is a website-building platform explicitly designed for creative professionals.
Using Adobe Portfolio you can create custom, responsive websites that showcase your UX design portfolio and other professional work in an attractive format. The platform comes with dozens of portfolio layouts and themes, all highly customizable. You can easily add text descriptions or multimedia content to each project page and even integrate analytics tracking tools.
Hopefully, your portfolio is impressive enough to get a call from a recruiter.
If they ask you to come in for an interview, you’ll need to present your portfolio in person.
The UX design interview consists of more than portfolio reviews, so you may only have 30 - 45 minutes to present yours.
Start by taking a few minutes to introduce yourself.
Talk about yourself as a person. What do you like to do outside of work, what are some of your interests, etc.?
This shouldn’t take too much time, but it helps establish rapport between yourself and your interviewer, making them more receptive to your portfolio and your candidacy.
It also will help establish culture fit, although behavioral questions will be dedicated to this later in the interview.
After you’ve made your introductions, you’ll want to dive into a big, complex project on your portfolio.
Ideally, this project should showcase your general skills as a UX designer rather than some specific skill set (that’ll come later).
Be sure to talk about how you worked alongside a product manager to define the product strategy and developed the frameworks to think through the problem you were aiming to solve.
If you worked alongside other UX designers, make sure you illustrate exactly what your personal contribution was to the finished product.
Your presentation of the projects should follow the same general outline as your online portfolio. That is:
Most times, you will spend the majority of your portfolio review on this big project presentation.
Next, present a smaller, more targeted project on your portfolio. Highlight some more specialized UX skills.
For instance, rather than summarizing every single contribution you made on a project, just showcase one.
This could be anything from an impressive design choice, an innovative approach, or a cool interaction you developed.
It’s really up to you, but make sure it shows your unique capabilities as a UX professional; something that sets you apart from other candidates.
Considering you already walked through a complex project, the recruiter or hiring manager will probably already (or hopefully) understand your design process and all that goes into it.
So, you can focus more on the targeted project than reiterate all those details.
How do you build a UX portfolio if you have little (or no) experience with user experience design?
This is a common problem for aspiring or junior UX designers who, like many professionals first starting their careers, can’t first get a job/experience without a portfolio, nor can they build up a solid UX portfolio without a job or experience.
Of course, if you find yourself in this spot, you shouldn’t cast aside your design ambitions.
There are plenty of ways to build excellent UX portfolios without professional experience.
One great way to flex your UX skills is through unsolicited redesigns.
This is when you use existing products or services and create new designs for them.
Typically, UX designers will redesign the product or service in a way that is innovative or unique.
Unsolicited redesigns are a great way to showcase your creative problem-solving and design chops if you need additional projects for your UX design portfolio.
Another great way to build a UX portfolio is to design personal projects.
Think of some apps, products, or services you wish existed.
Did an old college roommate share ideas for the next great iOS app? Build a prototype for your portfolio (with their permission if needed)!
As a UX designer, designing personal projects can be an exciting and rewarding experience.
It allows you to explore your own creative ideas and develop skills in user research, user testing, usability testing, and design implementation.
While personal projects are fantastic additions, nothing quite packs the punch of real-world experience.
Many small, local businesses or nonprofits may require the help of a UX designer but may lack the funds to hire one or the resources to do so themselves.
Chances are (so long as you have the skills to do so), they’d accept your help if you offered it to them.
Luckily, there are plenty of volunteering websites you can use to find opportunities to build your UX portfolio.
Here are some good ones:
Finally, you could try enrolling in a UX design internship.
Not only will this allow you to build an excellent UX design portfolio, but it will also help beef up your resume!
As an intern, you will typically work alongside an experienced senior UX designer on real-world projects and learn about creating user-centered designs.
Most times, you’ll also get to attend workshops, seminars, or conferences related to the field.
Exponent has connected hundreds of thousands of job seekers in countless tech roles with expert courses and resources to prepare them for their upcoming interviews.
If you’re interested in more UX/product design-related resources, be sure to check out:
👨🎓 Take our complete UX/Product Design Interview Course.
📖 Read through our company-specific interview guides
👯♂️ Practice your behavioral and interviewing skills with our mock interview practice tool.
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