Your portfolio is your chance to show a prospective employer what you can do – so it’s important to make sure your UI design portfolio shines you in the best possible light.
On this page, we’ve outlined our top tips for your UI design portfolio.
*Don’t forget; if you are looking for a new UI design or front end role, you can find lots of great vacancies on our jobs board today.*
Keep It Simple & Elegant:
When it comes to your UI design portfolio, it can be really tempting to try and cram everything in to make sure you don’t miss anything out which could impress a potential employer – but you need to resist. The best digital design portfolios are simple, clean and elegant – and reflect the principles you’d use every day in your UI role.
Put Your Best Work At The Front:
Recruiters and hiring managers are busy people so they may only flick through a couple of pages of your usability portfolio before deciding whether or not to give you an interview. With that in mind; you need to make sure your best work is always at the front. Can’t decide which is your best? Consider which projects hold the most weight – eg. UI for a microsite is always going to be trumped by UI for a hefty eCommerce site or mobile app for a major brand – and also consider which projects returned the best results.
As far as UI portfolios are concerned, the processes and works-in-progress are just as important as the finished products and designs – so it’s definitely important to include a good mixture of both. When it comes to processes, employers really want to see examples of wire-framing, prototyping, icon designs and controls and the construction of things like hover controls, modal windows and expanding forms.
When compiling your UI design portfolio, it’s really important to consider the overall navigation. Just like the best websites and apps, the best portfolios have a clear story and offer a clear route – so this is something to bear in mind. It’s important to make sure your UI portfolio is as easy to navigate as possible and the order in which you place your work makes sense eg. your strongest work at the beginning, followed by groups of work which show off similar types of work eg. wire-framing etc or groups of work you’ve done for clients which are similar to the employer you’re sending your portfolio to.
Include Work You Shouldn’t:
It might sound really obvious but in your portfolio you need to ensure you’ve got permission to include all of the work you’re planning to. For example, you need to make sure your UI design portfolio doesn’t contain examples of any NDAs or work which you created under a confidentiality agreement which has yet to be made public. If you’re unsure about including anything we’d always urge you to air on the side of caution – or alternatively you could include the work in your online portfolio but on password-protected pages – this would mean they’re really protected and aren’t likely to pop up in the search results if someone searches for your portfolio.
Go Back Too Far:
As we mentioned earlier, when it comes to your usability portfolio, you need to ensure you only include your best work – but you also need to be careful that you don’t go too far back with the work you include. As a general rule of thumb, we’d say to only include work from as far back as three years in your career. Why? Because in the last three years your skills and techniques will have greatly improved – so by including older work, you could end up painting an inaccurate picture of who you are as a UI designer at this point in your career.
Write An Essay:
While it’s important to include notes and annotations in your portfolio to give your work a bit of clarity and context, it’s important not to go too OTT and end up writing an essay to go alongside each piece of work. Why? Because with a UI portfolio, it’s all about the visuals and the works-in-progress, rather than the words – that’s what your cover letter is there for! In terms of notes, we’d say simply including the date, name of the client, brief and an outline of the techniques used is more than enough.
Forget To Tailor It For Each Application:
Just like your cover letter and CV, if you’re really serious about the UI designer job you’re applying for, it’s definitely a good idea to take a bit of time out to tailor it to the specific role. For example, if you’re applying for a job with a major retailer and you’ve got experience of working with a key competitor of theirs, it would sense to include examples of this work at the very beginning of your portfolio, since this is probably the most relevant work you have which relates to that particular role. Not sure how exactly to tailor it? Study the job description/advert and look at what skills and techniques they’re looking for – and then be sure to include work which directly responds to their requirements (if you have them of course!).