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What is the best way to build a UX design portfolio?

A UX design portfolio can help you get your foot in the door. A portfolio can land an interview for you. So, what is the best way to build a UX design portfolio?

Create a website with Squarespace or Wordpress.

The best way to build a UX design portfolio is to build a website through Squarespace or Wordpress. When I first started building a portfolio, I needed something quick. It needed to be something that I could update and set things live instantly. So I chose Squarespace.

Squarespace was like a set of training wheels. I used it for 2 years before I graduated to WordPress. It was only a few months ago that I moved all of my work to Wordpress.

Wordpress lets you publish portfolio pieces and blog posts in a cheaper, faster, and more flexible way. The downside of Wordpress is that it's really hard to set-up. There's a steep learning curve. I gave-up three times on WordPress.

Luckily, I found White Oak Creative to help me set-up a theme and traverse technical snafus.

Choose a theme that is clean and simple.

After you set-up a website with your own domain and hosting service, you'll need to choose a theme. Your portfolio represents you. It represents your work. It represents your personal brand. Your portfolio needs to prove how great of a communicator you are.

Treat your design portfolio like any other project. Your portfolio needs to be:

  • Dead simple
  • Easy to scan
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Not too long
  • To the point

If you build your own website, make sure that it highlights your strengths.

Some designers choose to build their own portfolios with HTML and CSS to show their technical chops. I usually advise against this if you are just starting out in front-end development. Because you are just starting out, there is an opportunity cost. The time you spend building your site can be better spent towards the design of your portfolio.

You'll need to gather deliverables. You'll need to write a strong narrative. You'll need to format your site. A lot of work goes time goes into an impressive portfolio.

Curate 5 - 7 portfolio pieces.

Your portfolio pieces need to be related to highlight your UX and UI design chops. A common mistake is to put up case studies of branding projects or graphic design work. Instead of a project on school poster, show a project about how you designed a cross-platform app.

Your portfolio pieces need to be related to highlight your UX and UI design chops. A common mistake is to put up case studies of branding projects or graphic design work. Instead of a project on school poster, show a project about how you designed a cross-platform app.
Your portfolio pieces need to be related to highlight your UX and UI design chops. A common mistake is to put up case studies of branding projects or graphic design work. Instead of a project on school poster, show a project about how you designed a cross-platform app.

Get feedback on your work.

After you have created your portfolio, ask experienced designers in your network to go through your portfolio. Do NOT ask your friends and family. They are NOT your target audience. They are NOT going to hire you. You need to make sure whoever reads your portfolio represents your audience. If you set-up a strong feedback loop for your work, you'll iterate and start to perfect your art.