Ive been doing freelance UI and visual design work for 5 years. I recently was asked to make a short pdf with 5 projects and a short description about the project and my contribution. I was hoping to get someone to look over ti and give em their advice. I was also told it couldn’t be to long. so i kept alot of the project descriptions short.
Context is pretty important here. If this was your general UX portfolio I’d say that it was way too light on details but given that you have specific instructions I assume it’s for a specific position. Is that correct?
it is for a UX design position, however the directions where pretty vague and to keep it brief.That actually why I’m a bit worried.
these are the general instructions
Toptal’s Design Team is currently focused on digital product design, and we look for designers with extensive experience in User Experience Design (UX), User Interface Design (UI), Visual Design and Interaction Design.
The portfolio should contain your 5 best projects, complemented with a short description of each. Please explain the scope of each project, your direct contributions to it, and the rationale for choosing specific design solutions. Feel free to show us multiple pages and screens. Having a clear overview of your design process is also essential.
Ok, given that context I think your document is a bit light. You haven’t explained scope, contributions or rationale at all and you def haven’t given a clear overview of your design process. I’d suggest that they are asking for some documentation, just not pages on each. I’d write up one or two paragraphs (at least) for each project.
Toptal are a high end agency – you’ll need to compete hard.
i actually have them written up in a separate document for my website. i just wasn’t for sure if I should have it all, or just keep it under 1 paragraph.
I love the idea of 1 project per page. Some of the images and logos were blurry - like on the last page. Which you may want to fix.
The only thing I am missing is a little more about you and some information behind the projects and your reasoning.
Hi, I’m new to this forum. I clicked on the UX portfolio I also did find the images not optimized for viewing but they were nice.
First off, I have to say that your work is visually excellent. It’s clear that, from a UI design perspective, you know what you’re doing.
However, fundamentally, I’d have to agree with @HAWK on this one - there’s not enough beef here to give me any information about the UX work you’ve done on any of these pieces.
This points to the difference between UI and UX work, and their portfolios. UI work is focused on the visual impact of the finished product. Very often, less attention is paid to the process used to arrive at that work, as the process itself is of lesser importance than the final product.
UX work, on the other hand, is process-centric. The end result, while still visually impactful, is only as useful as the process used to create it.
Let’s take a project I’ve been working on recently: creating a set of custom-designed reports designed to give our investment advisors information about different aspects of their trades and client management. We have an old set of reports that provide much of the correct information. And those reports are friggin’ ugly.
From a UI perspective, my mission is to make the new reports look as good as possible. I’d consider changing font sizes, adjusting the layout, using fonts that are easier to read, and adding zebra striping to the table to make it an easier read. All of these are very straight-forward changes that have proven success behind them.
UX, however, has to take things a step further, looking to make the end result more usable. This means asking more questions and doing more research. Is the data in the old reports relevant for how they’re used? Does the order of the data on the page makes sense? Do our competitors offer a similar report, and if so is it objectively more useful for its intended purpose? Answering these questions means conducting research, engaging in discussion with stakeholders, and presenting solutions at various stages to get feedback and create new ideations that improve on usability gaps.
While there are a number of different processes that one can use to get form initial idea to finished product, it’s important that you have an established preferred process and be able to explain why it’s your preferred approach. I want to know that there’s an intelligence behind your choices. I want to know how you applied your process to each project, where you ran into difficulties or eccentricities, and how you reacted to them. I want to know if what you created had a measurable impact, and what that impact was.
In short, I want to know if your process works. For many transitioning from UI to UX work, it’s that fundamental shift in thinking that’s most difficult to accomplish.
As far as portfolio design is concerned, this doesn’t mean that you need expound deeply on each project. Tell me what the project goal was. Tell me the process you used to come to a design. Tell me what the end result was. You should be able to do so in 4-5 sentences. If I ever explain my approach to my reports project, it will probably end up something like this:
We had a set of standard reports from a legacy system that were in bad need of a visual and functional re-design. Using the legacy reports as a starting point, I interviewed internal and external stakeholders about their uses. I met with customers face-to-face to ask them to do a round of moderated usability testing on the old reports, asking them to walk me through how they would use each report to accomplish a specific related task. Using the feedback from the testing, competitive research, and UX & UI best practices, I re-designed the reports with an eye for usability. A second round of moderated user testing using the new reports revealed a 17% overall drop in task abandonment.
The only other thing I’d say is that your portfolio isn’t really distinctive. There’s nothing here that’s specifically you. To paraphrase @deprecated, if you took all of your naming off of your portfolio, is there anything here that would identify it as specifically your work? I’d argue no. This is less of an issue than the first, but still something to be aware of.
I hope that helps! Let me know if I can answer any questions.
And here’s a little TL;DR for ya on what @dougcollins said:
= You’ve got some good stuff here, visually, to work with on your portfolio. Nice job!
= Your Portfolio needs to talk more about your UX process.
= Doug tells a story about a project that he’s done, and how he would talk on his portfolio about the UI process and the UX process he used while on that project. (I personally recommend you read through this section)
= You don’t need to worry about writing a lenghy essay about your process for every page. Talk briefly on your strategy for understanding customer needs (One key part of UX) and why what you designed to meet those needs worked.
= Here’s an example of a brief UX process description (I personally recommend you read through this section as well.)
= You should include more of yourself and who you are on your portfolio.
= This is just Doug offering to help after writing a short essay on your portfolio. He’s a great guy and (obviously) up to the task to help. Take him up on that offer to ask him questions if you have more.
I hope that helps! Let me know if I can answer any questions.
Wow - you get an “A” for that mansplain!