Now that I have an internship, how should I add what I do to my portfolio?



Hey everyone!

I recently started a part time paid internship at a small 11 person company called Zeitcode. I’m really loving it so far. So far, I used Sketch and InVision to make a redesign of a nonprofit website geared towards informing people along the Long Island Sound of the pollution levels of all the beaches in the area. The designer overseeing my internship told me that it would just be a way to visually show some of my ideas to the client. And that’s what I did this week - I sat in the meeting room with some of my coworkers and walked through my redesign to the clients - telling them the reasoning why I made each change. The client seemed to like it, and my coworkers said I did a great job.

Now, I’m wondering what I should do with that project. It’s kind of up in the air as to if I’ll be working any further on it. Part of the reason - aside from the ability to gain real world experience - that I took this internship was so that I could have better case studies to put on my portfolio.

But I didn’t go through the normal UX process with this project. I was shown the website as it was, was told to come up with some ideas of how I’d improve it (I ended up making it so that people could learn more about polution, and more easily volunteer and donate to the organization), and turn my ideas into a prototype I could share with the client. There wasn’t any time for usability testing or any kind of user research. My only ideation happened took place before and while I was making the design in Sketch and took the form of making quick rudimentary sketches on paper. It was a quick project that I feel doesn’t lend itself well to a case study format. Most of the hallmarks of a UX project were missing - empathy maps, user flows, personas, competitive analysis, usability tests, taking the feedback into the next iteration, etc.

The thing is, I feel that my job is closer to a visual designer than a UX designer - most of the time, there won’t be any time for research or those more classic steps that I listed above.

Given all of this, how should I include these project in my portfolio? I may end up staying here if they hire me full time, but just in case that doesn’t happen, I don’t want to waste this opportunity and be back to a weak portfolio if I ever find myself job searching again.


Is there a way that you could retrospectively do some research?

@joenatoli may have ideas. He’s our portfolio guru.


Same as Hawk said, future employers don’t need to know when you did the research and some of it (empathy maps, user flows, personas, competitive analysis) can be done quite easily at home if you have some spare time. The point is to show that you can do them. You could even do a further iteration of the design just for your portfolio. I’ve never had an employer cross-reference my portfolio with the live sites.

You could also record a contextual study with a random stranger off the street aka a friend in disguise for some proper user research.


Here you have a couple of articles you might find interesting about it:



Hi @geoffparker1988 – All you really have to do in your portfolio is tell the same story you told those folks at the table. If you thought about what you designed and how it would be received before you designed it, guess what — you were doing UX work.

It doesn’t matter that you didn’t do “named” UX activities, e.g. usability testing, user research. The absence of those things doesn’t mean you weren’t actively shaping the user experience, seeking to improve it. So I’d advise you to let go of these artificial divisions between what constitutes “UX work” and what doesn’t — it’s ALL UX work.

I’ve been doing this a long time, and despite what you read online, the majority of folks doing UX work inside organizations have zero access to end users, don’t conduct formal user research, testing, etc. Again, no matter what your constraints are, even if the majority of what you do is visual design, if you are making visual decisions with a goal in mind, you are doing UX work. Please don’t forget this.

Tell the story of what you did and why you did it — and what goal or desired outcome you had in mind that informed your decisions. Even for projects that are unfinished. There is still much value in what you did, and you should be sharing it in your portfolio.

A few articles and videos that may be helpful to you: