The Viget Guide to a Great UX Portfolio

We’ve been talking about what makes a great UX candidate, and it’s pretty clear that a great portfolio is one of the quickest ways to convince us that we need to talk. The first problem is that a lot of people looking to get into UX as a career—whether they’re new grads or changing fields—don’t know what goes into making a stand-out portfolio. The second problem is that a UX portfolio doesn’t quite follow the same rules as other design portfolios.

So what does make a great UX portfolio?

Portfolio Tips

  • Tell a story! What was the problem you solved? What was the process you used? Show your work and provide enough context for someone to follow along. Show me the result (if you can). But honestly, that’s the least interesting part.
  • Be a team player. Tell me what part you played in the project and who else was involved. Don’t take credit for others’ work.
  • Be choosy. A few great projects are better than a dozen mediocre ones. Show the best of what you can do. Share enough work to show some variety in your experience, but make sure each project demonstrates your expertise. In short, show breadth, but don't neglect depth.
  • Put it online. Like Tom said, your portfolio should be on the web, not in a PDF. Keep it simple. I’m here to see your work, not admire your CSS animation skillz. You don’t have to code it by hand—or even design it yourself—to have an effective portfolio.
  • Be brief. Admit it, UX designers can be pretty long winded. Give me the highlights as succinctly as possible.

A Few More Things

  • Put it behind a password if you're paranoid.
  • Respect your clients. Remove sensitive information.

We hope this helps you get started on building out your portfolio. Let us know in the comments if you have other tips, or if you have any questions we can answer.

Jackson is Viget's user experience director. He works from our Boulder, CO, office, where he helps startups and organizations turn ideas into usable, effective products.

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