Learn to create a great design portfolio (aka Processfolio)
How to create a great design portfolio (aka Processfolio)

A UX designer portfolio represents your entire body of work as an aspiring designer. Although portfolios are excellent demonstrations of design output, what a recruiter really wants to see is your design process. Most hiring managers consider process portfolios or processfolios to be more important than the CV in the design industry as they go through hundreds of applicant CVs and don’t spend more than a few minutes on each one. If you are a UX or UI design applicant, a clear view of your design process can provide recruiters a glimpse into your ideas, specialties, design processes, and design thinking even before meeting you in person. A CV can’t always effectively show this to potential employers. A well-designed processfolio is an added edge when seeking your dream job. That’s why you need to create a processfolio

What makes a portfolio great

The impact of UI process portfolios comes from not waiting until the end of a learning objective but rather from engaging at the pivotal milestones along the way for self-reflection.

The best process portfolios are those that challenge students in their creation. This can be in determining goals, carefully selecting pieces of work to be included, and thinking about how each piece showcases progress toward their objectives. They should capture the viewer’s attention, with a detailed view of the product design and processes accompanied by user workflows, sketches, mood boards, wireframes, and the product’s style guide. 

A great UX processfolio is where the hiring manager can quickly glance at the portfolio and see how you and your team have identified a problem and the means you have employed to fix it. It should further encase all the tools, wireframes, prototypes, sketches, personas, user journeys, and research you took to correct the problem. 

The final outcome of a remarkable UI processfolio should portray your design thinking and team’s contribution from the early stages of problem identification to the final result after submitting the product design to the User Interface (UI) developer.

Great UX and UI portfolios include all the mistakes, problems identified, and lessons learned after producing the end result. It is okay to allow design flaws and the knowledge gained from these project failures to be allowed onto your portfolio. 

Finally, you should be able to demonstrate the final solution and the impact you have created for the product as well as the Return on Investment (ROI), which is the most critical metric that is an excellent showcase of your performance as a UX designer. 

Why a great portfolio is essential in landing the perfect job

An ideal UX portfolio should show a compelling story to the hiring manager from start to finish. Most recruiters have numerous UX and UI portfolios in consideration when selecting the perfect candidate for the job. In cases like this, they don’t often spend too much time on each portfolio, and the true eye-catchers make the final cut.

Being part of the selected crop of UX and UI designers on the initial assessment depends wholly on designing an exceptional portfolio that showcases your experience, skill set, and prior achievements. Most importantly, customize your UX/UI portfolio to meet the recruiter’s specific needs to increase the possibility of a potential interview with the recruiting company. 

Another tip would be to utilize the processfolio to showcase your personality traits and goals to show potential recruiters that you have what it takes to fit in with their business culture. Most CVs generally follow a standard format, and it’s increasingly difficult to showcase your traits and personal aspects that could increase your chances of standing out from other applicants. A well-designed UX portfolio allows designers to accomplish this task.

An essential part of any processfolio should be showcasing your unique design thinking and process. Start from the research you have conducted to the observations and insights you have personally derived from the projects. It is also vital to incorporate all the design architecture and wireframes you have employed and how you tested them. 

Steps to make a great impression with your portfolio

To go ahead and make the best portfolio to secure yourself a job in UX design, its advisable to place consideration into following these five steps when designing a processfolio:

Step 1: Flaunt your core strength and how it aligns with business objectives

Companies tend to look for portfolios aligned with their perspective problem statement or business objectives. Practical projects are a strength to applicants seeking employment. As different job profiles have unique requirements for potential new hires, it is essential to consolidate all relevant UX or UI projects that are in sync with recruiters’ business objectives. 

The correct representation of your projects is also an opportunity to showcase to employers what UX activities you are most passionate about doing. This information indicates how you stand out from other UX designers, which projects have had the best value impact, and which projects have provided you with the most substantial learnings. It is paramount to showcase multiple specialties through your projects. 

Once you have consolidated your projects, you can customize your processfolio to reflect projects and skills that are more aligned with the company objectives. A good rule is decluttering your UI portfolio by removing projects and details that add little to no value in inducing recruiter interest. Simplifying your UI portfolio with only relevant projects allows you as a designer to keep your portfolio focused on work that you enjoy doing and the skills you want to develop further. This decluttering further ensures you do not waste the hiring manager’s attention with needless information or unimportant projects that may be perceived as misaligned with the company goals. 

Step 2: Show your design process in the form of case studies

Now that you have a select set of projects that are best suited to showcase your personality and skillset, we can move on to increasing your chances of getting noticed by an experienced recruiter. The best way to create a good-quality processfolio is to present your projects through detailed case studies. And it’s essential that all your case studies are unique and not a dull template representing all projects. These case studies should visualize the individual unique design process starting from how you identified the methods and means employed to solve the problem, including all the relevant stages of every project. And most importantly, avoid showing finished products without clearly illustrating the design process that helped achieve the results.

Understand the importance of a design process and how to create one.

Step 3: Show what steps you followed to execute the project

You should further be able to contribute to how you, alongside your team members(if any), executed and arrived at the proposed solution and mention in detail how your solution solved the problem. 

While creating your processfolio, conduct research and stay sincere about your qualifications, skills, and what you hope to achieve if selected by the recruiting organization. If you have aspects of UX design that you are particularly passionate about, ensure it shows in your portfolio. Your passion might just ignite the recruiter’s interest.

Modern-day designers use a range of formats to get their UI portfolio across to potential recruiters. Some popular formats are slide decks, PDFs, and web-based portfolios. Finding the suitable form and medium to best represent your unique processfolio is essential. 

Make sure your processfolio is seamlessly navigatable on mobile devices and larger screens, as it’s uncertain what channel the hiring manager uses to view your portfolio. For instance, a busy recruiter who has to review hundreds of CVs and portfolios may do so while traveling or on the go on a mobile device due to time constraints. Remember, a poorly designed web portfolio could be perceivable as a representation of a poor UX designer, so try creating an excellent, visually appealing, and an interactive portfolio. 

Step 4: Exhibit design artifacts (before & after, if available)

Hiring managers also like to see what designers have learned from these case studies through the final artifacts. So be sure to add information on all your reflections and insights gained from the project forms from start to end. Optionally, you could further enrich your portfolio with information about design challenges and artifacts that were ultimately dropped with appropriate reasoning and personal learnings from the drop. Refrain from showing UX artifacts without any context to back them up. 

Step 5: Showcase impact and if possible, ROI 

A good portfolio design criterion is showcasing how your product design impacted the business and its user base. Stating positive results can provide recruiters with knowledge of real-world performance improvements your product design has caused for companies and their users. So ensure you showcase how you and your project delivered value to the company and the level of impact your work caused. So, in other words, a good practice would be to show qualitative and quantitative results that your projects helped accomplish. These results could be in the form of increased ROI, customer conversion rate, and customer retention rate. 

Consider these steps when building your UX process portfolio to improve your chances of employment. If you need assistance, several service providers exist to provide you with design assistance that can help design the ideal portfolio for your dream job.

How Cubyts helps build and showcase your portfolio

Cubyts is a platform that provides users the means to build their customized design processes and showcase their design thinking and journey. Storing and sharing your projects in your processfolio has never been more convenient with our design repository. You can also share your processfolio with peers for review seamlessly on our platform. Cubyts is focused on innovation and efficiency to provide its customers with the best DesignOps services possible. Contact us to learn more about our platform and how it can help you seamlessly scale your design function.