designer / developer / illustrator

Refining My Portfolio

 Refining My Portfolio

The Challenge: Create a web domain portfolio that presents my experience and process as succinctly as possible, while balancing design and accessibility standards

Role: UX/UI designer, researcher, and client

Tools: Squarespace CMS, Twitter, networking

Interact with the “before” product: http://catcarbonell.github.io/dwa-portfolio


Portfolio circa 2016 - Jan 12, 2019

Portfolio circa 2016 - Jan 12, 2019

Case Study:

Before, I have always prided myself being an artist and a graphic designer in addition to having web development skills.
I decided that I needed to focus on one aspect of my career, and I chose UX Design. Instead of displaying my art and graphic design work alongside my UX/web design projects, I chose to greatly emphasize my UX design process.

Now the real question to be answered was,

”What do UX design recruiters look for in a strong candidate’s portfolio?”

My Twitter poll, responded to by designers around the world

Research:

I gathered information via a Twitter poll question. I also asked seasoned designers about what they would like to see in a potential teammate’s portfolio.

Additionally, I discovered fascinating and informative articles about the subject:

“The Worst Portfolio Ever”

by Alex Cornell

“What Do Recruiters and Hiring Managers Look for in a UX Portfolio?”

by Kyle Soucy

What I have concluded from my research was that recruiters and design teams look for the candidate’s process through their projects. Thus, projects should be displayed prominently upon landing. These projects should illustrate a journey about what shaped this candidate into becoming the designer they are today.

What I learned:

I discovered a glaring mistake when I was reviewing my first portfolio:
I explained absolutely nothing about myself as a designer. (But I can silently tell you I have an eye for art and design, at least).

It was quite the challenge to simplify all the information and detail needed to display in my portfolio. I attempted several ways that deviate from the norm, even considering writing down a “design process” map in lieu of projects.
Thanks to my mentors and other designers all over the world, I realized that sometimes what is already familiar is what is best.

Refining my portfolio was definitely an exercise in empathy, research, and simplification, alongside critical thinking.