A portfolio review is a review of your body of work as a UX designer and a demonstration of your presentation skills and your ability to identify what is important to your audience. The process starts with preparing your work artifacts and planning what to say and how to say it—long before the portfolio review ever happens. This article details my process when preparing to present my own portfolio and what I look for in job candidates during such reviews.
Question 1: What is the problem the design is trying to solve?
When you’re discussing a design during a portfolio review or an interview, the first thing many interviewers look for is whether the problem you’re trying to solve is well defined. But candidates often present business goals as the problem—such as This project was a reskin—or personal goals—such as This was a class assignment. Or they completely skip over the problem and go right to the solution. Every good design starts with a clear vision of the problem you’re solving, so any discussion of a project should start with a clear problem statement. If you do not clearly articulate the problem, your audience won’t be able understand the purpose of the design, and they won’t be confident in your abilities as a UX designer. Read More
The role of UX Strategist is a relatively new one on UX design teams. From time to time, senior UX professionals ask me, in my capacity as manager of the UX Strategy and Planning group on LinkedIn, how they can move into UX strategy as a career-growth path. In an earlier UX Strategy column on UXmatters, “What Does a UX Strategist Do?” I partially addressed this question by analyzing UX Strategist job ads and asking experienced UX professionals for their opinions. Read More
Thanks to the leadership of Scott Cook—formerly Intuit’s CEO and now Chairman of the Board—Intuit has always been a customer-centric company that really listens to its customers. In the company’s early startup days, Cook instituted Intuit’s Follow Me Home program, in which Intuit employees hung out at stores that sold packaged software until a customer bought Quicken, Intuit’s personal-finance software and, then, the company’s flagship product. An Intuit employee asked the customer if he could follow him home to see whether he had any difficulty installing the application. He would then observe the customer as he unpacked and installed the software and note any causes of frustration or confusion.
Through this program, Intuit learned what aspects of their software needed improvement. Cook’s goal was to make it easier for people to balance their checking account using Quicken than with a paper checkbook. By observing their customers, Intuit learned that people were using Quicken to handle bookkeeping for their small businesses, so they created QuickBooks for that market. From the very beginning, Intuit has done user research both to understand how customers are using their current products and to identify customers’ unmet needs, allowing them to introduce new products to the market to satisfy them. Read More