User Stories: The Do's and Dont's of Portfolios
Aastha Gaur's Portfolio Advice
Getting straight to the point in her series of tweets, Aastha Gaur gives us actionable info. Every one of her tweets can be used as a User Story to hone your portfolio. Work on them one at a time and you won't be overwhelmed.
I have looked at 100+ portfolios since yesterday. This thread sums up the common aspects (both, good and bad) across multiple portfolios.— Aastha Gaur (@astadapasta) January 21, 2019
1. Make sure your Problem Solving Patterns are on Display in Your Coding Portfolio
I might even go so far as to name those patterns. My favorite is brute force.
1. Not enough or too many projects. There is no magic number, but I recommend between 5-8 projects. Too few, and it's not enough to see problem solving patterns. Too many, and it looks like the designer doesn't know how to edit their work.— Aastha Gaur (@astadapasta) January 21, 2019
2. Be Creative with your Portfolio Thumbnails
When I am looking at video playlists or podcast playlists, I gravitate toward the ones who have thumbnails that, at a glance, give me information about that video or episode. Do the same with your Portfolio Thumbnails.
2. Reconsider using a UI screenshot as a project thumbnail. In most cases, the UI will not work as an engaging thumbnail by itself. Maybe zoom in, or even create a graphic especially for the thumbnail.— Aastha Gaur (@astadapasta) January 21, 2019
3. Create a sense of Organization and Cohesion through a Consistent Visual Aesthetic
In other words, match up your socks... Or, let's not have Abstract Art for your portfolio thumbnails.
3. Coherency between project thumbnails. Your portfolio is a collection of your best work. Some of the best portfolios I saw had paid attention to how all the thumbnails worked together.— Aastha Gaur (@astadapasta) January 21, 2019
4. Here a Click, There a Click, Everywhere a Click, Click
Make links, not war.
4. Interaction with thumbnail and project titles. I saw a lot of websites where either the project thumbnail or the project title (or even both) were not clickable. Make it easy for the user (hiring manager) to access your work. Don't make them hunt for a clickable link.— Aastha Gaur (@astadapasta) January 21, 2019
5. You're in the Business of Problem Solving
Let the Hiring Manager or Recruiter know what problems the projects in your portfolio solved by titling or sub-titling your projects.
5. The best portfolios had enticing (sub)titles for their projects. Eg. instead of wasting precious screen real estate on "This was a college project where I worked within a group of 4" try "I solved xyz problem for abc user". Showing impact first makes me want to know more.— Aastha Gaur (@astadapasta) January 21, 2019
6. Your Coding Process
After working in design and develoment for some time, you will become philosophically opinionated about how you do your work. This is your "process." Don't rush the development of your particular style; it must evolve on its own.
6. It is interesting when designers have a page dedicated to Process. However, that same process better be visible in your projects. Think of your website as a body of work, and they should all connect through your (evolving) process.— Aastha Gaur (@astadapasta) January 21, 2019
7. Don't Mock Them
Give the Hiring Manager more than mock-ups. Invite them in to see your work.
7. Now on to project details, please do not just put final mocks in there. There is no way for users to judge success of your work without context.— Aastha Gaur (@astadapasta) January 21, 2019
8. User Personas Drive User Stories Drive Web Design and Development
If your Design and Development was informed by User Personas, tell the story of its influence on the Projects in your Portfolio.
8. Focus on the user. Who were you designing for? What did you know about them? What did you not? How did you find that out? How did that influence your design? Were their lives made better because of your design?— Aastha Gaur (@astadapasta) January 21, 2019
9. Don't be an Automaton
Stating the design requirements in a rote manner: not so good. Did into yourself and find which of those requirements sparked joy in you and really informed your design or code.
9. This one is a hard one, but know the balance between showing too much process and not enough. It is easy to see when someone is just checking boxes and ensuring they mention each step of a canonical design process.— Aastha Gaur (@astadapasta) January 21, 2019
10. Write the story of the Project
Imagine you are a storyteller charged with gaining the attention of a busy audience hungry for engagement. They want to hear a story but do they want to hear yours?
10. Invest time in writing and finessing project details. Make it engaging. Bring the most important information to the forefront through visual design details like hierarchy, and through your writing.— Aastha Gaur (@astadapasta) January 21, 2019