A professional UX portfolio is crucial for success as a user experience designer. Follow these tips to create a lucrative professional site.
User experience designers are the unsung heroes of the modern world. Without UX design, the products, apps, and websites we interact with would be much harder to navigate.
Freelance UX designers need passion and skills to be successful. But they also need a way to show off what they can do. That’s where the UX portfolio comes in. It’s a great place to build a visual resume and let the product designer showcase their impressive body of work.
Why should you have a UX portfolio? 📱
A freelancer’s UX portfolio highlights skills and aesthetic sensibilities. Adding yours to freelancing sites like Contra will make it easier to connect with prospective clients who may not have the funds to hire a full- or part-time UX designer.
A UX design portfolio, whether hosted on a personal website or a portfolio hosting site, is key to showing off a designer's diverse skill set or showcasing expertise in a particular design niche. Hiring managers or recruiters looking at a UX portfolio will get a clear idea of how a designer’s sensibilities will fit in with the company’s.
How to create a UX portfolio ⌨️
Explore other portfolios. Perusing other UX design portfolios on Contra’s Discover feed is a great way to get inspired and discover how to make a website portfolio.
Choose the right platform. Look for a platform with a reputation for generating traffic. Research how many other UX designers have gotten work from a site before investing time and energy into a portfolio that only a few clients might see.
Choose a user-friendly site. A site needs to be navigable for potential clients — they don’t have the design expertise of the person they’re looking to hire, nor do most of their customers. Make it as easy as possible for a client to access your portfolio.
Showcase relevant work. A UX design portfolio highlights a designer’s best work, whether it’s wireframes, prototypes, completed jobs, or robust case studies demonstrating aesthetic sensibilities and professionalism. The portfolio can also answer important questions, like how long a job took to complete and what kind of design thinking the designer and client used to achieve the end result. A strong UX portfolio website includes step-by-step answers to these questions to help sway a client in a designer's favor.
Talk about you. Compatibility matters just as much as design skills and experience. Including an “About Me” section gives an Independent designer a chance to talk a bit about themselves, their skills, and their successes, which will help potential clients decide which designers are the best fit.
6 of the best UX portfolio examples 👀
Contra’s impressive list of verified UX designers is a great place to turn to for inspiration for your portfolio site, showing the magic that can happen when good UX meets stellar graphic design. Here are some of our favorites:
The bold black-and-white design of Laura Castano’s portfolio makes her work the star of the show. Prior UX projects are briefly highlighted with easily navigable links to provide clients with more information on the design process and specific jobs. Laura also includes testimonials and a bio explaining her work philosophies.
David Carreon’s well-rendered site relies on easy-to-follow links and graphics to demonstrate his design experience and aesthetic sensibilities, even including an animation at the top of the portfolio. It’s a simple but eye-catching addition to the page and shows the detail David pays attention to in his design work.
Marvin Kaunda’s portfolio is clean and efficient. Not all clients have web flow expertise, so both showing and telling in a portfolio are vital. The images on Marvin’s portfolio enlarge slightly as the user cursors over them, and the fonts used are clear and contrast nicely against the black background.
A portfolio can be as simple as a listing of previous UX design work, as this profile of Contra designer Molly Brooks demonstrates. The profile is easy to navigate, with large, clearly labeled buttons that take clients to more detailed summaries of previous design projects. Molly’s site also prominently features a “Get In Touch” button — giving clients a straightforward way to contact the designer is a must in any portfolio.
Juan Jacinto’s portfolio opens with a clear, declarative statement of his goals and successes. Using terms like “user acquisition,” “activation,” or “retention” assumes prior knowledge from a client. In this way, Juan demonstrates his expertise even before a potential client sees his work.
Kelsey Laughton’s portfolio opens with a prominent animation and contact button in the top corner, demonstrating that Kelsey understands driving user flows and ensuring that customers click the buttons a client needs them to click.
UX portfolio tips 🗒️
Use an attention-grabbing intro. Whether the homepage features an eye-catching stark-black name across a white screen or a small animation that gives users an idea of how a designer will approach projects, an attention-grabbing intro will ensure potential clients stay on the page.
Include experience/case studies. A portfolio shows off an Independent’s UX design and user research skills from previous projects or hypothetical design case studies. UX case studies are the key to showing that your design works as intended. Ensuring the portfolio offers a smooth and intuitive browsing experience further demonstrates a designer’s abilities.
Be consistent. Standardize the buttons and typography throughout the page to create a consistent experience. Use visual design, color palettes, and information architecture to give the portfolio a cohesive feel.
Use responsive design. Portfolios should ensure a comfortable and satisfying surfing experience no matter what type of device it’s viewed on.
Include comments, references, and testimonials. Few things convince a potential client that a designer is a right fit better than the words of other satisfied customers. References and testimonials are becoming more and more common in the push to gain clients.
Feeling inspired? 🎨
Contra has tools and advice for making website creation quick and easy. Portfolios allows designers to consolidate all their existing projects in one place and provides easily browsable templates for site building. And once your UX portfolio is primed and ready, browse our Opportunities feed to find design jobs currently available to Contra Independents.