9 Inspiring UX Portfolios

UX Portfolios
Summary:

Some people argue that UX Designers shouldn’t build a portfolio. Hawk doesn’t agree. It’s about building the right kind of UX portfolio and being smart about it.

Here are 10 inspiring UX portfolios. They may not do everything right, but each of them does something very well.

We have a lot of discussions about UX portfolios in the UX Mastery community.

They range from debates over whether or not portfolios are important, to requests for feedback on portfolios-in-progress, and most frequently – how to find appropriate projects when you’re yet to get a job.

The general consensus is that a portfolio does help in the quest for that elusive first (and even second or third) job, but it’s important to remember that the purpose of the document isn’t to demonstrate your amazing visual design skills – the UX portfolio is all about documenting your process.

Building a portfolio can be daunting if you’re relatively new on the UX scene, so a while back I went hunting for examples that I think are inspiring for one reason or another. Some of those sites are now gone, so I’ve recently been on a new hunt – here are some updated examples that I love.

Every one of these UX portfolios does something very well, and it’s definitely an inspiring collection.

Here they are, in no particular order. Enjoy.

1. Bret Victor

Bret Victor's UX portfolio

This is a truly beautiful piece of the internet. Bret is a storyteller and a self-professed “purveyor of impossible dreams” and those traits are communicated perfectly through his portfolio. The site feels like a game, full of little gems of enjoyable reading, but most importantly, he communicates his design process in a comprehensive and easy to follow way.

2. Simon Pan

Simon Pan's UX portfolio

I love the simplicity of the design of this site, but more importantly look at these case studies! Simon’s portfolio takes the most comprehensively catalogued case studies award, hands down. Add to that some beautiful imagery and he’s onto a winning formula. I read this portfolio from end to end, just for pure enjoyment. It’s no wonder he’s been snapped up by Uber.

3. Frances Tung

Frances Tung's UX portfolio
Frances Tung’s UX portfolio

Frances’ fun, magazine/blog style approach to her portfolio adds delight to the experience, but it’s the way she crafts her case-studies as stories that had me hooked. Her processes are laid out clearly and are well supported by imagery, and she injects just the right amount of personality into the portfolio.

4. Justin EdmundThe UX portfolio of Justin Edmund

Justin’s portfolio is clean and unassuming. It isn’t flashy because it’s all about showcasing his work. Case studies are carefully mapped out from inception, through philosophy and research, to execution. The process that Justin follows is described in depth and is backed up with great examples of imagery, giving a clear insight into the way he works.

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5. Yitong Zhang

Yitong Zhang's UX portfolio

What makes Yitong’s portfolio unique is the way he tells a story. From his personal journey to his work, the communication is structured and easy to follow. When it comes to documenting his projects, I particularly like the way he progresses in a linear fashion from the initial challenge, through his process, culminating finally in learnings.

6. Anthony Anderson

Anthony's UX portfolio

Another example of an interesting portfolio, and this is how you document a UX process. Anthony’s site is a little confusing and hard to navigate at times, but once you get down to the documentation of his case studies, it’s pure gold. I particularly love the cute way the processes are annotated.

7. John Ellison

John does a fantastic job of clearly documenting the problems, the processes and the outcomes in his portfolio. Quantifying specific outcomes adds weight and value to the projects, and the detail that he goes into with each case study is epic. When I wrote this article the first time I felt that the only thing lacking was some sketches, which have now been added.

8. Gregor Kalfas

Gregor Kalfas' UX portfolio

This particular example is close to my heart because Gregor is a member of our UX Mastery community and his portfolio came to my attention when he asked for a review. It’s fair to say, there isn’t much to criticise! Exploring this site is like spending time at a fun park – it’s absolutely delightful.

9. Christina Richardson

Christina Richardson's UX portfolio

Christina’s portfolio is another that I came across by way of a community review request. I was immediately endeared by the way she tells her personal story just as one would document a design process. It’s the little things that make it stand out from the crowd.

So there you go. I hope this has left you feeling inspired.

If you’re struggling to find appropriate projects to include in your portfolio, or you need some tips about making yours stand out from the crowd, join our upcoming session on creating persuasive portfolios.

Sarah Hawk
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Sarah Hawk
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29 comments
  • Thanks for this Hawk! I agree with Ash, I’ve been looking for something like this too. It’s definitely nice to have an overview of things that work and can be improved upon, and having different examples in the same location.

    I found this very helpful :). Specially seeing the variety, and uniqueness to each person’s personality!

    • I was amazed with all the different styles. Getting personality in there is the key, because I imagine an employer going through the process of looking at a pile of portfolios needs something that sticks in the mind.

  • Thank you for the research and post. It is indeed inspiring and so is your transformation from code{r} to current profession. I would like to read about your personal experiences in this transformation in upcoming blog posts.

    Cheers.

  • These were dauntingly good! I’m going to have to work REALLY hard and long to match them…however, I do wish people would get their portfolios proofread. Too many grammatical and spelling errors for this ex-editor!

  • Hi Hawk,

    Thanks for the review! I agree that Anthony Anderson did a great job outlining his UX process here: http://an.thony.co.uk/process.html. My only concern is that the page is one big image. This means that the page is not responsive. Do you think that is a problem for a portfolio? I’m not sure if that is something I should be worried about for my own. Thanks!

    • Hi Christina,
      In the case of a portfolio, I don’t think it’s a huge deal. Most employers aren’t likely to be doing portfolio research on their phones (although that is a personal opinion and not based on fact). If it’s possible to avoid I would, but I don’t think it’s worth stressing over too much.

      When you’re done with your portfolio, if you’d like some feedback, join us at community.uxmastery.com – we frequently help people out with reviews. :)

  • Hello, Thanks for posting.
    A few sites are down now, so I wanted to offer that up for iteration :)

    Great inspiration on the ones that are up!

  • Hi Sarah, thank you so much for featuring my portfolio! My friend found it here and it was a pleasant surprise to see my work amongst some fantastic portfolios from other designers! :)

  • Hi Sarah

    I don’t want to spoil the party, but while these portfolios are nice looking and you do allude to the need to narrate, in some way, what you did in a job, the focus seems to be on the attractiveness of the portfolio rather than its substance. As an employer, I may be beguiled by such a beautiful thing or I might ask: ‘great, but can you deal with difficult management, where is the evidence of extensive research, did you encounter significant problems in the project and how did you overcome them? As an employer, I can see this person can produce UX artefacts, but can they produce the goods? Maybe employers are still in awe of UX despite, as I’ve found, they are still not always sure what it actually does.

    Portfolios remain important throughout your UX working life, by-the-way. I’ve been doing UX for twelve years and a friend in the US twenty years. Both of us have portfolios. The issue vexing me right now is how to sell the story of experience, about doing difficult research and conveying these achievements. UX is rapidly off-loading ‘lean’ as a mantra it seems as yet more UX artefacts, sometimes of dubious value, are added to the pot. Yet the most successful contract I did involved a team of just six people doing rapid (but extensive) research, conceptual design and testing without doing embellished UX. A final thought: UX should be considered the meeting of the analytical and design. Research is analysed and from which comes tested conceptual designs. This may be heretical, but as UX spins faster and faster and more ‘UX things’ are invented so the suspicion grows that it is self-inflating and reducing it’s ROI – a big selling point of UX. UX should strive to remain as simple as possible.

    • I completely agree with you. I’m just starting out as a UX/UI designer and I will definitely be taking inspiration from the beautiful portfolios Sarah has so kindly shared with us. However, I will make sure to address the issues you’ve brought up. Designers should absulutely be able to provide eveidence of their research and clearly explain the thought process behind every problem-solving decision undertaken. Great insight, Stuart!