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Common UX Portfolio Mistakes to Avoid as a Newbie



Your UX portfolio is one of your most prized possessions as a UX designer. It is essential to get jobs in the industry, promotions, or connections with industry professionals. It is crucial both for the newbie and the expert to have an impressive portfolio.


It is easier for the expert to create an impressive portfolio due to their experience. A newbie in UX design might find it a bit difficult. So, it is not uncommon to see newbies committing some mistakes in their portfolio, sometimes costly mistakes.


Your UX portfolio is a means to introduce yourself to employers; it showcases your abilities and competence as a UX designer. Creating a UX portfolio is not hard if you follow the steps highlighted here (article 5).


It is not enough to know the steps. Beyond knowing the steps to create a portfolio, you need to know what to prioritize, how to structure, what you shouldn't include, and how to structure the portfolio. Being ignorant of these can lead to making mistakes in the portfolio.

The errors in your portfolio could be the reason for the rejection letters. It would be best if you avoided mistakes to create a UX portfolio that converts to a job.

I have highlighted some common mistakes for newbie UX designers in this article.


Five common UX portfolio mistakes to avoid as a newbie

Some mistakes can discourage a recruiter from paying attention to your portfolio even if you have many case studies to present.


As a newbie, you can't afford to start your career with a poor portfolio because your confidence level might reduce if you keep getting rejected emails because of your poor portfolio.


This article highlights some common mistakes to avoid when designing your portfolio.


Ignoring Usability

The hallmark of a good user experience designer is usability. The usability of your website determines how good you are as a UX designer. Your portfolio is not a draft or sketch, nor is it a quick fix to get a job. It is a project in itself. Don't see it as just a listing website for your projects.

How you prioritize usability in your portfolio will determine if you are good with the skills you claim to have. Having good projects and case studies in your poorly made portfolio betrays the originality of those projects.

Treat your portfolio as a UX project. Pay attention to the details as you would for a UX project. Follow standard guidelines for font sizes, color, contrast, and brightness.

You can even do user research if you have recruiters as friends. Run usability test if possible. It is a whole project; this should be your mindset. Now, go the extra mile by including your portfolio design as a case study in your portfolio.


Substituting quality case studies for UI

It is good to have an attractive portfolio. However, recruiters are not concerned about the attractiveness of your portfolio as they are about the content. You can't make up for a poor case study with an attractive interface.

More so, UX design goes beyond the visual design of your website. UX design deals with the ease of interacting with your website or product. Thus, your skills as a UX designer will reflect more in your case studies and not your design interface.

Spend more time on the quality of your case studies than the interface design of your portfolio. Since your role is UX and not UI, an excellent interface with a poor case study will undersell you.

Case studies without context

Case studies without context are another problem in designing UX portfolios. As a newbie, you probably have a few case studies to present in your portfolio, some of which could be project redesigns or freelance projects.


You can check for projects to include in your design even if you are a newbie here (article 2). Since you haven't worked in a corporate organization, having a well-defined context for your case study might be challenging.


However, it would be best not to skip it. You will need to create a context around the purpose of the design if it is a redesign project. Your context will be around improving an existing product to make its usability better or give a better user experience.


The context defines the style and mode of the project. Presenting case studies without context confuses the employers.


A case study without context will put you at a disadvantage because the employer or recruiter won't know how to assess your case studies. They might have to use a general assessment that might work against your project's context.


Including irrelevant details

Do not include details that don't add to your experience as a UX designer in your portfolio. As a newbie, you might feel the need to include everything you've ever done to save your portfolio from looking scanty.

However, know this; It's not about the quantity but the quality. For example, you can't add a graphics design you did years ago when learning design in your portfolio.

Your UX portfolio should be precise. Research has revealed that 80% of recruiters spend 3 minutes or less on a candidate's portfolio. If you have filled your portfolio with irrelevant details, you will probably bury the good stuff, and recruiters might see the irrelevant details.

So, make it simple, short, and straight to the point. For this cause, it is essential to have a complete guide for creating your UX portfolio before starting.


Related article: The Ultimate Guide to Creating an Impressive UX Portfolio

Focusing on the "what" than the "why."

When you are writing your case studies, you shouldn't only tell us what you did or the results of your project. It is also essential to state why and how you did what you did. The "why" explains the problem you are trying to solve. It allows you to showcase your empathy as a UX designer. Empathy is one UX soft skill that recruiters will check.

You can give recruiters an idea of how you employ empathy in creating your designs by stating the why and how of your design. Describe the process, and express the difficulties and how you overcame them. Then, you will demonstrate your knowledge of the UX design process, your understanding of UX methodologies, and how to apply them.

You can even use a storytelling approach to describe your process. Making this your priority shows that you have an excellent method of solving problems with the design. It is about the how more than the what for a UX designer.

Final thoughts

As a newbie, creating a perfect portfolio and making a good impression on your recruiters is customary. However, you can fall into some traps because you are just starting. This article already highlights some mistakes to watch out for and avoid in creating your portfolio.

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