For the original article click here. Written by EMILY STEVENS
So you’re looking for some UX design portfolio inspiration?
Maybe you’re a fresh-faced UX designer looking to land your first gig. Perhaps you’ve been in the industry for a while and it’s time to rethink your personal brand. Either way, you want to make your mark in the world of UX—and that means making sure you’ve got an impressive portfolio to your name.
Whether you’re starting from scratch or breathing new life into your existing portfolio, there are certain ground rules you’ll need to bear in mind. In this post, we’ll take you through nine UX design portfolio best practices, complete with awesome portfolio examples from around the web.
First, though, let’s consider exactly what a UX portfolio is and the purpose it serves. If you’d rather skip straight to our hand-picked selection of awesome UX design portfolios, you can simply select one from the list below.
- Gloria Lo: The high impact introduction
- Moritz Oesterlau: The art of storytelling through case studies
- Elizabeth Lin: Visual storytelling
- Olivia Truong: How to show problem-solving
- Priyanka Gupta: The unsolicited redesign
- Amy Wu: Outcomes and metrics
- Daniel Autry: The right amount of portfolio projects
- Vera Chen: The importance of context
- Zara Drei: Awesome UX and UI
Let’s get started!
What’s the purpose of your UX design portfolio?
When it comes to creating an impressive UX portfolio, it’s important to understand exactly what your portfolio should achieve. What information should your portfolio present? What do you want people to learn about you and your work when they land on your portfolio?
Your UX design portfolio is not just a virtual gallery of all your most beautiful work. It’s a carefully crafted story that offers a behind-the-scenes look at your methods and processes. How do you tackle different UX design challenges? What’s your approach to solving problems? Are you user-centric?
It should introduce you as a designer and give the viewer an understanding of how you work. And, of course, all of these insights should come gift-wrapped in a visually engaging, user-friendly package.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at our selection of nine amazing UX design portfolios from around the web.
1. Gloria Lo nails the high-impact introduction
Who is Gloria Lo?
Gloria Lo is a self-taught product designer based in Sydney, Australia. In her own words, she is passionate about improving the lives of others through design, and is constantly looking to learn new things everyday.
What makes Gloria’s UX design portfolio so great?
One of the first things your UX portfolio should do is introduce you as a designer. Employers and potential clients want to know who you are and what you’re all about—and they should be able to find this out within seconds of landing on your portfolio website.
Gloria has nailed her designer introduction with a three-tiered approach. First, she treats us to a bold, eye-catching headline that describes her in terms of her favorite activities. In just four simple verbs, we know that Gloria is a creative, multi-talented soul with quite a few hobbies in her repertoire. Oh, and these verbs “light up” in different colors when you hover over them—a nice additional dash of personality!
After such an enticing headline, we’re inevitably curious to know more about Gloria—and sure enough, her portfolio delivers. Directly beneath that unmissable heading, Gloria tells us exactly what she does and what she’s passionate about in just two sentences. Gloria has mastered the delicate art of brevity while still managing to convey the most important information—not an easy feat!
By now, Gloria has well and truly piqued the viewer’s interest. Luckily, her portfolio also features a comprehensive “About” page, complete with a video, a section detailing her values (with the help of emojis), a very thorough testimonial from a former employer, and links to her music and artwork.
What can we learn from Gloria Lo?
When it comes to your own UX design portfolio, make like Gloria and be sure to include a meaningful introduction. Keep it compact yet high-impact on the home page, and then provide more detail in a dedicated “About” section. Besides crafting a gripping “about me” statement, try to inject a bit of personality into the visual design, too—just like Gloria’s colorful hover effect.
The viewer should know exactly who you are and what you do within seconds of landing on your UX design portfolio. Craft a compelling headline that provides all the most important information at a glance.
2. Moritz Oesterlau masters the art of storytelling through case studies
Who is Moritz Oesterlau?
Moritz Oesterlau is a multi-skilled product / UX designer based in Germany. He also dabbles in interface design and frontend development. Moritz studied UX design with CareerFoundry and is now part of the Global Goals Curriculum 2030 team, helping to shape a democratic, just, and sustainable society through the power of education.
What makes Moritz’s UX design portfolio so great?
Moritz’s portfolio really gets to the heart of what UX design is all about: going through a process to solve a user problem. Moritz doesn’t just show the finished product; he shares, in detail, all the methods and processes that got him there.
Each project is presented as a case study, which immediately tells us we’re in for a lot more than just eye candy. Click on any one of these case studies and you almost feel like you’re in the room with Moritz himself—a fly-on-the-wall as he works through his UX design process.
Take the Approach to Digitization in Education case study, for example. Moritz leaves no stone unturned, documenting the project from start to finish. He takes us on a logical journey, putting the design challenge into context before going through competitor analysis, interviews and surveys, building empathy and creating user personas, defining the information architecture, wireframing, prototyping, and usability testing. For each step, he explains what he did, why he did it, and what he learned as a result.
What can we learn from Moritz Oesterlau?
When showcasing your UX design work, follow Moritz’s example and place your process front and center. You’ll notice that Moritz doesn’t show the finished product until the very end of each case study, and that’s because he’s telling a logical story. With each case study, start from the beginning and guide the viewer through the main steps that led you to the final solution. It’s okay to include screenshots of a beautiful end product, but make sure you’ve documented your process in detail first.
Showcase your process, not just the finished product. Write about the methods you used, what you learned along the way, the challenges you came up against, and how you solved certain problems. Each case study should tell a complete, logical story.
3. Elizabeth Lin reigns supreme with visual storytelling
Who is Elizabeth Lin?
Elizabeth Lin is a San Francisco-based product designer and self-proclaimed fashion, teaching, and classical saxophone enthusiast.
What makes Elizabeth’s UX design portfolio so great?
Elizabeth Lin’s portfolio provides another excellent example of storytelling. Just like Moritz, she presents her design work in the form of case studies, documenting her process from start to finish. What really stands out in Elizabeth’s portfolio, though, is her use of visuals to support the narrative she’s weaving.
Each point in her case study is illustrated with some kind of visual element—be it a virtual wall of Post-it notes, a survey form that was sent to research participants, or early-stage prototypes.
Another effective storytelling technique that Elizabeth uses is to include little bitesized notes and reflections down the right-hand side. Set in a different font and color to the main body text, these snippets catch your eye as you scroll, providing further, more personal insights into the project—such as “It was cool seeing how differently teachers would use this dashboard” or “We didn’t move forward with this exploration because we wanted to validate the base solution first.”
Supporting your case studies with visual artifacts really brings the project to life. Elizabeth’s portfolio illustrates perfectly how visual and textual storytelling should work together to demonstrate your UX design process.
What can we learn from Elizabeth Lin?
The aim of your UX portfolio is to both show and tell. Just like Elizabeth, support each case study with meaningful visuals—that is, real artifacts from your project, not just illustrations. Every time you work on a new design project, document your process: take screenshots of user research surveys you send out, snap photos of your wall covered in Post-it notes after a heavy brainstorming session, and keep hold of your wireframes as they progress from low to high fidelity. When it comes to adding a new case study to your portfolio, these artifacts will help you tell a logical story.
Don’t just tell the story of each project; bring it to life with visual artifacts. For each step you go through in your case study, include a photo or screenshot of how it looked in action.
4. Olivia Truong showcases her approach to problem-solving
Who is Olivia Truong?
Olivia Truong is a product designer based in Boston, Massachusetts. In her own words, Olivia likes to go out into the world and capture its beauty and weirdness.
What makes Olivia’s UX design portfolio so great?
Above all else, UX designers are problem-solvers. Your UX design portfolio should therefore demonstrate how you identify and tackle a variety of user problems. Olivia’s portfolio does a great job of this, as you’ll see in her Routr case study.
Olivia kicks off her case study by framing the problem in a personal, relatable way. She doesn’t just talk about the “user” problem—she frames it as “our” problem, inviting the reader to step into the user’s shoes, just as she has done.
Next, Olivia explains, in detail, how she set about trying to solve this problem—in a section aptly named “There Must Be Something Out There”. We learn how she scoured the internet and App Store for a solution, only to find that none of the existing solutions fit the bill.
In the section that follows, “Taking The Dive”, Olivia shares the next steps in her problem-solving journey: brainstorming the elements of a successful date.
After thoroughly framing the problem and describing her approach to solving it, Olivia moves onto “The Making Of Routr”. Notice how, even when talking about her solution, Olivia consistently refers back to the original user problem.
Olivia’s portfolio portrays her as a thoughtful problem-solver—granting her huge bonus points in the eyes of any recruiter or potential client. This focus on problem-solving also conveys another essential UX trait: empathy for the user. When reading Olivia’s case study, you don’t get the feeling that she’s just going through the motions; she’s genuinely engaged in the problem and how she can solve it for the user. That’s the sign of a passionate UX designer!
What can we learn from Olivia Truong?
UX designers are problem-solvers, so make sure your portfolio reflects that. There are two key lessons we can learn from Olivia’s portfolio: first, start each case study by framing the problem in detail, and second, frame the problem in a way that conveys empathy. Above all, think about the language you use. Don’t just state the problem; relate to it and put some emotion behind it! Olivia describes how planning dates was a “headache” because “coming up with ideas was not the easiest thing to do in our busy lives.” This is much more personal and empathy-driven than if she’d said “Users struggle to come up with date ideas because they’re so busy.” Last but not least, refer back to the original problem throughout—even when you progress to the solution.
Your UX design portfolio should demonstrate your approach to problem-solving. Kick off each case study by framing the problem in detail, using emotive language to convey empathy. Refer back to the problem throughout.
5. Priyanka Gupta is the queen of the unsolicited redesign
Who is Priyanka Gupta?
Priyanka Gupta is a product designer and tech enthusiast based in San Francisco. Aside from creating awesome user experiences, Priyanka is also pretty active on Medium.
What makes Priyanka’s UX design portfolio so great?
Early on in your UX career, you might struggle to fill your portfolio with real projects. As your career progresses, you might look for ways to make your portfolio stand out. So what can you do?
Cue the unsolicited redesign à la Priyanka Gupta.
When Priyanka runs into bad UX, she can’t help but do something about it. Where most of us might just abandon ship and find an alternative product, Priyanka goes above and beyond: she redesigns the entire experience! So, in addition to real client projects, Priyanka’s UX portfolio also showcases some rather impressive unsolicited redesigns.
One can’t help but be impressed by Priyanka’s initiative and drive. She’s gone out of her way to redesign an entire digital experience, just because she’s passionate about good UX—how cool is that?!
What’s also interesting is how Priyanka chooses to showcase these redesigns. She could just stick to the standard case study format, but as we know, she’s the kind of designer who likes to go above and beyond. Click on one of her unsolicited portfolio pieces and you’ll be taken to a full-on, published blog post. Nice!
Despite the fact that these unsolicited redesigns are pure “passion projects”, Priyanka lends them the credibility they deserve by documenting her process in detail. In her redesign of the Sephora iOS app, she starts by framing the problem: “Despite using the app religiously, I had trouble navigating through it. After observing that other people also experienced issues with the app, I pursued this redesign as an opportunity to improve the experience in any way I could.”
What follows is a detailed breakdown of every step she took to redesign the app, from brand analysis and user research, right through to persona creation, prototyping, and implementation—not forgetting those all-important visual artifacts that are absolutely crucial to UX storytelling!
What can we learn from Priyanka Gupta?
Priyanka is an experienced UX designer who presumably has plenty of real projects for her portfolio. This doesn’t stop her from conducting unsolicited redesigns when she comes across intolerably bad UX—as she puts it, it’s like an itch she just needs to scratch!
If you’re a new UX designer trying to build up your portfolio, take a leaf out of Priyanka’s book and complete some unsolicited redesigns of your own. This is a great way to demonstrate initiative and show that you’re a proactive designer who is willing to go the extra mile. Just as Priyanka does, be transparent about the fact that these are unsolicited projects—a simple disclaimer is all you need.
Another valuable takeaway from Priyanka’s portfolio is the power of blogging. Priyanka doesn’t just limit herself to her portfolio website; she also shares her case studies and tips via Medium (where she’s accrued over a thousand followers!). There are many different ways to share your process, so don’t be afraid to try a multichannel approach.
Unsolicited redesigns are an excellent way to build up your UX portfolio and demonstrate your initiative as a designer. As always, frame the problem, document your process, and tell a good story—and don’t forget to include a disclaimer.
6. Amy Wu delivers measurable outcomes and metrics
Who is Amy Wu?
Amy Wu is a San Francisco-based UX / product designer and accomplished speaker. She’s also got some rather impressive awards to her name, including the Paula Rhodes Memorial Award for Exceptional Achievement in Interaction Design.
What makes Amy’s UX design portfolio so great?
One of the biggest challenges you’ll face as a UX designer is measuring and demonstrating the impact of your work. You know you’ve improved the user experience, but how do you substantiate that?
Look no further than Amy Wu’s portfolio. Amy does an extremely important (yet incredibly rare) thing: she puts her work as a UX designer in the context of business.
Take her Citi Bike Onboarding case study, for example. Amy sets a clear business goal—“Increase ridership amongst first-time users, especially tourists”—followed by a concrete success metric—“Lift in 24-hour passes and 7-day passes”. Amy also states a timeline for the project, demonstrating the scale and scope of her work: “Within 6 months, Citi Bike relaunched the new onboarding flow across 330+ kiosk stations in August 2014.”
Amy rounds off her case study with a post-relaunch analysis, using concrete data to show how the Citi Bike redesign affected usage: “We found that, a month after launch, ridership amongst one-time users increased by 14%.”
What can we learn from Amy Wu?
Amy does a great job of showing how she works in a business setting. This is crucial if you want to practice UX for a living, but it’s a trick that many designers tend to miss. While it’s true that you’re there to advocate for the user, it’s also important to recognize that companies have their own goals to meet—and you need to show how UX contributes to that.
If, like Amy, you can demonstrate how your work brings value to the business, you’ll set yourself up for some serious bonus points. If you have data related to the project, this will be easy—but what if there aren’t any concrete metrics to showcase? Even without data, you can frame your work in a business context. Follow Amy’s lead and set a business or product goal at the start of the case study. What do you hope your work will achieve? This is separate from the user goal, but the two should go hand in hand. For example, creating a more pleasant app experience for the user should help to boost customer retention.
Likewise, establish a few success metrics before you begin. How will you measure the impact of your work? What tell-tale signs will you look out for after you’ve launched or relaunched the product? The best UX designers are those who can advocate for the user while meeting the needs of the business, so try to convey this throughout your portfolio.
Use your portfolio to demonstrate how you add value to the business. Set business goals and success metrics for each case study, and, where possible, include data and tangible outcomes.
7. Daniel Autry features “just the right amount” of portfolio projects
Who is Daniel Autry?
Daniel Autry is a designer, developer, and behavioural researcher based in Charlottesville, Virginia. He is fascinated by the social product space and is currently researching the intersection between technology and mental illness.
What makes Daniel’s UX design portfolio so great?
Daniel Autry’s portfolio features some remarkable work in the mental health space, but that’s not the only reason he’s made it onto this list. Daniel’s portfolio also helps to answer that all-too-common conundrum: What’s the “right” amount of projects to showcase in your UX design portfolio?
Before we go any further, let’s be clear on one thing: There’s no “magic number” when it comes to portfolio projects. Some people will tell you five, others will say three—you might even hear that one is enough!
Daniel has opted to showcase four projects in his UX portfolio, and while we’re not saying that he’s found THE magic number, it is a magic number of sorts. In other words, Daniel has found the number that works for him: He features just enough projects to showcase his range as a designer, while still keeping it limited enough so as not to overwhelm the user—smart UX design in action!
In the space of just four featured case studies, we see that Daniel is a versatile designer who has worked on a variety of projects across a range of sectors—from mental health to financial trading to e-learning. So, it’s not just about how many projects you showcase; it’s just as important to pick a good variety.
Besides his four featured projects, Daniel’s portfolio also includes a section dedicated to “Other Works”. Here, he links to articles he’s written on Medium, additional projects he’s worked on, as well as upcoming endeavors. This is a great way to divide your portfolio, especially if you’re struggling to decide which of your best work should feature!
What can we learn from Daniel Autry?
Daniel’s portfolio teaches us an important lesson about the “right” number of portfolio projects: There isn’t one! Every UX designer is unique, and your portfolio should reflect that. Don’t get too hung up on whether you should include three projects or five; focus instead on selecting a handful of projects that best showcase who you are as a designer. If you want to brand yourself as a versatile, adaptable designer, feature as diverse a variety of projects as possible. If you see yourself as a specialist in a certain industry, highlight the projects that demonstrate this. At the same time, don’t overwhelm the viewer: a hiring manager looking through your portfolio probably won’t browse through ten UX case studies, so choose wisely!
There is no hard-and-fast rule when it comes to how many projects you should feature in your portfolio. Choose a good enough variety to showcase your skillset, while keeping it minimal enough so as not to overwhelm the user. If you’ve got lots more work you want to showcase, add a separate section.
8. Vera Chen highlights the importance of context
Who is Vera Chen?
Vera Chen is a product designer and former Facebook intern. She has a Master’s degree in Human-Centered Design and Engineering, and has also dabbled in singing and acting.
What makes Vera’s UX design portfolio so great?
Not only is Vera’s portfolio a beautiful thing to behold (just look at those illustrations!); it also highlights the importance of context when presenting your UX work.
Vera doesn’t just outline the problem statement for each case study—she steeps it in a solid back story, describing the events that led her there. She also clearly explains her role on each project, who she worked with, and what tools and methods they used. Just by including these few extra details, Vera paints a clear picture of what the project entailed and how she contributed. Another excellent example of UX storytelling!
Let’s take Vera’s Wedding Library case study, for example. See how she dedicates two whole sections to setting the scene? First, there’s the project background which lays out the scope of the project. Then there’s the context section, a detailed story about newlyweds Murphy and Diana and the frustrations they faced when planning two weddings.
Vera doesn’t just tell us what the problem is. She shows us exactly how it came to light, and in what capacity she was employed to help solve it. By the time we scroll down to Vera’s process, it’s easy to see where each step fits into the overall project. It’s a bit like reading a novel: you need a little bit of background before you can start relating to the characters and the plot.
What can we learn from Vera Chen?
There are two very simple yet effective takeaways to be had from Vera’s portfolio. First and foremost, provide plenty of background context—this works wonders when telling the story of each case study. Vera doesn’t start with the problem statement; she sets the scene, describing the people, events, and circumstances that surround and lead up to this particular design challenge. Aim to precede your problem statement with a small paragraph dedicated to “setting the scene”.
Secondly, state your role on each project. What were you commissioned to do? Where did you fit into the overall team? At the same time, listing your teammates is a nice touch; UX design is a highly collaborative field, so it’s important to demonstrate individual value while acknowledging that the end result was a team effort!
For each case study in your UX portfolio, provide as much context as you can. Set the scene with a brief backstory before launching into your problem statement. This includes stating your role on the project and, if necessary, who you worked with.
9. Zara Drei bedazzles with awesome UX and UI
Who is Zara Drei?
Zara Drei is a London-based UX designer. When she’s not solving problems with beautiful, user-centric web products, you can find her playing around with electronics, making video loops, building ceramic and metal sculptures, or producing electronic music.
What makes Zara’s UX design portfolio so great?
We’ve talked a lot about the importance of showcasing your UX design process. Now it’s time to contemplate the power of beautiful UI! This brings us to Zara Drei’s portfolio—the epitome of digital elegance.
Zara specializes in creating digital products and experiences for luxury, fashion, and beauty brands, and this is reflected in every detail of her portfolio. In fact, scrolling through Zara’s portfolio is like wandering through the beauty department of a high-end store, or flipping through the pages of a glossy magazine—and that’s no accident. She has given as much thought to her color palette, typography, and imagery as she has to writing up her case studies and sharing her process. The result? A flawless portfolio that truly makes its mark.
What can we learn from Zara Drei?
Your UX design portfolio is not just a website—it’s part of your personal brand. Just like your case studies, the overall aesthetic of your portfolio should tell a story about who you are as a designer. Consider how Zara uses color and imagery to evoke a sense of luxury throughout her portfolio; how can you create a similar effect?
Spend some time figuring out your personal brand. Are you fun and quirky? Artsy and edgy? Corporate and serious? Perhaps you’re all about eco-friendly design. Once you’ve got a theme in mind, you can start to think about the kinds of colors and imagery that will help to convey this. Just because you’re a UX designer doesn’t mean you can neglect the visual design of your portfolio. Your portfolio should embody your personal brand, so treat it like any other UX project and give it the high-shine finish it deserves!
Your portfolio website should reflect your personal brand, and visual design plays a crucial role. The best portfolios offer the full package—detailed case studies wrapped in stunning UI design and flawless UX—so aim to tick all the boxes!
Where else can you look for UX design portfolio inspiration?
That just about concludes our selection of awesome UX design portfolios from around the web. We hope this list has given you a feel for some of the most important UX design portfolio best practices, and left you feeling suitably inspired. For more portfolio inspiration, check out websites like Bestfolios, Behance, and Dribbble.