A portfolio review is a review of your body of work as a UX designer and a demonstration of your presentation skills and your ability to identify what is important to your audience. The process starts with preparing your work artifacts and planning what to say and how to say it—long before the portfolio review ever happens. This article details my process when preparing to present my own portfolio and what I look for in job candidates during such reviews.
Question 1: What is the problem the design is trying to solve?
When you’re discussing a design during a portfolio review or an interview, the first thing many interviewers look for is whether the problem you’re trying to solve is well defined. But candidates often present business goals as the problem—such as This project was a reskin—or personal goals—such as This was a class assignment. Or they completely skip over the problem and go right to the solution. Every good design starts with a clear vision of the problem you’re solving, so any discussion of a project should start with a clear problem statement. If you do not clearly articulate the problem, your audience won’t be able understand the purpose of the design, and they won’t be confident in your abilities as a UX designer. Read More
Thanks to the leadership of Scott Cook—formerly Intuit’s CEO and now Chairman of the Board—Intuit has always been a customer-centric company that really listens to its customers. In the company’s early startup days, Cook instituted Intuit’s Follow Me Home program, in which Intuit employees hung out at stores that sold packaged software until a customer bought Quicken, Intuit’s personal-finance software and, then, the company’s flagship product. An Intuit employee asked the customer if he could follow him home to see whether he had any difficulty installing the application. He would then observe the customer as he unpacked and installed the software and note any causes of frustration or confusion.
Through this program, Intuit learned what aspects of their software needed improvement. Cook’s goal was to make it easier for people to balance their checking account using Quicken than with a paper checkbook. By observing their customers, Intuit learned that people were using Quicken to handle bookkeeping for their small businesses, so they created QuickBooks for that market. From the very beginning, Intuit has done user research both to understand how customers are using their current products and to identify customers’ unmet needs, allowing them to introduce new products to the market to satisfy them. Read More
Until just a few months ago, Leah Buley was a Principal Analyst at Forrester, where she conducted, analyzed, and published research on the role of design in business; the relationships among user experience, customer experience, and service design; and best practices for customer understanding and empathy. She is now working as an independent design consultant and advisor through Leah Buley Co. When Leah presented the case study “The Marriage of Corporate Strategy and UX Strategy” at the first UX STRAT in 2013, she was a Design Strategist in Intuit’s Design Innovation Group. Earlier in her career, she was a Lead Experience Designer at Adaptive Path. Leah is the author of the Rosenfeld Media book The User Experience Team of One: A Research and Design Survival Guide and frequently speaks and blogs on UX topics.
I recently interviewed Leah, shown in Figure 1, about her vision of where the combination of experience design and business strategy is headed in the coming years, which will be the topic of her upcoming keynote presentation at UX STRAT USA, as well as her recent research and work at Forrester. She’ll also be conducting a workshop on “How to Speak Strategy” at UX STRAT, which will take place on September 14–16, 2016. Read More