So you have completed a course… and you have followed this through with a ton of self-study. But here’s the problem, where do you start when it comes to pulling together a user experience design portfolio? Especially when you haven’t had any real world experience yet. What should you include in your portfolio? How many projects? And what’s the best way of presenting your work, so it looks it’s best for your current level of experience? We have a couple of ideas for you.


Hello everyone and welcome to another video for UX Clicks where we are discussing things UX related and in general, we’re trying to help you kick start your career within the UX design.

And today we are recording in beautiful Dubai. It’s super hot.


Sweaty. But nevertheless, we just had some brainstorming and some ideas based on the questions that people are asking us and we just wanted to cover one of them.

So in today’s video, we want to know what to show in your portfolio if you have no job experience.

Yeah, that’s a really good question. Lots of people saying “Well, I don’t have… I haven’t worked anywhere so I actually don’t have anything to show on my portfolio.” Which is not necessarily true.

Yeah, we’re looking for basically how many projects do you need. You’re kind of looking for three to five. That’s kind of a great all around number if you don’t have any practical experience.

Yeah, so literally I would say three projects is enough. You don’t need to have more if they are well rounded and nicely laid out, this is enough. And like I said before, in most of the interviews that we’ve been to, people actually go through three projects tops sometimes, too.

But three is a nice number to start with.

Yeah, it’s great. You can kind of make them all work with each other. So if one area is less focused around UI then you could maybe spend more time on UI in another project.


So they all kind of tell a slightly different story.


So I looked at a couple of portfolios recently and it’s very important to have so fewer projects but so they all sort of relevant to what job you’re applying for.

So for example, if you are applying for a researcher job, make sure your projects in your portfolio actually talk about research rather than anything else. So very bad example I’ve seen recently was a dribble account where the very talented designer, definitely very talented, but she put everything that she’s ever done in her life I think.

It looked really cool, beautiful posters, beautiful illustrations, but she was applying for UX role which makes it then very confusing for recruiters and people in general who are looking at her portfolio to work out what her skill set is. Is it print, is it design, digital design? Is it research? Is it illustrations? It’s quite difficult.

So I would say just make it very focused on what job you’re particularly applying for.

Yeah. And then the second thing to think about is what can you use as a project.

Yeah, again, so if you haven’t worked, where do you get those projects from, right?

Yeah, and so the main thing we’re hearing is that you guys looking to change careers is that you are doing loads and loads of courses in your spare time, which is great because that should provide you with plenty of material you can use as a project within your portfolio.

Any coursework that you’ve kind of done. And even if you only do a certain section of the user experience process or methodology, you can then add in your own time to that to kind of expand it out if it’s something that you’re really excited about.

Yeah, so basically recently we were talking to really lovely and very motivated junior UX designer, Katia. And she said well, she did this course and all of the projects would finish sort of halfway through, so she wouldn’t finish the whole UX cycle, right?

So she would have, for example, one project she would only do research, right? And another project she would do prototype and testing. So how so show it in that portfolio, so it shows all of your skill sets in terms of UX.

Well, if you did the course and say you finished only with research, feel free to continue with doing some flows, wide frames. You can do even prototypes and test it with users if you want to.

And we would strongly recommend finishing also with some UI designs because that’s what stakeholders will be looking at. They will be looking for the final sort of results.

You can add some notes to it saying this is your self-sort of envision of how it could potentially look like in the end, right? Basics finish the whole cycle of the product.

Yeah, and it’s important to bear in mind that you don’t have to show the entire UX methodology with every single project. I mean, it’s kind of barely possible and you might not even get the opportunity to do that within your kind of working day-to-day life.

So if you can just understand with the course, the project you did with that course, and the strengths of that course, then you can use that to represent one part of the methodology and then with another course that you’ve done where you did something slightly different, that can then represent an additional part of the methodology.

So it could be across separate projects that you show the whole method that you’re aware of the whole methodology and you have practice in that, as opposed to having to do the entire methodology with every single project, because it becomes an enormous task and you set yourself a really huge challenge to deliver that in your own time by yourself.

That sort of said, you can’t do that.

So it’s like options. You can either have one project that covers everything or have several projects that cover in general in total everything.

So you don’t have three projects that only focus on the research but you actually apply for UX job, if you know what I mean.

And then secondly to course work that you’ve done, you could actually create your own personal projects. So it could be anything. The possibilities are endless. If you just find some problem that you’re having or experiencing in your day-to-day life that you are really passionate about, you could set out and start your own project off your own [inaudible 00:06:30] without the kind of backings of a course.

That can be really useful because if it’s something you’re keen on personally, you can start to solve some real world problems that are important to you and those around you and that can make it kind of easier to test and iterate on something.


And if you’re passionate about it, it’s easy to continue working on that and putting the long hours of effort which are required to do something to a good standard.

Yeah, like you did this. You were really passionate about cross fit and you decided to do sort of side project of designing the cross fit application which you are interested in and passionate about, which made it much easier to interview people and just do some wire frames and flows, which looked quite nice in the end.

Yeah, yeah, exactly.

Cool, so what did we cover today? So basically, we talked about what to show in your portfolio if you have no job experience and we said just keep it to a minimum three projects and you can get those projects from either the course that you’ve done with some UX books and so on, or something that you’re passionate about and just make it a project for your portfolio.

So it’s quite straightforward. As usual, just remember that your portfolio should also look nice and tidy and I’m sure you’ll be successful.

Yeah, definitely. Well, thanks very much for watching. Again, click the button to subscribe and hopefully we’ll see you back again soon. Thanks very much.