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I am an entry-level UX designer and I am about to apply for jobs.

I designed a chatbot service at a Hackerthon a few weeks ago. The result was good and my team got a prize. I want to put this project in my portfolio.

The problem is the project wasn't designed with UX deliverables like interview, persona. The chatbot project was completed in three days. In short, this project has no UX process.

I want to emphasize my IA, UI design skills with the project.

Below is what I'm thinking about to put:

  • Discover | Ideation & Brainstorming (There was no user research in this phrase)
  • Discover | Mapping Potential Conversation Flows
  • Discover | Message Flow and Information Architecture
  • Design | Screen Structure & Content Modules
  • Design | Graphic UI design
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One simple way to add an element of user research to this project as part of your UX porfolio is to suggest in possible next steps how you might go about doing user research to help improve the current design.

While it isn't always necessary to show that you have used every tool or trick in your UX skill set, it is still important to show that you are thinking about it.

It is certainly possible to design in a user-centric way even though you haven't specifically involved the user, but it would be good to point this out in the constraints or limitations when you are talking about this project so that the person who is reviewing this case study as part of your portfolio understands that you are not simply ignoring the research side of UX design.

Also, it is quite easy to do a cut-down version of user testing (this doesn't always have to be the exact users the solution is intended for, as long as the test can help validate some assumptions made in the decision process) that can show how you have tried to incorporate some testing in the design process. Again if you didn't get to do this during the event you can still propose how you might go about it.

  • @Woo more than the actual deliverable or work output, the potential employers love to see you talk about the thinking process behind each of the different steps. So even with the Discover and Design steps you need to show the logic behind the steps you have taken (i.e. how does it address the problem in the Hackathon), and provide rationales for the design decisions. – Michael Lai Mar 1 '17 at 6:58
  • I appreciate again. I just graduated and I have just several project experiences. Your comments helped me a lot! I'm very confidence in fast prototyping and ideation but not in methodologies. I can develop my project along with studying them. Thanks again! – Woo Mar 1 '17 at 14:50
  • @Woo I should also point out that since you are in South Korea, there may also be both cultural and professional differences in the approach taken in UX design. However, being able to communicate and problem solve are skills that you need to demonstrate no matter what field you are working in. It would be great if you have more questions and examples of your work to give people on UXSE some exposure to the design styles and concepts in South Korea. – Michael Lai Mar 1 '17 at 23:19
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I wholly agree with Michael. A (UX) design process doesn't consist out of fixed steps. Not all project benefit from a persona or a detailed user research. You'll sometimes find these deliverables neglected after some time, so making them could be a waste.

Talk about what you were able to do within the constraints. Since delivering an MVP at the end of the hackathon is very important, it's not strange you weren't able to do research. But that doesn't mean you didn't design with the user in mind. Many have gone before you that were able to do research and shared their findings. It's logical to use these proven patterns as a starting point. Like Michael said, UX doesn't stop in the development fase. Lean UX is about testing and improving. Over time this might become more focused on certain parts or less intensive or focus shifts to new features, but you can keep on doing this.

I think a potential employer would be interested what you did within these tight constraints. It's very possible you'll come across similar constraints "in real life" and you're able to prove you delivered an award winning product within three days time.

  • Thank you. I've thought much of steps and it was really hard to study by myself. And I'm totally agree with Lean UX methodology. I'm in South Korea. In here, I think Lean UX is not a main stream as far as I know. Do I have to study all the deliverables before getting a job? – Woo Mar 1 '17 at 14:53
  • +1 Often there is a difference between the ideal process and the actual process as Paul has pointed out. If you think of UX as a philosophy rather than a defined set of tools and processes it will go a long way towards helping you develop your own approach as well. – Michael Lai Mar 1 '17 at 23:17
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Synthesize a hypothetical study. Topic, research goals, outcome. It will still demonstrate your ability to apply the important skills needed to actually conduct and report on research.

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I review UX portfolios daily. I literally scan them and don't take a lot of time to do a deep dive initially but if I liked what I saw and we got to the point of an interview, I'd wait to learn more during your presentation. To me, those are granular details. Anyone who works in UX in earnest knows that there is one one-size-fits-all process. It's fluid and changes often.

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