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After working for a number of years as a graphic designer, I moved into a "UI /UX role" about 4 years ago creating interfaces for large format touchscreens at an agency.

I’ve attempted to complete my portfolio countless times but keep becoming overwhelmed at the volume that is expected of a portfolio and all the elaborate case studies of UI/UX designer portfolios online - not to mention all the job postings banging on about showing your process.

All I've got to show is random small bits like styletiles, wire frames, simple user-flows and site-maps, I haven’t got much process or success metrics to show as we usually jump straight into doing hi-fidelity designs.

If I was to present my current work in an interview situation and was asked to justify any design decisions, the blanket answer would be that the MD or client wanted it - which is not ideal.

It’s become apparent that this job is more of a visual designer role as there’s an emphasis on creating interactive designs that focus on wowing clients so there are often usability issues as we rarely test during development or measure the outcomes.

So do i..?

  1. Present the work as it is without any process included?

  2. Do I ‘game’ the work in my portfolio by back-dating it with process and retrospectively creating business and user goals? Is it acceptable to do this? I would be honest when interviewed and state, "in ideal world, this is what I would of like to have done" etc.

Just an FYI, I haven't got the time to do completely redo my portfolio with side projects due to other responsibilities in life.

Many thanks

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    Honesty usually goes a long way. From my experiences as an applicant for a UX position in different companies I would say that "retrospectively" adding additional content and then describing it exactly as you said, with "this is what I would have done", is acceptable.
    – Big_Chair
    Apr 26 at 11:04
  • That is reassuring to know thanks. Apr 26 at 15:10
  • What's important for them to see is that even though your environment may have suppressed your possibilities, you still work something out as a private project that shows what you would have done, if given the possibility. If you only go in and say "well, i was limited" and show nothing else, you will most probably not be interesting. You need to show that despite the limitation, you still came up with solutions (even if only in private). It also shows additional effort.
    – Big_Chair
    Apr 26 at 15:45

2 Answers 2

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I personally think that your work is what it is. The future employer will see what you have done, not the possibilities of what you have been able to do. Placing the possible ones has several readings, and not all of them are positive, in fact it can generate a lot of uncertainty in the person who sees the portfolio.

The portfolio essence is not only to show the work done but also to show the ability as a creator to generate content and provide solutions. If a portfolio shows "possibles", uncertainties, unsuccessful processes, or what "in an ideal world" would have been, the reading is not so much about the visual content but about the author's ability to provide solutions. You have to be aware that an employer is looking for solutions, not questions, uncertainties, or added problems to those that they surely already have.

There's a very simple example, Dribbble is a huge portfolio, you will not find a single project that mentions "in ideal world, this is what I would like to have done".

A practical example, if you put in your portfolio:

– The client wanted this, but I would have done this –

Get the answer ready to this question:

– So poor was your proposal that you did not have enough resources to convince your client which was the most efficient option? –


Anyway, there are solutions.

  • Choose from all the projects the ones that best represent your work. It's preferable to show 2 good projects than ten mediocre ones.
  • If you still want to show all the works, give greater visual relevance to the most representative ones.
  • If there's the possibility to add a report to each project, I would avoid the "I would have done it that way". This speaks much more of a lack of feedback capacity with the client or employer than the project, something totally unnecessary at this level.
  • We all have jobs that we could have done differently, but at the time they were created they were feasible. It's always much easier to find the flaws than the virtues, even in one's own work, possibly due to the saturation of the work process. It's difficult, but study what those excellent qualities were and list them in the report. A great help to this process is to show the projects to other people, they usually see what we are no longer capable of. From time to time I usually post parts of projects on Discord or Linkedin, where people (not your friends) can comment and get ideas.
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One idea is to show your mistakes and then talk about what were the lessons that you learned from the mistakes.

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