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I was wondering if it's ok to use lorem ipsum for personal projects that will go on my portfolio? Will recruiters see that as bad? Or should i just make up content for the mockup can seem more "realistic"?

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Considerations

  1. Employers are more focused on your problem solving skills and creativity in achieving this rather than the content of your wireframes. But this is no blanket rule:

  2. Problems that require solutions in terms of information architecture and information design will deserve extra attention in this area as long as the copy or labels used demonstrate a clear ability to fulfill (point 1)

  3. In principal, recruiters should advise you if your portfolio is not inline with employer expectations, if they don't provide you with adequate feedback, don't deal with them!

Overall, your need to demonstrates via your portfolio a thorough process * that succeeds in capturing the intricacies of any problem/brief and a clear pathway to resolving or addressing them.

*For me what has worked best is: Problem OR brief => Challenges faced => solutions

Quick Advice

Ensure that anything you share with potential employers is not under a non-disclosure agreement. If that is the case, then discuss the problem and the suggested solution in generic terms and avoid showing complete sets of wireframes. The use of Lorem Ipsum along with other techniques could prove usefull here. below is also a quick link discussing how to deal with (NDA) and confidentiality.

Portfolios: The problem with NDA’s and Internal Projects

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    On top of that, make sure to explain your process. As a UX designer, process is very important. Explain it thoroughly. – Majo0od Mar 4 '15 at 12:36
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    @Majo0od thanks for mentioning the process, updated answer! – Okavango Mar 5 '15 at 6:54
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Using real copy instead of placeholder text is another venue to display your creativity. Even if you are not a copywriter, it shows that you are capable of delivering more than just wireframes and comps. It also better describes the work you were doing, and leaves less guesswork for the person reviewing the work.

There are times it is appropriate to use Lorem Ipsum, but your portfolio is not one of them.

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The point of Lorem Ipsum is to try and not distract the audience from other things (design, site structure, etc.) when content is not the main focus. If you want to demonstrate your copy writing abilities than definitely include it. If your writing is so bad that it'll distract from demonstrating your other capabilities (visual design, interaction design, etc) then don't. Often it's best to at least have major headings as real copy. Obviously wonderfully formed real copy is best but it comes down to your goals and your audience.

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It's better to include real copy. I say this because:

  1. It will give the people context for your design. It will help them understand why you chose to design the interface and interactions the way you did.
  2. The copy is an important part of the user experience. If you demonstrate that you are a skilled writer, that is a benefit to you. See this link for more examples of why copy is important to the user experience. I've seen job postings specifically looking for "UX Writers".
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I think the use of lorem ipsum depends on the type of wireframes you work on. When I look at a UX designer's portfolio my main questions are "what sort of problems have they worked on?" and "what were the thought process in solving the problems?"

I don't think that using lorem ipsum is bad in any way provided it's warranted. Wireframes change over time. As the wireframes increase in fidelity the critique of the design gets finer and finer.

Here's an idea of what I working on right now.

  1. The system should have a mass item update feature, (to be able to upload an entire item list). This list can be a vendor document, an Excel list, in an email.

-User must be able to enter items individually.

--If upload failed must be told to redo. System will not correct.

  • User must be able to Copy and Paste items into system

  • User must be able to send to multiple people.

-- System will provide "expected" list but analyst must be able to add others.

I'm using a lot of dummy text at this stage. The UX designer needs to show the interaction, think through all the details of how the users work through the application and present the information in a way that business users AND developers understand the process in order for them to better discuss the build requirements. It's then (in my experience) passed over to the graphic designers to finalize the presentation.

Using lorem ipusm at this stage is common, normal and expected. You don't want people looking at a list of items and focusing on minor details.

On the other hand if your portfolio is focused on pixel perfect final presentations then lorem ipsums should be kept to a minimum. My portfolio, for instance, doesn't include any pixel perfect designs. (Well maybe some from 10-15 years ago but none recently.)

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Lorem Ipsum distract the clients from design mock-ups. It leads them to ask on why their site if filled with an unknown, foreign language. It has often created confusion between the designer, developer and the copywriter or content provider.

It even gets pushed live sometimes without anyone noticing. Using Lorem Ipsum is a way half-heatedly go about the most important part of your site.

  • Is it your opinion that it is distracting or can you link to some supporting evidence? – Charles Wesley Mar 4 '15 at 5:44
  • Yeah! It's my opinion. Lorem Ipsum text fails to give any context or clue to the type of content that would appear on the actual page. The participants can get hung up to unrealistic data. – Voltspecter Mar 4 '15 at 6:02
  • There are no clients in this situation. As OP states it is for his personal portfolio. Employers may see it, but they are by not the same thing as clients. – JonW Mar 4 '15 at 7:04
  • @JonW eh...semantics. In both cases you are 'selling your design' to someone. I agree with Voltspecter...Lorem Ipsum is something useful for design teams, but shouldn't be something seen outside the art room. – DA01 Mar 4 '15 at 17:16
  • @DA01 It's not really semantics. This whole answer is written from the point of view of demo'ing to a client. OP is specifically asking about how recruiters view Lorem text. Not only that, but the whole answer is very subjective as well with nothing other than Voltspecter's opinion. Not actually reading the question and posting a subjective, opinion based answer isn't something we should be encouraging. – JonW Mar 4 '15 at 17:22
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This is completely my personal opinion that the shift from Lorem Ipsum to a mock yet relatable data is a step towards betterment.

Such data gives a direct link between what goes where and creates an impression on the reviewer which content fits with each other. It also helps you to showcase the most probable values of fields on UI. It is the strong connection that provides lead us to its widespread acceptance.

Is Lorem Ipsum bad? No. I just feel it has served its purpose and now it should rightfully phase out.

Since you mentioned you want opinions about your personal projects, I am afraid, then it really falls upon you. Which side of argument convinces you is what matters. You will get both the opinions as of today. Also, whatever side you choose, a prospective employer or anyone looking at your portfolio will consider you belong to that school of thought. You might want to keep that in mind.

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The inclusion of lorem ipsum implies that a design is unfinished or unused.

Also, depending on the project, lorem ipsum can easily become what I call "designer friendly data" - data that conforms to the design, rather than a design that was clearly purposeful in its presentation of realistic data.

I've reviewed the portfolios of many recent college graduates, which include "apps they designed." Often these look pretty but don't demonstrate the designer facing and solving any actual problems. A good portfolio should clearly demonstrate the designer's ability to solve problems in creative and reasoned ways.

The short of it:

As long as you didn't use lorem ipsum as a crutch in terms of design, and as long as the recruiter/employer can look past it, then it's fine. But if you can easily replace it with realistic data, it wouldn't hurt.

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Lorem ipsum is only for placeholder. But real time you need to have real text. To generate dummy article, paragraph, lists just use https://lorem-ipsum.org

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    Thanks for your contribution to UXSE. From the answers generated from the questions so far, it seems like there are certain types of projects or portfolios where the use of lorem ipsum could be acceptable (e.g. concept design rather than polished/complete work). Perhaps you might like to elaborate on your answer as to whether you support this view or not just to make it more complete :) – Michael Lai Feb 24 at 22:29

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