When it comes to building your online design portfolio there’s a lot to consider. Costly mistakes can lose you the client before you know it. So what builds that necessary appeal? Here are some common portfolio mistakes, and a few some excellent resources.
“…I was browsing a few portfolios after having a discussion with a friend — who was redoing his own. I have to say it was a frustrating experience… In fact it was so frustrating, this post came as a result. After browsing 200 portfolios and keeping track of certain criteria I know I never want a job in human resources.”
There are seven common mistakes Kyle found:
- Poor navigation, using new tricks that impede viewing
- Using thumbnails that don’t show what the project is
- ‘Mystery meat’ squares that offer a ‘peek-a-boo’ game of surprises
- Not including a telephone number
- Hiding your email address
- No contact information of any kind
- Background music playing automatically
I’m guilty of one — not including a phone number. I purposely removed mine after receiving nuisance calls, but that’s not to say I don’t talk to my clients. My number is given after the initial emails, and is also on my card.
Chanpory Rith, of LifeClever, adds a further three portfolio mistakes:
- Flash animation
- No project labels
- No resumé / CV
While Flash can have its uses, there are pros and cons you should be aware of.
Have you seen a 100% Flash-based portfolio that works? Take the Leo Burnett website, for instance. Very clever, but do you need a big reputation in order to pull it off?
When reading the comments on the LifeClever article, Clark of Pop Wuping adds one further mistake that I completely agree with, neglect. Portfolios should be keep up-to-date. If nothing else, this can highlight a progression of your skills. I often find myself cringing at the standard of my past work, and suspect I’m not alone.
As for Chanpory’s third mistake (no CV), Seth Godin gives an interesting point of view in his article: Why bother having a resumé?
“Great people shouldn’t have a resumé.
“Here’s why: A resumé is an excuse to reject you. Once you send me your resumé, I can say, ‘Oh, they’re missing this or they’re missing that,’ and boom, you’re out.”
Seth goes on to answer the question, “If I don’t have a resumé, what do I use?” Worth a read.
- Creating the perfect portfolio. A great article from Collis Ta’eed who talks about identifying your audience, the potential employer, the business lead and putting yourself in their shoes.
- Build a killer online portfolio in 9 easy steps. Skellie lists 9 key points to consider when creating your online portfolio.
- What makes someone leave your website?. Steven Snell gives an insightful look at why your site visitors will leave before you want them to.
- Creating a successful online portfolio. Sean Hodge takes an in-depth look at online portfolios, mentioning mistakes and tips.
Are you making any of these mistakes? Do you have some usability tips of your own?