There are a few important points to consider when it comes to building your online design portfolio. I’m often asked what builds that necessary appeal. Here are some relevant resources and a few common portfolio mistakes.
Kyle Meyer recently published his experience of bad design portfolios.
“…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
My advice? Don’t build websites using Flash.
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?
In the comment thread on the LifeClever article, Clark of Pop Wuping adds a further mistake that I completely agree with, neglect. Portfolios should be kept up-to-date. If nothing else, this can highlight a progression of your skills. I often find myself cringing at the standard of past work. I reckon I’m not alone.
As for Chanpory’s third mistake (no CV), Seth Godin gives an interesting point of view in his post: 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 then answers 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.
- 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?