If you come to me as a designer telling me you know how to use a User-Centered Design (UCD) approach in 2024, I’ll reply: Please close the door on your way out.
By now, companies are aware of what UCD stands for, and human-centered interfaces are not a plus but what is expected. So, how can you stand out?
Creating a UX design portfolio that showcases cost-effective and feasible designs involves demonstrating your ability to balance user experience, technical constraints, and business considerations.
Include the context!
We may not always feel 100% proud of our design, often due to the unavoidable confrontation with technical and financial constraints, which call for design decisions that may not perfectly align with a human-centered perspective. Including context and explaining the reasons behind specific design choices offers a broader perspective on the project, shedding light on the challenges faced and justifying decisions made throughout the process. Use clear project descriptions to articulate specific goals and constraints, demonstrating an understanding of project scope and limitations.
Prove how your process aligns with resources.
Highlight your prototyping skills, illustrating how low-fidelity prototypes helped to iterate and validate concepts early in the design process, identifying cost-effective solutions. Emphasize collaboration with development teams to showcase instances where technical feasibility and budget constraints led to optimization.
Design Is No One-person Show
Design is no one-person show, meaning you have shared problems and solutions. In optimizing design outcomes, a pivotal strategy involves collaborative efforts with the research team or at least conducting individual research. By actively including collaboration experiences, designers can show they can engage with a group, tap into diverse perspectives, leverage specialized expertise, and comprehensively understand user needs and preferences.
Collaborative research enriches the design process and creates a collective intelligence, leading to more informed decisions. Make visible that you understand how research and collaboration contribute to optimizing results by aligning design solutions with a more profound comprehension of user behaviors, desires, and pain points.
Show How You Follow Industry Best Practices
Following established practices guarantees that the design satisfies user expectations and is smoothly assimilated into current systems, minimizing the need for expensive modifications. This dedication to industry standards fostered confidence in the design’s reliability and supported its long-term sustainability by conforming to established norms and frameworks. Integrating best practices elevates the user experience and optimizes development workflows, leading to a cost-effective solution that meets user requirements and industry standards.
Do What You Normally Do
Include visual presentations if they help to process data, use case studies to provide insights into your design process, decision-making, and problem-solving skills. And discuss the expected outcomes of your designs or real-life results, such as improvements in user satisfaction, efficiency gains, or cost savings, if the data is available.
With these elements in your portfolio, you’ll showcase how to design practical, cost-effective solutions that work within market constraints.