folio focus

Great Portfolio Design

You never get a second change to make a first impression. So make the best impression you can. You are the brand. Choose a visual style that communicates what you are about. Serious? Creative? Conservative? Looks count. But more importantly is to know yourself and what you are about. Make sure you are presenting yourself authentically.

Sometimes a CV comes in and I think this looks really good and I would like to see how they present themselves online. One of things I am most interested is how they communicate and what they have to say. I want to get to know them and how they think.

In UX it is not just your work that gets noticed. It is your approach and how you conduct yourself that counts most.

Do not talk at people, instead of to. It verges on crazy. “What I can do for your business/you”. Really? This sends a message that screams. “I have no clue and am talking utter BS”. It is arrogant and standoffish. One of the worst things is when I visit a site and the person makes assumptions of why I am there. You cannot possible know in advance. There are so many reasons why some one would land on your site.

The opposite of good design is bad design, not no design.


  • Simple or no design is better than bad design
  • Ask yourself whether you want to be highly stylized or more general
  • Use actual screen shots of your work with links to view larger
  • Show samples of wireframes, flows, personas and steps to the finished product as well as actual solutions
  • Do not use logos of your clients
  • Do not post work without permission
  • Make sure images are clear
  • Use a professional photo of yourself or tightly cropped image without background scenery
  • If the site design is not good enough for your toughest client, it is not good enough for yourself
  • Check for broken links
  • Better yet avoid linking to live websites and use large screen shots as websites change
  • Create a navigation system that allows people to browse online rather than download big zipped files
  • Show don’t tell & provide evidence. If you say you are an accessibility/usability expert then do not have a site that does not meet standards with graphical headers or unreadable text.
  • Better to be good at one thing than a jack of all trades and master of none
Visit Folio Focus for some great examples
Reputations are built on what you have done, not what you are going to do.