Recently, we came across the portfolio website of UI/UX designer Radilson Gomes from Brazil. As seasoned design educators, we have come across thousands of portfolios, and very few can compare to the excellence of his portfolio. Let’s breakdown why Radilson, aka Rad, was so successful at creating a masterpiece of a portfolio and how you can also do the same.
Make Case Studies Extremely Scannable
UI/UX design projects are complex, but your case studies shouldn’t be. They need to be extremely easy to read and more importantly, scannable, because attention spans are getting shorter and busy hiring managers only have a few seconds to decide if they want to keep your portfolio to read later or pass right now. Just because you invested hours in creating your long case studies doesn’t mean it will get read if it’s too long. So invest your time wisely – rather than spending time recounting all the steps you took to get to the results of the project, think about how to summarize the most important points quickly. It’s like an elevator pitch – if you only have 30 seconds to tell someone a story, what would you say?
This is where Radilson shines the most – he made his case studies effortlessly scannable. Heck, he even did a short version, or in Internet lingo, a TL;DR (aka too long didn’t read) version for those who are allergic to reading, which most people are these days.
Now let’s break down how he made his case studies extremely readable.
First of all, he used a typography technique where he highlighted several key phrases in the intro paragraphs so that people immediately get a sense of what the project is without reading the paragraph. This is similar to bolding a few keywords in a paragraph, but he did it in a more elegant way by varying the color of the emphasized text against de-emphasized ones. Although from an accessibility standpoint, the lighter gray he used may be too hard to read, but that’s story for another day.
To optimize the reading experience even more, he made sure that no paragraph is too long or cluttered when presented on the page. Copy editing is clearly an integral part of his case study design process and it paid off big time.
Pull Out Important Statistics and Information
Another thing he did was pulling out important statistics and information with big, bold typography treatment in separate sections that are scattered throughout the case study page.
In addition to typography treatments, he also created card treatments to highlight key parts of the design process, which provides additional ways for people to scan through the project quickly.
Preview Your Project With Stunning Visuals
One thing Radilson did really well is showing previews of his design first before diving into any details. He leads with a bold title and a couple of screenshots of the most eye-catching parts of his design. This is a classic storytelling technique that TVs and films use all the time – remember how people usually make the decision to see a film based on how enticing the trailer is? If you want hiring managers to be so intrigued that they save your portfolio to the “read later” folder, you have entice them a little, too.
Write Engaging Headlines with No UX Process Cliches
One of the biggest problems entry level designers have is they present portfolios in similar formats. We’ve all heard of the double diamond method, classic UX frameworks, design thinking – all that stuff is great, but if you lead with these overused buzzwords, your portfolio will read like 99% of other applicants.
A great way to look at UX writing for your own portfolio site is – if someone has never studied design and couldn’t care less about it, would they still be intrigued to read your case study? If you think and write like a journalist, they sure will be!
Instead of writing “Define” as the section heading, write something that actually describes what you “defined”. For example, “A new generation of social media users wanted changes in how their data is stored”. This tells you way more than just “define”.
Throughout Radilson’s case studies, he found ways to incorporate meaningful headings such as “find local deals and save money” and “boost your sales and get valuable insights”.
Make Navigation Easy and In Multiple Places
To make the reading experience even better, Radilson incorporated sticky sidebar navigation on both the homepage of his portfolio website and internal case study pages. Even though his case studies are not that long compared to a lot of people’s, he still strives to make the reading experience as easy as possible by giving the power of navigation to users – when you can show that your website itself embodies delightful user experience, hiring managers know that you can do a great job at designing their products as well.
He even took it a step further and created a beautiful strikethrough effect for sections you already read to help you stay on track. Another subtle but great user experience design in the books.
Add Thoughtful and Subtle Interaction Design
Finally, to top it off, Radilson probably wanted his portfolio site to shine like no others and he managed to do just that by adding in thoughtful and subtle interaction effects. Once you discover the beauty of animation, it can get so exciting that you keep wanting to add more. But Radilson added just the right amount – subtle, not too much and stunning.
A lot of the websites from design award sites are super beautiful visually with some of the craziest animations, but they could be a bit little distracting if you want to focus on consuming the content. Radilson clearly understands this and instead focuses his animation on mild movements such as zoom in and out, highlight effect on hover and some super smooth auto play position and perspective animations.
This is going the extra mile which always pays off because it adds that additional delight factor that simply isn’t there in 99% of other websites. It also sets the tone of voice and personality of your personal brand as someone who will make extra effort.
Have you thought about how to make sure your portfolio lands in the “hell yes” pile and not the “maybe” or worse, “hell no” pile? Do what Radilson is doing and voila, you will find that the job market is no longer saturated. It is only saturated with mediocre applicants but if you do all the right things and willing to go the extra mile, you will emerge as a designer that every company wants to talk to.
To get your portfolio into the top of the “hell yes” pile in 2-3 months, apply to Portfolio School to join the next cohort headed by top instructors who are working industry professionals with real teaching experience.