• Malte NuhnMalte Nuhn, over 8 years ago (edited over 8 years ago )

    In terms of transitioning, the advice from Will and others here is right - there's nothing like actually designing and building apps.

    In terms of positioning, you can also take a few practical steps.

    I'm currently hiring for a product designer, and have screened probably 50 portfolios recently. What I look for in a portfolio is actually quite simple:

    • Relentless user focus - i.e. evidence you're regularly talking to users, getting their feedback, testing things. The ideal candidate shows me they enjoy this and really understand the value: failure on paper > failure in photoshop > failure in production.

    • Humility at concept stage, pride in the execution. Strong 'artistic' streaks in a portfolio concern me, because they suggest creative vision trumps usability focus. Great for visual design, awful for UX.

    • Experience designing actual user interfaces Landing pages don't count - show me that you understand information architecture, affordances, relative prominence, progressive disclosure. And that you really get the value of using components that users understand intuitively because they're omnipresent. I love a good paper prototype for this

    This is for a high-impact role in a startup (with product ownership) - but I don't think the baseline changes a lot for a role in a larger organisation, unless they're so big that they divide the UX/UI roles

    So, what would I do?

    1. *Emphasise UX and UI components of your work. * Your past work wasn't all UX and UI, but you've got some examples in there. I'd highlight those.

    2. Find 'UX-y' approaches to non-UX work - and document them. Sketching, user interviews, design studio & participatory design - all work really well even for marketing assets, landing pages etc.

    3. Build some clickable paper prototypes, and share them. Bonus points if they're on paper - it's faster (so you can practice more), and you already can proved you can do the visual design. Start with re-imagining apps you use a lot (so you are the user), and then move on to ones you don't get at all.

    4. Build an alternative UX portfolio.. Start with the user (i.e. the hiring manger), and understand the IA that makes sense for them. Nothing's sacred here - maybe writing you're also a videographer actually puts people off? Or convinces them?

    Good luck, and let us know how you get on!

    6 points
    • Martin LeBlancMartin LeBlanc, over 8 years ago

      Great answer.

      0 points
    • Erick De La RosaErick De La Rosa, over 8 years ago

      WOW. Absolutely blown away by your response. There is so much great in here. Thank you for taking the time.

      I will definitely take your advice on constantly speaking about the user rather than the final product. The why rather than the what.

      0 points