Tuesday, November 14, 2023
HomeProduct ManagementWhat I Look For in a Senior Designer Portfolio at a Client-Dealing...

What I Look For in a Senior Designer Portfolio at a Client-Dealing with Early Stage Startup | by Ally Mexicotte | Nov, 2023

A portfolio is a window into your design ideas and course of. How very *inventive* of me.

I not too long ago accomplished the method of hiring for a Head of Design position at my present firm and was stunned after I couldn’t discover a lot high quality content material anyplace (YouTube, Medium, even Google) on find out how to assess a designer’s portfolio, particularly a designer for a senior management place.

My guess is that’s as a result of whether or not you want somebody’s designs are comparatively extra subjective than whether or not you want a product supervisor’s strategy, however I nonetheless assume there are numerous traits that we will systematically establish when searching for a robust designer.

There are, in any case, clear design finest practices round what’s “good” and “dangerous” design, so let’s use that toolbox to our benefit.

Earlier than we get into my portfolio standards, right here’s some transient context on our firm and what’s essential to us so you may see the way you may customise your individual hiring standards.

Since my present firm is in very early phases (pre-product market match), I personally look over every designer’s portfolio earlier than I or others on my group interview them.

I do have recruiters and HR of us who vet profiles earlier than they ever get to me, however given how essential this position is to our mission and success, I guarantee that I’ve given a portfolio the thumbs up earlier than I ask myself, my teammates or our founder to spend time with them.

Ability-level-wise, we’re searching for somebody who can fulfill the position of head of design. They’ve a robust command of UX and visible design, can run person interviews, assist us uncover what to construct, and create designs when necessities are nonetheless in movement.

The group is small and intensely gifted, so every of us wants to have the ability to effortlessly stream on the tempo others may contemplate sprinting (whereas juggling giant quantities of uncertainty).

We’re a non-profit, however design and technology-wise we function extra with a B2C mindset as a result of our founder comes from the B2C world (he created Shopzilla, which he later offered to grow to be TikTok).

Our product can be consumer-facing (donors and recipients). Because of this we have now a particularly excessive visible design and UX bar when portfolios, so I index closely on portfolios.

After I obtain somebody’s file, I first take a look at their portfolio to grasp their high quality of labor, then their resume, and eventually their brief solutions to the questions on the appliance kind earlier than assembly them for an interview.

No want to have a look at their resume or functions solutions — regardless of how spectacular—if their portfolio exhibits that they don’t have the kind of design abilities and aesthetic that we’re searching for.

When you work at a B2B firm and that you must rent a designer to work on an inner device, your course of most likely doesn’t index as extremely on portfolio design.

1. Stunning and intuitive visible and UX design.

The very first thing I take note of after I land on somebody’s web site is the primary impression I’ve of them. I can often instantly inform if they’ve a watch for B2C design that matches what I’m searching for.

That is fairly intuitive, which is okay. I depend on each subjective (my intestine) and goal measures of design to attempt to get to the most effective reply.

Since I need this text to be tactically helpful for you, listed below are some snippets of excellent portfolios I’ve seen.

Instance 1.

Visually clear aesthetic. Simple to learn. Tells me the position that this particular person served (founding designer), lists out 0–1 expertise, mentions strategic expertise — all of the issues I’m searching for. Credit score to https://www.matthewschuler.co/

Instance 2.

This web page made it very simple to see one case examine at a time. I used to be stunned at what number of portfolios made it tough to decide on which case examine to click on into. One case examine takes up my entire display screen, giving me context about what it was about, and displaying me a sneak peek of the designs for every. Credit score to https://aimemenendez.com/

On this step, I’m simply seeing if the location appears to be like good, is straightforward to make use of, and customarily expertise.

Does it assist me get to know this particular person, or does it go away me feeling annoyed as a result of I’m misplaced within the navigation or it took me someplace I wasn’t anticipating to go? Are there buttons that appear to be buttons however really aren’t?

2. Frames the issue effectively

Behind each good design, reply, resolution, or studying is an effective query.

Asking the best questions doesn’t at all times provide the proper reply, however asking the incorrect query will virtually positively get you the incorrect reply.

So — as soon as I get a really feel for the general design type and usefulness of the web site, I leap straight into the case research.

I look very carefully at how they framed their downside assertion or what downside they had been charged with fixing.

I like how this concurrently offers me precisely what I’m searching for and makes it really easy for me to search out it through the clear headings and sections. Credit score to https://www.web3designer.tech/

I used to be stunned at what number of portfolios jumped straight into their reply of how they solved it with out taking a second to specific what they had been making an attempt to resolve.

After I’m flipping via portfolios, I don’t at all times have the total context of whether or not a query was 100% the best query to ask (I wasn’t there), but it surely ought to convey why the issue or query is essential to their product and mission.

I ought to be capable to perceive it instantly, and it ought to be compelling.

3. Brings experience & inspiration.

Did they spend 6 months tweaking a sub-feature that was most likely spec’ed out to dying, or did they determine find out how to remedy a greenfield downside in a really eloquent and sensible approach?

Given the place we’re as an organization, it’s essential {that a} designer has 0 to 1 expertise.

And never solely am I searching for somebody who’s constructed one thing out of nothing, I’m additionally searching for somebody who evokes me.

As soon as I framed who I used to be searching for on this approach (“do you encourage me?”), it was a lot simpler to kind via the portfolios and resumes.

I began asking myself different questions, like “will I be taught extra and grow to be a greater product particular person working with you?”

4. Solutions the case examine downside with simply the correct amount of element.

That is the place I’m searching for the impression this particular person had.

I’m searching for succinct however holistic. Present your math, however don’t drag me via the glass.

This particular person succinctly summarizes their course of. It’s simple to learn, easy and will get to the purpose rapidly. I don’t must scroll endlessly to get the purpose. Credit score to https://www.matthewschuler.co/

I discovered that lots of junior designers are likely to go a bit of overboard right here. There have been lots of portfolios that confirmed each step of their design course of, which can be good, however often summarization may even get the purpose throughout.

Sifting via the “reply” piece of the portfolio is the place I attempt to perceive their course of.

It’s principally the place the place a designer is answering the query, “How did you determine what to construct/design?”

In fact, everybody is aware of to dutifully responds to the query with “person testing” so I search for a couple of layers of depth on prime of that.

Consumer testing is nice for studying and testing your assumptions, however typically instances it doesn’t provide you with a transparent reply and as a substitute offers you extra questions.

Plus, everyone knows now that you simply don’t go to your clients and ask them “what would you want me to construct?” so the issue fixing logic actually can’t cease at person testing.

There are a variety of further layers to reply the query, “how did you determine what to construct,” together with hypotheses testing, riskiest assumption testing, and steady discovery.

Lastly, the cherry on prime is when designers quantify or present the impression that their answer and designs had on account of their course of. That is uncommon and I do know it may be exhausting to do, but it surely additionally units you aside from the remaining if you do that.

For a job the place unbelievable ability in B2C visible and UX design are paramount, we index closely on portfolios.

Right here’s what I search for:

1. Stunning and intuitive visible and UX design.
2. Frames the issue effectively.
3. Brings experience & inspiration.
4. Solutions the issue with simply the correct amount of element.

Designers are extremely highly effective — they’re those who make concepts come to dwell. For a species that closely will depend on sight and visualization, design is a superpower.

I hope this was helpful to you in your journey to search out your designer.

When you’ve got any questions or strategies on how I can enhance my search standards, submit it within the feedback! I’m at all times curious to be taught extra from the bigger neighborhood.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -
Google search engine

Most Popular

Recent Comments