Build an Awesome Case Study for Your Portfolio
Creating and mentioning case studies in your UX portfolio may seem like a heavy task for you. But you need to showcase your best work to become a successful designer and to prove yourself different in this crowded world. Your portfolio is a mirror of what you have inside your brain and portrays a true person inside you with fire to create great designs and products.At the center, a UX case study depends on astounding storytelling with a clear, logical, and reasonable structure. This article is meant to break down the anatomy of a UX case study to help you tell a basic and compelling story that shows off your skills. We'll begin with some broad rules and structure, and then explain to you one point at a time.
Let’s start with the basics
What is a UX Case Study?
Basically, a case study is an essay or a story of the work you have done. The objective, obviously, is to showcase your abilities on the project and help potential businesses envision how you would utilize those skills if you have worked for them.A case study is regularly composed like a highly visual article, with text strolling users or readers through a curated set of pictures. Curated is a significant word here on the grounds that it should be straightforward, simple, and sweet. It's an opportunity to share what you want potential employers or clients to know about your work in that particular project.Considering that, case studies are actually a UX designer’s secret weapon in two different ways.To start with, they get you in the entryway by showing more about your work than a resume and a cover letter actually could. Another advantage is that they're truly helpful in job interviews. If someone needs to know about your past work or projects you have worked on, you can walk them through the case study you've just made (this is sometimes mandatory too.)
We referenced that UX case studies are all about storytelling. We would really say they're regarding ‘stories-telling’ since they have to narrate two different stories.The first is in the account of your project. This addresses what issue you solved, who your users were, what solutions you investigated, and what impact they had.Another story is about you as a designer and the process you follow. This is more about which techniques you decided to utilize and why, how you worked within your limitations, and how you worked as a team member (or without one).
Structure of a case study you can follow
Everyone might have different styles and different formats. But are they sufficient to make it attractive?
So, how can you build an effective case study?
Indeed, like most things in design (and in life), it depends. Each case study will be unique, dependent upon what stories you're telling. The six-section layout below, however, should direct you through a powerful format for any UX case study. Here's the blueprint (we'll discuss every part in later.)
- Defining the Problem
- Understanding your Users
- Early or alternate ideation
- Final solution
- Next steps and learnings
Like any resume, your case study should have an introduction that will explain the context to your readers to understand your project. This is one section where people would actually take time to read and understand what you are offering them further. Make sure you present all the basic things in the introduction. This calls for your background part.
Defining the problem
After the introduction to your project, jump into the problem you have tackled. You already mentioned something about the problem in the introduction part but this section will exclusively focus on the problem part more profoundly. This section will highlight the reason why you actually worked on this project. Did industry demand for a new product? Did past customers want to redesign an existing product? Explain all these queries in this section.
Understanding your users
After introducing your problem, now it’s time to show how it impacted your users and their interaction with the product. If you are looking for a core job where you are interested in doing user research or market research for the product, you must include your previous interview scripts or any questionnaire you shared with your clients. This section will surely explain the process of user research you follow.
Early or alternate ideation
This section will vary according to what you want to show. Many hiring managers don't want to see the final products but they are keen to learn your process behind it. So, it will be better if you explain your process. Suppose, you are a student or designer with no fully-built product, this can be a moment to showcase your skills. Results will be achieved when you will have support.You can make your case study more attractive by including various diagrams, digital wireframes, site maps, and so on.
Final design solution
This section will include more of your final draft. Such as wireframes, color mockups, and the actual product. Divide the final product to show in different stages so that users (hiring managers) can understand it in one go. Only include the work you have done and not the others.Explain various decisions and constraints which made the design go different than in the earlier stages. Explain why you changed the design.
Next steps and learnings
End your case study with the next design steps and key insights you learned from the project. No product is perfect or final. Showing your next approach will make you shine better. It gives assurance that you will be working on the project continuously without leaving it in between.Every project or product keeps on improving. So including your future steps to improve the product is important for your prospects and even the hiring managers. This process will showcase how self-aware you are about your work.
Since every case study is an exceptional story you're telling about your project, it's a mixture of art and science. Yet, beginning with the structure laid out in this article will show who you are as a designer and how you tackled the problem. And moreover, those are two stories companies and employers need to hear!Are you interested in reading more on UX? We have quite fascinating storage of information around UX, Machine Learning, and AI that might interest you. Visit our blog section.