The demand for UX researchers keeps growing. Companies value these experts’ assistance in improving digital products and increasing customer satisfaction. Moreover, good UX research can even shorten development cycles by 33-50%. However, to connect with a brand and achieve great results, you first need to conduct strong and well-designed portfolio UX research.
As a UI/UX design agency, Arounda shares its extensive experience and expertise in case design. Keep reading to learn what a UX researcher portfolio consists of and how it differs from a UX designer one. Also, check out a step-by-step guide and some successful portfolio examples.
A UX research portfolio is a visual and narrative representation of the research process that includes the following elements:
Start with a brief introduction about yourself, your background, and your passion for UX research.
Case studies provide evidence of specialists’ research skills, analytical thinking, and ability to derive actionable insights. They typically include the problem statement, research objectives, methodologies, and critical findings.
A UX research portfolio should showcase a range of methodologies, including interviews, surveys, usability testing, diary studies, ethnographic research, and data analysis. Demonstrating expertise in such techniques shows versatility and flexibility in addressing different research needs.
Visual artifacts like personas, user journey maps, wireframes, and prototypes play a crucial role in your portfolio. Include them to communicate your findings, insights, and recommendations clearly and appealingly.
Highlighting the research's results and impact demonstrates your work's value and effectiveness. Show how your work influenced design decisions, improved UX, or contributed to the project's success.
A reflective analysis demonstrates critical thinking skills and a capacity for continuous improvement. Include a section that discusses lessons you learned and challenges you faced.
Provide precise contact details so potential employers or clients can contact you for opportunities or further inquiries.
While both portfolios showcase skills and expertise, a UX researcher focuses on research methods and insights. Meanwhile, UX designer case studies highlight the design process and visual aesthetics. Let’s explore this difference in more detail.
UX Researcher Portfolio:
Emphasizes the research process, methodologies, insights, and recommendations
Showcases expertise in data analysis, user testing, interviews, and collaboration with designers and stakeholders
Highlights the impact on UX and business outcomes
UX Designer Portfolio:
Showcases the design process, including research, ideation, wireframing, prototyping, and visual design
Demonstrates skills in user research, interaction and visual design, and collaboration with researchers
Focuses on solving design problems and creating visually appealing products aligned with brand guidelines
We prepared a step-by-step guide to help you create a compelling UX research portfolio:
Identify the target audience, such as potential employers, clients, or industry peers, and research their expectations and preferences. When applying for specific job opportunities, review the required skills, experiences, and deliverables carefully.
Then, look for existing UX research portfolios to gather inspiration and understand what works well regarding content, layout, and presentation.
Review your past research projects and prioritize those significantly impacting the project outcomes. Ensure you have the permissions and rights to showcase each project in your portfolio.
Avoid overwhelming your portfolio with too many case studies. Select three to five projects to showcase your best work and maintain the portfolio's focus and coherence.
Explore different platforms and options:
Create a personal website if you want to establish a personal brand and have a more flexible and tailored presentation. This way, you can customize the layout, navigation, and overall branding.
Portfolio platforms are helpful if you prefer a more straightforward setup process and want to tap into existing design communities. Behance, Dribbble, Cargo, and Adobe Portfolio offer templates and pre-built sections to streamline the creation process.
Choose UX-specific options if you want to emphasize your skills and connect with other professionals. Some examples include UXfol.io, MURAL, and UXfolio.
Now, it’s time to create an engaging bio and compelling case studies:
Introduce yourself as a UX researcher. Focus on your relevant background, education, and professional experience.
Explain how your skills, methodologies, and insights contribute to designing better experiences. Show how you influence decision-making and help achieve business objectives.
Structure your case studies by telling a coherent and engaging story. Start with an introduction that sets the context and explains the problem. Describe your research methods and process to showcase your skills and expertise. Present your findings, insights, and impact on a project.
Use visuals, like images, charts, or diagrams. They enhance the storytelling and make your case studies appealing. Include relevant visual representations of your research artifacts, such as personas and user journey maps.
Proofread your bio and case studies to eliminate grammatical errors, typos, and inconsistencies.
Review each portfolio page and test all the links to case studies, external references, and contact information. Ensure images and visuals display correctly and align with the content they represent. Pay attention to load times, responsiveness on different devices, and content clarity.
Ask peers, mentors, or UX research professionals for their feedback on the overall UX, design, content clarity, and ease of navigation. Encourage them to provide constructive criticism and improvement suggestions. Finally, adjust and publish your portfolio.
Want to discover how talented researchers craft their works? We prepared the best UX research portfolio examples focusing on their strengths and lessons to learn.
Let's take a look at Mia Eltiste. Her case studies highlight the research methods she employed and provide insightful explanations and resources to support her choices. Moreover, Mia goes the extra mile to provide context and detailed explanations for each research deliverable she showcases.
Theo Johnson, a Senior UX Researcher at Microsoft, presents his case studies in a clear and accessible manner. Viewers can examine the structure of each page — from the problem statement to the results and retrospective section.
Take inspiration from Benny Sun, who provides reasoning and context for testing methods choice. While a portfolio doesn't need to be overly verbose, explaining the "why" behind research decisions is vital for a compelling case study. Additionally, Benny incorporates actual feedback from test sessions, adding authenticity and credibility to his portfolio.
Jae Engle’s UX research portfolio example is in a PDF format. She focuses on business impact, timeline overview, and addressing recruitment challenges. This portfolio highlights the ability to deliver impactful research outcomes despite potential constraints. This way, Jae engages readers and provides valuable insights into her research process.
Here is one more good portfolio example. In addition to all mandatory items, Nikki Anderson highlights the challenges encountered during the research process. It’s critical to showcase the ability to navigate obstacles and find solutions with the available resources.
A well-crafted portfolio is a powerful tool for landing UX research opportunities and demonstrating your value to potential employers or clients. Remember to curate it with your best work, tell engaging stories, and provide context for your research decisions. And for inspiration, we suggest looking at our UI/UX case studies. At Arounda, we pay special attention to project challenges, results, and aesthetic presentations.
To create a UX research portfolio, select your most compelling and diverse case studies that showcase your research skills and outcomes. Present them with a clear structure, including the problem statement, research methods, and key findings. Also, emphasize the impact on the project or business.
It's a good idea to include three to five strong case studies demonstrating various research skills and experiences. Quality is more valuable than quantity. So focus on selecting your best work, highlighting different aspects of your expertise.
If you lack experience, focus on personal projects, like redesigning a website or app. Document your process, including research methods, any user feedback collected, and the resulting improvements. Highlight relevant coursework, certifications, or self-directed learning to demonstrate your commitment to the field.
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