Have You Put Your Digital Portfolio to the Test?

By Robert Half on October 24, 2015 at 10:00am

Want to win over prospective clients and employers? Make sure your digital portfolio shines by following these usability testing rules.

Whether you’re actively seeking employment, searching for freelance gigs or just like to keep your career options open, you’ll need a digital portfolio to serve as your primary marketing piece. And just as you would test a website project before launching it, you should also proof your digital portfolio to make sure it’s easy to use and free of errors.

Here, we’ve compiled a list of seven usability testing questions to help you create a polished digital portfolio that attracts attention for all the right reasons.

1. Is it intuitive?

User experience matters. Even though your digital portfolio is likely less complex than other website designs, it should adhere to the same principles. Is the navigation straightforward? Is there a search function? Does the hierarchy make sense? You want your visitors to dive right in without hesitation.

2. Is it streamlined?

Remember that your target audience includes design-savvy hiring managers and prospective clients, so you want a digital portfolio that’s easy on the eyes and clutter-free. Have you created an intentional flow for your portfolio? Eliminate any unnecessary images, pages or levels of navigation.

3. Is it easy to navigate?

Speaking of navigation, your reader should be able to move from your home page to your bio page to your contact page to your client list to your project case studies with ease. It should be clear to users how to get back to any page they want to revisit. Include your name and logo on every page — and link your logo back to the home page.


4. Is it free of mistakes?

On the technical side, make sure all internal and external links work. And if you have a form on the site that allows users to contact you, double-check that the instructions are clear and that the completed form gets sent to the right place.

But don’t get so caught up in the technical aspects of creating a digital portfolio that you overlook the basics. Have you paired the right descriptions with your work samples? Is everything spelled correctly? Did you use the right punctuation? Does the copywriting make sense? Resist the urge to use flowery language. Get to the point so readers can quickly understand who you are, what type of experience you have and what your contribution was to each project featured in your digital portfolio.

5. Is it accessible?

You may prefer one particular platform or browser, but you never know which ones your visitors will be using. Your digital portfolio needs to function properly on every version of every browser on every platform. And don’t forget about mobile devices. Pay attention to search engine optimization and meta tags, too.

6. Is it fast?

Load times are important. Nobody wants to wait three minutes for your project photo to render or a gratuitous video to play. Images that aren’t optimized for the Web, unnecessary animation and bulky code can all slow down your site.

7. Does it tell a compelling story?

Finally, does your digital portfolio truly pop? Does it tie together in a neat package that tells your professional story? Do the work samples you’ve chosen create a narrative about your skills and experience? Have you linked to your social media sites and, to the extent possible, branded them to match your digital portfolio? All of these things reinforce — or detract from — your personal brand.

But don’t stop here. Ask multiple people with different perspectives to review your work. Reach out to a writer, a fellow designer, a web developer — anyone in your network who can provide a fresh and informed perspective on the look and feel of your digital portfolio.

Although the process can be tedious, great designers take the time needed to properly test a website before launching it. You should provide that same level of detail to your digital portfolio.

Searching for a job or freelance work? The Creative Group can help you!

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