My Last Portfolio Sucked, Your's Might Too
An interesting article from astheria.com dealing with the overall experience when viewing a portfolio, in this case online. The author points our overarching issues he found after viewing 200 portfolios. Things like overly complex navigation and indistinguishable thumbnails discouraged the author from delving deeply into some, while a lack of contact information defeated the purpose of others. The article highlights two main points when designing a portfolio that will get you recognized:
-Keep the entire user experience in mind. Take into account how the viewer will want to look at your work. Chances are slim that they want or have the time to dive in to the full sensory experience, so omit the fancy flash navigation and background music. Most viewers, especially employers, want to flip through quickly and go back if something caight their eye. Their should be a hierarchy of communication that naturally allows viewers to do this.
-Remember why you are displaying your work. In most cases, a portfolio is used to land a job. If evaluating your talent, specific to the job you are applying for, and contacting you after the fact is an employer's main focus then it should be yours as well. Resumes and contact information are critical and must be easy to find, read and use.
This really isn't different from the approach we take with porduct design. Understand your audience and the experience they will have with your design.