How to Show Your Best Interaction Design portfolio to Recruiter? (II)
How to sort out documents to create your best interaction design portfolio and to demonstrate them? And how to face the challenges from different interviewers?
When it comes to the preparetion for a face-to-face job interview, the documents of your design works are indispensable to show your design philosophy, principles and creativity to interviewers. In this part I will share how to manage documents to prepare your best interaction design portfolio and demonstrate your works in interviews in order to get a job you are looking forward.
In my last article How to Introduce Your Interaction Designer Portfoios to Interviewers (I), I've talked about the roles of interaction designers in different companies and what kind of information do interviewers expect to receive in the portfolios. With keeping these points in mind, now we can get stared with managing documents.
1. How to manage your interaction designer portfolio well?
1.1 When managing your portfolio, here are some things you should pay attention to:
I. When it comes to classic works, 3 or 4 cases are enough (smaller quantity, better quality)
II. The cases have to cover multi devices (PC, mobile, GUI, etc.)
III. Various business modes (ToC, ToB, foreground and background)
IV. Diverse interactive design wireframes (duplication and monotony prohibited)
V. To avoid repetition of color matching (for visual interaction designers)
VI. Presenting a recent case (made in the past half year)
VII. Showing your innovation in every case
VIII. For green hands, a single case also works
1.2 Prepare your CV and presentation separately
A tedious CV will decrease your opportunity of interview since interviewers don’t have such a long time to finish it all. It’s necessary to prepare a short but attractive CV to win the interview. And don’t just read your CV in the presentation. Believe me that no interviewer will like this.
1.3 Cases in CV
A good CV is the first thing you should have to win a nice job. Also, it reflects your personal style, so if there are cases in your CV (usually in the form of images), please make sure that every one of them worth thinking about.
For each case, you need to offer 4 key pages (Do NOT show pages of login or sign up) which can show a complete user task (for example: product searching, purchasing behavior). Every case need to be presented with timeline, version number and a brief explanation of the core conversion and how much has the design raised the conversion rate. Among these four things, there should be at least one case which is marked with operation logic, fault tolerance and bounds checking. When it comes to user studies, please offer concrete data. And you need another case with “use case flow chart”. If you want to show the visual effect, please offer the design itself.
The usage of fonts in this case could be refined. If you focus more on visual effects, please offer design norms of at least one case. (As designers, being able to output the design norms is a basic ability.)
1.4 General information of your works
It would be better to prepare a brief synopsis of your works. You don’t need to show it to interviewers. This synopsis will help you to sort out the order of your documents for portfolio of interaction design works and summarize the main works and state in every stage accurately.
1.5 The documents for the presentation
Clearly ordered documents of your works compose a key point to create the best interaction design portfolio. Create folders in your computer according to the case number in your CV and save design motivation documents and flowcharts separately which you need to present to the interviewers with your own laptop or tablet.
Don’t give anyone, including to the interviewers or CEO, the copy of your documents.
You won’t have enough time to talk about everything in the interview, so you need to decompose your presentation documents into fragments like some pictures or one-page documents, while you can also prepare a relatively complete design fragment.
Every document of your cases for the presentation normally concludes these following elements (not necessary to contain all of them for every document). And you need to classify the documents by cases and achieve them in independent folders numbered for the rapid use during interviews.
A. Primary demands & demands analysis, 1 page. (Summary of operation documents, paragraphs from product requirements document (PRD) and your understanding)
B. Analysis of interaction design of rival products, 3-5 pages. (Audience, interactive form of main business, usability, qualitative investigations, horizontal comparison Excel)
C. Industry research, 1 page. (Market shares, competition measures, growth rate and normal threats)
D. Conclusions of User Studies, 3-5 pages (Research methods, primary data, conclusions. It is obligatory to use conclusions in the design.)
E. Usage statistics and data analysis, 2-3 pages (Main conversion rate and remaining problems.)
F. User Personas, 3-5 pages (Some typical User Personas. You can read this article on how to create Personas.)
G. Conceptual design, 1 page.
H. Mind map or information structure, 1 page.
I. Usage scenarios, 2 pages. (It can be showed with any images or descriptions that demonstrate the core business.)
J. Sketch of the main interface, 1 page. (Here you should explain why you chose the framework that used and answer if there are more solutions.)
K. Page lists of user interfaces, 1 page. (This is an important element that easy to be ignored. It means a lot to the estimation of workload and work scheduling.)
L. Information flow map, 1 page. (The articulations between interfaces, logic of switch, functions. This map shows how much work you have done in the design and proves your design logic, so the more complicated the images are, the better.)
M. High-fidelity prototype and demo (It would be better that the prototype can be demonstrate on phones if it’s for mobile devices and with multi version. Here I recommend Mockplus as your prototyping tool since it allows you to demonstrate projects on multiple devices. By scanning a QR code, you can easily transfer a project between computer and mobile diveces. If you have not prepared alternatives, you should at least demonstrate with comparison of old interface and demos.)
N. Final version of UI & online version
O. Testing Result, 1 page. (It is very important to demonstrate your data and describe precisely the influence of design to the core conversion rate if there was verification.)
P. Interaction design document, 1 document. (A document includes design description of general your interaction design principles, basic mode, public rules, etc.)
Q. UI design norms, 1 document. (Interaction designers who focus more on the visual effects may offer complete norms of UI design (P.S: There are no such exclusive norms for interaction design.), mails, brief report, minutes of meeting that can describe the entire design process.)
2. Demonstrate your portfolio of interaction design works and face the challenges
2.1 Four-step Demonstration
Here you got a chart that I made by myself to show what you need to prepare for different interviewers in a clearer way. It may help to create your best interaction design portfolio easier.
Explain the stories behind your works from 4 aspects to different interviewers.
Context (Demands and analysis)
Difficulties and solutions (Process)
Result (Conclusions of design)
Must: Points that you must explain in detail
Glance: a general introduction is enough
Conditional: Explain when being asked (It’s a strategy to make interviewers think that these points are not the most valuable in your design)
2.2 Notes for presenting your interaction designer portfolio
A. Be loud and clear. (Keep your rhythm and calm down)
B. Observe the expressions of interviewers. (To examine whether they like it or not.)
C. What if the interviewers interrupt you? (The first time: ignore it; the second time: request them to wait until you finished the presentation; the third time: pause the presentation and discuss about the point been questioned.)
D. What if you are criticized by interviewers but with no preparation for it? (“I haven’t considered about this situation.” “I didn’t notice it.” “I need more time to think it over.” And continue with the next case.)
2.3 Turn the tables on the attackers
Never choose a company that doesn’t allow you to question during interviews.
Followings are some examples of the questions you can ask:
(After the introduction of division of labor) Does your firm have the same workflow?
(When introducing the result of user studies) Is there any specially-assigned person for this work?
Is there any certain stuff taking charging of user studies in your company?
(After explaining of UI design norms) Who’s in charge of UI norms in your company?
Notes: Ask the question to one of the interviewers and wait for his/her responds for a moment. If they ignore your questions for many times, find an excuse to leave.
2.4 Is it necessary to explain your design principles and design rules?
A. Administrative interviewers: “I don’t really understand what you are talking about.”
B. Interviewers in charge of business: “I don’t really care about it.”
C. Technical interviewers: “Come on, put aside your principles. The most important is that you have practical solutions.”
D. Interviewers who are designers: “I like your designs that break the rules.”
E. Interviewers who care about efficiency: “My clients will love your style!”
2.5 When being asked to comment on some design
Don’t do it on the spot because you may make mistakes. Ask if they could send it to your mail and tell them that you will give your feedback in few days.
2.6 When being asked to make a design according to some demands
It could be a trap that they want you to do them a free design, so find some ways to evite it.
2.7 When meet some interviewers who have a smatter knowledge of interaction design
Just leave them alone!
2.8 When your interviewers are sophisticated on interaction design
No matter whether you can get the job finally, you can try to ask the contact information.
2.9 How I interview interaction designers?
The best interaction design portfolio doesn’t mean folders with documents and CVs elaborated on User Studies, UX, creating Persona, User-Centered Design but with a terrible prototype and bad interaction design ideas.
2.9.1 Basic skills
Questions on multi choice, verification, form joint mechanism, etc.
It is not enough to be interaction designer only with design skills for mobile devices
2.9.2 Verification with a single question
Do you have any ideas of improving your work? Design works are like children for designers, and keeping thinking and imagining is one of the basic habits of them. If someone comes to the interview with works of others, he won’t give you the answer for this question.
2.9.3 Variety of design
Whether the candidates understand the Isomorphism and the Nonisomorhphism in interaction design and offer various solutions.
2.9.4 The ability of build the scenarios
To see whether they have considered enough scenarios and whether there is any logical contradiction.
It seems that we have so many documents to prepare and points to pay attention for an interview, especially when it comes to make the best interaction design portfolio in order to get the best job. However, everyone has his own specialties and preference, things I have listed in my article are for all kinds of situations, what you need to do first is to determine what kind of position you want to get and the type of the company to enter, then you will find that it is not so complicated to settle down your own portfolio for job interviews.
Original site: Hozin.com
Orignal link: hozin.com/Point/201703/WorkShow.html