How to write project case studies for your portfolio

How to talk about solution and key design elements

Showcase your results.

This is where you show your work and explain why.

Start with large images of the resulting layouts.

If you have explained the problem well, we hope your solution will become understandable for a listener, and they will focus on your work instead of trying to figure out what they are looking at.

Key achievements and/or improvements

No matter what the results were–if you decided to talk about a failed experiment or an astonishing achievement, consider talking about what your work has achieved.

If you have followed the previous article and described what was the expected outcome, here is the place to tell how it worked out after release or user testing (or any other result relevant to your project).

When showing your work, consider pointing out what were the design decisions that helped achieve the results and what the results were.

How did you know if the design or solution was any good?

Have you achieved the goals you planned to achieve? If you have listed them before, comparing your expectations and actual results could be great storytelling.

Talk about how you knew that that problem was solved. Usually, a relevant product metric was affected by your work, or there was some measurable change in user experience.

Key design solutions

If you are writing notes for your presentation, make a list of layouts that you can share that would illustrate your story and results in the most convenient way for a listener.

Since we are talking about a product designer job interview, your listeners would be most interested in your design skills. Please make sure to provide high-definition images.

If you have to adjust existing layouts for your presentation slightly–do it if it helps you explain your work better.

Think of these questions:

  • What were the key design solutions you provided?
  • How did you know if they have solved the problem?
  • Highlight experience with working across cross-platform (web/mobile/desktop) products.

Constraints and tradeoffs

  • Were there any constraints that affected your design decisions?
  • Tradeoffs you and your team had to make or explorations you decided against.
  • What would you have done differently if you had to start from the beginning knowing what you already know now?

Sometimes when we show our work, the decisions are not obvious and could be explained by limitations or constraints. E.g., you were limited by the time, or there was not enough audience to run a proper a/b test or some technical restrictions. Mention them if they are relevant and help you explain your work better.

It is always great when you can show and explain what you would have done differently if there were no constraints and what would have been the best design you think you could have delivered. If possible, show that. The least you can do is explain what you've learned from this work.

Measuring progress/success

Consider mentioning datapoints that back up your design decisions:

  • How you were involved in the research phase.
  • How you made decisions based on data throughout.
  • A/B testing, UX research, and any other relevant data that supports your story.

It is always nice to explain how you got the data you used to guide you for your design decisions and how you have measured your project's success.

Explain how you've learned about the user problem. It all matters if you participated in user research, data analysis, or tested hypotheses by building prototypes. It helps a listener understand your decisions.

Basically, there are two things to think about:

  • Research phase, where you learn about a problem and get a better understanding of it.
  • Verification: after you come up with a solution, have you tested it against reality to ensure it would achieve the desired outcome?
How to talk about my role, contribution, XFN (cross-functional)
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