I answer questions about UX, Information Architecture and other topics on Quora. A selection of these answers will be reposted on Medium with occasional, minor editing for clarity. Following are selected questions I answered in December.
As an archives focused UX designer I always recommend creating a master portfolio that you have complete control over, whether on your own WordPress site or on your local drives. (Ideally both with backups in the cloud). Having control over the data means that you will always be able to access, edit and customize it regardless of whether the portfolio site of the day is still in business. A platform like WordPress is great because it allows you to import and export the CMS database. You should back it up frequently.
Your portfolio should be customizable content so you can craft a deck specifically for the job or contract you are applying for. It should contain not just your best work, but the work you most want to do and is most relevant for the job being offered. You can create separate portfolios for different kinds of work and direct people to those specific portfolio files. You should also have a PDF or Keynote/PPT version available in case a recruiter wants it emailed and also because it is easy to carry into a meeting and have available offline when internet access is slow or not available. If someone asks for work samples, you can either email the presentation deck or send a link to the relevant samples when highlighting your work history for a recruiter or prospective client, depending on their requirements.
If you use a portfolio site like Behance or Dribbble, only include a few top notch pieces and be sure to link it to your more detailed CV website. Be sure to tag the type of work you do on each sample you upload to these sites, and include a brief explanation of the problem you solved and how you came up with a solution. The story of the design solution is very important for UX work, and I don’t see it done quite enough. Can you explain why you made choices you did? Were there in-between stages that reflect some of the decisions or pivot points in the design? Was it an individual assignment or a team effort? How does your work fit in with the overall team effort? Are you effectively claiming the entire design as your own if you only show end results? How will you explain your role in an interview if the end product is a team effort? Is the visual enough? Usually, it isn’t.
My complete online CV is a WordPress website that lists blog posts (that I republish to a Medium account), speaking engagements (with presentation slides linked at Slideshare), a general resume and a bibliography of published work and exhibitions. My portfolio is just a part of that overall CV website. It is unlikely that a recruiter would make time to peruse it all, but it’s all there should someone want to dive a little deeper into what kind of person I am, what my interests are and what I like to write about.
In fact the website has become a bit of a “catalog raisonné” and to be honest it is due for an overhaul. I have mixed feelings about cutting back and will probably just remove thumbnail shots from some of the earlier work (some of the older visuals look quite naive compared to more recent standards). I’d love to hear how others manage the assessments of older work samples, particularly when it’s the type of project or industry work you want to keep doing.
It’s not a crisis. It’s charity season. As people enter the holiday season, they open their wallets and give to their favorite charities. If you open your mail on any day from mid October through December (at least in the US, probably elsewhere), you will see similar, increasingly desparate-sounding appeals from other charities hoping to get a bit of your annual tax deduction locked in for the year.
That said if you like Wikipedia, use it and find value in it, whether as a source of information, community or for their really cool data tools go ahead and give. It’s a great service.
When you make a donation on the Wikipedia website, you are giving to the Wikimedia Foundation, which runs several projects in addition to Wikipedia, including Wikidata, Wikimedia Commons and others. As a Foundation, Wikimedia offers grants to its worldwide chapters, project teams and individuals to cover costs such as travel, Editathons and other events, equipment, research, etc. According to their grants page, they give about $9 million US dollars per year in support to these efforts.
More info and links to awarded grants here: