I’m finishing up a new iteration of my portfolio, and I thought I’d share with you how I’m changing it and why in case you are looking to showcase your work and my experience here could be useful. Perhaps this could be useful to anyone whose work would be showcased visually.
The big visual- Minimizing other elements initially
The main change for my portfolio is that I’ve minimized the amount of verbiage in the portfolio section. Instead of telling people about the technology I used and the problem I’ve solved, they can simply look at huge examples of the work, and hopefully it speaks for itself. If they are interested in learning more there is a tab that opens up with challenges, key numbers or why it matters to the client depending on the client.
The reason I’m showing the work in a very large way is because I want to accentuate the visual design of the work. Before my portfolio was composed of 3 side by side elements, which were smaller and made the work feel almost secondary to the things I wanted to say about it. Yes, you could click on the work for a light box with larger photos, or a case study with larger photos but many people will just give the site a cursory glance. Perhaps tucking away the larger imagery would make it even more likely they would just quickly look and not dive deeper.
This area, for each project contains around 250 words each. I’ve tried to both put value in there for clients who are looking for a web designer, and make sure to mention things that people will be searching for on google. Because I know that just because something is well-designed, doesn’t mean it will be found on Google, and being found is part of my business plan.
Key points someone would want to know called out right away
Where I used to have big iconography right away underneath the hero unit on my site, now I have 3 brief paragraphs so someone can understand why I do things the way I do things. I focus here on the value I would provide their project(s,) and how I think so if they are comparing two designer/developer’s than they can make an informed decision without digging.
More Trust Factors – Added publications and awards
I didn’t always have these, so it’s understandable I’ve not always added websites I’ve been published on and awards work I’ve done has received. Now I do have some of those things, so I took logo‘s from each and lined them up so people can quickly see than I’m not just a lone wolf, I’m involved in a rich community. Some of these logos/badges may not mean a whole lot to many visitors, so I’ve included links to the article or award received.
Just like I usually tell my clients, there’s an opportunity to educate your customers on the value of your brand. By associating it with these other higher value brands who have awarded you, you gain more trust.
Something borrowed, something free
A free consultation is nothing new, and I didn’t invent it, but the principle is sound. People are definitely more likely to claim something free than to start the conversation for what will likely be thousands of dollars. The new portfolio accentuates this fact with a call to action at the top of the page, and at the bottom of the content. This is a principle I’ve been implementing for years for other people’s websites and so I think it’s high time I take my own medicine. The spoonful of sugar is the fun of trying to make it look nice so more people are inclined to interact with it.
Big video, bringing something classic back
I don’t want to say I thought of this before it was cool… but…
In the end the principle here is highlighting things in a big visual way, and if people want to dive deeper making obvious and simple for them to get there. For many web design projects I think this principle stands true. Keep the information available and close at hand but not necessarily displaying the info right from the gate.