Portfolios...

6 Apr 2004 - 6:28am
10 years ago
6 replies
433 reads
Alex Bainbridge
2003

Joshua wrote:
>--it's difficult to build a portfolio of interaction design.

Difficult - but not impossible.

A couple of years ago I thought through the same problem (having done all my
work for clients so not able to demonstrate prior work - besides most of it
was team work as has been discussed)

My 'solution' was (and still is) to write general papers that I then publish
on my own website:

http://www.travelucd.com/research/

One of which has been downloaded now over 15,000 times over the last couple
of years. (as its free)

Anyway, this research - and others that I sell online - provide me a nice
set of documents that I can happily show someone when looking for a new
client etc - or explaining what I do. It has helped a great deal. In my view
better than a portfolio!

(As an aside, it also helps clear up any IP issues that relate to my
designs - which is important if, like me, you jump from client to client in
the same sector)

kind regards

alex

--
Alex Bainbridge
Senior Consultant

alex.bainbridge at travelucd.com
http://www.travelucd.com/

Travel UCD Limited : consultants in travel & hospitality website design

Switchboard : +44 (0)845 130 3917 Monday to Friday : 8am - 7pm
Saturday : 9am - 3pm

The information in this email is confidential. The contents may not be
disclosed or used by anyone other than the addressee. If you are not the
intended recipient, please notify us immediately at the above address. We
cannot accept any responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of this
message as it has been transmitted over a public network. Travel UCD Limited
has installed proprietary virus checking software on its system to check
that emails and attachments sent by it do not contain known viruses. However
Travel UCD Limited can give no warranty that this email is free from
infection by viruses or anything else that has contaminating or destructive
properties. Accordingly you should implement your own virus checking
procedures before opening this email and any attachments.

Comments

7 Apr 2004 - 6:32pm
Josh Seiden
2003

The hiring process that I learned at Cooper, and that
I've tried to use since, is based on a pair of
assumptions:

1. That IxD skills, for the reasons discussed in my
previous post, are difficult to assess with traditional
hiring tools like résumés and portfolios.

2. That a successful hiring process allows both parties
to learn a great deal about each other, in order to
make good decisions regarding the tender and acceptance
of an employment offer.

Based on those assumptions, Cooper used the following
steps:

1. Submit a resume, an optional portfolio, and a test.
(See http://www.cooper.com/content/company/d_test.asp
for the current version.) The test includes both a
short, constrained problem, and a longer open-ended
problem. The short problem allows candidates to
demonstrate an ability to do detailed UI design work in
a desktop environment. The longer problem allows
candidates to demonstrate how they approach big
conceptual problems, how they translate their
approaches to concrete design, and how comfortable they
are working in non-PC digital domains.

Together, the tests span a range of the type of
problems solved in the shop, and demonstrate to a
candidate the type of work they'll be doing if hired.

2. If the resume and test look good, a (series) of
phone screens are held, including one that reviews the
tests with questions similar to the ones Julie
describes discussing in a portfolio review. Any
portfolio discussions would start here as well.

3. Following phone screens, candidates are invited in
for an interview. At the interview, more test and
portfolio reviews take place. Candidates also take a
whiteboard test, which allows the candidate to
demonstrate thinking processes, client-facing skills,
and design approach. It also demonstrates to candidates
another facet of the work that they will be expected to
handle if they're hired.

4. Assuming all of that goes smoothly, the candidate is
invited in to spend a day in the shop working on real
projects. This is really the ultimate test--one meets
and checks chemistry with potential co-workers, engages
in the real day-to-day work of the shop, and is
expected to produce and contribute to the work in
progress.

By the end of this step, both parties have developed a
rich, reality-based understanding of one another, and
are ready to make informed decisions.

JS

> Joshua;
>
> This is very interesting. Can you tell us more about
these tests and
> what they entail?
>
> --Gary
>
> On Apr 5, 2004, at 11:00 AM, Joshua Seiden wrote:
>
> > For what it's worth, I rarely look at portfolios
when hiring
> > interaction designers. I find portfolios next to
useless, because
> > they don't demonstrate the skills I'm looking for.

7 Apr 2004 - 6:32pm
Josh Seiden
2003

Alex,

I downloaded your free report. It's a nice piece of
work, but I don't see it as part of an Interaction
Design portfolio. I see a very nice demonstration of UI
analysis and evaluation skills, a good demonstration of
documentation skills, but nowhere do I see a
demonstration of IxD skills--in other words, where is
your solution to this problem?

JS

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Alex Bainbridge [mailto:alex.b at travelucd.com]
> Sent: Tuesday, April 06, 2004 7:28 AM
> To: josh at 36partners.com; 'Dan Saffer'; 'David Heller'
> Cc:
discuss-interactiondesigners.com at lists.interactiondesig
ners.com
> Subject: RE: [ID Discuss] Portfolios...
>
>
> Joshua wrote:
> >--it's difficult to build a portfolio of
interaction design.
>
> Difficult - but not impossible.
>
> A couple of years ago I thought through the same
problem
> (having done all my work for clients so not able to
> demonstrate prior work - besides most of it was team
work as
> has been discussed)
>
> My 'solution' was (and still is) to write general
papers that
> I then publish on my own website:
>
http://www.travelucd.com/research/

One of which has been downloaded now over 15,000 times
over the last couple of years. (as its free)

Anyway, this research - and others that I sell online -
provide me a nice set of documents that I can happily
show someone when looking for a new client etc - or
explaining what I do. It has helped a great deal. In my
view better than a portfolio!

(As an aside, it also helps clear up any IP issues that
relate to my designs - which is important if, like me,
you jump from client to client in the same sector)

kind regards

alex

--
Alex Bainbridge
Senior Consultant

alex.bainbridge at travelucd.com
http://www.travelucd.com/

Travel UCD Limited : consultants in travel &
hospitality website design

Switchboard : +44 (0)845 130 3917 Monday to Friday
: 8am - 7pm
Saturday : 9am -
3pm

The information in this email is confidential. The
contents may not be disclosed or used by anyone other
than the addressee. If you are not the intended
recipient, please notify us immediately at the above
address. We cannot accept any responsibility for the
accuracy or completeness of this message as it has been
transmitted over a public network. Travel UCD Limited
has installed proprietary virus checking software on
its system to check that emails and attachments sent by
it do not contain known viruses. However Travel UCD
Limited can give no warranty that this email is free
from infection by viruses or anything else that has
contaminating or destructive properties. Accordingly
you should implement your own virus checking procedures
before opening this email and any attachments.

8 Apr 2004 - 6:21am
Alex Bainbridge
2003

Hi Joshua,

You wrote "but nowhere do I see a demonstration of IxD skills--in other
words, where is
your solution to this problem?"

OK - so perhaps I am solving a different problem - or maybe not solving
anything - but you wrote earlier

"3. If the portfolio consists of static screen shots, it does not represent
the behaviour of the system, which is what interests me."

Taking the Cooper definition of behaviour (or the closest definition I could
find on cooper.com)

"A Form & Behaviour Specification demonstrates interaction pathways with
detailed storyboards, and provides a detailed description of all screen
elements, behaviour, widgets, and icons."

I would suggest that date entry design & usability document I wrote would be
considered as a detailed description of a "widget" - so part of interaction
design - and maybe part of widget behaviour? (hence showing interaction
design skills)

My mistake is that I probably define interaction design more loosely than
the accepted definition - whatever that is.

Anyway, the purpose of presenting a portfolio, in my view, is to either

* get a new job
* get a different job at an existing workplace
* get a new client
* get more work from an existing client

I don't see portfolios as a collection of prior work for historical or
academic reasons.

Therefore, if the goal is to achieve one of the 4 objectives above, then my
document does just fine, even for interaction type projects. (which I think
is what we were discussing!)

best wishes

alex

Alex Bainbridge
http://www.travelucd.com

-----Original Message-----
From: Joshua Seiden [mailto:josh at 36partners.com]
Sent: 08 April 2004 00:33
To: alex.b at travelucd.com; 'Dan Saffer'; 'David Heller'
Cc: discuss-interactiondesigners.com at lists.interactiondesigners.com
Subject: RE: [ID Discuss] Portfolios...

Alex,

I downloaded your free report. It's a nice piece of
work, but I don't see it as part of an Interaction
Design portfolio. I see a very nice demonstration of UI
analysis and evaluation skills, a good demonstration of
documentation skills, but nowhere do I see a
demonstration of IxD skills--in other words, where is
your solution to this problem?

JS

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Alex Bainbridge [mailto:alex.b at travelucd.com]
> Sent: Tuesday, April 06, 2004 7:28 AM
> To: josh at 36partners.com; 'Dan Saffer'; 'David Heller'
> Cc:
discuss-interactiondesigners.com at lists.interactiondesig
ners.com
> Subject: RE: [ID Discuss] Portfolios...
>
>
> Joshua wrote:
> >--it's difficult to build a portfolio of
interaction design.
>
> Difficult - but not impossible.
>
> A couple of years ago I thought through the same
problem
> (having done all my work for clients so not able to
> demonstrate prior work - besides most of it was team
work as
> has been discussed)
>
> My 'solution' was (and still is) to write general
papers that
> I then publish on my own website:
>
http://www.travelucd.com/research/

One of which has been downloaded now over 15,000 times
over the last couple of years. (as its free)

Anyway, this research - and others that I sell online -
provide me a nice set of documents that I can happily
show someone when looking for a new client etc - or
explaining what I do. It has helped a great deal. In my
view better than a portfolio!

(As an aside, it also helps clear up any IP issues that
relate to my designs - which is important if, like me,
you jump from client to client in the same sector)

kind regards

alex

--
Alex Bainbridge
Senior Consultant

alex.bainbridge at travelucd.com
http://www.travelucd.com/

Travel UCD Limited : consultants in travel &
hospitality website design

Switchboard : +44 (0)845 130 3917 Monday to Friday
: 8am - 7pm
Saturday : 9am -
3pm

The information in this email is confidential. The
contents may not be disclosed or used by anyone other
than the addressee. If you are not the intended
recipient, please notify us immediately at the above
address. We cannot accept any responsibility for the
accuracy or completeness of this message as it has been
transmitted over a public network. Travel UCD Limited
has installed proprietary virus checking software on
its system to check that emails and attachments sent by
it do not contain known viruses. However Travel UCD
Limited can give no warranty that this email is free
from infection by viruses or anything else that has
contaminating or destructive properties. Accordingly
you should implement your own virus checking procedures
before opening this email and any attachments.

9 Apr 2004 - 9:14am
Josh Seiden
2003

> > "3. If the portfolio consists of static screen
shots, it does not
> > represent
> > the behaviour of the system, which is what
interests me."
>
> I typically want to present exactly this and I don't
know why
> you would
> want anything else.

My motivation would be to display the rich behaviors of
the system. For example..

* the rules by which information appears, and the
result of those rules.
* the changes that happen in one area of a screen while
a user acts on another.
* the feedback while dragging, or in response to a
click.
* the system response to mouse-over.
* the system change in response to outside factors.
Etc...

I use storyboards and sequential diagrams for these and
similar cases. And I would expect IxD's to place a
premium on these types of system actions, and seek to
document them.

> I do show static screenshots with the motivation that
the interviewer
> should understand the complexities of the system from
the
> screen I have
> chosen. If they don't understand one screen, they are
likely going to
> be a bit difficult in explaining the much less
detailed
> designs during
> the project.

Well, our work is about dynamic communication, not
static complexity. We wouldn't expect our users to
understand dynamic behavior without a dynamic display,
would we? I don't see why we can expect that from
hiring managers. To your point, I guess that
explanation on your part could supply a simulation of
the "dynamic display", but still, it seems less
effective than some kind of sequential diagramming.

JS

9 Apr 2004 - 7:37am
CD Evans
2004

> "3. If the portfolio consists of static screen shots, it does not
> represent
> the behaviour of the system, which is what interests me."

I typically want to present exactly this and I don't know why you would
want anything else.

I do show static screenshots with the motivation that the interviewer
should understand the complexities of the system from the screen I have
chosen. If they don't understand one screen, they are likely going to
be a bit difficult in explaining the much less detailed designs during
the project. Why work under such circumstances? I usually chose a
screen for my portfolio that is 'ok to show' and explain simply what I
did on it.

I think our contracts 'should allow' for promotional copies of the work
after the contract has finished. If we can't show examples of our work,
we are not being professionals in the slightest. Again, I urge any
legal people to join in on the discussion of setting up a serious
profession. We have so little ability to represent ourselves that it is
disgusting.

An IA law firm could make a truckload.

CD Evans
infostyling.com

9 Apr 2004 - 4:00pm
jstanford
2003

I totally agree with CD Evans. It is very important to include in your
contract that you can and will be able to show screen shots in your
portfolio. We include this clause in all of our contracts -- and in fact we
have our clients sign a really hefty contract put together by a lawyer that
is about 18 pages to cover ourselves in case of all sorts of issues.
Although some clients question it, we are very firm about our rights and
have never lost a contract because of it. Everyone is aware and respectful
of the need for legal representation and there is need to give yourself the
short end of the stick.

Julie

Syndicate content Get the feed