Are online portfolios useful?

8 Mar 2006 - 1:48am
8 years ago
22 replies
721 reads
Gabriel White
2005

I've just gone through a long, exhausting process of hiring a new
mobile interaction designer.

A few of the candidates provided their portfolio through their web
site, the rest in Word or PowerPoint documents.

My feeling from going through this process is that web portfolios are:

- Hard to save to a shared drive
- Even harder to print
- Rarely linear (i.e. beginning, middle, end). It takes too much
thinking on my part to go through it all.

The linearity problem could of course be solved by design, and
printing could also be addressed by having a downloadable format.

But for all the time and effort required for a decent web portfolio,
I'd far prefer to have a nice looking 5-10 page PDF that I can scan
through, print easily, save and forward to others.

Am I just behind the times?

Gabe

Comments

8 Mar 2006 - 3:27am
niklasw
2005

Hi

I don't think (and hope) you're behind times :) I've actually just
gone thru a job seeking period and choosed to scrap the interctive
version and share my portfolio as a downloadable PDF-printed
powerpoint and called it Niklas-Portfolio_ligth.PDF.

Isn't this comparable to the standard for CV's with a cover letter?
The portfolio is a teaser, the background and story should be
presented in person. In such case you also get an opportunity to
showcase or test storytelling and verbal presentation skills. Secondly
I think it is hard to both explain in and 'read' from a portfolio how
a person puts theory into practice, what design processes has been
used and/or how a person converts research into actual finalised
designs, which in my view are cruisial qualities for an interaction
designer.

Maybe preferd form of portfolio should be more clearly stated in job-ads?

"Send us an overview of your portfolio and if you are selected be
prepared to come and present the full version to us"

Niklas

On 3/8/06, Gabriel White <gabrielwhite at gmail.com> wrote:
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
> I've just gone through a long, exhausting process of hiring a new
> mobile interaction designer.
>
> A few of the candidates provided their portfolio through their web
> site, the rest in Word or PowerPoint documents.
>
> My feeling from going through this process is that web portfolios are:
>
> - Hard to save to a shared drive
> - Even harder to print
> - Rarely linear (i.e. beginning, middle, end). It takes too much
> thinking on my part to go through it all.
>
> The linearity problem could of course be solved by design, and
> printing could also be addressed by having a downloadable format.
>
> But for all the time and effort required for a decent web portfolio,
> I'd far prefer to have a nice looking 5-10 page PDF that I can scan
> through, print easily, save and forward to others.
>
> Am I just behind the times?
>
> Gabe
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
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>

--
--Niklas

8 Mar 2006 - 4:29am
Terrence Wood
2006

Niklas Wolkert:

> it is hard to both explain in and 'read' from a portfolio how
> a person puts theory into practice, what design processes has been
> used and/or how a person converts research into actual finalised
> designs, which in my view are cruisial qualities for an interaction
> designer

I completely agree, and say as much in my portfolio:
"Design is not the business of creative self-expression. It is the
business of creatively solving problems. Portfolios tend to offer a
somewhat flat view of the design process: they invite the viewer to
form a value judgement from only one dimension – aesthetic appeal."

I go on to say that the work in my portfolio is there because it
illustrates some dimension of the process beyond the visual
representation.

That said, as far as I know (via click through analysis, and the lack
of discussion drawn from outside my one page bio) nobody has actually
read my resume in depth =)

kind regards
Terrence

8 Mar 2006 - 5:27am
Dave Malouf
2005

> > But for all the time and effort required for a decent web portfolio,
> > I'd far prefer to have a nice looking 5-10 page PDF that I can scan
> > through, print easily, save and forward to others.
> >
> > Am I just behind the times?

Hi Gabriel,

Actually, you are perfectly inline with them.

At our January NYC IxDA event, Judy Wert, who is a professional creative
staff recruiter said pretty much exactly what you said. Judy has been doing
recruitment in this space for years.

Let's see if I remember this correctly ...

When applying for a creative position definitely send a portfolio along with
a cover letter and resume. The portfolio you send should be a PDF or PPT (or
similar) that can be easily opened and printed (as you were suggesting you
do Gabriel).

She then states that you should always on interview bring a printed set of
boards with you to an interview and NOT use any form of digital
presentation. She had a slough of reasons for doing this, but overall her
take was that it comes across as a lot more professional.

I have a slightly different take on the issue. ...

I hae never been all that fussy about the pre-interview portfolio. What
matters most is that I get one and however you figure it out is fine by me.
I know I'm either going to re-look at it again when I interview you, or you
are going to go over other stuff (hopefully more recent) that didn't make it
in that portfolio. As an interaction deigner, I've never printed out a
portfolio and its never occurred to me to do so. On that note though, I
won't call someone in for an interview until I get some type of portfolio.
Also, a file e-mailed to me, is harder for me to manage than an online
portfolio. I can bookmark links, etc. I also hope that you've done a bit
more than just have a portfolio.

One skew from my perspective is that I have been hiring for web-based
designers. So I look for "talent" in working with the medium itself. Show me
that you've done some tinkering with either HTML or Flash or both and that
is a good sign. I think it important for a good IxD to have some ideas about
how technology works (any technology) and having a web site is probably the
easiest way to demonstrate that. Also, the web site itself becomes a
designed piece of interactive media that in and of itself IS a portfolio
piece. The last bit of online stuff that gets me going is if you have a
blog. Yup! ... Contributors instead of pure consumers show me a few things.
1. that ya ain't shy. That is worth so much these days. 2. well, what ya
care about and how you think and present yourself in a written form. 3.
again, that you work in the medium itself.

I do have to say from a different perspective (not as a hirer, but just as
general advice), in this age of more and more people finding you instead of
you finding them, an online portfolio and web site sure does give them
something more to chew on. So maybe it isn't an either or situation, but an
and. You need to have an online portfolio and web site for people finding
you, but you need a file-format version that you can send along with your
cover and resume AND have a printed version in nice binder that you bring
with you on an interview.

If you really are "going for it!", it is indeed a lot of work, but work that
might just make the difference. Just remember our job as designers are to be
communicators if not storytellers. So do what you have to do to communicate
that story best.

-- dave

8 Mar 2006 - 5:59am
jbellis
2005

No, Gabe, you're not behind the times at all. You are addressing a key
weakness in the state of web affairs... one that I have been-ahem-ranting
about for a while http://www.usabilityinstitute.com/articles/PrintAll.htm

Yes, it can be solved with design, but I propose a systemic design solution
(perhaps a browser or third-party, multi-page, TOC printcontrol), not a
site-by-site fix. I believe that the problem exists wherever the visitor
seeks "comprehension" rather than "information," though I welcome someone
fine-tuning my distinction. I frequently vist sites for comprehension: "I
want to learn Python in one lunch hour walking through the park." I could
sooner die than find sites that satisfy such quests.

On second thought, you are behind the times. And the times themselves are
lagging behind solutions that were established long ago. You are simply
addressing the inherent value realized by a skilled writer's compiling of a
table of contents. With the advent of the web there has been the shallow
assumption that direct access organization makes linear access a relic.
Nothing could be further from the truth.

Some day on Jeopardy, the answer will be "The brief period when TOCs were
called site maps" and the question will be "What was 1995-2010?"

Kind regards,
www.jackBellis.com, www.UsabilityInstitute.com

----- Original Message -----
From: "Gabriel White" <gabrielwhite at gmail.com>
> But for all the time and effort required for a decent web portfolio,
> I'd far prefer to have a nice looking 5-10 page PDF that I can scan
> through, print easily, save and forward to others.
>
> Am I just behind the times?

8 Mar 2006 - 9:11am
Todd Roberts
2005

Would it be worthwhile to put case studies on a portfolio site, rather than
just shots of the final product? This way you'd be able to lead the hiring
person through a project, detailing processes, decisions, etc. that lead to
the final product. It might take some of the superficiality out of it. Even
if they didn't go through the trouble of reading the whole thing, they might
be impressed with the amount of thought you put into it.

On 3/8/06, Terrence Wood <tdw at funkive.com> wrote:
>
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
>
> Niklas Wolkert:
>
> > it is hard to both explain in and 'read' from a portfolio how
> > a person puts theory into practice, what design processes has been
> > used and/or how a person converts research into actual finalised
> > designs, which in my view are cruisial qualities for an interaction
> > designer
>
> I completely agree, and say as much in my portfolio:
> "Design is not the business of creative self-expression. It is the
> business of creatively solving problems. Portfolios tend to offer a
> somewhat flat view of the design process: they invite the viewer to
> form a value judgement from only one dimension – aesthetic appeal."
>
> I go on to say that the work in my portfolio is there because it
> illustrates some dimension of the process beyond the visual
> representation.
>
> That said, as far as I know (via click through analysis, and the lack
> of discussion drawn from outside my one page bio) nobody has actually
> read my resume in depth =)
>
> kind regards
> Terrence
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
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> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

8 Mar 2006 - 9:52am
John Vaughan - ...
2004

> Niklas Wolkert & Terrence Wood
> "Design is not the business of creative self-expression. It is the
> business of creatively solving problems."

JV: Too, too right

From: "Todd Roberts"
Would it be worthwhile to put case studies on a portfolio site, rather than
just shots of the final product? ...It might take some of the superficiality
out of it.

I try to offer "in a nutshell" context + basic talking points in online
portfolio.

Client Page Taxonomy:
* Client/Employer - "who are the players"
* Duration - "when & where"
* Business Case - hi level "why this was important to the client" (goals)
* Overview Description of project - "what we did" (tasks)
* Screenshots - more indicative than anything else
* Challenges & Solutions - "how we provided value" (Problem-Solving, a
biggie)
* Skills & Techniques - tools used (professional comptetence)
* Comment - my "take" on the engagement (factoids, opinions, "why this was
important to me" etc.)

The screenshots are there to offer some illustration and credibility re
end-product design, but - let's face it - most corporate intranet sites look
pretty much the same. Most of my corporate work tends to be "app-oriented"
(i.e. forms entry, workflow, functional). A screenshot has little meaning
unless you REALLY understand the workflow. As noted, few reviewers are
going to dig that deep.

So I try to demonstrate that I know how to think, and can produce screens
that are corporately - if blandly - handsomesque and understandable. In a
separate section I show Documentation and Workflow Diagrams that indicate my
ability to grasp the business - and provide solutions.

John

8 Mar 2006 - 10:15am
russwilson
2005

> Niklas Wolkert & Terrence Wood
> "Design is not the business of creative self-expression. It is the
> business of creatively solving problems."

Do I have permission to print this and put it on my wall?
Fantastic quote!

- Russ

------------------------------------
NetQoS, Inc.
Russell Wilson
Director of Product Design
russell.wilson at netqos.com
5001 Plaza on the Lake
Austin, TX 78746
tel: 512-334-3725
mobile: 512-422-4155
------------------------------------

8 Mar 2006 - 11:25am
Narey, Kevin
2004

Of course this is broadly subjective, but whilst a little dated now, I think
this is pretty tidy example of a case study style précis.

www.sanodesign.com

'Advanced Product Design' noted, but for another thread me thinks :)

Regards

Kevin

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Todd
Roberts
Sent: 08 March 2006 15:11
To: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Are online portfolios useful?

[Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]

Would it be worthwhile to put case studies on a portfolio site, rather than
just shots of the final product? This way you'd be able to lead the hiring
person through a project, detailing processes, decisions, etc. that lead to
the final product. It might take some of the superficiality out of it. Even
if they didn't go through the trouble of reading the whole thing, they might
be impressed with the amount of thought you put into it.

On 3/8/06, Terrence Wood <tdw at funkive.com> wrote:
>
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
>
> Niklas Wolkert:
>
> > it is hard to both explain in and 'read' from a portfolio how a
> > person puts theory into practice, what design processes has been
> > used and/or how a person converts research into actual finalised
> > designs, which in my view are cruisial qualities for an interaction
> > designer
>
> I completely agree, and say as much in my portfolio:
> "Design is not the business of creative self-expression. It is the
> business of creatively solving problems. Portfolios tend to offer a
> somewhat flat view of the design process: they invite the viewer to
> form a value judgement from only one dimension - aesthetic appeal."
>
> I go on to say that the work in my portfolio is there because it
> illustrates some dimension of the process beyond the visual
> representation.
>
> That said, as far as I know (via click through analysis, and the lack
> of discussion drawn from outside my one page bio) nobody has actually
> read my resume in depth =)
>
> kind regards
> Terrence
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>
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8 Mar 2006 - 11:08am
Rune Lund-Hermansen
2006

This is a very interesting discussion, and some useful thoughts have come
up.
I'm about to create my personal web site and portfolio, but I have little
knowledge about the typical approach to online portfolios.

So in short, could you share some links to your own (or others) personal IxD
online portfolios?

And on another note; greetings to all from a new guy on the list.

Regards,
Rune

8 Mar 2006 - 12:04pm
Rune Lund-Hermansen
2006

> Here's my website (again, caveat per my last email regarding the need
> for refreshing - it is now over 4 years old, and much in need of an
> update, in all ways: structure, visual design and content!).

Thanks for the link Leo, I'll have look at that.
And about the need for update; my interest is naturally not in the "look" or
the actual content, but in the structure and in the level of detail in the
project descriptions etc. so I'm sure your link be be useful to me.

Any others?

Cheers,
Rune

8 Mar 2006 - 12:23pm
Kim Goodwin
2004

As someone who spends a lot of time reviewing applications, I have to
agree with Judy Wert that sending a few samples along with your resume
and cover letter is one way to distinguish yourself from the slush pile,
but it doesn't necessarily replace a good online portfolio.

As in all aspects of design, design your self-promotion materials around
the needs of the users. Rather than assuming I'm like all users, I'll
speak from my own experience....I literally look at hundreds of resumes
to find one who seems worth calling, because an initial phone interview
takes half an hour or so and is a significant investment of time when
only a few of those phone calls even result in in-person interviews. A
one-page set of samples can pique my interest, and a good online
portfolio I can skim in 5 minutes (with some more depth available if you
look interesting) can increase your chances of getting a phone call even
more.

Also, as David says, the materials themselves are a measure of your
design skill. How effective is the organization and visual presentation
of your resume? Is your portfolio site clear and easy to navigate, and
does it show the information I'm most interested in? If you have
accompanying text, talk about the value you added. Also, be honest about
what your role was--experienced design managers know you probably didn't
come up with everything independently. I'm always more impressed when
someone has the professional maturity to credit others, while also
talking about what they contributed, because it's easier for me to
envision them functioning as part of a team.

Also, most candidates don't provide a good cover letter that's specific
to the job they're applying for. Something that says "Hi, I'm looking
for a job, and here's my experience..." doesn't add value--it just
recaps your resume (and therefore wastes time). It also says I may be
one of many employers you're spamming. Instead, talk specifically about
why the company is attractive to you and why you think you may be a good
fit.

__________

Cooper | product design for a digital world

Kim Goodwin
VP & General Manager

Direct 415.267.3509
Fax 415.267.3501
kim at cooper.com <mailto:kim at cooper.com> | www.cooper.com
<http://www.cooper.com/>

100 First Street, 26th floor

San Francisco CA 94105

All information in this message is proprietary & confidential.

8 Mar 2006 - 12:32pm
Bronwyn Boltwood
2004

On 3/8/06, Rune Lund-Hermansen <otiumfx at otiumfx.com> wrote:
> I'm about to create my personal web site and portfolio, but I have little
> knowledge about the typical approach to online portfolios.
>
> So in short, could you share some links to your own (or others) personal IxD
> online portfolios?

Mine is at http://portfolio.bronwynb.info. There's a table of
contents, and I've organized pieces into categories, so that you can
find other items of interest. There's also supporting material, such
as my resume, and the about me page.

Each piece is available for viewing (and downloading, in some cases),
whether in the page (for smallish pieces of writing), as a link, or as
an attachment. Since my webdesign tends to be cross-browser, very
flexible, and standards-based, the only way to really show the quality
of it is to let them see the real thing. I've also showcased more
than just the piece -- I've written up the background and some
discussion. I hope they're not too long or too short.

When writing cover letters, I usually link to the pieces that are most
relevant for the position I'm applying for, e.g.: "At Ericsson, I
wrote instructions for several top call generators, such as renewing
contractor accounts (link to portfolio piece), which I mailed to
customers and distributed to other technicians so that they could do
the same."

I hope this is a good strategy. Comments are welcome, of course. :)

Dave Heller's comments are yet another vote for the "make a blog"
project that I have been putting off, because "it's not finding paying
work".

I agree with several of the others in the thread that for online or
interactive work, just presenting a stream of pictures is worse than
pointless:
- I have no idea what problems you wanted to solve, and how you solved them
- Unless your screenshots are massive, I can't see details
- I can't play with your site or application, to see how well it *works*
- I can't check your code to evaluate its quality
- I can't test your design in different browsers, or for
responsiveness to window or text resizing

Bronwyn

8 Mar 2006 - 12:57pm
John Vaughan - ...
2004

Rune

Here's my link: http://www.jcvtcs.com/-experience/experience.html

I find that a website w/ portfolio is very useful to the whole
pimping-oneself process. My site is currently under redesign (aren't they
all?) - on the basis of many of the same kinds of observations that have
been shared on this thread, such as:
- Most potential clients only look about so deep.
- They're generally looking only at last your few engagements (i.e. History
is meaningless).
- They're interested only in the work that is relevant to (i.e. "just like")
their project

A website is good for:
- "picquing their interest" (as noted by Kim Goodwin ) / getting the
conversation started
- pointing them towards stuff that interests them
- showing that you're diligent, articulate and skilled - AND willing to
invest in yourself

Also, consider that a design service bureau is probably going to look at
your stuff slightly differently than a direct client IT shop...

Best of Luck

PS Er du Norsk/Svensk/Dansk?

John Vaughan
The Communication Studio LLC
email: vaughan1 at optonline.net
website: http://www.jcvtcs.com
115 Minnehaha Blvd
Lake Hiawatha, NJ 07034
Voice: (973) 265-4684
Fax: (917) 591-8667
Cell: 973-886-1269

8 Mar 2006 - 2:50pm
Rune Lund-Hermansen
2006

Cheers for the link and comments John.

Regards,
Rune

PS. Ja, jeg er dansk.

9 Mar 2006 - 6:22am
Lada Gorlenko
2004

DH> If you really are "going for it!", it is indeed a lot of work, but work that
DH> might just make the difference. Just remember our job as designers are to be
DH> communicators if not storytellers. So do what you have to do to communicate
DH> that story best.

As always, there is no single ideal solution. In my view, a good
portfolio shows a person behind skills as much as the skills
themselves. Assuming you are creating a portfolio to help your job
search (although there can be other reasons for having it), consider
the following:

1. Show what's important to *you*.

Employers are looking for what you've done. However, if your portfolio
does not communicate what you want from your next job, don't be
surprised if the new job doesn't lead you where you want to be. By
definition, a portfolio is a permanently outdated snapshot of you --
make it forward looking, too.

For example, if you are on the move from designing screens to
designing business processes, emphasise you process design skills --
workflow diagrams will make a much better illustration here than
screens. Even if you've done little of what you want to do next, make
sure everyone still understands that this is what you want.

2. Show what type of *person* you are.

A job satisfies only if it matches our personality. Skills matter, but
also does the work environment. If you want to feel energised rather
then exhausted at the end of your working day, make sure your
portfolio projects what makes you tick.

For example, if you are of the thinking kind, tell your case study in
such a way that it shows the logic behind the solution. Pick a case
where the solution wasn't obvious from the beginning and illustrate
your story with interim solutions you might have rejected. Most
importantly, show *why* you rejected them. If you are an action
person, show the action. If you thrive working in teams, show how and
why it works for you. Pick a case that illustrates teamwork and show
how your contribution made a difference to the work of others, rather
than merely what you did yourself.

I don't agree with Dave that you need a blog to show that you ain't
shy and you care. A blog is a medium that demonstrates that you *have
an opinion* and can *express* it. Personally, I want to get a different
message across about myself: that I can *listen*, *discuss*, and
*answer questions*. A blog is a poor medium for that; a discussion
list is a much better one. My e-mail Send folder *is* my blog, and my
portfolio contains excerpts from posts to various lists showing the
original question (or part of discussion that triggered me) and my
response. Sure, one day I may be quoting this message to illustrate my
mentoring skills ;-)

In short, build your portfolio to get your personality across, if you
want a job that suits you, not just the one that pays your bills.

3. Pick the right medium for your portfolio.

Dave and Kim are right: the medium IS part of the message. However,
if you are an IxDer outside the web domain (or want to become one),
you need to be creative in choosing a presentation medium that will be
part of *your* message. Last time I changed jobs, my portfolio
building skills were stretched to the limit: the previous gig was IxD
of haptic (3D virtual touch) interfaces. How on earth do you
illustrate *that*? This is where your creativity comes in.

If you claim to be a specialist in mobile interfaces, how about having
a version of your portfolio that works on them? Nothing will prove the
point better, even if the employers will read the PDFed portfolio
version first.

There have been some very good tips in this thread on what employers
look for in portfolios. Think about what *you* want to tell them.

Lada

9 Mar 2006 - 6:56am
Michele Marut
2005

Just to add to the discussion -when presenting something like an on-line
portfolio or pdf in a slide presentation be sure to reformat it
appropriately. I've seen this occur in several instances where the text or
graphics are unreadable when projected. Also remember colors get washed out
when projected and again this affects contrast for your text and may impact
a photo or screen shot.

9 Mar 2006 - 8:34am
Gabriel White
2005

All very interesting stuff. Thanks for all the insight.

Couple of extra points:

- Do people who are professional resume-at-lookers have a different
attitude to those who do it incidentally or begrudgingly (I definitely
fall into the latter category)? Good or bad, I'm more interested in
convenience (this whole hiring thing is in addition to my 'real'
work).

- I was backpacking and designing my way around China a bit over the
last couple of years, and one the very useful props I prepared was a
set of A4 laminated folio pieces. Worked well when they were needed.
And didn't get crumpled or soggy in my well beaten backpack.

Gabe

9 Mar 2006 - 6:18pm
Kim Goodwin
2004

Gabe asked:
" Do people who are professional resume-at-lookers have a different
attitude to those who do it incidentally or begrudgingly (I definitely
fall into the latter category)? Good or bad, I'm more interested in
convenience (this whole hiring thing is in addition to my 'real'
work)."

HR departments want to crank through a high volume of resumes, too. It
may be even harder to catch their attention, in a way. A generalist HR
person who's recruiting for multiple jobs may or may not be able to do a
good initial assessment, depending on how much time they've spent
getting to know the position and what the manager is looking for.

I once had to rely on an HR manager who just looked at whether people
used the same tools we did. Not a good way to assess design skill.
Sadly, if your resume needs to get past one of these folks before being
seen by someone who knows how to evaluate designers, you may need to be
buzzword-compliant. (Mind you, really good HR people are more effective
than this, but you as an applicant have no way of knowing who's on the
other side of that "jobs" email address).

9 Mar 2006 - 9:05pm
ychisik
2006

Kim Goodwin said:

" Mind you, really good HR people are more effective than this, but you as
an applicant have no way of knowing who's on the other side of that "jobs"
email address"

Unfortunately good HR people are as hard to come by as good designers :(

*************************************
Yoram Chisik
DCD candidate and sandwich maker extraordinaire
UB - School of Information Arts and Technologies
Free advice and opinions - refunds available.
http://iat.ubalt.edu/chisik

10 Mar 2006 - 10:45am
John Vaughan - ...
2004

As you design your online porfolio/website, consider that there are three
distinct stages to the process.

First Stage
is the "discovery" process. "Hi, I saw your resume/site on the web. I'd
like to talk with you about a position..." is often the opening gambit in
discussing a new opportunity. Bots & search engines find those KEYWORDS -
superficial, but it works.

Second Stage
is the "gleaning" process. Interviewers want to reduce the pile of resumes
as quickly as possible: Recruiters & HR people parse you on the basis of
the BULLET POINTS and KEYWORDS they find in the Job Req. they're usually
not interested in interpretation - or in the contents of your portfolio, but
WHETHER OR NOT YOU HAVE A PORTFOLIO may be one of their bullet points. Your
website and Cover Letter may be useful, *if* they contain buzzwords that the
gleaner wants to see.

Second-and-a-half Stage:
The initial phone screen discussion with recruiter/HR is usually reciting a
litany of the bullet points in the Job Req. This can be frustrating,
because the Job Req often reads like a boilerplate - and the gleaner is just
reading from the script. I find that being able to say, "Sure, I've done
that. Look at [page.htm]." helps get you past this stage.

The gleaner may also be willing to be educated (many are), because this IxD
thing we do isn't understood by a lot of people in the industry. If you
help a recruiter to understand what it is we do, then you have performed a
mitzvah for all of us. Bless you. It will come back to you.

Third Stage:
If you get past the gleaner - Congratulations! - Now you need to deal with
the sort of criteria that have been described by several professionals here:
i.e. Examination & evaluation by knowledgeable folks who are really looking
for "more". All of the suggestions I've seen here are valid - Ultimately,
you need to craft something that is true to you ... and be willing to
fine-tune it for success.

You may actually skip stages in certain situations, but you probably want to
accommodate all of them in your online portfolio design.

21 Mar 2006 - 12:08am
Tal Herman
2005

On 3/9/06, Gabriel White <gabrielwhite at gmail.com> wrote:

> - Do people who are professional resume-at-lookers have a different
> attitude to those who do it incidentally or begrudgingly (I definitely
> fall into the latter category)? Good or bad, I'm more interested in
> convenience (this whole hiring thing is in addition to my 'real'
> work).

I look at resumes and websites frequently as someone who hires
interaction designers for Bank of America's online banking
applications. I can tell you that my first impression of a candidate
is always formed by the structure of the resume itself. A poorly
designed resume, be it in paper, digital text or PDF format is
generally a bad sign.

I have never not hired someone because they didn't have a website, or
because their website is not as nice as it should be. I understand
that our own websites (mine included) are often like the cobbler's
children, we have time to work on everyone's websites but our own. But
if you do have a website, it should at the very least not be poorly
organized. It doesn't have to be pretty (unless I need you to do
information design as well as interaction design), but it does have to
make sense.

Additionally, if you talk about project work on your website, I expect
the discussion to be informative, clear and readable. If you can't
write well or present your ideas clearly, that's a problem as two key
talents I look for are clear thinking and the ability to explain and
defend your design decisions.

If you don't have a website, you need to have well organized
documentation that is representative of the types of deliverables that
are generally important to interaction design clients and partners:
flowcharts, wireframes, etc. This documentation needs to be available
in electronic format as I rarely interview people who haven't sent me
documentation in advance.

Tal

21 Mar 2006 - 6:16am
jbellis
2005

Tal, your comments are practical, they address the original [not
sidetracked] issue, and do not include dogma or nanometric hair-splitting.
Did you click Send too early?
Jack
----- Original Message -----
From: "Tal Herman" <seralat at gmail.com>
> designed resume, be it in paper, digital text or PDF format is
> generally a bad sign.
> flowcharts, wireframes, etc. This documentation needs to be available
> in electronic format as I rarely interview people who haven't sent me
> documentation in advance.
>
> Tal
>

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