Storytelling is a way to bring UX project’s to life. This is the difference between talking to your audience and taking them on a journey. It’s a game-changer. It is said that “great design is storytelling at its best.” While not all designers are great storytellers, they can still learn how to use it in their UX portfolio presentations. Although storytelling is important in the design process, it can also help during interviews. While your UX portfolio will help you get the interview, it is your UX portfolio presentation that will land you the job. Your portfolio presentation will be different from others by using storytelling principles.
Tips for improving your presentation storytelling
Conflict is equal to story.
A good story is built on conflict. If nothing changes, nothing will happen.
This is not about your problem statement. Interviewers are interested in your barriers and how you overcome them. Or, just as important, what you did wrong and the lessons you learned. (None of it goes smoothly, so don’t pretend that it didn’t happen.
Admitting and even embracing the bumps along the way shows your audience how to deal with them. Your story will be more authentic and engaging if you explain how you solved problems during product development. This will inspire genuine curiosity in your audience and encourage them to ask more questions.
You will be asked questions about cross-functional conflict or pushback during an onsite interview. These issues can be discussed with professionalism, but not without a lot of discussion. Incorporate the story of how they were addressed into your presentation. This will show how you work with others to create products. Your future colleagues will see that you are able to work with them.
Personal Stories Let your personality shine with
Portfolios of UX design are a story about your abilities as a designer. This is your story about the downs and ups and the ladders that brought your success to the Candy Castle.
Consider which of your past projects best reflects your design skills and personality when creating your portfolio. It’s important to consider not only the quality of your work but also how it impacted your professional practice.
Tell the story of your entire user experience before you show screens
Our vision is more focused on the design elements than the whole experience when we go screen by screen through a design screen. We can see the forest from the trees. It is difficult to see how users will interact and use the product. This can be solved by walking users through the storyboard or user flow before showing any UI.
As a story, describe each step from trigger to goal completion. It should only take a few minutes to complete if you keep the flow of the user at a high-level. Once everyone has a good understanding of the user experience, it’s time to get to the details.
Summarize all your research.
Many user testing sessions were conducted. Many. Many. Your carefully designed survey received thousands of responses. You spent months conducting research.
It’s tempting to want all the work you have done. But you must resist. Do not spend 10 slides listing all the metrics and quotes you have collected. Instead, only present the most compelling responses on one slide.
This slide is the tip of an iceberg. Next, share your top-level findings and then go on to the details of what you did with these insights. You don’t have to show your entire research process or all the interesting things you learned from users. If they are interested in more details, they will ask.
Every movie is full of plot twists. Because our brains love novelty, surprises are an essential tool in storytelling.
Your designs may have unexpected elements of delight and thoughtfulness that people didn’t know about. These stories are worth telling. You can, for example, explain the iterations of the design or give an example of a pivotal moment in design.
In a recent project, this technique was very effective for me. My team needed to pitch an application to automate administrative tasks to an executive. Although business stakeholders and users were focused entirely on automation I went one step further and included design elements that would help users make faster decisions.
The design version that automates all tasks was the first I showed during presentation. This version is significantly better than the current state. I then showed the second version, which has unexpected benefits for the user.
Although I could have presented only one version, this approach allowed me to clearly distinguish the value-added design from making pretty interfaces.
Experience to Establish Your Expertise
You can show your maturity as a designer and as a professional by explaining the reasoning behind your decisions. You’ll be able to demonstrate your most important skill: clear and concise communication.
Write a script for your UX portfolio presentation. Writing can encourage you to reflect on why you do the things you do during the design process. Writing about my design process has made me a better designer.
If you are presenting a project via a static page on your portfolio website, it is a good idea to keep the text under 200 words unless the project is extremely substantial.
Your audience will be impressed by your ability to explain complex work clearly and concisely. This will help them retain the key messages. Conciseness and structure are more important if you need to go on for a longer time. Hiring managers will scan the content to determine if it is suitable for scanning.
Consistently Engage with Contrasting Content
Future employers won’t remember what you said or did during an interview. Instead, they will remember how you made them feel. This is true for all people and situations.
A few emotions you might want to evoke in a job interview include suspense, surprise, delight, and wow-I-need-to-hire-this-person-right-now. Boredom, apathy and lethargy are some of the emotions to avoid.
While in school, I spent every moment I could on design assignments that focused on improving and perfecting the design. Good design does not sell itself. This is what I have learned from my work experience. Designers must communicate the value of their designs to make an impact.
Planning and practice are key to good storytelling. You can also use storytelling techniques to design your presentations.
Impress Your Audience
Storytelling principles can make you more memorable than someone who doesn’t know how to communicate well during a UX portfolio presentation. Storytelling not only shows that you are able to communicate effectively, but it also engages the listener emotionally in a way which persuades them at the psychological level.
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