January 28, 2010 7

How to Plan for a Portfolio Redesign

By in Web Design

The ever so daunting redesign of one’s own portfolio can be the trickiest project to come by. Despite us knowing ourselves best, and knowing the goals we have in mind for our careers or business, we as designers have the most trouble with only one client: ourselves.

Perhaps it’s the pressure of perfectionism, the ability to only get feedback from ourselves, or knowing that redesigns can equal changes in conversion rates, and changes in conversion rates equal changes in our income. In today’s post we’ll look over a simple plan structured for redesigning a personal portfolio, and how to get over some of the major fears involved with it.

1. Get Over Perfectionism

As designers, we are always striving to perfect ourselves and our talents in art and design. Because our portfolio represents those talents, we constantly feel the need to upgrade our portfolio via constant redesigns. What’s the point of always redesigning through at the sacrifice of losing branding and credibility?

As we design for ourselves, we need to realize perfectionism isn’t possible. A client can always tell us when we’ve found the right solution for them, but we have more trouble telling ourselves that. Do the right planning and designing of a portfolio in the first place, and leave it be until perhaps a few years down the road when your portfolio truly needs a redesign, or a realign of its current elements.

2. Create a “Viewer Flow”

If one does however feel the need to go for a portfolio redesign, not for only the reasons of our designer OCD, but rather because they truly need one, they must discover the source problem of why it is needed. The point of a portfolio is to impress potential clients, and actually get them to contact you for some work. To do so we present the viewers with our previous (and best) works, information on ourselves and a stunning and practical web design for the portfolio itself.

If we think about this method more practically, though, we can actively form a redesign that will create better conversion rates for our clients, beyond just including our basic information. We have the ability to choose what the viewer sees upon first view of the portfolio, the influence on what links they click and are most interested in, and how they interact with elements on the page.

For example, if our final conversion requires the viewer to actually make initial contact, when designing our new portfolio design we may have to make the link to the contact form the main call to action. Or, we’d want to put the contact form on each and every page, and the surrounding design elements would help promote contact as well.

More specifically, many designers go with a viewer flow such as this: short introduction > portfolio pieces > link to find more previous works, or a link to find out more about the designer > a final call to action leading to the contact page. As one can assume, leading the viewer in this way can be much more effective than laying all of the essential information in a straight-forward way, hoping the client will find his or her way to the contact page.

3. Follow the Design Plan You Use for Clients

After planning for the way a viewer will need to interact with your portfolio for the best conversions, it’s time for the design process itself. Likely, when one is working with clients, we all have our own unique design plan that we follow, from planning, goal setting, and to the actual design work and testing.

Many designers just jump right into Photoshop with no real plan or sense of what they should be creating. To get the best outcome for yourself, follow the design plan you use for any other client. Do initial research, define goals, find inspiration, plan wireframes, navigation, the overall look and feel, etc. Then jump into the design phase, with enough breaks in the design phase to stop and analyze where you’re going with things. Then, give honest feedback to yourself or get some feedback from your designer peers, changing and altering as you go.

Your Opinion

How did you plan for your last redesign? Was is as simple as opening up your favorite design program and designing away, or did it take more planning?

About: Kayla Knight:
Hello, my name is Kayla Knight, and I am a web designer and developer based in Iowa, Usa. I focus on user-centric, beautiful, simple, and functional web design. You can check out my portfolio here: KaylaKnight.com.

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7 Responses to “How to Plan for a Portfolio Redesign”

  1. Andrew says:

    Great post! I always wanted to have the perfect portfolio… but now I know I was wrong because I never designed the one i like.

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