Portfolio as Product Site

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If you are a designer, you shouldn’t think of your website as a portfolio. You should think of it as a product site. The product is your time. You are selling your time for money. That’s what employment is.

Instead of looking at every other designer’s portfolio for inspiration, you should be looking at product sites. One that I would suggest is the new 16″ Apple MacBook page.

If you squint your eyes a little bit, you will notice that it is similar to a case study. It’s a long page with text and pictures. However, notice all the details. The photographs are gorgeous. There are lots of animated parts. The transitions are cool.

This page is entertaining. It holds your attention while it tried to educate you. Take a look at your own portfolio. Which is better? The Apple page or your case study? If the answer is Apple, then you should probably upgrade your page.

One thing to consider is the journey of the visitor. It is rare that a visitor is going to only be viewing your site. Realistically, they are looking at you AND all of your competitors. It can be a mind-numbing experience to go through a dozen portfolios.

If you think about your site as a product site, you will design it differently. Clearly, you should make sure to stand out against the competition. In case you didn’t realize, you (designer) have competition. There are plenty of candidates for every job. If you don’t think you need to stand out, you are sorely mistaken.

Most sites look exactly the same:

  1. Hello, My Name is…
  2. Bunch of squares underneath
  3. Link to a giant long page
  4. Way too many words – would take 30-40 minutes to consume
  5. Often, there are grammar problems
  6. Sticky notes that I can’t read
  7. Images that I can’t zoom in on
  8. Prototypes that are hard to understand
  9. Boring typography and layout
  10. About page somewhere with a few paragraphs and too many emoji

Did I just describe your site? If yes, do you think that’s a problem? Do you care?

Sometimes people ask me for feedback on why they were rejected before a phone screen. This is why.

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