Your Portfolio

Keep a printout of this page with your portfolio and refer to it periodically.

What is a portfolio? A portfolio is a representative or selective collection of one's work.
  • Design professionals (e.g., architects, industrial designers, artists) often create professional portfolios, and use these to illustrate their work to potential employers or clients. A portfolio is a living resume. They are an expected part of how professionals in many disciplines portray their achievements . A good professional design portfolio will contain visual samplings that collectively suggest the scope, breadth, depth and quality of the professional's design proficiency. It summarizes the professional's abilities, strengths and styles.
  • Some educational programs also have students create learning portfolios, where students document their work (sometimes over years). These portfolios are used by instructors to evaluate students, and by students to help them reflect on what they have learnt over that time.
  • Unlike sketchbooks, portfolios are neat, orderly and professional in appearance. You critically select and craft what goes into it. Because this is a design-oriented portfolio, its contents should be highly visual. Each visual summary should tell its own story with only modest labeling and textual descriptions.  
Your portfolio You will create your own learning and professional portfolio
  • You will create your own learning portfolio to show your projects. You will document your developing abilities as an interaction designer by creating visual summaries of how you solved your exercises and assignments. As the course progresses, you will see what you have accomplished to date.
  • Near the end of the course, you can will use this learning portfolio to seed a demonstration professional portfolio. You can add to your professional portfolio samplings of any other relevant work you have done.
  • After the course, you can maintain and modify this portfolio into something that will help you present yourself to future employers.
Learning objectives Your portfolio will help you learn the following.
  • You will develop skills creating visual summaries of individual designs by using screen snapshots, story boards, videos, and other techniques.
  • You will demonstrate in these summaries how you have used particular interaction techniques.
  • You will learn how to effectively archive your code and supporting documents so you can easily install and demonstrate your system on any handy machine.
  • You will develop your skills in creating both a professional-looking learning and professional portfolio
  • You will use the portfolio as a personal reference summarizing your course accomplishments.
Be organized A professional portfolio can be packaged in many ways.
  • Keeping all summaries organized but separate will allow you to selectively rearrange your portfolio to fit your need (e.g., for a job interview).
  • The simplest form sees it as separate summaries collected in some kind of binder e.g., an accordion file or an artist's portfolio case. I recommend you buy an accordion file to hold and protect these.
  • You can also paste summaries into a large high-quality (but very good looking, maybe even hand made) scrapbook/ yet this may make it difficult for you to rearrange items later on.
Styles For each assignment, you will create both an electronic web summary (including code archive). You will also be asked to augment your summaries with other types of visual summaries, selected from the list below.
  • Paper. Each visual summary (screen snapshots, storyboards, etc) are pasted onto a high-quality mat or backing (e.g. poster cardboard). Poster sizes of at least 16"x20" will  give you enough space to create an effective visual summary. Alternatively, you may want to create it as a flip-book of screen-shots showing how the interaction flows.
  • Packaging. The visual summary is created as packaging, e.g., a paper box that would contain your software and other materials.
  • Web. Many Web designers often create web-based portfolios of their work: these often include thumbnails of screens and accompanying descriptions. Clicking on the thumbnail often brings the viewer to the web site itself (or a full sized version of the page). While you can have web pages that do this, you must print them out and include them as a paper version in your physical portfolio.
  • Video. Creating a video of you(but maybr system is a very effective way of showing your work. Digital video is even better, because you can play it back on any computer. I have a camera that can do this, and may be able to get you some screen capture software that does this as well. If you do decide to try video, you will still need a paper or electronic summary to introduce what is in it.
  • Interactive multimedia. You can also create a project summary using a multimedia presentation tool e.g., Powerpoint or Flash.
  • Running software. Of course, you will be asked to include the system itself so that it demonstrates itself. The problem that I have found, however, is that it becomes less and less likely that your system will run as time goes on due to changes in operating systems and expectations of installed software. Thus you should see this as a way to supplement rather than replace one of the above methods.
Portfolio grading Every project requires a learning portfolio entry. You will also create a professional portfolio at the end of the course. Portfolios and contents should impress me with both your vision and how well you have mastered the technical aspects of interaction design. Other grading aspects include:
  • completeness
  • quality (how well the portfolio captures your work and the techniques we have asked you to include in it);
  • professional appearance (including overall organization).
  • effectiveness of your code archive.

Strategies for portfolio summaries

Hint. Stress visuals over text. A common error is to include overly long text descriptions.

Strategies for code archives

Hint. Test your archive by trying it on a different machine.

Last updated Winter 2006