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How to Build a UX Writing Portfolio with No Experience

Last Updated: January 31, 2023 References

This article was co-authored by Katherine Kirkinis, Ed.M., MA and by wikiHow staff writer, Dan Hickey . Katherine Kirkinis is a Career Coach and Psychotherapist who has served as a career expert for Forbes, Medium, Best Life, and Working Mother Magazine, and as a diversity and inclusion expert for ATTN and Quartz. She specializes in working with issues of career, identity, and indecision. She has doctoral-level training in career counseling and career assessment and has worked with hundreds of clients to make career decisions through career assessments. She is pursuing a doctoral degree at The University of Albany, SUNY where her work focuses on diversity and inclusion, racism in the workplace, and racial identity. She is a published author and has been featured in academic journals as well as popular media outlets. Her research has been presented at 10+ national APA conferences since 2013. This article has been viewed 1,108 times.

A UX portfolio is a valuable asset in getting noticed by recruiters and employers, but how do you build one when you have no work experience? It turns out there are a variety of creative ways to work on UX projects and gather shareable material for your portfolio without having official, professional experience. We’ve put together a list of the best ways to build UX writing experience you’ll be proud to present, plus more tips on how to talk about your case studies and what other information to include in your portfolio. If you’re ready to put the X in UX, keep scrolling!

Things You Should Know

Participate in a hackathon or UX writing challenge.

Image titled Build a Ux Writing Portfolio with No Experience Step 1

Seek out freelance gigs or internships.

Image titled Build a Ux Writing Portfolio with No Experience Step 2

Do spec work for existing brands or companies.

Image titled Build a Ux Writing Portfolio with No Experience Step 3

Volunteer to do UX writing work for free.

Image titled Build a Ux Writing Portfolio with No Experience Step 4

Take a UX writing course.

Image titled Build a Ux Writing Portfolio with No Experience Step 5

Write microcopy for a fictional company.

Image titled Build a Ux Writing Portfolio with No Experience Step 6

Include non-UX writing samples too.

Image titled Build a Ux Writing Portfolio with No Experience Step 7

Showcase 3 to 5 case studies.

Image titled Build a Ux Writing Portfolio with No Experience Step 8

Know your portfolio audience.

Image titled Build a Ux Writing Portfolio with No Experience Step 9

Tell stories about how you solved UX problems with writing.

Image titled Build a Ux Writing Portfolio with No Experience Step 10

Summarize your writing process.

Image titled Build a Ux Writing Portfolio with No Experience Step 11

Include a personal statement.

Image titled Build a Ux Writing Portfolio with No Experience Step 12

List your contact information.

Image titled Build a Ux Writing Portfolio with No Experience Step 13

Include testimonials.

Image titled Build a Ux Writing Portfolio with No Experience Step 14

Present your portfolio as a website or PDF file.

Image titled Build a Ux Writing Portfolio with No Experience Step 15

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How to Build a UX Writing Portfolio with No Experience

Learn how to launch your career as a professional UX Writer. Get tips for building a UX writing portfolio with no experience.

Renee Fleck

December 10, 2021

Art by Marina Verdú

What is UX Writing and how can you launch your career in this fast-growing field of Product Design? UX writer Alysa Yamada sheds light on the role of UX writers and how you can start building your career in this area.

UX writers are in high demand these days, grabbing hot seats right next to UX designers. It’s clear tech companies are beginning to notice the value this pair can bring to the table when working together.

If you’re curious about becoming a UX writer, you might be wondering what skills you need and how to start building your career in this field. In this article, I’ll shed light on the role of UX writers, why this kind of writing is needed in Product Design, and how you can get started in this field.

What does a UX Writer do?

UX is short for User Experience. This aspect is what really sets UX writers apart from copywriters, technical writers, marketers, and bloggers—although already having experience with any digital content strategy can make your transition easier.

"UX writers are focused on making sure people experience digital products as smoothly and efficiently as possible."

The UX part means we’re focused on making sure people experience digital products as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Instead of writing content to impress, we want to inform and guide people to understand what’s happening on their screens and what they can expect to happen next.

To get a more solid idea of what it means to be a UX writer and how to get started, let’s take a look at exactly where these wordings often live:

Where UX Writing lives

UX writers work closely with UX designers to create design flows and microcopy that make so much sense, you really don’t have to think about it. Or at least that’s how it should be. The essence of our job is to make lives easier online by constantly keeping journeys in mind when creating copy.

You can think of UX writers as a navigational guide.

Here are some of the most common places you can find UX writing:

Now that we know where and why this role exists, I’d like to share my own UX writing starter kit that I’ve put together from experience, research, and a bunch of trial and error to help you get started. Keep in mind that this starter kit can differ for every person and company, but this is what I’ve found to be most useful and common across both startups and corporations.

Art by Camille Pagni

The UX Writer’s Starter-Kit

Since UX writers work very closely with design teams, it’s extremely helpful to know how you will fit into that process and to get familiar with some of the tools and terminology you’ll be working with. Not only will you dabble in some design, but a big chunk of it is also doing research and understanding different concepts to prep you in making informed UX decisions.

Here’s what I recommend getting yourself familiar with:

Believe it or not, writing is not the make or break here. Don’t worry if you don’t have that writing degree. While it will certainly help you to know how to write well, writing for interfaces is a whole new ballgame that tends to rely more on being consistent with your company’s writing style guide and following UX principles.

Other skills that can go a long way:

UX writing opportunities are rolling in

As the field is still growing, there are loads of opportunities for aspiring UX writers. Just pull up your LinkedIn Jobs page and you’ll quickly see the booming demand around the globe, so you can rest assured you’re on a promising path.

We’re all pretty excited to have more UX writers to bounce ideas off of and get inspired by. Once you start ticking all the boxes and understanding the concepts, don’t be afraid to put your own copy out there and share your online UX Writing portfolio. Looking forward to you, fellow writers!

About the Author: Alysa Yamada is a UX writer, content strategist, and artist originally from Hawaii but is now based in Prague, Czechia. She loves board games, learning, comedy shows, and having free time.

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How To Build a UX Writing Portfolio With No Experience

ux writing portfolio no experience

Written by Scott Wilson

how to build a ux writing portfolio

How to build a UX writing portfolio with no experience? UX writers handle the task of writing the microcopy we all encounter in our favorite apps and websites. They provide us with simple direction and anticipate user questions by offering crystal clear guidance in plain language that anybody can understand. User experience writers can build a professional portfolio through case studies, volunteer work, or reimagining user interface writing found in existing programs or web services.

The age-old challenge for any kind of writer is how to develop a portfolio within their specialty without having been previously published. This is a situation that literally every writer faces at some point in their career. It’s as true for User Experience (UX) writers as any other type of journalist, technical, or creative writer in the world.

To meet this challenge, it’s useful to rephrase the question. The very act of building a portfolio is gaining experience, so there isn’t really a way to build a UX writing portfolio with no experience—the experience comes with the portfolio.

The real question is how do you get UX writing experience without a professional position as a UX writer.

This is an important challenge to meet, because in a competitive field, potential employers will want to see proof that you can rise to their needs. Fortunately, you have many ways to get that experience and build your portfolio even before becoming an experienced UX writer.

Ways To Get User UX Experience Before Your First Official UX Writing Job

Like every other kind of writing, getting UX writing experience has one basic requirement: write.

As long as you are working on the kind of microcopy that UX writers specialize in, that very process is part of building your experience. That’s as true whether you are working on a project with an audience of millions or working on some imaginary case study in your room at night.

The real challenge is turning that writing into pieces, that together, will present well as a portfolio. That usually means getting them into some sort of published format, or at least putting them together in a professional-looking, well-organized way.

Develop General Writing Experience Through a Degree in Creative Writing

There are no dedicated degrees in user experience writing, but many of the types of degrees that UX writers pursue involve building a sort of portfolio as part of the coursework. Technical writing programs are most likely to have dedicated classes in UX writing, but creative writing degrees may offer better preparation for a long-term career in UX writing.

That’s because the broad exposure to different kinds of literature and writing styles will spark your imagination and give you more literary tools and concepts to use in your work. And creative writing degrees involve a great deal of writing. You’ll develop an impressive portfolio of many different types of written work by the time you graduate. And with feedback and revisions from professors who are expert writers and frequently published authors, you can be assured that portfolio will come with a high degree of polish.

Develop UX Case Studies on Existing Products

ux workflow diagram

On the other hand, the UX world does have some standard practices for addressing this issue that will allow you to demonstrate your skills without being part of the original project team. That comes through UX case studies.

A UX case study breaks down the user experience for an existing or prospective product and analyzes the quality and effectiveness of that experience while making recommendations for improvements.

You can just as easily create a UX writing-specific case study that analyzes the language used in the user interface, revising it to showcase your own skills. You might review aspects of the user interface writing such as:

This creates an actual document for your portfolio while honing your own eye for great UX writing.

Volunteer as a UX Writer on Open Source or Small Projects

Getting your foot in the door as a UX writer can involve making the same sort of initial sacrifices as other types of writers: working for free to build out your portfolio.

In the software world, there are many opportunities for participating in and improving UX writing on free, open-source software (FOSS) projects. Open-source software is developed so that the code is freely available for anyone to review and modify; that software is often also made available free of charge. The modern internet largely runs on such free programs, operating at levels below the view of the average user.

Some FOSS packages have become widespread, if not common, in public use. Linux, Blender, Moodle, and other free programs have become common in certain industries.

All of those user-facing programs have interfaces. In many cases, they are essentially an afterthought, thrown together by programmers without any expertise or much interest in UX design. These projects are ripe for volunteer UX writers to join and provide some much needed assistance to UX designers.

Volunteer To Help With Localization UX Writing on Foreign Programs or Projects

ux graphic designer

Translating native text to English in user interface components is an expensive proposition, however. It’s out of reach of many smaller developers—which makes them very open to volunteers offering to help localize their products.

Localization is challenging because different word lengths and connotations in other languages may not have exact English counterparts. When they do, the text itself may not fit identically in the interface areas allocated for it. So localizing writing for a user interface is an impressive demonstration of your skills in UX writing.

Redevelop Existing Projects With Your Own UX Writing

Another option for developing valuable UX skills requires at least a bit of genuine technical ability as well. That is by creating mock-ups of existing products or programs that have your own unique UX writing on them instead of the default text.

This is easiest with websites. With some basic web building skills you can create visual mock-ups of popular web services but offer your own writing in place of the official version. Creating a better Twitter or a new take on Instagram is a great way to offer a comparative look at your skills for prospective clients.

Building a UX writing portfolio to get your foot in the door is all a part of the process that every type of writer goes through. More and more, writers are finding that earning a degree provides the perfect opportunity to build a portfolio while building writing experience at the same time.

ux writing portfolio no experience

9 Beginner UX Writing Portfolio Examples

Get inspired by effective portfolios by UX newbies. All the examples in this article are made by people who 1) have entered the industry in the last few years and 2) have landed jobs as UX writers or content designers.

Shortcuts – jump straight to:

How on earth do you make a ux portfolio without much experience.

If you’re new to UX writing and content design , you probably have a lot of questions about how to create an effective content design portfolio . While there are lots of great examples online, they often feature work from experienced content designers. Portfolios from seasoned pros can inspire — but they can also intimidate. They are also harder to use as models because they don’t address the questions and worries people often have in their early career.

Portfolios of more senior content designers can make newbies aware of (and anxious about!) all the things they don’t have: UX job experience, “real world” samples, extensive research, outcome analytics, a fancy website. The good news is that you don’t need all of these things to land a job .

As Jan Haaland, founder of Case Study Club, says in the podcast episode From case study writing to writing robots , employers are looking for different things in entry level and senior positions. And this article by Jonathon Colman  at HubSpot gets very specific about exactly what they look for. Bookmark it in case of anxiety attack – it’s a refreshing reminder that you are not expected to have it all.

4 Early-career Portfolio Challenges Solved  

The portfolios in this article were chosen because they offer examples of how to address some common challenges early-career content designers face. They will show you how to make the most of what you do have , including student projects, side/personal projects, work in other fields, and even your sparkling personality.

All the portfolios featured below come from students in the UX Writing Academy . And all of these portfolios helped the writers who created them land jobs, so you know they work. 

Challenge #1: Few (or no) professional samples

A common Catch-22 for people entering any field is that you often have to have experience to get experience. While experienced content designers can showcase projects they’ve done for employers, newbies have to get more creative to demonstrate their skills.

Some new content designers wonder if showing personal projects is “allowed” — and the good news is, it absolutely is. Have you sketched out improvements to an app you thought had some flaws? Done a 30-day UX writing challenge? Created a prototype of a fictional product in a class or on your own? All of that can go in your portfolio. In fact, HubSpot says they welcome side projects and volunteer projects.

All these things can demonstrate your skills and thought processes – and show you’re passionate and eager enough to try things on your own.

Sarah Kessler  

Take a quick glance at Sarah Kessler’s portfolio and you might think she has years of UX writing experience. Six samples, and text at the top that says these are not all of her work. Yet many of these samples were made outside of the workplace : a UX Writing Academy project, a UX Writing daily challenge, a speculative project that was a take-home assignment from a job interview.

Sarah is open about the origin of these projects, and lets the work stand for itself. These projects reveal her thought processes , ability to create great work and communicate it, and demonstrate that she is committed to learning more and more about the field. 

➡Sarah talks about becoming a UX writer from scratch in an episode of Writers in Tech⬅  – check it out!

Takeaway: Show it all. Whether or not you were paid for it, your work shows potential employers what you can do. What matters is not whether your samples were created in a professional setting but that you present them in a professional way. 

Sarah Kessler UX writing portfolio cover

Diego Cagara  

Diego Cagara has several professional projects on his portfolio, and he does a nice job connecting his past experience in journalism to his UX work (including a Medium article he wrote that makes the link explicit). But he also includes a student exercise that provides a great example of how he thinks through content design challenges. “Unfriendly Skies” is a project that involved writing copy for four different use cases for an airline app. He includes the situation, his copy, and the rationale for each. In this way, he shows both his work and his thinking . And perhaps most importantly, his conclusion explains what he learned . 

Takeaway: As we see over and over, the more you can demonstrate how you think – about specific decisions, and your learning process over all– the better. The next time you encounter a less-than-delightful digital experience, consider what you would do to fix it, and articulate why your fix would be an improvement.

Diego Cagara UX writing portfolio cover

Challenge #2: No (or minimal) research

Because these portfolios all come from UX Writing Academy students, they all include at least some research. That’s because the program emphasizes the importance of research in content design, and includes it as an important part of the final project. However, the research for those projects was all conducted a) for free and b) on original (invented) products. That means these are all things you can do on your own .

Some of these portfolios also include smaller projects that were not based on research. That’s fine, but if these make up the bulk of your samples, it will help to describe what research you would conduct, if you were in a different setting or had more resources . Many of the samples below include “Next Steps” sections – a list of additional research steps that the UX writer would conduct if they were able to.

Emma McLeod  

There’s lots to love in Emma McLeod’s simple but effective portfolio. It consists of three samples, two of which are personal projects . Research is often a hurdle for early-career content designers.

Emma’s student project demonstrates both how much you can do on your own, and how to handle what you can’t do. She used a number of research tools for her project, including market research, surveys, user interviews, and conversation mining. However, because this is not a “real” product, there were some limitations, so she included an explanation of what she would do if she could . 

Takeaway: You can do a lot of research with minimal resources, and explaining what you would do if you could goes a long way. If you’re working on a personal project, try mapping out an ideal research plan. Then see what on the list you might be able to accomplish with the resources you have.

Emma McLeod UX writing portfolio cover

Carla Kargaard  

Carla Kargaad’s portfolio features another personal project that demonstrates how much research can be done with no resources . Her project included two full designs , with different voice and tone options (as well as different visual design).

In addition to showing off her ability to conceive of and write in different brand voices, this also demonstrated that she can let go of her own ideas based on the research . While creating her product, she saw that the voice could go one of two ways: edgy (her favorite), or a slightly more conservative approach. So she built and tested both, and found that the latter was more effective. While she may have had to jettison her favorite design, sharing the process may have helped her land a job. 

Takeaway: Even without a live product, you can test the way different versions perform. If you are deciding between two choices in a personal project, try making two versions and then conducting basic user testing. You might be surprised how much you can do.

Carla Kargaard UX writing portfolio cover

Asher Lee Sherman  

Asher Lee Sherman also did a lot of research on a student project. The project , an e-commerce store for colored contact lenses, is an excellent example because it clearly demonstrates the goals of the research and precisely what was done . This makes it useful for newbies who may be wondering how to do research like this, as well as how to present it. One place this sample shines is all the conclusions drawn from the research. 

Takeaway: While this particular case study is backed up with lots of research, making strong conclusions from your research is a lesson anyone can learn from. This demonstrates to employers that you are able to make the most out of your research, even if there’s not much of it. 

Asher Sherman UX writing portfolio cover

Challenge #3: Lack of resources for a fancy website

There are a number of tools to easily and cheaply create a simple portfolio site, but the easiest of all may be Notion . You may know Notion as a productivity tool, but it can also let you create an attractive portfolio site in an afternoon (for free!). Many of the portfolios featured in this article are built in Notion. By creating a simple and effective site, you can focus more on what matters: the quality of the work in your portfolio. 

Emily Shi Lee  

Emily Shi Lee offers an example of how to do a lot with a little. On a single page , she introduces herself, offers a quick but thorough guide to her primary sample (click through to see her excellent case study), provides links to smaller UX writing samples, gives more information about herself, and offers a testimonial as proof of her chops. The site is easy to digest, and shows her personality and skills.

Takeaway: Start simple. There’s no need to dress up your work with bells and whistles. Visitors to your portfolio are interested in your work, and that can shine in a simple portfolio.

Emily Shi Lee Content Design portfolio cover

Pieterjan Benoit

Pieterjan Benoit’s portfolio is another example of a lean yet deep Notion-based site . You get a great sense of all Pieterjan has done – work experience, UX samples, other articles, and more – without feeling overwhelmed. The page provides a thorough and holistic sense of Pieterjan’s work and personality, while providing plenty of opportunities to learn more. 

Takeaway: Using a simple tool allows you to focus less on learning a complicated product and more on expressing yourself and sharing your authentic personality.

Pieterjan Benoit UX writing portfolio cover

Challenge #4: Expressing your personality in your portfolio

One advantage a portfolio has over a traditional resume is that you can express more of your personality . For new UX writers, this is a huge benefit. You may only have been honing your UX writing skills for a short time, but you’ve had your whole life to develop your personality. 

While it’s possible to go overboard, judicious use of your authentic voice will give visitors a sense of who you are and what it would be like to work with you .

Since voice and tone are such a key component of UX writing , the copy on your portfolio is a great opportunity to show what you can do. You can think about your own brand voice in the same way you would approach a company’s. Are you hyper-professional or more casual? Playful or all business? The portfolios below all do a great job integrating the authentic voice of the writer.

Lauren Reichman   

Looking at Lauren Reichman’s portfolio, you could be forgiven for wondering why it is included in a list of early career portfolios. She has an extensive background in content strategy and copywriting , areas that overlap enough with UX writing to provide useful projects/samples. Her case studies are definitely worth a look, even if they intimidate a little! But you’ll also find an excellent example of how to express your personality in your case studies . 

Check out her 404 pages project, for example. Lauren set herself a simple challenge to create 30 404 pages for her portfolio site . These are delightful to browse and serve as a useful model of what you can create on your own. While many UX writing challenges are designed to practice lots of different things (and including them in the portfolio can demonstrate breadth), focusing on a single element allows Lauren to show her limitless creativity. 

Takeaway: Do you have a favorite element to write? Or something you want to improve? Follow Lauren’s example and create 30 examples for your own portfolio site.

Lauren Reichman UX writing portfolio cover

Lucia Alcayde

In four sentences at the top of her portfolio, Lucia Alcayde elegantly describes herself, her values, her job and skills, and her benefit to clients:

“ I am a creative being and a digital marketing specialist. I believe in the power of good ideas and storytelling. I write content that helps users understand how brands can fulfill their needs. Therefore, I also help brands understand their users.”

This simple (even poetic) statement gets across Lucia’s unique approach to the field of content design, and the benefits of that approach . Her case studies reflect this, too. 

Takeaway: Be yourself. The way you think about your work and your role in the world will come through in your voice when what you’re saying is authentic. 

Lucia Alcayde UX writing portfolio cover

More tips for portfolio makers and job seekers

The ultimate UX portfolio resource (70 examples plus tips on how to get started) 8 tips to ace UX writing interviews 3 things that helped me get a job in UX (and 3 that didn’t)  

Podcast episodes

From case study writing to writing robots (with Jan Haaland from the Case Study Club) Believe in content design (with HubSpot’s Jonathon Colman, who explains what recruiters look for when hiring) UX writers are designers (with tips from Hailey Reynolds on how to write a cover letter) Becoming a UX writer from scratch (with Sarah Kessler)

Want to become a UX writer?

If you would like to get more experience, consider the UX Writing Academy. All the portfolios in this article came from Academy students (and all landed jobs), so if the caliber of the work here impressed and inspired you, you may want to join the next cohort. 

Check out the UX Writing Academy course  

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How to create a UX portfolio without experience: 5 tried-and-tested ways to find UX projects

UX portfolio without experience header iamge

It’s one of the biggest challenges new UX designers face: building a UX portfolio before you’ve got any on-the-job experience. 

Fortunately, there are opportunities everywhere to apply your UX skills—you don’t need to wait til you’re hired. 

In this post, we’ll show you how to find projects for your first UX portfolio . 

But before we do that, let’s recap on what your UX portfolio should demonstrate. This will help you when it comes to completing and showcasing your projects.

What goes into your UX portfolio, and what should your portfolio demonstrate?

Your UX portfolio is a website that showcases some of your best UX project work. It should demonstrate 3 main things:

You can learn all about what a UX portfolio is, why it’s important, and what it should include in our complete guide to UX portfolios . But, in a nutshell, your UX portfolio should contain an “About” page, contact details and, most importantly, examples of your work. Your work is presented in the form of case studies. 

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What is a UX case study?

A UX case study tells the story of a design project you worked on . It outlines your design process from A to Z, detailing the problem you set out to solve, the users you were solving it for, the methods and processes you used, and the final solution. 

Case studies include a mixture of text and visuals. As you explain your process, you can illustrate each step with screenshots, photos, videos, wireframes and prototypes, data and quotes. 

UX case studies are the heart of your portfolio. They show employers that you’ve got the necessary skills to work as a UX designer. But how are you supposed to create UX case studies if you haven’t yet worked on any UX projects?

Worry not. Here are 5 tried-and-tested ways to gain valuable UX experience and build case studies for your portfolio.

5 Ways to find projects for your UX portfolio without experience

1. conduct an unsolicited redesign.

An unsolicited redesign is where you take an existing product, service or feature and voluntarily redesign it—without being asked to do so. You’re not working on behalf of a company or client, and your solutions won’t be used. 

However, you do get to apply your UX design skills to a real product. Excellent material for your portfolio!

How to conduct an unsolicited redesign

To conduct an unsolicited redesign, you first need to identify a UX problem within an existing product. 

Think about the apps and websites you use on a regular basis. Are you constantly frustrated with your banking app? Did you recently abandon a full online shopping cart because the checkout process was so cumbersome? Could the task of finding new music on your favourite streaming platform be improved in some way?

Once you start looking for those UX problems, you’ll notice them everywhere. Pick one you fancy tackling and define the scope of the project. This could be “streamlining the checkout process on the ASOS website” or “improving the profile-building feature on the Bumble dating app”. 

From there, follow the entire UX process , starting with user research and moving right through to final designs. By the end, you’ll have a fully-fledged project to showcase in your portfolio. 

Unsolicited redesign examples

To help you with your own unsolicited redesign, here are some examples of what other designers have done:

Tips for completing a successful unsolicited redesign

Treat your unsolicited redesign like a real UX project. Don’t be tempted to cut corners; the aim is to apply your skills as practically as possible. Here are some tips to ensure your unsolicited redesign is a success:

Unsolicited redesigns demonstrate exactly how you’d approach a real client project—and they show that you’re a proactive and resourceful designer. A great impression to make in your UX portfolio.

Designer working on a whiteboard

2. Design to fix a real user problem 

This is similar to an unsolicited redesign, except the product doesn’t actually exist yet—you’re going to conceptualise and design it from scratch. You might hear this referred to as a fictitious UX project. 

The main difference between an unsolicited redesign and the “fictitious project” approach is that you’re starting with an unsolved user problem rather than improving an existing design. The scope for creativity is therefore a lot broader.

How to complete a fictitious UX project

To complete your fictitious UX project, you first need to give yourself a design brief. This means identifying a user problem that doesn’t seem to have an existing solution. 

Again, you’ll need to view the world through your UX lens in order to spot those unsolved problems. Perhaps you find yourself in a state of confusion whenever it comes to recycling your household rubbish. Wouldn’t it be great if you had an app that could help you identify the right bin for different types of waste? 

Maybe you wish there was an easier way to meet people when you go travelling, or to curate playlists that match the tempo of your movement while you’re working out. Wherever there’s a user problem, there’s a UX design project just waiting to happen!

Once you’ve identified your UX problem, all the usual rules apply. Go through the UX process from start to finish, documenting all your research, early ideations, and final designs. 

Fictitious UX project examples

Before embarking on your own fictitious project, see how other designers have done it. Here are some noteworthy case studies to inspire you:

Tips for an effective fictitious UX project

Fictitious UX projects can be overwhelming as there’s so much room for creativity. Here’s how to make it work:

If you’re struggling to come up with your own design challenge, why not try a design challenge generator? Sites like Sharpen Design , Briefz , and What Should I Design? are great sources of UX inspiration. 

Designer working on a Microsoft surface

Photo by Surface on Unsplash

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3. Volunteer your UX skills for free

There are plenty of organisations out there who could benefit from a UX designer but don’t have the funds to hire one. If you’ve got the time, volunteering is a great way to use your UX skills and gain real-world experience.

Where to find UX volunteering opportunities

One way to find UX volunteering opportunities is through dedicated websites and portals such as:

You can also send out speculative applications. Research local non-profits or large-scale initiatives you’re interested in and familiarise yourself with their work. Then send an email to introduce yourself and the skills you can offer. Be ready to pitch ideas for how you might help them in case they want specifics. 

Once you’ve landed a volunteering gig, you should have lots of material for your UX portfolio. As always, document everything you work on so you can turn it into a coherent case study.

UX volunteering case study examples

Volunteering isn’t just for entry-level designers; many senior UXers offer their skills pro-bono as a way of giving back. If you’re curious about how a UX volunteering case study might look, here are some examples:

How to make the most of your UX volunteering gig

Not only is it nice to offer your skills for a good cause—you’ll learn a lot from the experience, too. Here’s how to make the most of your UX volunteering gig:

You can learn more about how volunteering can help you build your UX portfolio in this guide .

a group of UX design students

Photo by Jason Goodman on Unsplash

4. Take a UX design course

If you want a structured approach to learning UX design and creating a professional portfolio, consider a UX design course.

Many UX courses include project work in the curriculum, and some will even guide you through the portfolio-building process. Depending on the setup, you may also have access to mentors or industry professionals who can review your project work and give feedback. 

Even without all the extras, a UX course with a project-based syllabus provides an excellent starting point for your portfolio. You’ll learn the UX process from start to finish, and can build out your first UX case study as you go.

Choosing a UX design course

There are several factors to consider when choosing a UX design course. Think about the following:

Do plenty of research before signing up—including taking a look at what UX course graduates have to say about their experience .

UX portfolio examples from course graduates

If you’re wondering how your portfolio might look if you build it as part of a UX course, check out these portfolios created by graduates of the UX Design Institute:

For more inspiration, take a look at our complete round-up of the best UX graduate portfolio examples (and what we can learn from them) .

How to make the most of your UX course project work 

If you’re building your UX portfolio based solely on course work, you might have concerns about standing out. Here are some ways to ensure your UX portfolio is unique:

And remember: Hiring managers ultimately want to see that you understand and can apply the UX design process. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel in order to stand out.

UX design students working together

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash  

5. Consider a UX internship

It’s not a feasible option for everyone, but if you are able to take on an unpaid (or low-paid) short-term gig, consider a UX internship.

A UX internship will have you working in-house on real design projects. Besides the obvious benefit for your UX portfolio, you’ll have the chance to shadow and learn from experienced UX designers—and get your first taste of working on a design team. 

Where to find UX internships

Searching for a UX internship is much like searching for a job. You can use both generic job boards and UX-specific sites, including:

As with volunteering, prioritise finding an internship with a company or brand you’re interested in. With that said, it’s important to be flexible—you can start your search with your “top pick” companies, and then cast the net wider later on. 

UX internship case studies

The best way to learn about UX internships (and to weigh up if it’s something for you) is to hear from those who have first-hand experience. Here are some UXers who have shared their internship stories:

Tips for a successful UX internship

Before you take on a UX internship, it’s important to ensure that you’re in line for a truly valuable experience. Here’s how to get the best out of your UX internship:

As you can see, there are many ways you can build out your portfolio, long before you’ve landed your first UX job . So what’s next? Try some (or all) of the strategies we’ve shared, and follow this practical step-by-step guide on how to build your UX portfolio from scratch .

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UX Mastery

How to build a UX portfolio when you have no experience

ux writing portfolio no experience

It’s common for newcomers to UX to experience a moment of absolute panic when they discover they need a portfolio. “But how can I build a portfolio when I have no experience?” they ask. The usual online advice is to help a local small business, find a friend with a startup, volunteer for a non-profit, or create a hypothetical project. But the details are often lacking. Lynne Davies bridges the gap by sharing her experience of how she built up her portfolio, and what she learnt along the way.

I’m sure that every newcomer to UX experiences a moment of absolute panic when they discover that they need a portfolio. “But how can I build a portfolio when I have no experience?” they ask. The usual online advice is to “help a local small business”, “find a friend with a startup”, “volunteer for a non-profit” or “create a hypothetical project”, but there is little available in the way of details. I want to bridge this gap by sharing my experience of how I built up my portfolio, and what I learnt along the way.

When I learnt that I needed a portfolio, I was living in a small, remote town – very different to a major city. There were no startups I could approach, and most small businesses didn’t even have a website (everyone knows everyone so why bother?). As a recent immigrant in a fairly closed society, my network of family and friends was limited, and there were precisely zero meetups of any kind in the region. It was these challenges that led me to look for experience remotely.

Volunteering for a non-profit startup

I decided that volunteer work would be my first port of call. After attempting to find something locally, I searched websites such as volunteermatch.org for remote opportunities, using “UX” as a keyword. I found an interesting listing from the enScholar Educational Foundation and applied. enScholar is a small non-profit startup that develops websites to help youth explore career options. It’s run entirely remotely and staffed by volunteers from around the world. We communicate via Slack, hold meetings on Hangouts, manage tasks on Trello, and choose our own hours.

At first, I worked on optimising a new landing page targeted at the US market. Shortly thereafter, we launched a project to develop a new website, and I was asked to join the development team as Scrum Master. I enjoyed working with the development team – I learnt how developers work together to build a new site, discovered the complexities of managing and pushing code, and developed a new vocabulary. I also helped out with a wide variety of UX and non-UX tasks, from QA testing, to documenting the site structure and workflows, usability testing, monitoring the site analytics, writing content and even responding to users’ questions via live chat.

ux writing portfolio no experience

Volunteering at enScholar hasn’t been without its challenges. The UX-related work can be scarce and quite disjointed at times, which made it difficult to build portfolio pieces demonstrating a process. Accessing users is tricky in a remote organisation with no budget for incentives. As the only UXer on the team, there’s no one on the team to learn or get feedback from – so I hope I haven’t been developing bad habits!

What’s been great is gaining real-world UX experience while contributing to a good cause. I’ve created two portfolio pieces based on the projects I’ve completed. I’ve also learnt a lot about UX, web development, scrum, startups and remote teams, worked with some wonderful people, and confirmed a career in UX is for me.

Participating in a UX bootcamp

In the meantime, I had completed Dr David Travis’s excellent course User Experience: The Ultimate Guide to Usability , and joined the Facebook group for students. As an optional add-on to the course, David conducted a “bootcamp” for group members, in order to road test some new design exercises (now included in the course). Participants worked their way through a complete design process, including research, analysis, paper prototyping and usability testing, finishing with the development of a portfolio piece. Mine was a GPS-tracking device for pets. We shared our work, provided each other with feedback and had extra support from David as we worked our way through the exercises.

ux writing portfolio no experience

I found that the well-defined structure was very helpful for a newcomer. I had clear guidance and templates at each stage, and could ask questions to David and the group if I was feeling unsure. It forced me to leave my comfort zone to complete tasks I might otherwise have avoided – for example, in the research phase we were required to observe a minimum of five participants. Doing this in French (not my native language) with complete strangers was very daunting – but ultimately rewarding as I learnt many unexpected things about my users.

David designed the exercises to help students build their portfolio, included tips in his videos and even provided a portfolio template. I previously struggled to create a portfolio piece on my own, but found filling in a template far less intimidating than building a portfolio from scratch. Once I had a base portfolio, modifying it and adding a personal touch and was far easier.

The best thing about the bootcamp was the group participation and sense of community. I learnt an enormous amount from seeing other people’s different approaches to a task. The participants who came from a visual design background produced beautiful work, which inspired me to learn the basics of graphic design and put additional effort into the presentation of my work. I also benefited from constructive feedback on my work from David and other participants.

Completing a course with a capstone project

In addition to David’s course, I completed the  Interaction Design Specialization run by the University of California, San Diego on Coursera. This is a series of 8 courses, which concludeds with a capstone project where we applied the principle we’d learnt.  

For the capstone, we were provided three generic briefs but could narrow in on a topic of our choosing – I chose job seeking. We followed a full design process, with an emphasis on building an interactive prototype and testing it with users. There was a peer-assessed assignment each week for 10 weeks, and with many hours of work required at each step, the pace was relentless.

ux writing portfolio no experience

There was no hand-holding in this course. We were expected to choose our own tools, make our own templates and to learn new tools or skills on our own to complete the assignments. I hadn’t previously done interactive prototyping, so I had to find, select and learn a software package, and quickly. The advantage of a flexible approach was that I could be more creative and interpret the requirements according to my own interests. While I had enough experience under my belt by this point, many less-experienced students struggled.

The peer assessments were a good opportunity to learn from the work of others and practice the skill of critiquing work. Occasionally I got some helpful and constructive comments on my work, but unfortunately many peers didn’t take the time to do this. The course included a discussion forum, however, as the group was larger and with little leadership or support from course staff, the community felt less close-knit. There was no mention of portfolios during the course, but the final assignment involved writing a Medium post explaining our design process, which made a good starting point for a portfolio piece.

Final thoughts

After several months of volunteering, bootcamping and capstoning, I was able to put together a portfolio which demonstrated varied skills. Even more importantly, I’d learnt a whole range of new UX and soft skills, gained insight into the industry, obtained real experience, and found a great support network.  

So which would I recommend? Well, it depends on your skills, previous experience, interests and personality. Think about whether you want a lot of guidance or prefer to figure things out on your own. Do you want to work on your own or with a group? Are you happy working on a hypothetical project or prefer to contribute to real one? Do you want to focus purely on learning UX skills, or develop a wider skill set?  

I benefited from all three activities in different ways, but I particularly appreciated the group settings where I could discuss ideas, obtain feedback and learn by seeing the work of others. Finally, my advice would be to just get out there, find something (even if it isn’t exactly what you want to do) and give it your best – remember, you get out of it what you put in. You’ll be amazed by how much more you’ll gain than just a portfolio entry!

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Lynne Davies

Lynne discovered UX while looking for a way to build on her Engineering and Design for Lean Six Sigma background, and has been hooked ever since. She feeds this addiction via online courses, books and articles, mentoring other students, volunteering with enScholar, and actively participating in online communities like UX Mastery. She recently moved to Vancouver, Canada, where she is enjoying city life.

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Really useful takeaways! Thanks for sharing! We talked to Jared Spool about how to create a UX designer portfolio and collect his approach and process.

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ux writing portfolio no experience

ux writing portfolio no experience

How to create a UX writing portfolio without experience

How to create a UX writing portfolio

Creating a UX writing portfolio is not as easy as it is for other forms of writing. The reason is simple, UX writers do not work in a vacuum. They work as part of a team, working on projects that require different departments and different processes.

Thus, separating their part of the work to use for their portfolio may not be easy. UX writers work with UX designers. So, most times, their work is dependent on the designs created by UX designers.

For example, a content writer can decide to write on random topics and create a portfolio out of them. But for a UX writer, your writing is part of a design process.

You are writing microcopy on buttons, error messages for a product, alert buttons, onboarding instructions, user interface text, product guide for users, etc. Thus, your options in creating a portfolio seem to depend on working with a UX designer, which might not come too often especially if you are an upstart in the field.

The truth is the process of creating a portfolio for a UX writer becomes more taxing when you are a beginner in the field. Portfolios should show your skills, experience, and expertise, but how do you create that when you have no experience?

The gap between the beginner phase in any field and getting your first job is always a big hurdle to cross. You need portfolio samples to get a job. Yet you need a job to get those samples. The situations seem like a loop of confusion. But it doesn’t have to be. You can create a good portfolio, convince recruiters and land a good job.

In this article, I will share what a UX writing portfolio is, why you need one, and how you can create a good UX writing portfolio even if you have no experience.

The ultimate guide to create an impressive portfolio

What is a UX writing portfolio?

What is a UX writing portfolio?

A UX writing portfolio is a collection of your work as a UX writer. It shows your skills and expertise through your work experiences. UX writers use their portfolios to display their work and describe their processes. A UX writing portfolio is usually posted online as part of web pages or as a sub-section of a site.

A UX writing portfolio often allows you to maintain your relevance as a UX writer. It also creates chances of landing gigs with potential clients if you are a freelancer. Most of all, it is proven to convince employers to hire you through your UX writing case studies.

UX writing portfolios are not a replacement for your CV and cover letters. CV and cover letters give a general overview of where you have worked and your contribution in those places, in summary. But your portfolio explains the processes of the details in your CV and cover letter.

Your portfolio might sometimes make a better first impression on a hiring manager than a cover letter does. It is where you offer verifiable evidence that you are a strong and qualified candidate. Then, recruiters will decide to interview you if your portfolio interests them. UX writing portfolios, in a nutshell, outline your accomplishments and highlight your abilities. It is where potential clients or employers can contact you after knowing more about you and your qualifications.

What should be in a UX writing portfolio?

What should be in a UX writing portfolio?

Before creating your UX writing portfolio, you need to realize that your portfolio is not a detail of everything that happens in the UX design process. Your portfolio is different from that of designers.

UX designers concentrate on creating wireframes, prototypes, and screen designs, therefore their portfolios highlight the visual workflow and end product of their work. The research and usability testing can still make their work more visually appealing. They employ UI terms rather than creating a design.

For UX writers, instead of focusing on UI, prototypes, or customer journey maps, UX writing portfolio contains the written solutions you develop to solve design problems.

A portfolio is a UX problem, and a good UX writer is a problem-solver. You should employ innovative methods to address the issue of How should my work examples be presented? To do this, you must base your portfolio on a straightforward framework that presents you, illuminates your work approach, and motivates action.

These are the fundamental elements that should be in your UX writing portfolio.

1. A short biography

A brief biography can provide insightful information about your personality and working style. Remember that employers are looking for people who will fit within their team. So, for recruiters to know who you are and what you can accomplish for them, you should also summarize your skills.

Make an effort to draw attention to everything that can make you stand apart from other UX writers. That is also a plus for UX writers who possess technological know-how. You don’t need to write too much in this section. Write few lines, enough for employers to know the skills you have acquired over time.

2. Your contact information

Make it simple for prospective employers or clients to contact you if you want people to find you and possibilities to work with you.

As much as it is comfortable given how you intend to share your UX writing portfolio, including your basic contact information. Include your social media links along with your phone number and email. Place links to your LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook pages and all your contact details in prominent locations.

3. Work samples section

This is the reason for the portfolio. Your work samples should contain the best of your work. Make a collection of your copy. The button, error messages, screen instructions, onboarding instructions etc. You can display them as screenshots and include live links.

You can also represent your work with case studies. A case study provides insight into your creative process and thoroughly explains the project. To demonstrate what you can do to recruiters, case studies are preferable to posting screenshots of your work.

However, you need to be careful with your case studies. Your case study as a UX writer should not contain prototypes, wireframes, sketches, or layouts. Those are for a UX designer’s portfolio alone. Display only your process of creating the copy in your portfolio.

You can include your collaboration with user researchers to gain insights into users’ pain points. Explain how you came up with the words you use, and why you use those words. Those processes convince prospective employers about your collaboration skills and creative ability.

Smart tips on what to do before creating your first UX portfolio as a beginner

ux writing portfolio no experience

You need to be sure of how to create a portfolio before delving into it, so you might want to make some research before creating your first portfolio.

1. Search for the best UX writing portfolios

You can draw inspiration from other portfolios. Check how they structure their portfolios, pick an idea from what they did, and tweak it. Yuval Kestcher of the UX Writing Hub often shares articles on top UX writing portfolios. You can pay attention to other UX writers just starting like you, with limited experience. You should save these profiles for future inspiration and keep your attention on those samples for newbies like you.

If you focus too much on established writers' portfolios, you may not yet be ready to create your portfolio. You may start feeling the need to reach a particular height before you create your first portfolio. Instead, you should take inspiration from those profiles and move on with creating your portfolio.

2. Conduct industry research for the requirements of a UX writer

Knowing what other UX authors were doing when developing their portfolios might not be sufficient.

You must understand what employers and hiring managers expect of a UX writer. What is the average number of years of experience? Which skills do they require from a UX writer? Are there any special requirements for UX writing positions to which I could connect my experience? You might need to examine a couple of job descriptions to identify parallels.

3. Connect your previous experiences to your present career

You can find a way to connect the transferable skills from your previous career to UX writing. UX writing is about solving problems. So, you can relate your problem-solving approach in your previous career to how it would help or how it has helped you as a beginner in UX writing.

Common UX Portfolio Mistakes to Avoid as a Newbie

How to create a UX writing portfolio as a beginner with no experience

How to create  a UX writing portfolio without experience

The most important thing about your portfolio is your samples or case studies. Case studies are from projects that you have worked on. It is hard to get case studies when you are just starting in the industry, but it is not impossible.

All you need to do is to look for various means of getting case studies. Do not wait for someone to come up with a project before you start working on one.

Here are some of the ways you can get projects to include in your UX writing portfolio

1. Participate in UX writing challenges or hackathons

Engage in UX writing challenges and hackathons to build your portfolio, Create UX content in those competitions, and network with UX specialists. Hackathons are multi-day design challenges that bring together developers, authors, and UX designers. Enter to create portfolio material, network, and pick the brains of more seasoned UX professionals.

Find local hackathons that match your degree online. There are daily writing UX writing challenges you can also join for a few days to build your UX writing portfolio.

2. Volunteer for projects

Look for free projects you can prove in your portfolio as big ones to take on. Ask to build websites or blogs for friends, start-ups, or, nonprofits. Speak with companies that lack the funds for UX writers or are unaware of what UX is, and let them know how you can help. By doing so, you can gain experience on actual projects and develop relationships with clients and businesses that can attest to your work.

Make it clear that you want to keep track of your work for a portfolio and that you are a beginner seeking experience. Consider applying remotely or online to internships in your area if you prefer a more leisurely learning environment.

You will gradually gain enough experience to successfully search for full-time employment or establish a freelance career.

3. Rewrite microcopy for existing products

A voluntary rewrite that you make of an existing service, or feature without any request from anyone, shows prospective employers how passionate you are about solving problems. Though, your solutions might not be implemented by the product owners because you are not working on behalf of a business or client. You do, however, get to work on an actual product to put your UX writing skills to use.

You must first locate the UX writing issue with the existing product before creating a rewrite. Consider the digital products you have used or the websites you visit frequently. Have you ever given up on an entire process because it was difficult to comprehend?

Once you start looking for those UX issues, you'll see them all around you. Select the one you feel like working on, then specify the project's parameters. This can look like “rewriting the log-in page, and error message copy for Twitter."

Consider this rewrite to be an actual UX project. Avoid the temptation to skimp; the goal is to use your skills as practically as you can., hire real people for tasks like user research and testing. Get familiar with the product you're redesigning by talking to friends and family or by posting ads in Facebook groups.

4. Leverage samples from other types of writing

Display your innate writing abilities to employers in any format. Create additional samples using anything you have, such as blog postings, magazine articles, or social media posts. Stick to just a few instances of your non-UX writing and divide it into editorial and copywriting categories. Briefly describe the background of your work.

Employers want to see how your mind works and your ability to think creatively and good writing is good writing. Professional UX writers frequently make the switch from other types of writing to their line of work.

How to make your UX writing portfolio impressive to recruiters

How to make your UX writing more impressive to recruiters

If you intend to get your first UX writing job soon, you must ensure your portfolio is impressive enough to get employers’ attention. These are some tips on how to do that.

1. Treat employers as your product users

Design your portfolio with employers in mind, much like you would a UX project. Use words that align with what employers are looking for, and treat them as the target audience for your project.

Look through job postings for UX writers and draw attention to the qualifications your portfolio closely matches. The need for applications, websites, or other platforms should be considered. Include and draw attention to the samples you have that are most pertinent to the potential job opportunity.

2. Explain your involvement in each case study

Explain how you found issues and fixed them in each case study. Use succinct titles that clearly state the projects' objectives ("Writing onboarding instructions for a Fintech app"), your contribution ("I created copy for 3 landing pages and 2 login screens," "The app had xxxx new logins 2 weeks after launch," etc.).

Describe the project's objective and timetable and any special difficulties or constraints you encountered to demonstrate your problem-solving abilities.

Explain your writing approach in detail so potential employers can see the thinking behind your decisions and tone.

Include a few phrases about what you learned if you want to demonstrate your dedication to professional development.

3. Explain your problem-solving approach

Share your approach to solving problems to demonstrate your flexibility. Prove to employers that you know the processes when coming up with solutions. These processes could include identifying problems, looking for solutions, planning and putting your ideas into practice, composing microcopy, and testing your ideas.

Include your process and the results for particular case studies in addition to the general section on the process.

4. Include testimonials from friends, colleagues, and clients

Testimonials create lasting impressions. Testimonials validate that you are worth the hype in your portfolio. Request testimonials as payment for the volunteer projects you did for your friends and colleagues.

How to build an impressive UX portfolio without experience

Creating a UX portfolio when you have no experience requires taking strategic steps. Otherwise, you might find yourself in an unending loop of getting projects to create a portfolio and trying to create a portfolio to get projects. The strategic steps you need to take to come out of that loop have been explained in this article. Now, get to work and create that fantastic portfolio.


How To Build A UX Writing Portfolio With No Experience

Tips and tricks on building a UX writing portfolio that actually gets you hired (even with zero experience).

How To Build A UX Writing Portfolio that Actually Gets You Hired (Even With Zero Experience)

Landing your first job is often a chicken and egg situation – you need experience to get hired, but you can’t get hired because you lack experience. Sounds familiar?

Luckily, not for UX writers! You can build an impressive UX writing portfolio with no experience and land your first job! Let us show you exactly how you do that.

Do I Really Need A UX Writing Portfolio?

Brand names on a CV attract recruiters’ attention but don’t guarantee a hire. The good news for you as an entry-level UX writer is – a strong portfolio helps you stand out from the competition even if you have zero practical experience. 

Employers want to ensure you have what it takes to be a successful UX writer and can adapt your writing style to individual brand voices. 

What Should You Include In Your Writing Portfolio?

What recruiters are looking for in a UX writing portfolio is not just examples of various types of UX copy but an overview of the work process and measurable results (e.g., an increase in product sign-ups in %). 

If you’re a beginner UX writer with no workplace experience, building a quantifiable portfolio may be a challenge. So instead, highlight  relevant skills  to demonstrate you are qualified for the job. 

When you build your UX writing portfolio, put yourself in a potential employer’s shoes. Ask yourself why companies hire UX writers in the first place, what they expect to achieve by hiring a UX writer, and build a UX writing portfolio that meets these needs.

For example, if your portfolio is hard to navigate or it’s unclear what your role was in the UX project, the hiring manager will not be convinced you’re up for this job.

Remember to include at least these five components into your portfolio: 

UX writing requires a lot of teamwork and interpersonal skills, and employers are looking for people who will understand the users’ needs and will communicate effectively with their co-workers. This is why companies do give preference to those who possess outstanding soft skills.

So tell your potential clients/employers what kind of person you are, what your superpowers are, and how you’ll use these skills in a work environment. 

These are the types of UX copy that would benefit your portfolio: 

Demonstrate your work with case studies, not just simple screenshots. A case study offers both an insight into your creative process and a visual representation of the product before and after you stepped in. 

How many case studies are enough for a convincing UX writing portfolio?  

In most cases, 3 to 5 would be sufficient. Just as nobody reads boring multi-page resumes, nobody will sift through case studies on every tiny project you’ve ever done. Therefore, keep it short. 

How To Write A UX Writing Case Study That Will Get You Hired?

Case studies help to illustrate your role in a project, the problems you discovered, and how you solved them.

Here is a sample structure for a case study: 

Give your UX writing case study a clear, concise title that will identify both the key focus of the project ( e.g., “Writing user onboarding screens for a parking app” ).  

Project description

Now describe the project context, your role ( e.g., “I wrote copy for 2 landing pages as well as 5 onboarding screens” ), and an outcome ( e.g., “The app was launched in August 2020 and gained 1 million installations within the first two months” ). 

Project goal and timeline

Describe what and why needed to be done, what was the overall project timeline. 

Project challenges

What were the challenges/limitations you had to deal with? Maybe, the navigation was too complicated and required a revamp? Or did you first have to verify that users really needed the features you were supposed to write copy for? Define the issues you had to fix before you started writing to demonstrate to potential employers/clients your analytical and problem-solving skills. 

Your role in the project

What exactly did you do: research, microcopy, or something else? If companies are looking for people to fill similar roles, this part of the case study will help them understand whether you will be a good fit. 


Describe the UX writing process step by step, to help others understand why you made the decisions you did. For example, you used website analytics to identify user personas you would be writing for, and adjusted your brand voice and tone accordingly. 


You need to quantify the results of the project, not just describe them (e.g., “New email taglines had a 30% increase in open rate”): this is how you show your impact on the overall product performance and prove your value to the customer.

Lessons learnt (optional)

Share some insights you had during the project or mistakes you made and fixed. This part will show your commitment to professional growth, self-criticism, and analytical skills. 

How To Present Your UX Writing Portfolio? 

Website portfolios and PDF portfolios are the most popular ways to approach this, and both have their benefits. 

If you decide to go with a website portfolio, the easiest way is to use a platform like Squarespace or Wix . These content management platforms offer both a personal domain name, hosting space, and customizable templates with no coding or technical skills required. 

Both Wix and Squarespace offer templates specifically designed for portfolio websites, which makes the design process much faster. 

An additional advantage of having a portfolio website is that you can use analytics to track visitors, get insights into their preferences, and turn these findings into yet another UX writing case. 

As for PDF portfolios, you do not have to pay for a domain name, hosting, or using a content management system. You can also print out your portfolio and take it with you to interviews.

On the other hand, you will need to invest more time into designing your PDF portfolio from scratch. Keep in mind that ATSs (applicant tracking systems) have limitations on the size of files you can attach to your job application. So think twice before you decide to go with a PDF portfolio instead of a website.  

How to Build a UX Writing Portfolio If You Have No Experience?

If you are new to the UX writing industry and have no experience, creating a portfolio may seem impossible. But it really isn’t!

Ask someone who runs a business (it can be a local cafe with a one-page website, actually) if you could write a microcopy for them. Document the entire process and here you go – your first case study!

Another approach could be to pretend that you’ve been hired to improve the UX copy for an existing website. Make screenshots, explain what you would change, why you would change it, and how you would go about doing so.

You could also show initiative and offer such a UX copy makeover to a company you want to work for. Just make sure not to be too critical: after all, you don’t have the necessary data to decide what works and what doesn’t. 

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How To Build A Ux Writing Portfolio With No Experience

In this tutorial, you will find out how to build a UX writer portfolio that stands out for the right reasons. If you have been doing UX writing for some years now, and are ready to show off your work, there are several ways to build a portfolio that stands out. As you can see, there are a lot of ways to bolster your portfolio, even long before landing that first UX job. Or, you can follow a few ways you can gain experience writing for UX, without working in the field full-time.

Being an UX writing intern could help you accumulate experience in this field and gradually build up your portfolio, since you are given little responsibility and an opportunity to learn from your mistakes without risking losing your job. Part of your work as a UX writer will involve working with designers and developers, so take on any technical skills that you can. Yes, you get a little bit more freedom as a UX writer, but you will still have to learn to write in the most simple, efficient way.

Where UX writing lives UX writers work closely with UX designers to craft flow of designs and microcopy that makes so much sense, you do not actually need to think about it. As long as your portfolio of UX writing is focused on the right goals, with the right pieces of information, you will be able to put your communication skills and systems thinking to use and truly tell your story. A UX writing portfolio is the ultimate professional site, and visitors will want to reach out to you once they have learned about you and your skills.

A UX portfolio is a summary of you and your work, typically published on the internet in the form of several webpages, or part of a larger website. A portfolio is a good way to share projects with potential employers, and also to impress them with your UX skills. How you curate your portfolio is a good meta-challenge, as well as an opportunity to shine in your UX writing interviews.

Great UX portfolios demonstrate how companies could benefit from working with a knowledgeable, driven, and team-oriented UX writer like yourself. To help you build a killer UX writing portfolio, we gathered a few tips and guidelines from our UX Writing Team, who are all experienced hiring writers. Ask yourself why companies hire UX writers in the first place, what they are expecting to get out of hiring UX writers, and create a UX writing portfolio that meets their needs.

Look around existing UX writing, or at the industry portfolios listed above, and see what you can learn. For further inspiration, check out our full collection of top examples of the best portfolios from UX graduates (and what we can learn from them). There are several examples of excellent UX writing portfolios out there, which should provide a few ideas to a content designer or UX writer.

Your UX writing portfolio needs to show you off in the best possible light, and experienced senior-level UX writers also need to show off what they can do. Beginner UX writers may struggle to support their writing portfolio with any quantifiable data, so they should highlight related skills instead, demonstrating that they are well-suited to the job. A UX writers portfolio should show more than a few types of UX writing, it should also provide a review of the process for working on the piece, as well as, where possible, the quantifiable results (e.g., increased signups to a product). A UX writing portfolio is a review of yourself and your work, showing off your skills and processes with examples and work examples.

Once you have started checking off all the boxes and understanding the concept, do not be afraid to get your copy out there and share your online UX writing portfolio. If you are looking to prove to us that you know how to do UX work and writing user interface copy, then your site is a good way to show it. Create a personal portfolio to show off your work (if you have no experience at this point, do not be afraid to make mockups of existing brands featuring your new copy). Believe it or not, the writing is not the be-all, end-all here. If you are a UX writer who is brand new to the field, without experience, building a portfolio might feel impossible.

One of the things a lot of new UX writers make wrong is thinking they should just be working with designers. Working at several startups, and working frequently on my own while freelancing, I learned that I actually knew most of the design teams lingo, I was just not exposed to it in the same way as a UX writer at larger companies. One way I did that was to contact UX designers and writers in larger companies and go over the job descriptions.

In this post, UX writer Alisa Yamada explains the roles of UX writers, why writing like this is needed in product design, and how to start working in the field. This article is written especially for beginning designers, but even more experienced designers may still take away some insights into writing for your projects. The aim of The Design Newsletter is for it to be the most hands-on design writing on the planet, so if youave been reading all these cool redesigns and portfolios and thought, Iave got to up my design gamea, well, Iave got you covered. I tried tackling a few UX writing portfolios a couple weeks ago on a Twitter thread, but itas an admittedly awful way of getting out big ideas.

UX writing (and those other writing industries, as well) requires some basic level of strategy and decision-making, and being able to provide rationale is essential. UX writers are also in a unique position, from a standpoint of understanding the products and services that they are writing about, because they know the frustrations that customers experience on their journey.

Joining as a freelance UX writer can open up you to bigger projects, where you will gain experience and document that process for your portfolio. Mostly, a UX portfolio allows you to keep up with the state of your craft, and helps you with prospective clients or recruiters who are interested in hiring you with case studies of your UX writing, etc.

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5 Tips For the Best UX Writing Portfolio: 2023 Guide With Examples

So you’ve heard about UX writing and want to get to work on your own UX writing portfolio? Great! In this guide, we’ll give you a quick overview of what a UX writer does, how a UX writing portfolio is different from a UX design portfolio, and five tips to help you create your best UX writing portfolio.

Tip 1: Know your audience

Tip 3: Gather your work samples

Tip 4: make a plan, tip 5: tell a story.

1. What is a UX writer and what do they do?

A UX writer produces the words that make the user’s experience of an interface more conversational and intuitive. From mobile app onboarding and payment screens to error messages and tooltips, a UX writer fine-tunes the overall UX on the level of individual word choice and placement.

Given that this kind of work is still considered a subset of the broader field of UX, the concept of a UX writing portfolio is relatively new, especially to those who aren’t already established in the design industry.

And while the “UX writer” job title continues its popularity , UX writing often shows up under a variety of job titles—UX/UI copywriter, content strategist, and content writer, just to name a few. This can make finding these jobs and crafting a relevant and engaging portfolio quite the challenge.

2. What should you include in your UX writing portfolio?

Before we dive into all the key components of a UX writing portfolio, let’s consider the primary difference between a UX writing portfolio and its UX design counterpart.

UX designers deal with prototypes, wireframes, and the production of designed screens and workflows, so their portfolios are centered on the very visual processes and outcomes of that work. Even with research and usability testing, their work is often translated into deliverables that are easier to feature in a visual manner. UX writers handle the words that appear within the interface, rather than the interface design itself.

Consequently, a UX writer’s portfolio shouldn’t focus on UI, prototypes, wireframes, or customer journey maps, even though these might seem more visually engaging. Instead, it should shine a spotlight on the written solutions you create to solve design problems.

Think of your portfolio as a sandwich: every sandwich needs bread (information about you and your skills, aesthetics, experience, and references), but the fillings might change (case studies and work samples). Your case studies and work samples will be more word-centric, with special attention to where your work came into the process and how it affected the final outcome.

Here are the basic components you need to include (not necessarily in this order):

If you don’t have any testimonials or you don’t want to publish your references’ contact information, don’t worry! Heather McBride’s portfolio is a good example of what it might look like to go without that final component—and many of the examples we give below don’t include them, but are still fantastic portfolios to model yours on.

With these basic components in mind, you can begin selecting work samples and building your portfolio!

3. 5 tips to make a stand-out UX writing portfolio

Just as all good UX requires an understanding of the needs of the end user, your UX writing portfolio needs to be based on a strong understanding of the jobs, recruiters, and hiring managers you want to target. Before you start dropping screenshots into WordPress or Google Slides, take some time to understand your audience.

Search for job postings that look most intriguing to you, regardless of location, and make a list of the skills these positions have in common.

Think about the companies, recruiters, and hiring managers behind these job postings. What might their priorities and approaches to hiring be? Even if you don’t end up applying for these particular positions, chances are that the people behind these postings have similar priorities and needs as the readers you are targeting.

So design your portfolio to appeal to a specific kind of recruiter or hiring manager, and you’re likely to appeal to a wider range as well.

Tip 2: Look at UX writing portfolios examples

There are a vast number of excellent UX writing portfolios and template sites . Find the ones that stand out to you and take notes.

Pay attention to the structure and focal point of your favorite portfolios. Here are some examples.

Nikki St-Cyr focuses first on experience and samples but makes the author’s information easily accessible.

Conversely, Tyler Womack prioritizes bio information.

And Clem Auyeung takes a blended approach with a written statement at the top of the page and projects immediately following.

Similarly, UX writers tend to take a company-forward, project-forward, or skills-forward approach to how they present and label their work samples and case studies.

For example, Ian Bamford uses a clean but powerful design to emphasize the company, linking through to the work.

Andrew Schmidt , on the other hand, organizes and presents work samples by the primary skills they highlight (“Making an impression” or “Having a moment”).

Find the approach and structure that is best suited to your experience and your audience. While you’re at it, consider whether you need to design your portfolio for web or print , as this will influence the overall format and structure.

With your skillset and your specific audience in mind, select three to five projects or samples that best exemplify the skills you most want to highlight. Don’t aim to cover every possible skill or project here—the goal is to show hiring managers what you can do without overwhelming them with information.

If you lack experience or you’re just short on samples, take part in a UX writing challenge or play with a random microcopy prompt generator . A simple way to generate samples with real-world context is to notice when you encounter interface copy in the course of your day .

Could you improve on this error message or that payment screen? Take a screenshot, re-write the copy, and there you have it. Make a habit of this; when it comes time to show off your skills at producing microcopy , you’ll have a library to choose from.

If you’ve done work under an NDA (or other permissions-related agreement) and you’re not sure if you have the right to share the work, it’s always best to double-check. But don’t assume you can’t use it at all! Simon Pan takes a useful approach to this by redacting the parts of the image that are proprietary or confidential. You’ll need to do your research around this and talk to the necessary experts.

Going into your domain or opening Google Slides and winging it can sometimes turn out okay, but you’ll save time and effort by going in with a plan.

Do some quick brainstorming for how you envision your reader moving through your portfolio. Hiring managers may not be able to spend a great deal of time perusing your portfolio. David Travis’s UX portfolio review will give you a good sense of how to prioritize information and organize each page or screen as clearly as possible. As you plan, ask yourself:

Clear these things up in your mind, get them on paper, and then get to work on the design.

Rather than leaving your reader to wonder about the details, connect the dots for them. Take your work samples one at a time and transform each one into a powerful case study that answers these questions:

With as much concision as you can muster, tell your reader the story of that particular work sample. Keep your sentences short, your voice active, and the layout skimmable. A good example of this is the way Darci Groves details her work. She gives the context and problem, tells what she did to address the situation, then demonstrates the results—all in three sentences or less, with relevant screenshots.

Whenever possible, include a visual aid to give your reader a concrete look at the situation and/or the results (before and after screenshots can be very effective). Marina Posniak’s portfolio is a good example of this. Screenshots are often more effective than copy/pasted text or a link to a live website, neither of which give your reader enough context or information about the work you did in the process.

4. A final word: Presentation matters

Whether you decide to purchase a domain and host your portfolio online or to get it set up in PDF format, remember that presentation matters . Yes, it’s a writing portfolio. But you’re working within a field populated with design professionals, and blatantly bad design is a good thing to avoid.

If you feel confident in your design skills and can whip together a stellar website in just a few hours, great! You should still have a mentor, colleague, or friend (or all the above) look it over and give feedback before you take it public.

If you’re not confident in your design skills, look for templates that match the portfolio you have in mind and find a good UX portfolio website that will make the set-up easier. Browse existing UX portfolios; Etsy and Pinterest can be fantastic resources for templates or inspiration; and content management platforms such as WordPress and Squarespace often have templates you can work with. Whatever you do, share it with others and get feedback on it before you send your stand-out UX writing portfolio out into the world.

If you’d like to learn more about UX portfolios and UX writing, check out these articles:

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How to Build a UX Writing Portfolio and Our Best Examples to Get You Inspired

Published on 10th oct., 2022.

As our digital world continues to evolve, demand for UX writers is higher than ever. And if you want to get hired as a UX writer, you need a digital portfolio that can stand out from the crowd. We'll go over what you need and how to build one so you can fast-track your UX writing career to the next level.

What is a UX writer?

UX or "user experience" is a term coined in the 1990s by Don Norman, co-founder of Nielsen Norman Group. He defined UX this way:

"User experience" encompasses all aspects of the end-user's interaction with the company, its services, and its products.

In the digital realm, user experience comes into play when a user engages with any kind of digital interface or digital product. The usability, functionality, and efficacy of those interfaces and products define their UX metric.

Many of those interfaces and products also include a text or copy aspect, and that's where UX writing comes into play. Screen titles, menus, buttons, error messages, bot language, SMS scripts, forms and microcopy are common examples of UX writing.

UX writer versus UX designer

UX designers take a product from its beginning stages and design it in the best possible way for end-user interaction. UX writing is a subset of UX design. Anything that involves text is created by UX writers. So while UX writers don't directly design UX, they have a lot of impact on how a user experiences a digital product.

What is a UX writing portfolio?

A UX writing portfolio is a digital collection of a UX writer's best work. It's a chance to showcase UX writing samples and the UX writing projects that you've worked on. 

Why is a UX writing portfolio important?

Most companies looking to hire UX writers want a digital portfolio so that they can quickly evaluate skill level and fit. If you are a freelancer, a portfolio is a great way to give potential clients a chance to get to know your work, and to show your professionalism. It's less complex than a website, so clients and employers don't have to search through irrelevant material.

What should a UX writing portfolio include?

The best UX writing portfolios are themselves great examples of user experience. What you include should be chosen with your target audience in mind, which is usually going to be the industries and clients you want to hire you. That means choosing a professional design that's easy to navigate and gives your portfolio visitors a great impression of your work.

Common elements included in a UX writing portfolio are:

A short biographical statement. This gives you a chance to highlight your experience and let people know a little more about yourself. It needs to maintain a professional tone, but depending on the industries you want to work with, you may choose to add some personal details to make your story more interesting.

Microcopy Samples. Much UX writing falls under the category of microcopy. Slogans, notifications, headlines, buttons and error messages are all great examples of common UX microcopy, so you'll want to display a few samples of these.

Before and After. Many UX writers are hired to make an existing UX design more user-friendly. If you've rewritten web pages, scripts, or guides, before and after examples show how well you can evolve a company's existing UX.

Work Projects and Case studies. UX writing often comes as a multifaceted project, with end-user interface happening across platforms. If you've worked on more extensive projects, pick one longer one or a few shorter ones and create a UX writing case study. Examine each element of the project and explain how you made it shine.

Methodology. Your methodology can be described separately or included along with each of your work samples as you go. Clients and employers benefit from knowing how you problem solve for UX writing , and it's especially effective alongside case studies and work projects.

Contact. Everything you design in your portfolio should have the aim of getting hired, so easily available contact information is a must. Including a contact page, email, and social buttons allows your new client to find you wherever you are.

Some optional features to consider:

Resume. If you have more extensive work experience you'd like to include, consider a link to your resume.

Testimonials. Nothing is more convincing than other satisfied customers, so if you've got 'em, flaunt 'em. 

Other relevant work. Maybe you've done other types of writing or UX design. It's great to include this to show your versatility as long as you make sure your UX writing takes centerstage.

A note about NDAs

UX writers often sign NDAs to protect the confidentiality of their clients. And some UX writing like SMS scripts might inadvertently display someone's name. In order to protect privacy and honor any NDAs you may have signed, be sure to blur or blackout any names, logos, or identifying details before you include something in your portfolio. When in doubt, it's always best practice to ask a client or employer directly if it's okay to include something you've worked on.

How do I build a UX writing portfolio?

The first step in building your portfolio is choosing your target audience . Are you trying to get hired in a particular industry? Are you a freelancer who specializes in a certain area? UX writing is all about writing for a target audience, so use those skills to identify your own.

Next, figure out what elements you want to include. Do you want a more extensive bio? Would you like a separate page for your other types of writing? Do you have a compelling case study or impressive before and after shots you want to showcase? Create an outline of the important content you want to feature.

Now you need to get picky and make sure you only include the best of the best. More isn't necessarily better when it comes to portfolios. You are better off choosing one great case study than three mediocre ones. Most employers aren't going to sift through much, so what you feature needs to be exemplary.

Once you've got everything collected, you'll need to choose a site to host your portfolio. Keep in mind that portfolios aren't websites. They're designed to be much more straightforward and to put the emphasis on your work. Portfolio hosting sites like Journo Portfolio know this and offer services that allow you to showcase your work with minimal effort.

Pick a UX writing portfolio template that integrates each feature you want in an easy-to-navigate layout. Templates ensure great design and that all important user experience that potential clients will be looking for.

Remember, UX writing is part of UX design, so anyone visiting your portfolio is also going to be evaluating its usability and attractiveness. Using a tried and true hosting site like Journo Portfolio guarantees a positive user experience for your visitors.

How do I make a UX writing portfolio with no experience?

If you are a beginning UX writer with no experience, a portfolio can be an even more important tool for your job search because it shows your potential in a professional format that's more likely to get you noticed. And you don't have to have a ton of work under your belt to make one .

You can create mock samples for each of the categories of work you'd like to be considered for. As long as you are clear that these are mock samples, this is a great way to introduce people to your UX writing skills.

Another great idea is to create a before and after study of a pre-existing page. Show what you would do differently and explain your methodology to showcase your problem solving skills.

There are also quite a few UX writing challenges out there, like this one from Daily UX Writing . These can give you a chance to flex your skills and give you something to show for it in your portfolio.

However you develop your samples, treat your portfolio with the self-respect you would if you were an expert. That confidence will help you get your foot in the door and start you on your way to a UX writing career.

Best UX writing portfolio examples

1. sarah vickers.

View Sarah's portfolio here: www.sarahrvickers.com

Sarah is a technical/UX writer who builds documentation libraries and improves user experience through content optimization. Her simple one-page format focuses the attention on her expertise, headed by a punchy professional bio. She utilizes display buttons to link to her before and after projects and her case studies, as well as integrating her video content. Sarah also includes a link to her resume, so any employer who wants to know more about her experience can easily access that information. This is a great example of a user-friendly layout that puts the spotlight on her most impressive work.

Sarah Vickers UX Portfolio

2. Lindi Brownell

View Lindi's portfolio here: lindibrownell.journoportfolio.com

Lindi Brownell Meiring is a UX writer based in Amsterdam. She, too, keeps her design focused on her ample writing samples. Divided into sections, including UX writing/E-commerce copy, online articles, and print articles, she features writing that displays her range and the multiple outlets she's created content for. Large display buttons with beautiful imagery link directly to her articles and create a visually appealing layout. Her UX writing project explains her methodology with compelling samples, and her prominent Contact Me button at the end of her page makes it easy for clients to reach out.

Lindi Brownell UX Portfolio

3. Liam Burns

View Liam's portfolio here: liamburns.journoportfolio.com

Liam Burns is a Boston-based content writer who is now focusing on UX writing. He takes advantage of the navigation bar to direct visitors to either his marketing content or his UX content. His first page features a comprehensive About Me section that includes his educational experience and work history, as well as including his email for easy accessibility. An understated gray and blue color scheme conveys a professional vibe. On his dedicated UX writing page, Liam includes 6 mock project samples with engaging graphics and excellent methodology. He also includes a section for his UX courses and certificates, making this a great entry level UX writer portfolio.

Liam Burns UX Portfolio

4. Kait Taylor

View Kait's portfolio here: www.kaitatwork.com

Kait Taylor specializes in wellness UX copywriting and content creation. She brings a fun, friendly tone to a portfolio that utilizes all the bells and whistles to display her wide range of experience in her field. Well-chosen photos that emphasize her experience connect to separate pages that display each category of her work. An interlink in her About Me section also leads to her work experience page. Her SMS UX copywriting section features a summary followed by an in-depth explanation of her methodology. Excellent photo choices highlight her personality, and different layouts for each page ensure specific content is displayed to best effect.

Kait Taylor UX Portfolio

5. Amy Stenglein

View Amy's portfolio here: alstenglein.journoportfolio.com

Amy Stenglein is a UX writer and editor. Her portfolio color scheme applies beautiful blush tones to an inviting design that emphasizes her media work. Stunning photos in a grid layout make this a visually appealing portfolio that draws the visitor in. Her editing and design work is on display in each of her samples, and her latest work is easy to upload and keep current. She keeps her contact info simple with a LinkedIn social button that connects you directly to her profile.

Amy Stenglein UX Portfolio

Making first impressions last

Your digital UX writing portfolio is often the first opportunity you have to dazzle a client or employer with your skills and experience. A great portfolio can lead to a great conversation, and that can get you hired for the UX writing job you want. Make sure your UX writing portfolio is creating the effect you need by taking advantage of Journo Portfolio's go-to templates and user-friendly features . Your success depends on ensuring that first impression makes a lasting impact.

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Building UX Writing portfolio with no experience

ux writing portfolio no experience

Cool idea. Thanks for sharing!

Besides the sources you link on the post. What course (not that crazy expensive) or other sources do you recommend?

To be honest, I've never done any course. But I'd recommend checking out the course by UX Writers Collective - https://uxwriterscollective.com/

Hey, so your link to view the user testing notes doesn't seem to work.

Thank you very much for sharing this. What do I need to search for to find out about GitHub open source projects? I saw your youtube video which you have shared above but didn't really understand how to begin the process. I have DMed you too. Thanks. Regards.

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ux writing portfolio no experience

Aug 9, 2021

How I built a UX portfolio with no experience (and got a job)

What was the first job you ever had?

For me, it was a part time, minimum wage seasonal sales assistant role at New Look in Newcastle’s Eldon Square. I was 17 years old and studying for my A Levels at the time, and the job fit nicely around my college hours with evening and weekend shifts.

This was my first paid job, but I didn’t go in with absolutely no experience. I had to volunteer in order to build out my CV and have a chance at getting hired, even if it was for a part time seasonal role (mostly taken up by other students like myself). There was just too much competition not to have some experience to show and talk about in an interview.

I spent 6 months beforehand volunteering with charities. I realised pretty early on that in order to get experience, you have to have experience . The oh-so-typical catch 22 that every single one of us face at some point in our lives.

How are you supposed to get around it? How can we break this vicious cycle? How do we solve the universal career paradox?

I faced this conundrum again, only I was 22 this time, and I was switching careers from marketing to UX.

This time around it arguably was easier because I did have 4 years of experience in a similar field and a lot of transferable skills. However, if you work in UX and have been through this process, you will know that you need a solid portfolio to break into the industry, which is quite a tricky one to pull off when you have zero UX experience to actually demonstrate.

The key thing to know is this: you don’t need a UX role to start building your portfolio. You don’t even need a client.

If you’re in this position right now, fear not, I managed to build a winning portfolio with no experience, and I’m going to share with you how.

Disclaimer : It doesn’t involve any lying or deceit. Doing so will get you nowhere.

Step 1: Find the right courses 📚

By taking recognised courses in the field, you can include certifications in your portfolio to show future employers that you’ve taken the time to learn in-depth about the discipline.

More importantly, however, a lot of courses offer ‘mini projects’, where they give you a brief and you can put your learning into practice and carry out your very own project without any need for a real client. These are the projects that will kickstart your portfolio.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of UX courses out there covering every specialism including user research, UX and UI design, and UX strategy. It can be overwhelming when trying to decide which one to invest your money and time into, but in my experience, it’s best to look for 2 things:

I invested in an Interaction Design Foundation membership a year ago, and without this, I probably wouldn’t be where I am now as I was able to access plenty of courses and do my own projects, which ended up shaping my portfolio.

I completed the User Research — Methods and Best Practices course, which involved carrying out a user interview project and using thematic analysis to find conclusions in the data. I chose to focus on people’s buying behaviours and preferences in regards to shopping for clothes. You can read about the project here .

Step 2: Choose the right projects 📝

If you’re anything like me, you might not know exactly what area of UX you’re interested in. On the other hand, maybe you know you want to go down a research route, or you’re interested in visual design.

Whether you’ve got a path in mind or not, you can tailor your portfolio to support this. In my case, I chose to include 2 case studies, both of which were beneficial to me as a ‘generalist’ in UX. One was my user research project as I mentioned earlier, and the other was about a website project I carried out at work, which involved everything from usability testing to wireframing — a wide range of different skills.

If you know you want to be a UI designer, you should be looking for projects that will demonstrate your skills in visual design. Saying that, doing a user research project will always be beneficial as it’s something that anyone in UX should have at least a foundational understanding of. However, make sure any other projects are more specific to the area you want to pursue, and prioritise this.

Look for a course that will give you ‘portfolio builders’ (projects) in the areas you want to demonstrate to a future employer.

There is another way of finding projects — in your current role . This may be a long shot depending on what you currently work on, however, every single organisation — public and private — has a need for UX. Whatever sector you may work in, my bets are that there’s a problem that needs solving. Of course, you do have your actual job to be focusing on, but if you can, find a small issue that can be solved or even improved with some UX work. This could be a website redesign, some user research, prototyping and mockups for a new or existing service.

I was lucky enough to be involved in a website redesign, which was the perfect opportunity to put what I had learned in courses into practice. It was very high-level as I had many other jobs, I was doing it alone, and it was on a shoestring budget, however that doesn’t matter. What matters is that I showed my process and thinking, and that’s what made this case study successful.

If you can demonstrate that you’re thinking with a UX mindset in your current role, you’re on the path to success.

Step 3: Document everything 📸

As you start to work on your project, always have documentation at the front of your mind. Take pictures of as much as you can — rough paper wireframes, sketches and mockups, scribbles, post-its and any other artefacts you create. The messier, the better.

That may sound a little odd — you’re probably thinking “But everything needs to look clean and professional. Why would I want to show someone my messy early work?”

In UX, we’re all about the messy early work. This demonstrates your process and thinking behind each design decision you make. It’s never truly about the shiny end product, as this is just the result of all the hard work you have put in beforehand. Not to mention that the end product is never really the end product in a UX environment: it is the first of many iterations and improvements.

When it comes to UX, there’s beauty in the madness.

I learned this a little too late as I didn’t take pictures of my work during the website redesign I was involved in. I had to then recreate them as they had looked originally for the purposes of demonstration, which wouldn’t have been necessary had I captured these in the first place!

Long story short: take pictures of everything . You’ll thank yourself later.

Step 4: Understand what a winning portfolio looks like 🏆

Before you even think about building your portfolio, it’s important that you have a good grasp of what a winning portfolio looks like.

This is incredibly important as you will need to present your hard work in the right way and the right format to stand out to employers.

I took a course on Interaction Design Foundation that taught me how to build a portfolio and how to write amazing case studies — an art that I previously did not appreciate.

For the purposes of this article, here’s a summarised list of what makes a winning portfolio:

Earlier in this article, I gave you two ways to find your own projects — through online courses or in your own workplace. Doing just one of each would be enough to build your first portfolio.

On the other hand, including too many case studies is overwhelming and will dilute the work you really want the recruiter to see. Stick to 2 or 3 of your best, most relevant case studies. Just like writing a CV, don’t send in ten pages of text when you really only need one. In this instance, don’t include 7 case studies when 3 gives the recruiter all the information they need.

2. Tell a story.

Whoever is reading your portfolio — whether they are a recruiter, Head of UX, a designer or a CEO, they’re probably very busy and likely have a pile of other portfolios to wade through too.

If you want to stand out from the rest, you need to tell a story. Engage them, set the scene and walk them through the project. The IDF course on building a UX portfolio teaches this really well and applies Aristotle’s storytelling methods to writing a case study. Even if you don’t choose to take the course, read up on this storytelling method and apply it to your own case studies.

Use the best images to demonstrate your process. The key here is to only use images that support your story , and don’t include lots of images for the sake of it. Be selective in the ones you pick, but remember, messy is good here!

3. Show your results

Always explain the benefits of your work at the end of each case study. Commercial businesses want to see a return on investment, better engagement with users, and repeat business.

If you do happen to have carried out a project that had some commercial success — show this! This could be in the form of a revenue increase, more visitors to the website, a lower bounce rate, or even less phone calls to customer services.

If your project was completely independent, you still have results to show. For my user research project, I analysed my findings and drew conclusions from these, which I outlined in the conclusion. Read this case study here .

The key here is, always think “so what?”. So what if you discovered that users actually want x rather than z? So what if you shortened the checkout process by 3 steps? Drill down to the real benefits, and always have this cat in your mind:

Now, where should you build your portfolio? There are a number of ways to do this.

You could make a PDF using software like Canva , or you can do what I did and build a portfolio site. I originally built mine using Adobe Portfolio but then switched over to Squarespace for more functionality.

In the end, it doesn’t really matter how and where you build your portfolio as long as it works best for you, looks clean, is accessible and can easily be updated.

Step 5: Share your portfolio for feedback 🗣

Finally, always get feedback before you send it to your dream employer! I reached out to a number of UX professionals on LinkedIn to find out about how they accessed the industry, and in the process, I was able to share my portfolio with them and they kindly gave me feedback.

This feedback is absolutely invaluable. Have someone who is already in the UX space review your portfolio as they will know exactly what to look for and what a winning candidate’s portfolio will look like and include.

Make sure to note this feedback down and most importantly, action it.

There’s no better way to do this than to find people on LinkedIn and just ask. People are often very happy to help and enjoy giving advice to people who want to join the industry. In fact, it was one connection on LinkedIn that led me to my current role.

Once you feel that you have iterated and improved your portfolio enough, it’s time to send it out there.

If you have followed the steps outlined above, you will be successful in breaking into the UX industry, even with no experience. You may be knocked back at first, or the first few times, but that’s just the messy part of the process in the journey towards success!

Please feel free to check out my portfolio for reference and inspiration.

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From idea to product, one lesson at a time. Bootcamp is a collection of resources and opinion pieces about UX, UI, and Product. To submit your story: https://tinyurl.com/bootcampsub To find UX jobs: https://tinyurl.com/uxjobboard

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On a mission to help more young people access the UX and tech sector 👩🏻‍💻 Interests include: my Maine Coon cat, ethical tech, and coffee (lots of it).

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Oct 24, 2019

How to Find UX Writing Experience When You Don’t Have UX Writing Experience

The bane of entry level ux writing.

Edit: It’s time for me to update this article. I wrote this in 2019 at the beginning of a major career change to UX Writing and have since learned an amazing amount of new skills on my way to becoming a full-time UX Writer.

Breaking into any new field is daunting. It takes moxie to decide that you are going to rebrand yourself as something new and revisit the familiar catch-22 of finding your first experience with no experience. Not only do you need experience, you need to document that experience in a portfolio to land that first job.

Things that I’ve done since initially writing this article:

This didn’t all happen overnight. You’re looking at a solid year of anxiety. Maybe more. I honestly thought that my career had been killed by the world-wide pandemic that is still raging around us. My fatalism was unfounded. Some of my biggest career moves happened in the midst of COVID. While the process of finding work as a novice in this field is frustrating and full of rejection, there are things that you can do to make employment more certain.

This article is what I’ve learned on this crazy, amazing job hunt. Below are some of my ever evolving tips on building experience (and a portfolio) from nothing.

My first lesson is that in tech, education is still vital. A resume without some kind of education on it is inexcusable. Now — before you bemoan the cost of a four-year degree or grad school— hear me out. User Experience is a field with an abundance of jobs and few qualified people to fill them. They NEED well trained entry level writers, designers, and researchers and I am quickly learning that the ability to write well is not as universal as I once thought. Being able to write well and alter your copy to conditions, user feedback, and voice and style guides puts you in a skilled subset of this industry. If you need to educate yourself on the nuances of this field, free and cheap education is everywhere. A degree is still important but these are ways to supplement or even replace that degree at a portion of the cost. My favorites are in the following list:

My second lesson was to understand is that you can always find work experience. When you can’t get real world experience, make your own. A portfolio is only as good as the projects within. The fun thing about making your own projects is that you get to control the environment that they’re formed in. Every move displays your own personal style and thought process. You can use programs like Whimsical or InVision to form your own wireframes and user flows for cheap or free. Illustrate your ideas with images from UnSplash and icons from the Noun Project to show that you understand the importance of the merging of design and words in digital applications. Below are a few ways to create portfolio content where none existed before!

My third lesson is that you should find someone who needs you. I am generally against giving away your services for cheap or free. After all, the point is to get paid for your expertise! There are some instances when I can justify bending the rules and working for less or even for free.

Finally, find the UX in your current experience. What did you do before this? Did you work at a coffee shop? How did user experience work in that space? Did you work in an office? How did different applications affect your job performance? I was a teacher and combined images with words on slides for my students. As my teaching changed, how and why I incorporated these images changed. I started to use the slides as a way to make my class more accessible for students with learning disabilities. That’s a great example of user experience in action and should be communicated to prospective employers. What brought you to UX Writing and how can you express that as experience?

Last words:

Charting a new path in your career…especially if you’re making large changes, is very hard. Be kind to yourself. It may feel like you’re going nowhere but take time to look back at the start of your journey and appreciate your own growth. This act will help you fight the urge to become frustrated and you’ll see the points where you found new skills, challenged preconceived ideas, and learned new methodologies.

I was invited to work as a senior content writer for TedXSeattle several months after this article was published. I then leveraged that experience into an assistant teaching position at a UX bootcamp. It was like taking the class for free, except I had to learn everything before my students did! Then I was offered a position at Abstract. Now, two years later, I just signed on to be a principal content designer for Cvent after negotiating three offers for employment.

I’m here to tell you that landing the first job was the hardest and that the advice I gave to get it was spot on. Don’t give up. We desperately need more passionate people specializing in user led content.

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Heather Hamilton McBride

Heather is a Content Designer who has worked for UC Berkeley, TedXSeattle, Abstract and Expedia. You can learn more at www.mcbrideswords.com .

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Best UX Writer Portfolio Examples 2023


Become a Certified UX Writer

Table of contents.

Creating a good UX writer portfolio is quite challenging since there is a lot to consider. For example, communicating the complex work you do, representing your projects in an interesting way, and discovering how to showcase your work samples, whether you have a lot or few. Working your way through all this can cause stress. But, by good fortune, there are many examples of great UX portfolios that can give you ideas.

This post covers the eight best UX writer portfolios 2023 that will help you get started in this field. But before that, we will shed light on the importance of a UX writing portfolio and its key components. So, let’s have a look:

What is a UX Writing Portfolio?

A UX writing portfolio is an overview of you and your work, showcasing your skills and process through work samples and case studies. UX writers use UX writing portfolios for demonstrating their work alongside an explanation of their work methods. Most of the time, a UX portfolio is published online as a collection of web pages or as a part of a larger site. In the main, UX portfolios lets you stay current in your career and helps potential clients or recruiters interested in hiring you through your UX writing case studies, etc.

Where a cover letter can give the hiring manager the first impression in most cases, your portfolio also can. It is where you provide concrete proof to show yourself as a strong and eligible candidate. Within a few minutes, they will decide to interview you. In brief, UX writing portfolios explain your achievements and showcase what you can do. It is where clients/recruiters can get in touch with you after learning about you and your skills.

Why Do You Need a UX Writing Portfolio?

You will need a UX writing portfolio, whether you are looking for a freelance gig or a full-time position. While a resume gives hiring managers a checklist – years of experience, relevant degrees, and keywords of proficiencies, the portfolio gives them a brief look at how you work and find solutions to problems. You need a portfolio to put yourself forward for interesting UX writing projects. It offers potential employers concrete proof that you can do the work or that at least you know the basics and are ready for mentorship.

Sometimes, job adverts mention the requirement for portfolios. It is also great to have if you get in touch with the companies you want to work for using the direct approach. A portfolio shows that you are serious about your profession. For that reason, many successful UX writers maintain a digital portfolio.

While there are many UX writing opportunities, they come up just once in a while for teams. Companies receive several applications, but most of them either fail to cut the mustard or use a bulk-application method. So, a hiring manager needs a way to filter out those who are serious about the position. This is where a UX writing portfolio comes into play.

Want to learn UX writing and built an exceptional portfolio? Check out our top-rated UX writing course:

ux writing portfolio no experience

What to Include in Your UX Portfolio?

Before diving into the major components of a UX writing portfolio, we should first understand if UX writing is different from other types of writing. UX designers focus on prototypes, wireframes, and making screen designs, so their portfolio features the visual process and final result of their work. With the research and usability testing, their work can still become further visual. Instead of making a design, they use UI words. In contrast, UX writing uses written solutions you create to solve design problems instead of focusing on UI, prototypes, or customer journey maps.

Key Components of a UX Writing Portfolio

A good UX writer is a good problem-solver, and a portfolio is a UX problem. The way you create your UX writing portfolio is a great challenge and a chance for you to shine at interviews. You should take creative approaches to solve the problem of How do I present my work samples? For that, you need to build your portfolio on a simple structure that introduces you, reveals your process, and inspires action. Following are the basic components you should include in the portfolio:

Personal Statement

Above all, your work in the UX writing portfolio should speak for itself. However, it is helpful to add some information about you. A short biography can give some valuable insights into your work style and personality. Remember that employers show interest in finding someone who will fit in their team. So, you can add a summary of your skills to tell the readers who you are and what you can do for them. Try to highlight every possible thing that might set you apart from other UX writers. For UX writers with technical skills, that is an asset also.

Note that there is no need to go overboard, but show your personality enough as your readers are looking for the best candidate for the role, together with the best resume. Write a couple of paragraphs and tell your potential clients or employers who you are, what you are good at, and how you will use your skills in a work environment. A brief yet good introduction lets your client picture what is unique about you and how you can help their cause.

Contact Information

If you want people and opportunities to find you, make it easy for potential employers or clients to contact you. Include your basic contact information – as much as it feels comfortable based on how you plan to publish your UX writing portfolio. Besides adding your phone number and email, add your social media links also. Display all your contact information and links to your LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook accounts in strategic places.

Work Samples and Case Studies

Your work samples are the most important asset of your UX writing portfolio. So, collect everything you wrote to date – screen titles, buttons, menus, labels, placeholder texts, warnings, error messages, notifications, forms, sign-up pages, descriptions, confirmation modals – and include the best of all in your portfolio. Provide the best UX writing samples unless they are under NDA (non-disclosure agreement).

Note that you can also share your writing samples of other types, other than UX-related. They have to show relevancy to the objective of your current job search and demonstrate the depth and extent of your writing skills. All work samples should prove that you are adaptable and know every step to take for figuring out any challenge you may have.

You can also demonstrate your work with case studies. A case study is a comprehensive description of the project and offers insight into your creative process and the before-and-after visual representation of the product by you. Case studies cover what the problem client had and how and what solution you offered to the client. Instead of adding screenshots of your work, it is ideal to include case studies to show recruiters what you can do.


If you have previous work experience as a UX writer, include testimonials from your employers or clients. Add written testimonials in your portfolio from people whom you have worked for. Make sure it is clear who the quotes are coming from – their name, role, and company.

What to Do if You Have No Relevant Experience?

It may seem impossible to create a portfolio for those who are new to the UX writing industry and have no experience, but it is doable. If you are one of them, you can create your own before-and-after examples. Yvonne Gando, the Senior UX Writer at Google, says For designers, writers, and researchers, showing before-and-after examples in their portfolio is quite strong. You can just pretend to work for an existing site to improve its UX copy. Take screenshots and explain what you would change, why you would change it, and how you would do it.

Also, note if your previous experience may have relevancy after all. You may have no experience as a UX writer, but perhaps you have had a customer-facing job. You can also see other types of writing assignments from a UX point of view. There are many UX experts who also include articles or any information they have written about user experience, like what user experience is and its importance. They do all this to show what they have to say about UX. You can also check what kind of writing samples do you have. Whether you have blog posts or magazine articles, you can work with that as it is all about how you frame it.

Or, you can follow some ways to get UX writing experience without working as a full-timer in the field. Ask somebody, who runs a business like a local eating spot with a simple website, if you could create a microcopy for them. Document the whole process, and you have your first case study. It is ideal for your words to speak for themselves when somebody views them, but they must show your approach and decision-making when somebody sees you.

Top 8 UX Writer Portfolio Examples 2023

There are several examples of great UX writing portfolios that should give content designers or UX writers some ideas. Check out the following UX writing portfolio examples 2023 from successful professionals for inspiration:

Ian Bamford

UX Portfolio Example 6

Ian Bamford, UX Writer at Google, has over eight years of experience writing for renowned brands, design studios, and innovative companies, specializing in UX writing. He got his undergraduate and postgraduate degrees from Swansea University, Wales. Ian is known for his writing passion and love for design.

Open his site , and you see a minimal design. His portfolio includes samples such as chatbot scripts, app pages, articles, and blogs from different projects to optimize content for UX. Every project explains his role and approach, tools and products used, and screenshots of his work. He shows his projects in a readable and informative manner, balancing text and images and providing just the right amount of information. There are About and Contact pages also where viewers can find Ian’s short introduction and contact details.

UX Portfolio Example 3

Dan Adams is a London-based UX writer and copywriter at New Bank (TBA). He boasts over 15 years of experience working for some of the biggest brands in the world, including Skyscanner, Babylon Health, Barclays, Virgin Media, Base One, Vodafone, PayPal, and HSBC. His portfolio has everything to draw in the viewers. From case studies and before-and-after examples, you can find everything on Dan’s portfolio that demonstrates his skills to write clear and concise copy for optimized user journeys.

You can view his portfolio here.

Marina Posniak

UX Portfolio 1

Marina Posniak is a prominent UX writer with previous working experience as a content strategist and information architect. At present, she works as a Principal UX Writer at Spotify in Gothenburg, Sweden. In her UX portfolio, she presents everything in a simple, clean, and stylish way, with a short summary, detailed study, and many visual examples. There are before-and-after screenshots and writing samples that show the process Marina follows to solve a challenge and help the clients achieve their goals. 

You can view her portfolio here.

Andrew Schmidt

Andrew Schmidt

Andrew Schmidt, a UX Writer at Figma, knows there is so much to writing a user interface than just button labels and error messages. He is known for giving life and voice to a product. Andrew also worked as a Senior Product Writer at Slack, where he added words to buttons and made everyone feel the human element in the software. He has spoken at the Design Matters conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, on the connection between designing and writing. Andrew’s portfolio includes his quick introduction with descriptions and screenshots of all his projects. It is a great example of voice and how much you can achieve with brief text and simple design.

Lisa Collins

UX Portfolio Example 7

Another prominent UX writer, Lisa Collins, is known for her impressive work done for Apple, Google, Dell, and other companies. Nowadays, she calls Denver home but has traveled to many other places to help companies create outstanding user experiences. With a nice balance between text and images, the portfolio shows her writing samples, which helps potential clients and hiring managers find stories telling the problems and the reasoning behind their solutions.

The Contact page contains social media accounts’ links, a form, and an email for recruiters and clients to get in touch with Lisa. It is a stellar portfolio example and a useful model of how to approach a project.

Nikki St-Cyr

UX Portfolio Example 2

Nikki is a seasoned UX writer with over nine years of experience in the content industry. She lives in Seattle and works as a Content Designer at Facebook. Nikki has also worked at Amazon, Getty Images, and Expedia in multiple roles. All these years, she has been responsible for driving solutions to the contributors and artists who create inspiring content. Her portfolio features many detailed case studies and skills and tools she used in each project to help future recruiters see what she is capable of doing. Nikki uses the UX Writing Samples card in her portfolio so that people can see her work without extra clicks.

Shilpi Khanna Dewan

UX Portfolio Example 4

Shilpi Khanna Dewan is a renowned UX Content Strategist with a great passion for passing on complex ideas to us in a simple way and improving our everyday lives. The portfolio begins with her quick introduction and then goes deep into each stage of her project. In her UX portfolio, she showcases the diversity of work she did at many leading tech firms and TV networks, such as Google, Apple, Disney, Sony Pictures, and Zee TV, for over two decades.

There is also a Me section on the site, which covers everything from her resume and education and awards to hobbies. In addition, there are testimonials in her portfolio, which is an impressive touch, yet without them, the work quality speaks for itself. 

Suzanne O. Richards

UX Portfolio Example 5

Suzanne O. Richards is a UX writer who has been writing excellent copy for users and readers since 2015. She has some of the fantastic UX writing examples in her portfolio. The simple and clear design and easy navigation, together with a demonstration of the projects, make her proposal up to par. Her portfolio is comprehensive and begins with her quick yet impressive introduction. Suzanne has covered each of her projects in a detailed manner: project scope, stakeholders, her role, basic process, and final results. In addition, her portfolio has separate pages containing links to her blogs, resume, and contact details.

Final Thoughts

Great UX portfolios show how companies can benefit from working with an expert, driven, and team-oriented UX writer such as you. Follow these portfolios and complement your best text with the right visuals at all times and view your copy every now and then. Include a tailored email or cover letter and resume to support your portfolio, not to mention links to your social media accounts. Request feedback at interviews to perfect what future clients will see. Once you tick all boxes and understand the concepts, create your own copy and share your online UX writing portfolio with the world.

If you are new to UX writing and are looking to break-in, we recommend taking our UX Writing Certification Course , where you will learn the fundamentals of being a UX writer, how to dominate UX writer interviews, and how to stand out as a UX writing candidate.

ux writing portfolio no experience

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How to Create Your UX/UI Portfolio (Without Much Experience)

Erik D. Kennedy ·  Updated Aug 11, 2021

There’s a real chicken-and-egg problem with getting hired as a designer these days:

(This is true of freelance work, agency work, and full-time work at a startup or larger tech company)

In some ways, this seems like an insurmountable obstacle. Abandon all hope! The spiral of pessimism will win! You can never transition careers!

Or can you?

Folks, we live in an absolutely amazing time . You can create a portfolio worthy enough to get hired as a designer without ever having done a single paid project in your life. With very few UX Design programs offered at traditional universities – and basically no UI design programs – the industry is forced to judge you on your abilities , rather than a piece of paper hanging on your wall that cost you tens of thousands of dollars.

Pretty sweet deal, eh?

Here’s what we’re going to cover today:

This article is written specifically for beginning designers , but more experienced designers might still get something out of how to write about your projects .

OK, let’s do this.

Portfolio Projects Before You’ve Been Hired

There are fundamentally 3 types of projects to feature in your portfolio before you’ve ever been hired as a designer:

Unsolicited Redesigns

These have earned a pretty bad rap in design the last few years. Yet I keep reading about people who get hired (sometimes by their dream company) because of their unsolicited redesigns. So what gives?

The answer is simple: do your unsolicited redesign in the same manner you would do your very best professional work .

That means:

That alone will put you in the top tier of redesigns. The blowback against unsolicited redesigns comes from designers being lazy , and treating these things as glorified make-a-pretty-picture-in-Figma exercises.

unsolicited facebook redesign by Eyal Zuri

That would be fine – if designers were artists . But designers are not artists . Designers are solving a problem; artists are… oh, who knows what artists are. Never mind that. The point is: designers solve business problems using software . If you’re going to do an incredible redesign, keep in mind it has to be solving those same business problems . Don’t just make a pretty picture.

Here are a couple amazing redesigns I’ve stumbled across:

Kim Thuy Tu’s Instagram Redesign

If you haven’t seen it, go and look . If I was hiring designers, I would email her in a heartbeat, just because of this one write-up.

Kim Thuy Tun's Instagram redesign

The first thing that should strike you is this chick is motivated :

As a daily Instagram user, I am impressed: a bunch of the features she’s thought of are things that would immediately improve my Instagram experience . I didn’t even know how many little things with Instagram could be improved until I saw it before my eyes. And then it felt obvious (which is, in my opinion, basically the definition of good design).

As far as I’m concerned, Kim’s work is the gold standard in unsolicited redesigns. Is it perfect? No ( is Instagram? ). But at some point, your unsolicited redesign becomes so good that design hiring managers cannot ignore you . And if you look at the mockup of Kim’s Instagram profile above, you’ll see that this is, indeed, her strategy.

The last thing I want to mention about Kim’s redesign is a little note at the top of it that says (more or less) “Hey, I’m not Instagram, I’m not privy to their data, their internal goals, and so on. I did the best I can, but this isn’t supposed to trample all over their work. Hats off to them”. A little humility in these unsolicited redesigns can go a long way. Unasked-for advice can range from (a) “Your sense of style sucks and you should probably be ashamed” to (b) so brilliant a world-famous company wants to hire you. Let’s err towards (B), shall we?

Andrew Kim’s Microsoft Redesign

Another stunning redesign , Andrew Kim’s take on re-branding Microsoft makes him a shoe-in, as far as I’m concerned.

Andrew Kim's Microsoft redesign

And, go figure, he did this work as a student . Microsoft picked him up out of college, then Tesla sniped him, and now he works at Apple.

Take a look , and then let’s talk.

Andrew’s redesign is focused on branding , so it’s a bit different than UI/UX stuff. There’s no research, for instance. He was running with his gut instinct. But (a) his gut instinct seems about as sharp as a straight razor, and (b) there’s all kinds of justifications presented throughout:

Like I said, shoe-in . Even though the UI designs presented here lack the sharpness of the branding and ads. Even though there’s no research whatsoever. Even though he built a webpage by stitching together a bunch of freakin’ image files.

Yeah, it’s not perfect, but it’s still so incredibly good that you have to look twice.

Andrew Kim's Microsoft redesign 'New Microsoft'

These unsolicited redesigns by Kim and Andrew should start to put into context the bad ones you see on dribbble and wherever. When you’re just trying to make a pretty picture and call it a day, that’s lazy . You have to make a really pretty picture to get hired. But when you can expose your thought process, justify your decisions, and come out the other end with an amazing concept – that’s incredible .

It’s way more work, but the only one who’s going to stop you from doing it is yourself .

Side Projects & I-Wish-It-Existed Apps

Everyone knows Microsoft. Everyone knows Instagram. It’s admittedly pretty impressive if you can redesign their stuff better than they can.

But there’s a whole another avenue worth exploring when it comes to non-professional projects: your own ideas for apps or websites .

I’m going to talk about two general categories here:

I-Wish-It-Existed Apps

Let’s say you’re honing your chops as a budding designer. You have an idea for an app that would be a great portfolio piece, but (a) you can’t develop it yourself, (b) you don’t have the money to hire a developer, and (c) you can’t find any developers who are as excited as you are about developing it for free. What do you do?

You design it anyways.

Remember how I said we live in an amazing world in that you can get a pro designer job just by your own free and unsolicited portfolio projects? Well, here’s another blessing to count: you don’t need a developer to do the design work .

Much in the same way that Kim and Andrew redesigned big brands without needing a dev, you can do the design work for an app you just thought of without needing a developer to make it a reality.

I actually did this early on in my own design career. Before I could fill a portfolio with paid projects, I made up an app I wish existed, designed it, and posted it in my portfolio. Behold, in all it’s skeuomorphic, ancient-iPhone-sized, horribly web 2.0 glory, Giftr :


See, I have this issue where whenever I think of a gift idea for someone, I (a) forget to write it down, and therefore (b) forget to get it for them when their birthday rolls around. I wanted an app that would allow me in AS FEW TAPS AS POSSIBLE to write down any old gift idea for a friend the moment I thought of it (and maybe remind me a week before their birthday).

So I designed it. It got me more comments than any other projects in my portfolio : “Hey! That’s pretty cool! I wish I had that!”

Giftr app navigtion

One detail that I feel is important: I justified the crap out of every decision I made . I explained why the critical user flows were easy, I made a little illustration to show how the app navigation corresponded to spatial navigation around a background image, and so on. Of course, I still made mistakes: search is basically impossible to locate, for instance . But overall, it was a cute and fun addition to my portfolio that showed a bit more than the typical flat business apps that everyone wants.

Side Projects

Of course, sometimes you can develop your own project. Or find someone to do it for you. And in that case, all the better . You will have a real app or website with real users, real-world constraints, and real feedback.

Side projects make the perfect additions to your portfolio because you have complete creative control . You can freelance for years, work for awesome clients, and still find yourself stuck with stupid constraints born of business politics (ask me how I know this). Not so with your side projects. When you have the power, run with it .

But here’s the real kicker: side projects are risky . If you make something that’s genuinely bad (or even genuinely mediocre), you’re not going to want to show it off. When your portfolio includes a link for someone to download your app or visit your site, you’re putting your skills on the line . Your work better be good. When you create something with a large team, we get it. Lots of other people, some of whom might make dumb decisions. But for your own side project? It’s all you.

While Learn UI Design hardly counts as a side project for me anymore, it did start that way. And one thing I thought very early on was: if I’m going to sell a course on user interface design, it has to look AMAZING . If I can’t make my own website look good, who would trust that I can teach anyone else to make beautiful software?

Learn UI Design

So you be the judge of me.

When your skills are honed enough, post your own side projects. Put your reputation on the line, and let others be the judge of you. Because if you’re good enough, you won’t be ignored.

Non-Profit Projects

Another great option is to use a site like catchafire.org to find non-profits to do volunteer design work for. Since there’s no money on the line, you can focus on the task at hand as you build up your skills.

How to Write About a Project

I want to switch gears here. Because even once you’ve completed a couple projects, you’re not done . You still have to present them in a compelling way that makes people want to hand over thousands of dollars so you can do the same for them. But how exactly do you do that?

I’m glad you asked. My advice for you is simple: you write a story .

The single biggest problem that most designers have with their portfolio write-ups is that they’re not a story . They don’t speak in a way that human readers can understand and remember.

It’s the difference between this…

My own portfolio has a pretty abbreviated version of this, where I focus a bit on why ever design decision makes sense given the constaints – and that the project was beneficial for the client.

story arc vs. design process arc

In case this is escaping you, I’ll spell it out: the general arc of a story and the general arc of the design process mirror each other. Fortunately, human brains are story-remembering machines , and if you can loosely format your portfolio writeup as a story, you will be doing (a) a huge service to your readers in them easily comprehending what’s going on, and (b) a huge favor to yourself, because your readers will remember you, and not all those other chumps.

You know all the stuff that makes stories interesting and worth telling ?

Those are veeeery similar to the elements that make for a good design writeup:

(Alright, mildly similar )

Honestly, the exposition part of the story is pretty simple to write – this is who hired me, this is why , this is our goal , this is the role that I played to get there. Same with the ending. Here are the designs, and here’s why they work . The harder part to think of is the middle . The juicy conflict .

When in doubt, write about:

Anyways, I think you get the point. In the MVP version of a portfolio, even a few captions can paint the overall arc of the story , bringing us from a gentle introduction to the problem, through the wild landscape of crazy possibilities, and eventually to a final, beautiful design that fits like a glove.

I will only say that writing these narratives takes a long time. It’s best done as soon after the project finishes as possible, it’s not fun at all, and you will totally hate it. But your future self will thank you, because by going through this hard work, you’re setting yourself apart from the rest of the pack.

The 5 Projects You Should Never Put In Your Portfolio

This article is aimed at beginning designers. You might think “Ah, I don’t have enough projects to leave anything out!” I’m here to tell you that some beginning designers have definitely made the mistake of including things that would be better left out. You don’t want to be that designer , do you?

Here, we’ll keep it short:

1. School projects

You took a design class, they had you design some household doodad, and now you’re trying to convince me you can make me a nice Android app because you 3-D modeled a stupid chair ? These are evident a mile away. Maybe makes a nice conversation over beers (seriously, ask me about how much Boston firefighters love “brainstorming and ideation”), but it’s simply irrelevant to being evaluated as a UX/UI designer.

2. Full-time work (that wasn’t design)

I get it. You want to start freelancing as a designer, yet your job wasn’t exactly design, and you don’t have anything else to put in your portfolio. I was a PM at Microsoft for 3 years before becoming a designer. It was during that job I became convinced I would love being a designer, but the actual design work I got to do was few and far between. It was tough trying to shove that into a portfolio, and you shouldn’t try. You might think your portfolio’s sparse, but it’s better than the design recruiter thinking you’re desperate!

3. “This will be great for your portfolio” projects

Ah, the classic archetype of first-year-of-freelancing clients. This guy doesn’t want to pay you, so he pitches work as “great for your portfolio”. Unfortunately, if someone doesn’t respect your skills enough to give you any money for them, they will likely have so many other unreasonable demands, feedback, modifications, and clarifications that your design is doomed before it even gets off the ground. They will, in essence, get what they paid for – despite your best efforts. And you will not want to put it in your portfolio. And if you have to, then you will want to remove it as soon as you can.

4. Projects that ended poorly

If your ex-client never wants to see you again, maybe don’t put his project in your portfolio. If you quit halfway through because you weren’t getting paid, just leave it be. Fortunately, I only had one project that fit the bill here. In retrospect, there were warning signs. For instance, whenever my invoices came up due, my client would drive me out to his storage shed and pay me in hundred-dollar bills he kept there. Story for another time – on the Design Hacks newsletter , no doubt.

5. Projects you wouldn’t do again

If you didn’t like a project’s style or content or industry or whatever, don’t put it in your portfolio. Your portfolio is basically an advertisement that says “Hey, if you have a project that’s really similar to one of these, I will do precisely this good at it”.

Cool? Let’s move on.

How To Build Your Portfolio

In Learn UI Design ’s lesson on creating a portfolio, I talk a bunch about making your portfolio visually unique and avoiding some common aesthetic issues I’ve seen. We’re going to ignore all that for right now. For your first go at a portfolio, you’re going to get more bang for your buck putting the time into (a) your craft as a designer and (b) your project writeup than (c) trying to learn CSS and how-to-host-a-website from square one.

There are a couple portfolio-builders I would recommend right out of the gate.


A great all-purpose website builder that excels at portfolios. I found their editor to be intuitive and fast to use.


The portfolio creation tool “for designers, by designers”; nice pay-once-own-it-forever pricing model.


Note: If there’s a simple portfolio-builder solution that you already love, let me know . I’m happy to investigate and recommend other options I hear a lot of praise for.

The Best UX/UI Portfolio Examples

There are a lot of portfolios out there – and there are even plenty of lists of “best portfolios” (which, unfortunately, contain BOATLOADS of mediocre portfolios). I’m going to be an absolute stickler and post a select few portfolios here that meet the following criteria:

There won’t be very many. Obviously. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

Not only does Luca ace his project writeups, showcase incredible visual design, and apparently look the part (tattoo sleeve and gray hipster beanie? Hellooo, designer! ), he also demonstrates the power of specialization. From front page to project writeups, he talks about his unique process, always working in quick sprints validated by real user testing. Simply top-notch.

Luca Orio design portfolio

(Oh, and did I mention Luca is a Learn UI Design student? This suave Italian has a fantastic portfolio and great taste in design courses!)

One of the most popular up-and-coming design firms, UENO knocks it out of the park with their portfolio . Tons of beautiful visuals, a very clear brand, great articulation of design decisions… what more can you ask for?

UENO design portfolio

Did I miss another top 1% portfolio? Let me know .

Gaining the Skills and Confidence to Share Your Portfolio

Does this feel insurmountable yet? I’ve just inundated you with best practices, showed you some of my favorite redesigns I’ve ever seen, shoved a couple resources your way, and then dumped on you some links to the world’s very best design portfolios. If you feel a bit intimidated, I don’t blame you one bit.

As a beginning designer, a great portfolio can feel a long way off. My advice (and most designer’s might hate me for saying this): don’t shoot for perfect – yet . Get a passable portfolio first.

And, most fundamental of all, do good work . As good as you can. Improve constantly. That will be the biggest factor in the long-run.

For more writing like this, check out Design Hacks . The goal of Design Hacks is to be the most practical design writing on the planet, so if you’ve read about all these beautiful redesigns and portfolios and thought “I need to step up my design game”, well, have I got the thing for you .

Watch me do a UI project step-by-step

I’ll walk you through every part of a UI project — just like I’ve done for everyone from Fortune 100 companies to Y-Combinator startups .

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Tips for your UX writing portfolio when you’re starting out

Andy welfle.

One of the ways I’ve been trying to make a positive difference during this lost COVID-19 season is to hold office hours for unemployed or emerging UX writers. I hear over and over again from writers in other industries—journalists, marketing copywriters, technical writers, etc.—that they’re pretty interested in UX writing but just don’t know how to break into the field. I get that. UX is an alluring, inscrutable beast that comes with its own set of jargon, terminology, and process. To an outsider, it’s hard to parse at best, and at worst seems like it’s intentionally built to shift goalposts and to keep outsiders out. One of these big unknowns is, of course, the UX writing portfolio . This is one of the most commonly asked-about topics I’ve seen in my office hours and in the many coffees I’ve had over the years with newcomers to the field. Specifically, I get asked some variation of these questions:

Those are great questions. I tried to tackle some of them in a Twitter thread a couple of weeks ago , but admittedly, that’s a terrible way to get a big idea out. So let’s approach these questions here!

First of all, who are you and why should I listen to you?

Great question! Maybe you shouldn’t. I don’t have all the answers, but I am a sometimes-hiring manager on a small but crack team of UX writers and content strategists at Adobe! We’re responsible for driving (and sometimes writing) the interface language throughout our biiiig varied portfolio of apps. I’m typically in charge of scouting, recruiting, and hiring my team members myself, so I’ve developed some opinions and practices over the last few years.

So are UX writing portfolios really necessary?

I had a great conversation with some friends about this very topic recently, and the conclusion I’ve come to is that they shouldn’t be, but they are. Why shouldn’t they be?

But why is a UX writing portfolio necessary, then?

How should I structure my UX writing portfolio?

I think this is a great opportunity to play with the various media out there. To me, it doesn’t matter if it’s a link to a “My Work” section of your website, a PDF, a Google Slides deck, or what. Basically, there are two things that I look for:

Let’s look at an example from what I think is an excellent portfolio. This is from Marina Posniak, a UX writer at Spotify. Of course, one big advantage she has is that Spotify is recognizable to most people—she doesn’t need to take the extra step of giving extra context. But she does a really great job of framing the specific, focused problem at hand:

ux writing portfolio no experience

She presents, on the right sidebar, an overview of the problem, the solutions she pursues, and how she contributed. On the left are a few, specific examples of that work in action. It’s very simple, and very focused, but she hits all the right information—this example shows how she reduced the text string from three lines to one, and why.

ux writing portfolio no experience

Here’s another great example—with the launch of Spotify Codes, Marina did something that’s very common for UX writers—she wrote a few different versions to see which one works best. And while she probably didn’t feel comfortable sharing the exact text of the versions that didn’t go live, she did a great job of summarizing what made the versions different. If it includes these things, the rest is up to you! Andrea Drugay, Group Manager of Copy at Slack, made a good point when I was discussing this on Twitter.  She said , “A good UX writer is a good problem-solver, and a portfolio is, ultimately, a UX problem. How are you solving the problem of ‘How do I present my work?’ If you’re taking creative approaches to problem-solving, that’s a plus.” That’s a great point. The way you put together your portfolio is a great meta-challenge, and a chance for you to shine at UX writing interviews .

What if I don’t have any relevant examples?

This is pretty common. How can you be expected to show related examples if you don’t yet have experience? There are certainly a few scrappy ways you can gain some UX experience without being a full-timer in the field:

But I think that you can get even scrappier. What kind of writing samples do you have? Magazine articles? Blog posts? Ad copywriting campaigns? We can work with that. It’s all about how you’re framing it. Remember, writing is designing, and designing is about solving problems for the user. What was the problem, and how are you solving it with words? You can probably answer those questions with your clips:

If the answer to these questions are, “I dunno, I just wrote some words”, then I can’t help you. UX writing (and these other writing industries, too) requires a baseline level of strategy and decision-making, and it’s very important to be able to give rationale. Your words should speak for themselves when they’re being reviewed, but you should always be able to show your approach and decision-making when you’re being reviewed.

This is all open to interpretation

Remember, there are no hard-and-fast rules to designing your UX writing portfolio. And I think you can use that ambiguity to your advantage. It’s a great design challenge in itself, and I really encourage you to experiment with the structure and form. As long as it’s accomplishing the right goals, and including the right information, you can exercise your communication and systems-thinking skills to really tell your story.

Andy Welfle is a Content Strategy Manager and hiring manager at Adobe Design in San Francisco, the centralized product design team at Adobe. Andy is also the co-author of “Writing is Designing: Words and the User Experience” . Follow him at @awelfle on Twitter or on the web at andy.wtf .

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