All students pursuing the MS in Information Experience Design are required to create a digital portfolio that must be approved by their faculty advisor before they are permitted to graduate. The IXD Portfolio is a representative overview of your work that collectively demonstrates your competence with the IXD program learning outcomes.

Overview

IXD Portfolios serve two primary purposes:

  1. Capstone Assessment.
    Academically, your portfolio demonstrates you have achieved the program’s learning outcomes, shows evidence of your individual learning and growth, and provides you with an opportunity to reflect on your educational experience throughout your time at Pratt.
  2. Professional Readiness.
    Professionally, your portfolio signals your readiness to enter the UX profession, shows proof of your UX knowledge, skills and abilities, and showcases your best work to potential employers and other members of the UX community.

DEADLINES

In order to graduate on time, students must submit their portfolio by the following dates:

Graduation Semester Submission Deadline
Fall November 1
Spring April 1
Summer September 1

When ready, submit your portfolio to your advisor through the IXD Portfolio Submission Form.

RECOMMENDED TIMELINE

Since there are many different timelines for completing the program, we are unable to provide a specific schedule of the steps you should take to complete your portfolio. However, here is a general recommended timeline:

  1. 1st Semester - Meet with your faculty advisor to discuss career goals and start planning your program of study. Attend a UXPA portfolio critique session.
  2. 2nd Semester - Sign up for an IXD Portfolio workshop (workshop schedules are announced at the start of each semester) and begin crafting your portfolio. As you complete projects, add them to your portfolio and tweak/refine it as needed.
  3. 3rd Semester - Get your portfolio critiqued. Continue adding projects as they are completed.
  4. Final Semester - Meet with your advisor (as early as possible) to finalize plans for submitting your portfolio. Complete your portfolio and submit it by the appropriate deadline (see above).

ASSESSMENT

Your faculty advisor guides you through the process and assesses your e-Portfolio using the IXD Portfolio Assessment Rubric (PDF). The rubric describes four levels of the program-level learning outcomes:

  1. Exemplary
  2. Competent
  3. Developing (revisions required)
  4. Unacceptable (major revisions required).

For each outcome, your advisor will review your portfolio and determine which level is appropriate. To satisfy the portfolio requirement, students must achieve at least “Competent” on all outcomes.

If one or more outcomes do not meet the level of "Competent," your advisor will contact you with more detailed feedback and will work with you to strengthen the areas that need additional work.

Content Guidelines and Tips

We encourage you to think of your IXD Portfolio as a vehicle for creatively expressing your achievements and learning experiences from the program, presenting your most innovative thinking, and demonstrating your professional skill-set.

CHOOSING PROJECTS

Generally speaking, IXD Portfolios should contain between 4-10 projects. As a whole, your portfolio should be composed of the work you are most proud of and is relevant to your academic path and career goals. You are encouraged to include projects completed both within class and outside of class, if you feel they are relevant.

If you received feedback on the project from your professor or project supervisor, you are encouraged to make these changes before including the work in your portfolio.

Do all the projects have to come from my Pratt classes?

It is expected that you include projects from your Pratt coursework, but you may also include projects that were completed as part of the Practicum course, independent studies, standalone projects, or internships completed while you were enrolled at Pratt.

Can I include projects from before I enrolled at Pratt?

Students should strive to provide the most recent projects in order to provide the most accurate picture of their current skills and abilities. For this reason, we do not recommend including projects you completed prior to enrolling at Pratt. Please speak to your advisor if you wish to include a previous project in your portfolio.

Can we use group projects in my portfolio?

Yes. If you are including a group project, be sure to clearly indicate your role on the project.

Can I use a project from my final semester in my portfolio?

Yes, but only if the project is complete (or near complete) by the portfolio submission deadline. If you wish to use a final semester project, you should discuss it with your faculty advisor.

CREATING CASE STUDIES

Each project in your portfolio should take the form of a case study. The exact format, organization, and presentation of case studies will vary by student and by project, but as a general rule all case studies should include the following four components:

  1. Define the Problem
    Briefly explain the problem the project was addressing and your role on the project. Identify the key stakeholders and what will determine the project’s success. What were the primary user goals? What challenges made this problem unique? Were there any factors influencing this project (e.g., timeframe, budget, client requests, etc.)?
  2. Articulate Your Process
    Describe your approach to solving this problem. How did you try to understand the problem? What were the first steps of your problem-solving process? What did you know about the problem going in? What research did you conduct (if any) and what did you learn from that research that would inform your solution(s)?
  3. Show Your Solution(s)
    Show your process for solving the problem. What was the result (or results) you came up with? How did you reach them? How did you involve users or incorporate user feedback? Were there any unique or unexpected problems you needed to solve along the way?
  4. Describe Your Delivery
    Present your final deliverable(s). If this project was for a client, who was final product delivered to and how did they react to it? If it was not for a client, do you feel like your project was a success? Do you have any evidence (feedback from stakeholders, users, professors, etc.) that can show you were successful? Did you learn anything from the project? Would you have done anything differently?

When creating a case study, the goal should be to show, not tell, what you did and how you did it, which means that visual content (photos, screenshots, graphics, etc.) should drive the narrative and textual content should be used sparingly. Some additional tips:

  • Write succinctly. Make sure you cover the important details, but aim to have your text easily scannable. Proofreading is an absolute must.
  • Show everything. Don’t just show your polished visual designs. Show images of anything that helped you reach your goal: user flows, spreadsheets, doodles, whiteboards, documentation, etc.
  • Tell your story. You’ll work on a lot of different things in your career, but consider tailoring your portfolio to your strengths or interests.

CRAFTING YOUR IDENTITY

Your portfolio is not just a platform for your work, it also shows who you are and what you bring to the table as a UX professional. Thus, in addition to case studies you should also paint a picture of yourself in terms of:

  • Your Professional Identity.
    Write a tagline or a motto that represents who are you (and who you want to be) as a UX professional. Present yourself in terms of the type of work do you want to do and what interests or excites you about the field. Show your credentials and experience by providing a PDF of your resume.
  • Your Personal Identity.
    Include a professional-quality photograph and include a brief biographical sketch to explain who you are and where you came from. Give a sense of who you are as a person; show some of your personality (e.g., present some of your hobbies or interests).

Platforms and Hosting

Your IXD Portfolio must be a website; it is preferable that your website is publicly accessible, but at a minimum it must be accessible or viewable by your advisor (i.e., via a password or private sharing link).

There are many benefits to making your portfolio public, including your ability to showcase your work to potential employers. If you’re not sure whether to make it public or not, you should discuss this matter with your faculty advisor.

SELECTING A PLATFORM

There are dozens of hosting options available for your IXD portfolio, and it’s important to find one that matches your needs. Three dimensions to consider are:

  • Ease of use. You should not have to worry about figuring out the technical details of your portfolio platform. Pick something that has an easy learning curve and is going to be easy to use and easy to maintain.
  • Customization. Your platform should give you flexible options in terms of layout and appearance, so make sure it allows you to customize it to suit your style.
  • Price. Make sure you’re not paying too much for what you’re getting. Almost every platform or hosting providing has student discounts or special prices for educational users, so be sure to look for these before you sign up.

PLATFORM OPTIONS

One of the most common approaches is to use an all-in-one hosting platform. All-in-one platforms provide both web hosting space, a custom content management system, and cloud-based design tools (usually with templates). Many of these sites also provide a custom domain name. Here are some popular all-in-one platforms:

  • Squarespace: $6/month with student discount
  • Adobe Portfolio: $9.99/month (includes Photoshop)
  • Wix: $5/month (includes ads; $11/month to remove ads)
  • Weebly: $4/month (includes ads; $8/month to remove ads)

Another approach is to use a standard web hosting service. Web hosting services offer the most flexibility because they allow for the use of any popular content content management system (e.g., Wordpress, Drupal, etc.) or a custom-built option. There are dozens of web hosting services available (SI faculty use DreamHost, BlueHost, Deluxe Hosting, and WebFaction, to name a few) and most of them offer one-time or student discounts, so do your homework before signing up for one of them.

Should I code my own portfolio website?

If your goal is to pursue a career in front-end web development or UX roles that include programming, you should consider coding your own portfolio website (either from scratch or by using a framework like Bootstrap). For everyone else, it is a much better use of your time to focus on the content and the presentation of your portfolio.

What should my domain name be?

Most UX professionals use their name as their portfolio URL, but this is not required. Your domain name is part of your professional identity, so choose it carefully and make sure it’s something you’ll be able to live with for a few years.

Further Reading