Portfolios should talk about personal challenges
Interesting take by Tanner Christensen on what makes a good design presentation.
His point is that the common presentation structure, which follows the design process, doesn't tell anything about you as an individual:
- We discovered a problem or business need
- I did some research
- brainstormed a few solutions
- prototyped and tested those solutions
- learned some things and shipped.
Instead, he argues the story should be about your personal challenges when designing something (by following a storytelling arc):
- (Background) Business was booming until we realized there was a vital need from our customers.
- (Conflict) As a designer, I had never worked on a challenge like this before. I was anxious and worried.
- (Rising action) I spent time experimenting and failing. I learned the importance of collaborating with product management and involving engineers in research.
- (Climax) Do you think I succeeded?
- (Falling action) I learned about a new development process and ended up creating a solution in record time.
- (Resolution) I later shared the process I learned in a company all hands, and the solution we built has been growing in usage ever since.