It is ok for newbie UX designers to have a hard time differentiating between a UX case study and portfolio. Most UX designers at the start could not tell the difference between the two and I am not an exception.
In the paragraphs that follow, I will explain as best as I can how these two differ.
What is a UX Design Case Study?
Consider a case study as you would a building project. You describe the kind of building you want to erect, the planning and survey details, the research or land evaluation, the enquires and information you gather from your client about the kind of building structure they want e.t.c.
This is what a case study is like. It is a detailed look at a specific design project or challenge that you worked on. It includes a description of the design process and the challenges you faced, as well as the final design solution to the problem you may have encountered.
What is a UX Design Portfolio?
A UX design portfolio on the other hand is a collection of these design projects put together to showcase your skills and experience as a UX designer. A UX design portfolio includes examples of your design work, as well as details about the design process and the results.
Key Differences Between a UX Case Study and Portfolio
Focus And Depth
One major difference between a UX case study and portfolio is the focus and depth of the presentation. A UX design case study will typically focus on just one project in great detail. It will show in-depth, the your problem-solving skills, research and design thinking processes.
A UX portfolio on the other hand will showcase an overview of your work. It will include a wide range of projects that will showcase your expertise.
Storytelling vs. Presentation
In regards to storytelling and presentation in UX case study and portfolio, a UX designer relies on storytelling to convey the product’s journey which would include the problems discovered (if any), user feedback during research, how a solution was arrived at and the impact of design decisions on users.
Meanwhile, all that storytelling is not necessary on a portfolio. You just focus on the presenting your completed design projects in a visually appealing manner with clear and concise descriptions of each project.
Research and Data
Regarding research and data for UX case study and portfolio, you will find that when writing your UX case study, your emphasis will be more on your research process and results. You will write more on the user data you acquire and how these data influence your design decisions.
Whereas on your portfolio, you will focus more on the outcomes of the projects and the visual presentation to make it look good and appealing to whoever takes a look at it. So there is little to no need to write research findings in your portfolio.
When to Use Your UX Case Study or Portfolio
2 situations you will need to present your case study are;
- When you apply for an internship or job. A link to your project is required.
- When you are asked to showcase your design thinking process during an interview.
2 situations you will need to present your portfolio are;
- When you want to showcase your design capabilities.
- When you apply to a job, a link to your portfolio is required.
That Concludes It
By now you understand the difference between a UX case study and portfolio, what they are and the scenarios you need either of them.
If you would like to read on projects for your portfolio, check out our blog post on important projects for your portfolio.