The Only Page Your Portfolio Needs
Why a process page is so effective and how you can build one
As a freelancer, I need to know which pages on my website are being seen and how people are finding me. I have an analytics tool call Splitbee on my design portfolio so I can keep track of these insights. The other day, something caught my eye; the majority of people coming to my site never look at my case studies.
Like many other designers, I’ve put a lot of time and effort into my case studies, so it’s disheartening to see them neglected like this. But I understand why. From my experiences, when you look at someone’s portfolio, you’re trying to find out three things:
- Who they are as a person and a designer
- If they can help you solve your specific problem
- What kinds of work they’ve done in the past
People need to find this information as quickly as possible, and case studies aren’t great at doing this. They’re too detailed and take a long time to scan through. However, there are a couple of pages on my site that give a snapshot of who I am, and they’re both getting much more attention.
The number of page visits to my portfolio over a thirty day window.
Looking at the analytics for my portfolio, the most visited page by far is my process page. Over a thirty day window, it’ll get almost three times more visits than my most popular case study.
And more than double that of my about page. But why? It’s tucked away, so what makes people want to go there?
My theory is that people are going to this page because they’re in a rush and need to judge me quickly. Why dig through my case studies when I’ve given them a summary of everything I can do?
I see a lot of value in having this process page, so I’d like to give you some pointers on how to make one yourself.
Building a process page
Like I described before, a process page should be a snapshot of what you can do. It doesn’t have to cover everything, just enough to get the conversation rolling. Think of it as a thirty-second sales pitch of what you’re capable of as a designer.
Highlight your strengths
With my process page, I wanted to draw focus to the skills I think matter most in my line of work. Not only that, but the things I actually wanted to do. By being clear about the things I enjoy, I can find work that suits me. Hiring managers can also quickly judge if I’m the designer they’ve been looking for.
Prioritise the skills you want to highlight.
Think about which of your strengths you want to highlight. If someone only had ten seconds to look at your work, what would you show them? You can filter your own skills down by considering these things:
- What are you good at?
- What do you enjoy doing?
- Which of your skills are in demand?
- What work can you showcase in a clear and attractive way?
Make it scannable
In some (if not all) cases, someone is going to be rushing through your portfolio. They’ll skim through to get a general idea of what you’re like. So make your process page scannable!
Use pictures and videos to showcase the most interesting parts of your portfolio. Save the details for your case studies, or when you’re talking to them in person. Don’t make them dig around for information.
You can also use a tool like Loom to walk someone through your design as if you were in a call with them. They can see your work, what your personality is like, and how you present your work.
Capture their curiosity
The idea behind the process page is to give people a taste of what you can do. If someone’s interested to learn more about a particular skill you’re showcasing, you should be making this easy for them.
Linking to relevant pages in my portfolio.
In my process page, I’ve linked out to other relevant parts of my portfolio. That way, if someone wants to see more, it’s right there waiting for them. It’s a good way to keep people hooked in. Even if they don’t click through, it’s there for when they may need it in the future.
And like I mentioned before, videos and prototypes can make a page like this even more sticky. Think about your visitor’s experience. Encourage them to stick around and learn more about you by giving them interesting things to play with.
Getting your design portfolio right can be a stressful, time-consuming task. Case studies take a lot of effort and it’s disheartening to know how little time people spend reading them.
I hope that by sharing this discovery, I can inspire you to try building a process page for yourself.
Originally published here.