Avoid Portfolio Pitfalls - Creating a Successful Online Portfolio
A successful online portfolio conveys your design strengths, range of talent and level of professionalism. After viewing it, prospective clients should understand who you are professionally, and what you can accomplish. And they should be motivated to contact you for more information or a consultation.
Your online portfolio speaks volumes to potential clients, but does it make the best impression? We've seen common mistakes design professionals make when they bring their portfolios to the web. Here are the major pitfalls- and how you can avoid them.
1. Difficult navigation
Rule #1: Make your portfolio easy to find. In evaluating one site, it took three clicks before we could see a single project photo. The unintended message: people will doubt your firm's ability to address their basic needs. Once visitors are in your portfolio, make it easy to go from one project to the next. Keep your buttons in one place: don't move them around depending on the size of your photos.
2. Missing or poor descriptions
When you show your portfolio to a prospective client do you sit in silence as they flip through it? Of course not! You describe, you explain, you (dare I say) sell. Label each project with the client name, project location, and a brief description of the design challenge and your solution. Rather than isolating them on a separate page, include client testimonials and awards into your portfolio for more impact.
3. Poor photo quality
Blurry, pixilated, or just plain dark, we've been surprised that many designers fail to insist that their images are properly prepared for the web. In my opinion, professional photographers are expensive, and worth every penny. Get good photos, and make sure they look great on your site.
4. Obscure thumbnails
Thumbnail images can help visitors decide what they'd like to see, or they can confuse and disorient them. Thumbnails should be big enough to comprehend BEFORE clicking. On one site we've seen thumbnails 36 pixels square (about 1/3 of an inch), and grayed-out. One photo looks like a man's necktie. The next is almost entirely blue sky. It isn't a guessing game.
5. Just too much
If you've been in business for a while you have no shortage of projects. DON'T SHOW THEM ALL! Be conscious of your visitors' time and be selective- show your best and most current work. The goal is to get them to contact you. Then you can provide additional information.
6. Difficult to update
In order to keep your portfolio up-to-date you should consider a web content manager. This tool allows you to upload new publications, images and text using simple web-based forms. You need to keep your site current!
A professional online portfolio is essential if you want to make the best first impression and generating client inquiries.
By Barry Harrison, Managing Partner, Resolve Digital
Image by Marad777