There are 3 scenarios where you will want your work to really stand out – when you’re interviewing for a new role, when you’re showcasing your work in your portfolio, and when you’re presenting a final design proposal to a wider team within a company. On all occasions you will want your work to really shine.
When you’re a UX designer, most of the design work the work happens behind the scenes. Sketches, whiteboard iterations and wireframes are all necessary, but they’re not necessarily pretty.
Your work is great, but not everyone you will present to will be a designer. Managers, developers, finance or marketing teams may have a difficult time understanding what exactly you do. Don’t give your audience home work – make the work sparkle.
The next time you feel like going into a meeting with a default slide show design containing grey wireframes, think of your audience. Think about what makes them excited to work with you, or excited about the new designs for an upcoming project, and try to present for that.
With this in mind, I wanted to suggest 5 things that you can do to make your work really shine.
1. Create Designs for your Deck
Don’t let the default themes for slides hold you back – get creative and use your imagination. If you’re presenting using a deck, look online for some nice deck design ideas. In the past I’ve found Pinterest to be a really great source of creative inspiration when creating designs for a slide show.
Get Sketch out and start designing the key layouts for your presentation as if you were designing any other interface. Design for things like titles and headings, images and copy, lists and mock-ups. The slides should have a nice flow and consistency about them.
If you’re not using a slide show, download a nice HTML theme for your portfolio – there are loads of amazing free ones out there. Think of this as an advertisement for your work.
2. Use Beautiful Typography, Imagery, Icons and Illustrations
While it’s not always advisable to use a typeface that is not a system font – for fear of rendering issues – it is a good idea to check out some ideas on how you can use these fonts in a creative way. If you do want to use a specific font, you can always export it as a png and add it that way.
As I mentioned above, I browse Pinterest for ideas on how I could use the system assets to the best advantage.
If you’re presenting designs that include photography, make sure the photography is the best it can be. For example, ecommerce landing screens and marketing materials always use amazing imagery, so use that to bring the UI designs up a level.
Use beautiful mock ups to really add an extra dimension to your designs – whether it’s the outline of a web browser, or a mobile device.
image from dribbble 3. Include a Nice Welcome Screen
It might be the case that the welcome screen will be visible for longer than the others, because you need something to be on while people are arriving at the meeting, and you’re waiting for everyone to settle down.
Take the time to design a beautiful welcome screen.
If you’re trying to raise your game – think about using some great stock photography to set the tone and theme of the presentation.
4. Add Some Colour
This point is inspired by a particularly bad interview I did years ago, where my slide show contained mostly grey wireframes and sketches. You’re a designer, a champion of visual and aesthetic beauty. Start presenting like it.
You don’t need to completely saturate every single screen, but a few screens that use colour can be really striking, particularly if it’s in keeping with the brand of the project. Try to avoid lots of grey wireframes – and experiment with including different colours for the outlines and fills that you use. Why not carry the main brand colour through to the wireframes or low-fidelity prototypes?
Again, look for ideas and inspiration on other sites like Pinterest and Dribbble on what combinations look good, but adding the occasional coloured background can really make a slide show look polished.
5. Include Animations
Sometimes, it’s just nice to feel like a rock star.
Animations will communicate a particular flow much better than a static screen with some notes written beside it. They will also make you look like a rock star.
I’ve spent hours working on additional animations for presentations just because I knew that it would really shine in my presentation and on my portfolio. If you’re presenting as part of an interview process, it’s a great way to communicate the functionality of the project, as well as show off your amazing design skills.
Those are my tips on how you can make any presentation shine. I really hope you found some of them useful. If you have any other tips or ideas on how a designer can bring their A-game to their next presentation, please drop me a line.
As always, I’m always hanging out on
twitter. I would really love to hear from you!