Putting my best foot forward: creating a portfolio site

My end goal for this class is to build a professional portfolio site at daimoneklund.com, featuring my work as a journalist and online producer, as well as a resume. Since there are many similar portfolio sites online, this site needs to find some way to stand out from the pack – or at the very least, to communicate my professional abilities, rather than detracting from the message of competency I am hoping to relate.

As my site’s primary purpose is to showcase my abilities and highlight my past work, I am looking for a clean design that presents the work without distracting from it. It needs to be easy to navigate and find specific types of work, but with enough design flourishes and personal touches to break out from the pack and show that I can build a website beyond simply using the default WordPress template.

Much of my past work has been as a sportswriter, both as a full-time print journalist, and more recently as a freelance writer. One audience for the site will be sports editors who are considering me or looking for a freelancer. To cater to this audience, my site needs to have a prominent selection of past articles that is easy to find.

Although I may do freelance writing, I am also interested in finding a more web-centric full time job which combines writing with web production, social media management and other skills. A main audience for the site will be potential employers, both from organizations where I may have applied for a job and those who may be looking for potential candidates for a position. Therefore the site will need to showcase a range of my abilities, as well as feature the skills I’m learning as an MCDM student.

Finally, an audience for the site will be other colleagues and students who are interested in seeing my work.

In order to find three competitor sites, I googled “Seattle journalist” to find portfolio sites from other writers in this area.

http://www.naomiishisaka.com

Pros: 

  • The home page is clean and simple, with a clear message of what she does and navigation to examples of her work, along with a rotating slideshow highlighting her work.

Cons: 

  • The work sample pages are laid out in simple, bland lists such as text links only for writing samples. The video page is just a stack of embedded videos, with little description. There is no context for the work, or descriptions to know if it is worth clicking on to look at.

http://www.sanjaybhatt.com/

Pros:

  • The navigation is clear.
  • The main display/photo in the header changes depending on the page, making it clear what section the user is in.
  • The writing portfolio section is clearly broken down into subject sections, and each link has a few lines of description to let users know what the story is about.

Cons:

  • The design scheme is quite blocky. By his own admission, it hasn’t been updated since 2008.
  • Although the portfolio section has more context than the previous site, it is still very text-heavy.
  • The feel of the site is clunky and plodding, not dynamic and attractive as it should be to make users excited about your work.

http://laurenmichell.com/

Pros:

  • The site uses visual screenshots or icons for each work, making it more visual and giving the user a reason to click.
  • Each work sample has a few lines of description telling users the story behind the project and when/where it was published.
  • The bio section is informal, giving a sense of who the author is, and includes links to her social media accounts.

Cons:

  • The think grey font for headlines makes some items hard to read.
  • There is no central focus on the home page for users, making it harder to determine what each section is and how to find various types of work.
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About Daimon

A former print journalist pursuing a Masters of Communication in Digital Media at the University of Washington.

3 responses to “Putting my best foot forward: creating a portfolio site”

  1. Kathy E. Gill says :

    Hi, Daimon – good start! You’ll need to develop three personas from those general audience groups and pick a primary to build the site around. The sooner you do this, the better (ie, it informs design). Remember to link this email address with your WP gravatar.

    • Daimon says :

      FYI (and for future students who may have this confusion later) – I wasn’t sure what the issue was with the Gravatar, since my account was linked. However, I hadn’t entered any “about me” text, so gravatar didn’t show anything in the author section.

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