Helpful resources to put together a case study

Image courtesy of @robotlover as part of #sketchaday2021 series

One of the biggest challenges that every designer faces is talking about ourselves. I’m talking about case studies!  Your case studies form the core of your work portfolio. They’re supposed to represent your in-depth process and decision-making skills. They are essential to get hired as they allow an employer a window to see how you work and solve problems. Putting a case study together is easier said than done, and once completed….that’s where the real challenge starts.  I’m going to be sharing a few resources that I come back to when it comes to putting together a case study.

Like most of you, I’m currently job searching. Also, like me, you’ve probably already polished up your resume, nip tucked that LinkedIn profile and have been hitting those contacts hard. (Oh yea, check those inboxes and linked in messages for my friendly reach out cause ones’ coming to ya.)  

None of the above matters if you don’t have a great portfolio of case studies. You might be asking yourself:

     Did I include the right content?

     Am I telling the right story?

     Is it too wordy?

     Above all, am I showing how my solution solves the problem?

These are all valid questions and to help you get to that happy place with your case studies let’s go over a few great resources to help you get started, stay focused, and make sure you have the right content. In no particular order, here are my go-to links:

How to create the perfect structure for a UX case study by Andreas Komninos

Published by the Interaction Design Foundation, I often refer to this article to get started.  As stated, “case studies benefit greatly from a solid structure.” By going thru the process of storytelling, Andreas does a wonderful job of providing the context you need to take your case study to the next level.

Top takeaway:  Structuring your case study in the shape of an ideal type of story will help recruiters and hiring managers to know what it would be like to have you join their team. Your story should represent the process and critical reflection, rather than the end product.

How to create a product design portfolio in 8 steps by David Pasztor

David is the founder and CEO of which is not only a great portfolio builder tool for UX/UI designers but also provides some incredible resources and tips to help you with your case studies.  In this particular article, David walks you thru what he’s learned over the years reviewing portfolios and sitting thru interviews to guide you through tools to help build a great portfolio.

Top takeaway:  All 8 steps are fantastic but step 5 on showcasing features or product ideas really helped me stay on track to not only show that you know your users’ pain points but share the ideas that show how I solved them.

Top tips to polish a product design case study- By Shoshana Swell.

Shoshana’s article posted on UX Collective is a great insight into how to polish up that case study. With a focus on Product Design roles, she explores tips for storytelling, visual design, prototyping, and more. 

Top takeaway:  Visuals are key to your case study! Besides showing your finished product, make sure you provide those visual representations that help analyze your visual work. Including labels, listing pros and cons, and providing text to explain what you’re looking at may seem like a no-brainer but you’d be surprised how much of this is missed.

UX Portfolio Formula by Sarah Doody 

Sarah is amazing! I first discovered her early on when I was putting together my first case study. I was about 10 min from being done and then I read an article by her on how to write a UX case study. I ended up redoing the whole thing.

Sarah gives an honest approach to what recruiters and hiring managers look at. She breaks down everything in an easy to understand format by showing real-life examples and showing you what works, what doesn’t, and why. That WHY part is key! I learned more about how to write my case study from Sarah than any other resource. Visit her site and take advantage of everything she provides. 

Top takeaway: Seriously, utilize everything she writes. I found that her case study template really allowed me to write that missing content I so desperately needed. Her tips on writing headlines and titles took my case studies to the next level and I receive compliments all the time just on those alone.  If you feel that you’re still struggling and need extra help. Sarah puts together what looks like an amazing course that focuses on your portfolio.

Your portfolio is probably the most important part of landing a job. By taking the time to set it up properly, you’ll be one step closer to success when it comes to that job hunt. Hopefully, these articles and resources will help you along the way.

How do you build your case studies?

Using Format