Built Portfolio from Scratch

Photo credit: https://undraw.co/

I desired to have a highly contrasting portfolio website after I went through one previous year. I chose to create my black and white portfolio website.

Why did I decide to build my portfolio? There are two reasons: Price and Customization.

To use a template site, I need to pay at least $9/month, which means $108 for a year — big money for me. Also, the templates are very limited.

For example, most templates will use a hamburger menu for responsive design purposes. But if I only have five tabs, even on mobile they can be shown perfectly, so I don’t need the hamburger menu at all. I am not a fan of the hamburger menu, especially when I have only limited menus because I don’t want an extra click/tap for my visitors. Unfortunately, templates are not that customizable for the platforms I was using.

During my research, I found some good tools and technologies that are highly customizable and offer a reasonable price. here are a few names:

  1. WordPress is a popular CMS tool that is highly customizable, and also has an interface to edit content without the need of touching the code.
  2. Webflow An alternative to WordPress with more visual design support.
  3. Semplice One time payment with all the functionality.

Regardless of the tools above, I chose to develop my own website because I wanted to practice my coding skills.

A High-level Overview
It took me some time to complete this task since it was a one-man show which involves drawing, planning, and coding. I also had a full-time job, therefore could only work on weeknights and weekends. This project commenced around June 2020 and I completed it around December 2020. If I didn’t need to work, probably I would need 4–5 months or less.

The portfolio itself is also a digital product with a target user group and specific use cases. I have read something like Quality Assurance Engineers should also design their portfolios.

I would like to share how I executed each step, and look forward to seeing your comments!

Research: Goals & Some Resources
When we are designing a product, we need to understand the rationale behind the decision of building this product. We also need to know our users: what is their goal, what kind of difficulty are they experiencing. The same applies to a portfolio.

So why do I need a portfolio? Well, in my case, is to look for a job. I need to update my portfolio with some latest projects. But for freelancers, it might be to get the next client. So, based on different cases, the design of the portfolio can vary a lot, like a freelance visual designer’s portfolio, will need to show off a lot of fancy interfaces and screen interactions, as well as testimonials from previous clients. But for a quality assurance engineer, assets like quality.

What about end-users? In this case, it is not a real ‘end-user’. But we all hope the visitors to our portfolio site can get the information they need, for example, understand how I work as a quality assurance engineer by looking at previous projects, know my quality process, and have my contact information like skills, certificates, email, publications, and social media.

I have read some great articles about tips for building a portfolio, which are some great foundations for me before I started.

I hope you enjoyed my article and If you liked the article don’t forget to smash that clap button 😉 and share it with your friends 😃.

I welcome more comments and questions.