Tips for making an online portfolio (and a new one coming soon at laurenrabaino.com!)

Interact has been lacking lately and there are a few reasons for that:

  1. Finals week meant a lot of studying, few online distractions
  2. Portfolio redesign in progress means a lot of CSS headaches
  3. A lot of travelling
  4. As I learned from Paul Bradshaw, I don't have a community to encourage my continued blogging
A sneak peak of what my soon-to-be-released portfolio looks like: 

One prototype of my portfolio coming soon at LaurenRabaino.com

Here are a few things I've learned about making a porfolio in the past few days:
  1. CSS is a must. My old portfolio was rushed in Dreamweaver through a template I created using tables. Although tables are easy and functionable, CSS is easier for manipulating the design later and it looks better to an employer. If a web producer wants to hire you and sees outdated tables in your code, you're automatically going to look less talented.  
  2. But while it's a must, CSS is an absolute headache. That doesn't mean it's impossible. I've known fairly little about CSS, all it takes is a quick Google search to learn what you need.

    A great resource has been http://www.w3schools.com/css/  

  3. Keep a consistent theme. I've gone with a blue/pink/black design that I'm also implementing on my blog and my Twitter. Why? Because it gives you an identity and an aesthetic brand online. If you want to transfer that look to the physical world, make your porfolio and business card match too. 
  4. Make it easy to be found on other social networks. I linked to my Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook,  Myspace, Interact, Newsvine, FriendFeed,  Google Reader, Wired Journalists, Flickr, YouTube and Mustang Daily articles.  
  5. Have a good footer. Speaking in newspaper terms, make sure that what's "below the fold" is still interesting. When people scroll, make sure they don't lose interest. My footer contains my most recent Twitter status and my most recent shared item on Google Reader.

    Creative footer ideas:http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/04/08/footers-in-modern-web-design-creative-examples-and-ideas/  

  6. Make it interactive. Although an aspect I'm still struggling with on my portfolio, interaction makes it more inticing. So far, my main form of interaction is through a rotating AJAX widget across the bottom that scrolls with my most recent photos and graphic design.  
  7. Include a downloadable resume. Unfortunately, not everyone in the world is as web-savvy as you. It's likely that the higher-ups who will be looking to hire you will want a physical paper resume to review. Make sure it's easily-accessible (and readily-printable) on your site!

    How to make a PDF:http://desktoppub.about.com/od/pdftutorials/PDF_Tutorials.htm  

  8. Have an "about me" page. Although it seems pretty common sense, it can be easy to forget. Who are you? Why are you different? Why are you talented? Let them know here, and feel free to link to your outside work and associations. The more you link away from your portfolio, it shows how diverse of a network you have.

    What to include in your about me page:http://www.problogger.net/archives/2006/11/24/how-to-write-your-about-me-page/  

  9.  Can they contact you? If you want a job, they better be able to. If you include a contact form, make sure it works. If you include an e-mail address, make sure it's spelled correctly and it's easy to find.
If you have any portfolio tips to share, include them in the comments and I'll add them to this post.