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How to write a UX case study

Case studies are an important part of any UX designer’s portfolio. They will fill up the main part of your portfolio while you try to land that new job you’ve been looking for.
How to write a UX case study

When you are looking for UX design jobs, it is of great importance to have a UX portfolio that is on point. To achieve this you will need at least one great case study that shows your previous UX work.

Here’s everything you need to know about UX case studies.

Table of Contents

What is a UX case study?

Let’s start at the beginning. What is a case study exactly? If you bring it down to the core, a case study is an examination of the process around a certain project or job. In the case of a UX designer, this can be a project you’ve completed previously at a company or client.

Your case study can be an individual document or be part of a bigger document like a pitch, proposal, or personal UX portfolio. The goal of a case study is always to show your process and skill as a designer.

Speaking of your portfolio. You can share case studies on platforms like Dribbble and Behance, or on your personal website. Be visible!

How to structure a case study

A UX case study that is going to show your skills as a UX designer requires a clear structure. Structure is important because it gives your readers something to hold on to. It makes your work scannable and easy to digest. In that way, creating a clear case study is the perfect job for any UX designer.

Structure your case study using the ‘STAR’ method. This is the abbreviation of situation, tasks, activities, and results. If you follow this method, your case studies will be a breeze to go through. Let’s dive in.

  • First up is the situation. Others call this part the challenge or problem statement. In this part of the case study, you discuss the current situation. In most cases, there is a business goal that needs to be achieved. You’re hired or assigned to get to this goal. State your role and responsibilities in this part of the case study.
  • Second, we have your tasks. What tasks did you have or what tasks were you assigned to complete? This is the place to name them. As a UX designer, these could be anything from conducting user research up to delivering a state-of-the-art visual design concept.
  • Activities show what you have done to complete the aforementioned tasks. If we stick to the user research example, activities might include recruiting participants, conducting the actual research, and presenting your findings to your stakeholders.
  • Finally, results. Link your results to the ‘situation’ part of your case study. What was the original problem or goal and what was the result of your work? Make this as concrete as possible. Focus on the impact you have made as a UX designer.

If you put this all together you will get a nice block of text consisting of about 4 paragraphs. Keep in mind that you do not have to name every paragraph after the ‘STAR’ method. You can name it after something that fits your personal style or branding.

To make your UX case study stronger, we recommend adding pictures to your text that are relevant to the specific paragraph you’re working on. These could be images of your progress, photo’s or workshops, or pixel-perfect visual designs.

There’s no good or bad in this case as long as the pictures are relevant to your case study.

UX case study template

We’re currently working on designing a UX case study template that you can use to create case studies that follow the ‘STAR’ method and other tips we’ve talked about.

Check back in some time. We’re doing our best to bring the template to you as quickly as possible.

Examples

That’s the theory behind case studies in the field of UX. Now it is time to take a look at some examples of great UX case studies.

These case studies have been carefully curated to display the theory as we have discussed it previously. Take a look!

UX case study example by Johnnie Gomez on Dribbble
UX case study example by Johnnie Gomez on Dribbble
UX case study example by Katerina Krukova on Dribbble
UX case study example by Katerina Krukova on Dribbble

Further reading

We can’t stress enough how important clear case studies are for a UX designer. Case studies are a part of every UX portfolio. They are key when looking for UX design jobs or when you are developing your portfolio. Check out our posts on these subjects!

Nick Groeneveld

About the author

Nick Groeneveld is a designer from the Netherlands with over 5 years of UX, visual design, and consultancy experience. He has worked in many different industries, including retail, finance, and sports.

Take a look at Nick’s LinkedIn and Medium for more.

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