Student Online Portfolio Theme Questionnaire

Preface:
I’m currently studying computer science. Going through design school and well into working as an in-house designer, I had a hard time finding a Wordpress theme that didn’t make only having a few projects seem inadequate. So for a personal/ case-study project, I want to develop a Wordpress theme that is easy to adapt to a student’s design style, while displaying portfolio pieces (even if only as little as two(2)), that get art directors and whoever else from index.html > I want to at least talk to this person.

Questions for Students or Recent Grads:
1.) Is there already a theme that you use that is exactly what you were looking for with little to no code changes, and what features or styling was the reason you chose it?
2.) Is there a theme that you really wanted to use but couldn’t, and why, either styling or features?
3.) Is there anything specific that all themes you’ve looked at seem to miss with those who may lack a certain amount of projects to display?
4.) Do you even want to bother messing with hosting your own Wordpress Site and you use sites like Behance etc?

Questions for Hiring Managers and Art Directors:
1.) What are some the characteristics of online presentations that always seem to catch your eye?
2.) What are some problems you encounter with students and recent grads in their choice of online theme that prevent or don’t excite you enough to look through a portfolio site?
3.) How are you offering an opening to job seekers mainly?
4.) Have you usually already seen a resume and THEN visited their portfolio site, or are you looking through applicants sites and THEN wondering about their experience depending on their work?

Thanks for those that have replied and feel free to make additional comments or insights.

Speaking from the perspective of an art/creative director, much depends on the position for which this person is applying.

If I’m hiring them based on their UI/UX design or web development abilities, the wrapper (theme) means something different to me than if I’m looking for some other kind of designer.

So, first, assuming I’m hiring a website designer, I’ll begin asking them questions about the technical aspects of their portfolio wrapper, theme, template, and their choices and decisions. For example:

Looks like WordPress. Why did you choose this particular design. Did you design the theme yourself. If yes, that’s good. If no, I’ll ask why I should hire them as a web designer when they didn’t even design their own theme. If they say, that for efficiency, they took a pre-existing framework and theme, then heavily modified it for their own use, I’ll likely accept that as a good answer. Then I’ll ask them why they picked WordPress over Grav or Joomla or Drupal or whatever? Then I’ll asked them why they custom-built or modified a CMS template for something as simple as a portfolio site that could likely have been coded by hand more efficiently and without the limitations imposed by a CMS.

Second, assuming I’m hiring a non-website designer, like a print designer, for example, the WordPress (or whatever) theme is nothing more than a container for their work that’s inside. If they pick an ugly or clearly inappropriate theme, it counts against their good design judgment. If they pick a very neutral theme that highlights their work, that is a point in their favor since it shows me they’re focused on showing me their work instead of trying to impress me with the case it’s in. If they pick a theme that draws attention to itself, that’s a negative because, a theme that someone else designed is not what I’m looking for. Instead, I only care about the designer’s work being show in the portfolio.


In general, anyone I’m going to be interviewing in person is someone I’ve already researched. I’ve seen their social media presence, checked out their website, looked at the code behind it and already have questions for them.

In the interview itself, I’ll already know quite a bit about their capabilities, so what will really impress me is if they bring something to the interview that surprises me or gives me more insight into their work. For example, if they have a book design in their online portfolio, it’s awfully nice when I’m able to pick up that book and get a tactile sense of it being real and not just a bunch of pixels on a website.

This might be one of the most supportive and directive pieces of feedback I’ve seen recently. Wish you had been one of my lecturers at uni. :slight_smile:

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