Now that you’ve got a Portfolio Website, does it work?

Your Goals

To answer the question “does it work” let’s go back to Week #1 – What are your career goals? If they’re different now, that’s fine. Just be sure you can clearly and succicintly state them.

Does this Portfolio Website present your work in a compelling way? Does it make a case for the career you want?

Viewer Profile

To answer that question, let’s go back to Week #4 – Key People & Viewer Profile. A portfolio for a Children’s Book Illustrator should look different from a portfolio for a Tattoo Artist. That’s an extreme example, but there are many small differences that show you, your work, your style, and what you’re offering.

Keep your Viewer Profile person in mind as you test your website. Does your site make what you’re offering, your value proposition, clear, concise, and compelling for your Viewer?


  1. Tour your own website. Check every link. Read every word. Think about every image.
  2. Share your URL. Send it out to specific friends & colleagues. Maybe even post it online and ask for feedback.
  3. Get people to surf your website while you look over their shoulder.

#1 & #2 are important and you should do them.

Let’s talk about #3 which is priceless!

Let Me Watch You Surf My Website!

Silently looking over someone’s shoulder as they surf your site is a priceless experience!

You might be tempted to grab the mouse, trackpad, or touchscreen and show them. Or to explain things or direct them. Don’t! Just let them fumble around. What they find and don’t find will teach you a lot about how your Portfolio Website is connecting and not connecting.


  1. The cool buttons you put at the bottom of every page to help viewers get to the next thing – do they use them? Or not?
  2. Do you see your viewer reaching or searching for some sort of button or content that isn’t there?
  3. Does your viewer try to click on things that don’t click?
  4. Can they figure out how to see the image larger or visit a detail page? Or do they need help?
  5. What about your site structure seems to make it easy for your viewer to get around?
  6. What about your site organization confuses or makes it hard for your viewer to get around?


  1. Where does your viewer spend the most time? The least time?
  2. Do they look at all your work? Or only some? Or only the main page?
  3. Do they look at your About statement? Do they read it? All of it?
  4. Is there work your viewer seems especially interested in? Or less interested in?
  5. Can they find detail views? Do you have them?
  6. Do they want to know more about projects? Do you have explanatory text?


Get a few people to let you watch them surf your portfolio. Anyone will do. Artists are better. Artists in your area, or people who can exhibit, commission, or hire you, are best. Make notes of things you can improve.

After you’ve seen a few people navigate your portfolio, revise it!

Let’s be blunt: everyone manages to limp through Art 490 and produce some kind of 1st draft portfolio. I’m hoping for more for you. A lot more! The key to a great portfolio is revision!

Nobody sits down in one day and goes from zero to amazing portfolio. Revise the look and function of your portfolio website. Improve your About Me statement and other text on the site. Constantly update the work you show to present the best and most on target portfolio you can.


On Canvas please share insights from your testing. Share what you’ve learned that works or doesn’t work.

Photo by RACOOL from Freerange Stock

3 thoughts on “Testing

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