Creating a great UX & Design case study
This post originally appeared on FanDuel Life blog.
Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash
When you apply for a position on the UX & Design team at FanDuel, we ask you to send at least one case study with your application. (Things are different when we hire for entry level positions, more on that in the future). While the specifics of the work will depend on your role as a product designer, UX researcher, or UX writer, the principles of that case study are the same.
What is a case study?
It’s an explanation of a real project you’ve completed. It frames the problem or opportunity, explains your approach, process, and involvement, and showcases the solution.
But I have a website/portfolio/Behance…
Great! If that portfolio has case studies as part of it, send that. However, sometimes we see great solutions-only portfolios from candidates that don’t show all the important details and process of the projects. All the disciplines in the UX & Design team — product design, UX research, and UX writing — require a lot of collaboration, choosing the right tools for a given project, and execution far beyond just a visual element to be successful.
Why do you ask for one in my job application?
It helps us understand your role in the projects you’ve worked on. What did you contribute, what are your processes and understanding of those processes, and how successful was the solution? More on the details later.
Our hiring process has three stages and we assess different skills and experience levels at different stages. As part of the first stage where they review your application,four team members will look at these areas, which form part of our career path framework. One of our hiring principles is We hire at the right level and know that very few candidates are the finished article, so we want a strong framework to assess that level.
- Functional knowledge — Can you demonstrate high quality work?
- Process — Do you have an understanding of standard industry processes and when to use them?
- Complexity — Do you understand the constraints and outcomes of the project?
- Scope — Did you have the appropriate level of involvement in the project for the experience level we’re hiring for?
- Presentation — Can you clearly communicate your projects and how you did your part, while explaining your decisions and constraints?
- Suggested experience — Do you have relevant experience at the level we’re hiring for?
What makes a successful case study?
The short answer is a study that helps us see the best of your skills and experience based on the criteria above. There’s no one template for a successful case study, and it will depend on the project you’re showcasing. We find that the information below forms the basis of a lot of successful studies:
- What was the problem/opportunity/brief/reason for the project?
- Who were the users?
- What was your role in the project?
- What were the processes you used from start to finish to deliver your solution?
- What were the decision points and how were decisions made?
- What were the constraints and limitations of the project?
- What was/would be your next step?
- What did you learn and what would you do differently next time?
We often get asked about formats, too. To us, a successful case study is a successful case study, regardless of format. Send us a PDF, a website, a Behance page, a Medium post or whatever presents the work best for you.
Got any examples?
Of course! Here’s some inspiration hand-picked by members of our team. Please don’t just copy these though. Every project has its own unique challenges and solutions, and your case study should reflect that.
Uber Scooters by Bre Huang
“This a great example of documenting an end to end process in a clear and legible way, demonstrating that design thinking was undertaken. There is real attention to detail throughout — the animated interactive screens are the icing on the cake!” — Jonathan Wilkinson, Lead Product Designer
Sex and/or gender — working together to get the question right by Jane Reid
“This does a good job of giving a bit of depth without being too long. Also appreciate the visuals to help envision the process better.” — Yasmin Amjid, Senior UX Researcher
- How should I structure and write a User Research case study? by Nikki Anderson
- The Research Process in 5 Inspiring UX Case Studies by Allison Crady
Contributor Style Guide by Nikki St-Cyr
“I think this is a good example of a case study where the output isn’t actual UX copy, but a content style guide for all the UX writers. Like a design case study, it’s solution-oriented, presenting the problem, solution, process, and implementation in a plainspoken way and concise way that makes the writer’s impact pretty clear to me.” — Melissa Warren, UX Writer
iTunes by Darci Groves
“Darci’s site showcases really juicy problems as short case studies (removing the U2 album from iTunes!). As a UX writer and team leader, she offers clear, concise language and empathy to advocate for both the business and the end user.” — Natalia Lavric, UX Writing Manager