Following on from my recent post on How to organise content for your website, I’ve noticed something that’s kept cropping up for discussion over recent projects – how best to organise a portfolio of projects.

The best option to take usually depends on the content available, and in particular the spread of different projects across different categories or sectors.

To give you some ideas, here are what I think are the three most common ways of organising projects:

#1 Categories

This one’s pretty straightforward; you divvy your projects up by categories and present these categories to the user. The user clicks on the category they like the look of, and gets to see all the projects in that category.

Yelo Architects

portfolio-yelo-architects

Yelo Architects use a nice simple category structure for their portfolio

Sara Reeve Photography

portfolio-sara-reeve-photography

With this layout, Sara Reeve can select which photo she wants to represent each category

Foster + Partners

project-types-foster-partners

Foster + Partners portfolio uses the category-format as its basis, but offers the user a way of exploring other taxonomies via the navigation bar at the top

Should I use categories for my portfolio?

Pros:

Cons:

#2 Drop-down menus

As a variation on the theme, some portfolios still use categories but rather than starting on a landing page, the user selects the category from a drop-down menu.

Rick Mather Architects

Rick Mather Architects' categories appear on click

Rick Mather Architects’ categories appear on click

Pippa MacKenzie

Pippa MacKenzie's site navigation enables you to jump straight to one of the categories, removing a click

Pippa MacKenzie’s site navigation enables you to jump straight to one of the categories, removing a click

Should I use drop-down menu categories for my portfolio?

Pros:

Cons:

#3 Filters

Using filters gives the user the choice of what they want to look at; you show all your projects and then ask them to filter by a range of options.

Captured Image Photography

Our good friends at Captured Image allow you to filter their portfolio by category. On selection, relevant projects remain on page and others disappear

Our good friends at Captured Image allow you to filter their portfolio by category. On selection, relevant projects remain on the page and others disappear

In these next two examples, multiple filters are used, giving the user greater flexibility in finding projects they’re interested in:

ECE Architecture

ECE Architecture's site enables the user to filter by various criteria. The system's coded to ensure the user can choose a combination of fliters which return nil results.

We built ECE Architecture’s site so the user can filter by various criteria. The system’s coded to prevent the user choosing a combination of filters which return nil results.

Cullinan Studio

Cullinan Studios portfolio can be filtered by various criteria, and results viewed in a grid or list layout.

Cullinan Studios portfolio can be filtered by various criteria, and results viewed in a grid or list layout.

Should I use filters for my portfolio?

Pros:

Cons:

Whichever method you go for, make sure it’s the right fit for the number of projects you have – both now and in the future. Think about how your user wants to view your projects, and make it as easy as you possibly can.

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Mark Vaesen

About Mark Vaesen

Mark Vaesen is the Founder and Managing Director of Tomango. He previously founded Blue Planet and is also a Uefa B qualified football coach. He loves cheese and biscuit and raisin Yorkies. Although not at the same time; that would be weird.

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