How To Write a UX Case Study That Wins More Work

Louise North.
August 18, 2023

Crafting a compelling UX (User Experience) case study is an art in and of itself. It’s a process that demands clarity, story-telling, and an honest appraisal of your work.

How To Write a UX Case Study That Wins More Work.

To maximize your chances of landing a job or client, including information about your work in a case study is essential. This article provides some practical tips on what to include and how to format your document for maximum impact. Regardless of your experience level, this information will be invaluable.

In most cases, your case studies will be primarily visual. So it’s vital that you keep design revisions and screenshots of different aspects of the projects you work on as they evolve.

Many designers like to keep a work diary, or journal, separate from a sketch pad, in which they can jot down their thought processes from the day. This helps immensely when you revisit a project to create a case study.

By breaking away from a purely visual approach to portfolios, you can construct the story of your past projects in a way that impacts your audience. By following the advice in this post, you can create a comprehensive and insightful set of case studies that will stand out from the competition.

Step 1: Overview

Every case study starts with an introduction that includes two critical elements:

Summary — Like any content, from a blog post to a novel, it helps to set the scene with a solid introduction. Don’t go overboard; a paragraph will be enough. One pro-tip is to write the introduction last; that way, there’s a better chance it will reflect the rest of your writing.

Your Role — There’s only one reason someone is reading your case study: to learn about what you did. Explain your role in the project, cover what you were responsible for, and what was someone else’s job — you don’t want to turn off potential clients over a terrible logo if it was handed to you by your client. Likewise, people appreciate you crediting others where appropriate. Ensure you’re clear about what you did and did not do; assumptions often lead to misunderstandings.

Step 2: Explain the Problem

Every excellent case study is a story of how you overcame a problem. To engage your reader, you need to set the stage with you as the hero. Why were you even necessary? What was the problem the business faced?

There are countless problems that businesses face, but they tend to revolve around three things:

Correcting Failures — Sometimes, a business has embarked on a process and has not met its goals. It may have launched a website that isn’t connecting with its audience. Or, it may have taken on too much work for its infrastructure to handle.

Maintaining Position — Very rarely does a business trade at a consistent level. There are ups and downs, even if they are seasonal. When a business grows, it needs to consolidate that position to expand further.

Upscaling — Growth is the most straightforward business challenge to explain to a user. Increasing market reach, increasing profit, and increasing brand awareness; these are all common goals.

Show potential clients that you can understand their customers by breaking down the project’s target demographic. Who is the project trying to help? How does the problem impact them? What do you know about them that informed your solution?

Step 3: Explain the Objective (With Numbers)

It’s vital that you explain the objective clearly, and the best way to do that is with actual figures. Try to use percentages where possible — not everyone understands what an extra 1,000 users mean in the context of your case study, but everyone understands a user growth of 50%.

State the goals for the project clearly, for example:

  • A 500% increase in subscribers;
  • A 75% reduction in bounce rate;
  • A 30% increase in monthly revenue;
  • A 25% decrease in support requests.

But remember, your client’s business data is private. Be careful what you share — especially if you signed an NDA. Most companies will be okay with you saying you increased orders by 50%, but they won’t want you to say how much those orders were worth in $.

Make sure you detail the project’s scope. Was your role part of a wider effort, or were you tackling a wide-ranging problem? Identify anything that fell outside of the project’s purview. This gives context to the objectives you were trying to achieve.

Step 4: Detail Your Process

Clients, especially employers, are less interested in results — which can be due to multiple factors — and more interested in your process. The critical question they’re trying to answer is: will this person work well on my projects?

It’s vital that you comprehensively detail the steps you took, why you took them, and how they fit into the overall project process. Make sure that you highlight anything that you did differently or that had a significant impact on the outcomes.

Tell a story, and use screenshots and design revisions to illustrate how your approach evolved over time. For instance, if you did extensive user testing, show how the results of the testing altered your design approach.

Make sure you include any time you collaborated with others. Showcasing past teamwork is a great way to demonstrate that you’ll fit well in a future role.

Step 5: Results, Results, Results

The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. The conclusion of your case study should showcase the final deliverables and provide clear evidence of your work.

Now’s the time to revisit step 3 and quantify, in numbers, how successful you were at solving the company’s problems. Refer back to your goals when discussing results, for example:

  • Increased subscribers by 428%, having aimed for 500%;
  • Dropped bounce rate to 4%, an improvement of 120% and 26% better than our stated goal;
  • Aimed for a 30% increase in monthly revenue and achieved an 86% increase;
  • Implementing an AI chatbot decreased support requests by 95%.

Note that when discussing results, it’s essential to be honest. It’s equally important to include results that didn’t quite meet their target — most business people will put the discrepancy down to overly-ambitious targets and appreciate your candor.

Share any insights you gained, challenges encountered, and how they were overcome. Whether you mastered a new technique or discovered ways to improve communication, this section is about growth and evolution.

Conclusion

A UX case study isn’t just about pretty screenshots (although those can be nice). Instead, it’s a story of a project with its wins and losses.

No one reasonable expects perfection. Everyone appreciates transparency, a thoughtful approach, and evidence that you genuinely care about achieving your client‘s goals.

Tell the tale well, and you’ll find you attract similar projects, eager to work through the same process with you.

Louise North

Louise is a staff writer for WebdesignerDepot. She lives in Colorado, is a mom to two dogs, and when she’s not writing she likes hiking and volunteering.

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