IAT-339: 08 Being the Unicorn

IAT-339: 08 Being the Unicorn — A slide deck

Being the Unicorn

Lecture outline

Covered this week:

  • An intro to portfolios
  • Final P02 debugging & assistance

Lecture slides will be made available on the day of the lecture.

Being the Unicorn

Please close all laptops.


What is a Unicorn?

Becoming a Unicorn

Step 1: Apply waffle cone to forehead

What makes you different?

  1. Who do you want to work for?
  2. What 'makes you unique' (but employable)?
  3. How do you reconcile all these years of us telling you to be programmers, but designers, but artists, but content strategists, but makers, but animators, but sound designers, but cognitive scientists, but architects, but creators of virtual worlds, but game designers, but storytellers, but video editors, but photographers, but creative entities, but researchers, but ...?

Creating an Ethos

This week's labs

A(n) ethos is the understanding, characteristics and definition of oneself as a ____________.


Who are you visually?

Let's look at a couple of examples:

Showcasing Your Work

Help us understand why it is good

Ensure your project overviews cover:

  • What is the project?
  • What was the context?
  • Who was involved, and what did you do?
  • Show us your process
  • Tell us why it matters (i.e. what did you learn or accomplish)


Speaking like your professional self

The process analysis allows us to guide potential employers through our process. It should:

  • Describe the project
  • Analyze and explain the project
  • Identify problem(s) and resolution(s)
  • Evaluate the effectiveness

Step 1: Describe

  1. How would you describe and explain P02?

Step 2: Analyze

  1. How would you describe and explain P02?
  2. What might be some 'problems' encountered?

Step 3: Evaluate

  1. How would you describe and explain P02?
  2. What might be some 'problems' encountered?
  3. What did you learn?

Let's Analyze

  1. How would you describe and explain P02?
  2. What might be some problems you encountered?
  3. What did you learn?
  4. How would you explain them to our audiences?
The professional, lay, and disciplinary audiences we need to consider
Potential audiences of our portfolio

Process Analysis

A process analysis:

  1. Describes the project
  2. Analyzes the process
  3. Identifies problem(s) and solution(s)
  4. Reflects on the solution(s)

But Why?

Let's head over to Let's talk about design portfolios for a moment.

Why Should I Care?

Industry and learning

Portfolios are all about reflective practice, and learning well always involves self-reflection.

P03: What Do They Want?

How employers approach applications

How employers approach your application:

  1. Skimming the cover letter (5s): Well written and custom?
  2. Look at the resume (10s): Well designed, clear branding, good typsetting?
  3. Read the resume (20s): Have skills and experience relating to job?
  4. Look at web portfolio (30-60s): Want custom URL, non-templatey website

Care of "Burn Your Portfolio"

An Extreme Do-not-do Example

Let's head over to The Worst Portfolio Ever.

Skillset Uninfographics

The ones that don't pay the bills

HTML (90%)
CSS (82%)
JS (78%)
MariaDB (62%)
PHP (50%)

The Work Never Speaks for Itself

It's just that awesome

What does this one say?

Dark room dance performance photo Dark room dance performance photo #2
Dark room dance performance photo #3 Dark room dance performance photo #4
Dark room dance performance photo #5

More coming soon!

This slide will be up shortly.


Make that framework less framework-y

"I’m sick of seeing the same damn buttons. I’m sick of seeing that same damn toolbar up top. It’s driving me crazy."
"Customize Twitter Bootstrap to Not Look Bootstrap-y" Antonin Januska

P03: Plagiarism

Be wary

You are allowed to use frameworks (ie. Bootstraps or Foundation web UI frameworks), JavaScript libraries to make working on the site easier, but the final design must be your own work. All materials must be cited.

When in doubt, ask the TA or instructor.


Why design matters

"Did they treat it as a design problem? Often designers don't consider a portfolio as the solution to a design problem"
"Hiring a Designer" from Design Staff


Identifying how you want others to see you

How might you communicate that you are 'efficient' without using text?

P03: ID'ing Employers

Why is Andrew so silly?

Remember every website has an audience, in this case your potential employer is your audience. Hence we'll be having you identify who you might want to work for in the future, to help you focus your site.

Keep it real

For the employers you look at and the job descriptions you find, please be realistic.

Future Weeks and Coding

We have some options

If you really want to find out more about something please let me know. We have a bit of flexibility in the final weeks of the course.

Currently on the docket:

  • Mar 8 — Preprocessing
  • Mar 15 — More JavaScript or CSS Animation
    The Coding Quiz
  • Mar 22 — More JavaScript or Speed-optimization
  • Mar 29 — Project Trouble-shooting

Support Time

Let's try and solve any strange last-minute issues! I have some prompts to get you started if you'd like, otherwise we can just help you debug as needed.


Are you:

  • Using modern tags? (header, section, nav)
  • Using tags appropriately? (i.e. h1 > h2 > h3)
  • Defining your content (<label>s for <input>)
  • Explaining rich media (alt="pic" vs alt="Dogs partying...")

Device Testing

Let's see what things look like in...

Browser Testing

Let's see what things look like in...


Make sure your images are compressed

Suggested resources:

Progressive Enhancement

Let's disable Javascript and see what happens... muahahahahahahahahahahaha

Contacting Andrew

Your Lecturer

Reachable at:

  • Office hours — Tuesdays from 3:00-3:50pm and Thursdays from 12:30-1:20pm at the Surrey campus mezzanine.
  • ac.ufs@h_werdna