Introduction titles for boards in portfolio.


I was wondering how some of you feel about titles, such as “problem statement” or “ideation” for describing boards, because some are obvious in nature and don’t need a title. I believe other times, there is a need for them, to differentiate between, for example, initial ideation sketches and final concept sketches, but are they always necessary for say a problem statement or is it better to just state the problem.


Providing guideposts is a nice courtesy to the people who will be viewing your portfolio. Titles remove a layer of ambiguity. Don’t assume anyone will read it the way you intend it to be read if you don’t provide cues. You always want to control your presentation.

Hi BCpid,

Makes a lot of sense. I just thought that in some cases, it would be redundant if you and the viewer know what a problem statement looks like, that it would be unnecessary to title it so, but I did not feel that way about every other title, as most ARE necessary to inform the viewer of what they are looking at. The reason I asked this question is because I was looking at a student’s website online and he didn’t title his problem statement but just stated it eloquently and I got it; no need to explain to me what the problem is, you know? Then there was another page where he had loose ideation sketches but did not title them either. I then saw more sketches afterwards that were more refined than his first sketches and those weren’t titled as well, but I understood his initial sketches to be ideation and his final sketches to be final concepts, even if they weren’t titled. but I do agree that not every other viewer will “get it” the way I did. As you said, it’s best to avoid any ambiguity on the part of the viewer.


I think it is a good idea. It is frequently done for client presentations as well.

By the way, are “problem statements” the same as “objectives”?


Objectives can be read more like goals, for instance “increase product line revenue by XX% or improve customer perception of __________.” If this is school project work, the objective may be to learn 3D modeling techniques, or how to create a useful project roadmap, or some other skills development task. The problem statement would be more specific to the thing the project addresses. That said, there can be all kinds of overlap and fuzziness between the two depending on a whole host of factors, including how the person answering your question interprets the terms.


I should have mentioned that I was looking for the term used to describe what comes after a “problem statement” in the design process (this is for my school portfolio/class projects). I thought “objective” was it, but I just came across something in my old school notes where an instructor mentioned “opportunities” and I have seen that title used in some student portfolios. Is the opportunity basically describing areas of improvement and is that more of an appropriate term to describe how one is going to address the problems mentioned in the “problem statement”? Or is opportunity pretty much the same as a problem statement?

Thanks, Bcpid.

Think of the problem statement as a general statement of what problem you are trying solve, for what customer or clientele, and what general outcome the client is looking for. Also, if there are any really important constraints - for instance if you have to use in-house tooling.

Think of opportunities as something that comes out of the first project phase. You’ve gone into the field, experienced the problem for yourself, talked to key informants, end users, stakeholders, etc and documented and analyzed what you saw and heard. The results of that analysis should be a set of opportunities that speak directly to the problem statement or stakeholders’ needs.

Develop a new cloud-based online financial management portal for US Bank, targeted at first time homeowners with poor credit histories.

Provide customers with more transparent and timely credit score detail
Provide customers with a digital checkbook so all their purchase obligations are visible
Provide customers positive reinforcement for meeting specific budgeting goals

Just make sure you don’t have too many pages of text before I SEE something… ideally none. Most of those items should be 10 words on a page with some other research imagery for a student level project.


Thanks for clarifying the differences between the two; it makes total sense how one would arrive at opportunities from a problem statement!


I agree. I am sure it would become quite boring to see a lot of text explaining a situation, instead of just SHOWING. It would probably be enough to make a potential employer lose interest and close a portfolio without bothering to see more. Thanks.

Cool, I just wanted to make sure you understood, and it sounds like you do.