What immense happiness does it feel when we receive a product and start using it right away, without the need to read long manuals or go through complicated setup procedures, right?
Well, that happens when the product has been designed with UX in mind. UX (in case you didn’t know) means User Experience. So, in short, good UX design seeks to make the user of a product happy from the very beginning.
In the case of webpages or software apps, a good UX design makes the user feel comfortable and happy from the moment they install the software or enters the website and start using it. UX design goes beyond drawing attractive and appealing screens. Its purpose is to make it easy for the user to achieve what he or she wants with the software product we designed.
Although UX design and UI design have a lot in common, UI design is just a part of UX design. An important part, but not all of it. In UX, there are also other aspects, like usability, branding, integration, etc. But we’re digressing. We don’t intend to teach you all about UX design here — just guide you through the best options you have to learn all that stuff. So, let’s start with the first thing you need to look for.
# Best online courses to learn UX design
If you decide to go for any online UX design courses by yourself, you will find all kinds of things, from long ones that take months of your life and teach you everything from design history to the latest design tools, to brief ones that only show you small bits of the big picture. If you want to save time and play safe, we suggest you start exploring the online courses we review here — they sure are among the best ones.
If you like to learn in a relaxed way, then this is probably your best option.
The moment you sign in for Hack Design, you will begin receiving in your inbox a concise lesson each week. The lessons are crafted by great, experienced designers. You can browse the roster to see if you find someone, you know. You can also browse the lessons if you want to learn something in particular.
But if you don’t know where to start, there’s a bundle of 50 beginner’s lessons that will take you by the hand through all the basics, from “Hello World” to get your first job as a designer. And the best part: it’s free.
Coursera: Introduction to User Interface Design
Here is one thing to note: As I said before, UI is an important part of UX. The difference between both disciplines is that UI focuses on the visual appearance of the product, while UX covers all interactions between the product and its users. When we talk about software products (mostly applications and websites), the UI takes care of most interactions, that’s why UI is such an important part of UX and deserves taking a course just to learn about UI design.
Offered by the University of Minnesota, the Introduction to User Interface Design course promises you will get a high-level understanding of the user-interface design process. Besides teaching you how to design user interfaces, it also teaches about usability, design theory, and industry-standard methods to approach the design of a user interface.
It lasts four weeks, with a total of 13 hours of lessons. It has plenty of good reviews and a star rating of 4.7 out of 5. You can sign in for free, and after completing it, you can take other courses in the specialization program, such as User Research and Design, Prototyping and Design, and Evaluating User Interfaces.
Udemy: Adobe XD Professional Course
Adobe XD is the most widely-used and popular tool for UX design. In this course, you’ll find everything you need to know to master it like a pro. It will teach you all the software’s details and the tools and procedures that are part of it. It is not free, but for a few bucks, it offers you 2,5 hours of on-demand video tutorials, lifetime access to its materials, and a certificate of studies.
With a star rating of 4,2 out of five, this course is aimed at anyone who wants to start designing user interfaces. Students have put to work around two examples: a full app with six pages and a car selling website interface.
LinkedIn Learning: Sketch Training and Tutorials
The sketch is also a very popular UX design tool, and Lynda (LinkedIn Training) offers a complete course to dominate all of its features. If you’re new to Lynda, you can take this course for free, taking advantage of the free month the company offers you to get started. After the free initial month, if you want to continue taking courses, they have some plans for it too.
The course has multiple learning paths, comprising a total of 31 courses that cover everything you need to learn to use Sketch, whether you’re a beginner, an intermediate, or an advanced user.
When you start working as a UX designer, you will be caught up in something known as the software development cycle: a delicate work process that must be carefully followed to meet deadlines without the need to overwork. There are methodologies created specifically to control the software development cycle, and Lean is one of them — a tested and widely accepted one.
This course is not about UX design tools or techniques. It is a two-day program that teaches all you need to know to master the UX design process through Lean, from how to lead the stakeholder’s interviews to how to do brainstorming and generate ideas, and then start the interface sketching.
# Best online resources to learn UX design: blogs & videos
Not all of us like to be guided when we want to learn a new skill like UX design. Some of us prefer to follow our own paths through the heaps of chaotic, unstructured information published in blogs, videos, and such. If you belong to this adventurous group, then go for it. But, before you begin, let me just tell you about some places you could go to start your journey, in order to make it more enjoyable and fruitful.
UX Collective offers curated stories on user experience and usability. By reading it, you’ll keep yourself up to date with UX events, news, trends, tips & tricks, and tools. There are lots of stories that will surely make you think “I’ve been there…”, and also lots that will teach you very valuable lessons.
Weekly Design: Tutorials, Assets, Interviews
Punit Chawla runs this channel with lots of videos about UX Design. It is a bit Adobe XD-centered, but it also has information about other tools and interesting interviews with discussions about all kinds of design topics. Check out the “Design Sucks” section, where you’ll find analysis and judgment of popular UIs, along with their flaws and strengths.
Essential Tools for UX Designers: A Beginner’s Guide
This blog post tries to shed light on the myriad of tools available for UX designers. It talks about every kind of tool, not only prototyping, sketching, or wireframing tools. You can find tools for doing research and getting inspiration, tools for doing interviews, and more.
The host site, CareerFoundry, also offers many courses about UX, UI, and web development, in case you need more options than the ones I presented to you before.
Why Design Matters
Erin Loechner is the author of Why Design Matters. She’s a renowned designer who loves to share her ideas through blog posts and lectures. This post, in particular, will teach you a valuable lesson –why design matters–but you should browse other posts too, at least the ones in the art/design category.
Design for Mankind is an active blog with thousands of readers, so by reading it, you will not only learn from Erin’s ideas but from the many comments, readers place, which Erin always answers.
# Best books to learn UX design
Books? Who reads books when there’s so much content in online courses, videos, and blogs, right? Wrong.
A lot of people still use books as a learning tool, because they are easy to take them with you and learn at your own pace, while you are on a long trip or whenever you have some time to read. There’s a lot of great learning materials in books written by renowned experts in UX design. And we’re going to tell you about the ones you really should read, even if you are taking a course or watching training videos.
About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design
As its name says, this is an essential interaction design guide. This is the book that shaped the landscape of interaction design. Its 4th edition is completely updated and revised for the mobile age, taking into account the shift to smartphones and tablets.
Thanks to this book, the interaction design escaped from research labs and broke into the daily lives of many people. It is a comprehensive guide that includes discussions on touch interfaces, screen sizes, mobile apps, and much more. The authors are renowned professionals in the fields of computing, programming, and design, which allows them to provide a broad view of the UX design field.
Adobe XD Classroom in a Book
You want to take a course on Adobe XD but don’t have room in your schedule for it? No problem. This book is an Adobe XD classroom you can take with you. It’s a best-seller from Adobe Press, so you can’t go wrong with it.
It has 11 lessons that guide the readers through all the necessary steps to learn the key techniques of Adobe XD. They are project-based lessons for designing and prototyping real content for real apps and websites.
Together with the book, you get plenty of companion files that provide all the necessary materials for the reader to complete the projects featured in each chapter.
The Ridiculously Simple Guide to Sketch App
The name tells you almost everything you need to know about this book. If you simply want to learn about Sketch in a ridiculously simple way, this is the book for you.
The Ridiculously Simple Guide to Sketch App is written for non-coders and non-designers, that is, regular people who need to pitch an idea to potential investors but don’t have the knowledge to materialize it.
With this book, you’ll learn how to use Sketch to effortlessly generate mockups that look and feel like the real thing. After that, if you get the funds, then you’ll have to seriously think about how you will turn your idea into a working thing.
I wouldn’t recommend Presentation Zen book to people seeking practical information to start working on UX design quickly. But if you have some spare time, please read it. It will teach you valuable lessons on how to present your ideas. Because the difference between an average UX design and an awesome one may not be in the design itself –it may be in the way it is presented.
Its author, Garr Reynolds, shares his experience in turning a simple bunch of slides into an illuminating, provocative, educational, and inspirational presentation. You could check his site, presentationzen.com, to get a grasp of his ideas before you buy the book.
Where to go from here
Once you’re ready to start working in the realms of XD design, then the probably hardest part will begin: you’ll need to get some real work to do — paid work, if possible. The good news is that the demand is high for UX designers at companies of all sizes. The supply of such professionals is low, so don’t settle with the first offer you get. Leverage your knowledge and design an appealing resume, show it, and let the wind be always at your back.