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Learn UX Design

A Comprehensive Guide to Start Learning UX Design

UX (User Experience) design is a type of user-centered design most commonly used for digital products, such as apps or websites. UX design focuses on making the experience of a product enjoyable for its target audience.

UX design is the digital design field concerned with how a digital application's functional elements are implemented into a web layout. UX design concerns how an application is used once it enters the hands of consumers. Hence, UX Designers pay careful attention to user feedback and testing data to build applications that are accessible and responsive to how consumers are actively using them. If you’ve always wanted to learn UX design but can’t figure out how to get started, this guide is for you. Here, you’ll learn more about the various ways to learn UX design, free resources to take advantage of, and the types of careers that commonly use UX design.

What is UX Design?

User experience design (UX design) is a field of web design dealing with how a website, application, or other digital product feels to its users. User experience design ensures that an application feels easy and accessible to operate. It is a heavily invested field in user behavior research, prototype testing, and data analysis. It is useful to think of it as the more hands-on counterpart to its visually-oriented sister skill, user interface design. Often, user experience design isn’t isolated to work on a single webpage or digital application and instead refers to a subset of data science that strictly examines user preference and behavior regarding web applications.

Rather than simply gauging how a digital application looks, user experience design aims to rigorously test that application to understand how it feels once it is in the hands of real-life users. Learning user experience design will involve learning how to conduct research, analyze data, and use that data to make informed decisions about the interface design process. User experience design also coincides with market research, as User Experience Designers will gauge how users perceive a web application’s desirability or how they perceive that application communicating brand awareness. UX design also covers attempts to make web applications easier to use and more accessible for users with disabilities or who have other challenges accessing and navigating digital applications.

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What Can You Do with UX Design?

UX design skills will allow you to build better digital applications and contribute to a larger pool of knowledge that helps other designers build better web applications. Whether one is working on individual projects or attempting to improve digital design as a whole, user experience training will help professionals build digital applications that are more user-friendly, accessible, and memorable than ever before.

Within the field of UX design, trained professionals will be able to fine-tune and iterate upon designs for digital applications to produce interfaces that respond to user behavior and feedback. This means they can apply their knowledge and expertise to a wide variety of projects to ensure that the finished product is functional, responsive, and accessible. UX design is a particularly enticing field for anyone who feels that digital applications need to be doing more to respond to the needs of their users, as this is the field that gathers the data that demonstrates these needs.

UX design is also the field that affords Digital Designers the most opportunity to engage directly with their users and customers. Between focus groups, user surveys, and interviews, many UX designers will spend more time interacting with the public than they will with their team of designers and developers. This makes the field particularly appealing to students interested in learning the difference between how we think users interact with technology and how they interact with it. For the empirically minded designer, UX design will open many doors for producing compelling research about user habits and behaviors.

Careers that Use UX Design

The skills one learns when training in UX design is used across various industries. Given the premium importance that companies and organizations place on developing a strong digital presence, almost every company will, at some point, invest in ensuring that their webpages and digital applications are responsive and user-friendly. In addition, many User Experience Designers are employed in a strict research capacity. Here are a few career opportunities for users with UX design training:

  • User Experience Designer: User Experience Designers are responsible for designing and testing how users interact with specific web projects and applications. Through prototyping, user feedback, and behavioral testing, they will test the navigation and accessibility of web applications to assure that the projects are functional and user-friendly. In addition, they will work closely with other Web Designers to move a project forward and Web Developers and Market Researchers to continue testing a project as it leaves the design phase. User Experience Designers are in especially high demand, as the field of data science is becoming increasingly integral to the operations of even small businesses and organizations.
  • User Experience Researcher: User Experience Researchers are less invested in individual projects and more directly involved with higher-level research projects. They analyze customer and consumer data, lead focus groups, conduct surveys and interviews, and examine long-term, data-driven trends to understand user behaviors better. Individual firms may employ them to help track long-term data surrounding brand identity and user satisfaction, or they may be employed as part of a data science team to gather larger amounts of user data for other companies to utilize.
  • User Interface Designer: Many User Interface Designers also have training in user experience design, particularly at smaller firms and organizations. UI Designers manage a website's visual look, using graphic design tools to ensure that the digital application looks inviting. Using tools such as Illustrator, Adobe XD, and Figma to build visual layouts for web pages, UI Designers may also be tasked with designing the functionality of an application, requiring them to have some measure of user experience training. While not all UI Designers overlap with the tasks of UX designers, the two work closely enough with one another that learning one skill will greatly enhance your job prospects in careers related to the other.

Why Learn UX Design?

Given how important it is for companies and organizations to have a memorable and accessible web presence, learning UX design is an ideal way to position oneself to enter a high-paying career field. Companies, firms, and nonprofit organizations are all looking for experienced designers who can help them optimize their web presence for how consumers access their applications. In addition, companies making digital projects also employ User Experience Designers to help test their products before they go to market.

Learning user experience design will also allow practitioners to perform higher-level research and testing on digital applications. Rather than working for individual companies or organizations, they will research a wide array of user behaviors and experiences to learn more about how consumers and users generally interact with digital applications. This will let them make more informed claims about user behavior so that they and other designers can make web pages better designed, more accessible, and more equitable.

Learning user experience design will also help users pick up some useful secondary skills, such as learning how to design and execute a research plan, building interfaces with user behaviors in mind, and designing for accessibility and usability. Additionally, since there is so much user data involved in user experience design, it is a good way to ease into learning more advanced data science skills.

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How to Learn UX Design

There are many training formats for students seeking to learn UX design. These courses vary in cost, time commitment, and delivery systems, but all of them can help students better understand the philosophy behind UX design. Regardless of how a student opts to learn UX design, Noble can help them find and compare UX design classes using their Classes Near Me tool.

The most structured and immersive learning option is to learn through live instruction, either in-person or online. These courses allow students to interface directly with expert instructors who can answer their questions, provide them with feedback on their work, and go over material that is giving them difficulty. Live classes have the added benefit of providing students with valuable networking opportunities and technology support to assist their learning. Online courses come with the benefit of not being restricted geographically, giving students greater control over the kinds of programs they can access.

Some students may find that they cannot commit to a live instruction course because they cannot get their schedule to align with a live course. For these students, they may wish to consider on-demand UX training. These courses let students dictate their learning pace, and they are ideal for students with familial or work commitments that prevent them from regularly attending a live class. They also let students move ahead in a lesson or return to previous lessons as they see fit. These courses require students to be slightly more self-motivated to learn UX design, but the challenges can be well worth it.

Finally, many free resources and tutorials are available for students wanting to learn UX design. Noble’s official YouTube Channel provides users with several free video seminars in its Web Design and Development playlist. Here students will learn both the basics of UX design and the basic functionalities of several popular UX design tools. Students can also visit the UX design page on Noble’s Learn Hub to find free tutorials, seminars, interviews, and other materials to help them master UX design principles before they enroll in more advanced training courses.

Read the full guide on how to learn UX design.

Free Introductory UX Design Course Online

Interested in learning more about the philosophy behind UX design but unsure if you want to enroll in a professional training course? Students can use many free online learning resources to learn UX design basics. Since UX design is such a research-heavy field, these courses won’t be able to cover everything you will need to know, particularly concerning practical issues of testing and interviewing. Still, they can give users a solid introduction to the field of UX design.

Noble provides users with many pre-recorded lecture courses that will provide users with an introduction to the concepts and tools most commonly used within the field of UX design. For example, Noble offers a Getting Started in Digital Design tutorial explaining the basic tools and career paths open to those studying digital design. For students looking for more specific user experience instruction, Noble offers a free Intro to UX Design course that will teach students the philosophy behind user research, user testing, and other important UX design concepts. These courses and many more are available on both Noble’s website and the Web Development and Development playlist on their official YouTube page.

Free online UX design courses are also available through service providers such as General Assembly, CareerFoundry, and LinkedIn Learning. These courses will all vary in content and scope, so users are encouraged to see what kinds of offerings are available.

Read about more free UX Design videos and online tutorials.

Level of Difficulty, Prerequisites, & Cost

UX design can be challenging because it is a fairly research-heavy field of study. Even for new students, most of their UX design education is about collecting and analyzing data to understand better how users interact with your designs. This can be difficult as it is unlike most other skills students learn in a digital design context. Also, there aren’t nearly as many tools to streamline the UX design process as there are for fields like graphic design, meaning UX design students will spend more time learning about design philosophies and processes rather than learning to master a program.

Those looking to learn UX design should have at least a basic understanding of user interface design, which is focused on the look and appearance of digital applications. While the creative and artistic skills won’t be strictly necessary for UX design projects, both fields use a number of the same tools.

The general skills involved in UX design don’t have an upfront cost, but there are some tools that users will need to be able to access to start working on UX designs. UX Designers will need to be able to prototype their designs to receive feedback and perform user testing. They must acquire a UI design tool like Figma or Adobe XD. Each program has a different cost, so users should consider Noble’s free introductory seminar explaining the differences between the major UI applications.

Read about how difficult it is to learn UX Design.

How Does Learning UX Design Compare to Other Applications/Languages/Fields?

As a subset of digital design, UX design is often compared to its sister field, user interface design, which focuses on the visual appearance of a digital application. While these two fields are closely related, UX design can feel very different from UI design, and some UI Designers may be ill-suited for UX design and vice versa. UX design is much more data-driven than most other digital design fields because it is invested in producing replicable, data-driven understandings of how users interact with digital applications. UX Designers will need to research to understand user behavior, meaning they must learn how to collect and interpret data.

UX design is far closer to data science and its related fields than the rest of the graphic design fields that it is often associated with. This means that UX design students will learn many statistical, research, and data analysis techniques that may be intimidating at first, especially for students who don’t have a background in these fields. These skills aren't impossible to learn, but designers coming to UX design training from a graphic design angle should be cautioned that UX design is fairly unique relative to some of the most closely related fields. Students won’t necessarily need to learn things like intensive coding skills, but they will still be learning more research-driven techniques.

For a more detailed exploration of user interface design, visit the UI design page on Noble’s Learn Hub.

How to Decide the Best Way to Learn UX Design

Learning UX design can be a daunting prospect, but there are many different ways that students can learn the skills they will need. Which course is best for any student will likely depend on how much professionalization they hope to receive and whether or not they are learning UX design to supplement their existing skills or are hoping to start a new career.

For students with little to no experience in UX design hoping to gauge their interest in the field, a free introductory course may be the correct decision. These brief seminars, like the free UX design seminars offered by Noble, offer students a high-level overview of the basic philosophies and practices of the field. These courses will set students up to enter into more advanced training courses with a bit of knowledge, helping them ease into those courses if they decide to continue with their learning.

Some students may know they want to work with UX design principles but aren’t sure they will change careers. For example, a Digital Designer working on user interfaces may not want to become a User Experience Designer. Still, they know they will want to have a deeper understanding of UX design in their work. These students may wish to consider a UX design bootcamp, such as Noble’s UX Design in a Day in a day course. These bootcamps are ideal for students with a background in digital design and who want to improve their designs with some UX design training.

Students who think a UX design career is right for them should look towards career-focused certificate programs, like Noble’s UX & UI Design Certificate program. These training programs will teach students the basics of UX design and a slew of complementary skills they are likely to use in their future careers. In addition, many of these courses come with one-on-one career mentorship and professional development opportunities, making them perfect for students looking to leave their training program ready to enter the workforce.

Learn UX Design with Hands-on Training at Noble Desktop

Noble Desktop offers students many user experience design courses and bootcamps. These courses, available both in-person and online, offer in-depth, career-focused UX design training and are all taught by expert instructors in real-time. Even taken online, these courses will allow students to interact directly with their instructor in the classroom and during one-on-one mentoring sessions. The small class sizes ensure students won’t get lost in crowded lecture halls. In addition, students can retake any course they enroll in for free within one year. This means students can take their courses a second time to review lessons, cover material they found difficult, or get more hands-on user experience design practice.

For students looking to learn the basics of UX Design, Noble offers a UX Design in a Day, in which students will learn the basic elements of the UX design process. They will learn key terms and ideas, like personas and scenarios, and how to conduct basic user research and interview participants to receive feedback. They will also learn the basic process of sketching and building prototype applications for testing. This is an introductory course, so it will only scratch the surface of the tests and research work involved in UX design, but it is an important course for laying the foundation for more immersive training.

Students looking for a more detailed, career-focused training course can enroll in Noble’s UX & UI Design Certificate. This course prepares students for employment in the UX/UI design field and will provide students with hands-on experience building and testing user interfaces. Users will receive training in advanced research techniques, including conducting interviews, producing written user reports, and running surveys. Then, students will be taught how to interrupt this data so that they may return to their designs and iterate on them in light of the feedback. Students will also be given hands-on training in prototyping and design software, such as Figma, Sketch, and Adobe XD. At the end of the course, students will have the opportunity to build a portfolio of sample interface designs and user experience case studies. In addition to this portfolio, students will receive one-on-one career mentorship, and by the end of the course, they will be ready to enter the workforce in the field of user experience design.

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