Are you curious about learning UX design but worried it might be too hard? Of course, the difficulty that comes with learning a new skill is somewhat subjective. The challenges of learning UX design depend on factors likeone’s experience performing user feedback research, how skilled one is with prototyping applications, and how difficult one finds data analysis (particularly from irrational human users).

No matter your current schedule or comfort level with UX design, plenty of tools are available to help make learning easier than you might think.

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.

Read more about what UX design is and why you should learn it.

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.

What Are the Most Challenging Parts of Learning UX Design?

The most challenging aspect of learning UX design centers on how it is so different from other elements of the design process. Rather than taking a visual approach to the design process, UX design teaches designers how to take an analytical approach to the subject. This can be challenging for students early on, especially since user data can be so difficult to collect and sometimes difficult to parse.

How Does Learning UX Design Compare to Other 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.

Conducting Research

One thing new UX design students may find difficult is the time it takes to collect and analyze user data. This can be particularly difficult when users don’t behave as designers expect them to. Designers may anticipate subjects using an interface in a certain way, only to learn that they behave in ways the designer may consider irrational. An early challenge for UX Designers is to realize that they aren’t trying to design the ideal user, but they are trying to design the ideal experience for the user.

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.