UX design is the field that focuses on ensuring that applications are functional and accessible in the hands of real-world users. Rather than focusing on the look of an application, UX design focuses on how it feels to operate and how pleasurable it is for users to interact directly. The number of options for learning might be overwhelming at first glance. There are books, video tutorials, classes, and more to choose from; it all depends on your learning style and personal preferences.

Here, we’ll discuss the various learning methods so you can decide how you’d like to get started.

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.

In-Person UX Design Training

Students who want to learn UX design may be inclined to consider in-person training courses. These courses provide students with access to expert instructors who can guide them through the challenges they face as they learn the intricacies of UX design. In addition, they provide students with valuable networking opportunities and let students socialize and learn with colleagues. The drawback to these courses is that they tend to be restricted to a few locations, often major cities, and if students can’t commute to and from an on-site location, they simply won’t be able to participate in the course.

Noble offers all its courses as in-person training seminars at its Manhattan campus. Many other service providers also offer courses at major onsite campuses in cities such as San Francisco, Seattle, or Chicago. In addition, many providers, such as ONLC and New Horizons, have campuses in many smaller cities across the country. For a complete list of the available in-person UX design courses available to students, Noble’s Classes Near Me tool can help users find and compare their options.

Live Online UX Design Training

One alternative for students who cannot attend live in-person classes is live online classes. These classes hold onto many of the advantages offered by in-person instruction, as students can still interact directly with expert instructors who are there to answer questions and provide feedback. Also, since they aren’t tied to specific campuses, students can pick the class that best suits their needs and enroll regardless of location. The major drawback to these courses is that service providers won’t provide students with the hardware and software required for their training, so they will need to supply and maintain their technology.

Noble offers all of its in-person classes through a live online instruction model, so students can take these courses regardless of whether or not they can commute to Manhattan. Whether a student is hoping to enroll in a one-day UX bootcamp or a multi-week career certificate program, students will be able to take these courses from the comfort of their own homes. Plus, even online, Noble maintains small class sizes so that students can have ample opportunities to take advantage of their live instructors' time and attention. For more information on live online UX design classes, consult Noble’s Classes Near Me tool.

Free Online Courses & Tutorials

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.

On-Demand UX Design Classes

Attending a regularly scheduled UX design course isn’t in the cards for many students, particularly those with family and work obligations. These students who still want to learn UX design may wish to consider on-demand asynchronous UX design training. These classes are ideal for students who want to control the pace of their learning or who need to be able to start and stop their training at a moment’s notice. The drawback to these courses is that without a live instructor, students will have to do outside research and consult other sources to overcome obstacles.

More so than live instruction, on-demand training courses vary in style and content. Some of them will be a series of pre-recorded lectures, while others will be interactive computer modules or workbooks. Students interested in these courses will have several options to choose from. Interested students can find and compare their on-demand UX design training options by visiting Noble’s on-demand class search page.

Which Learning Method is Right for Me?

Once students have decided that they want to learn UX design, they may find the number of options available to them intimidating. Before choosing a training provider, students must choose whether they want to learn live or asynchronously, in-person or online. Each learning method has advantages and disadvantages, so students should know how to make an informed decision on an issue that may greatly affect their future.

Live instruction is ideal for students with the time required to enroll in a regularly scheduled training program. These courses let students interact directly with live instructors, and whether in-person or online, students will be able to receive feedback, ask questions, and get help from experienced instructors. These courses tend to be the most expensive but are also the most detailed and immersive. The only other significant barrier is that these courses require students to commit certain blocks of time to their training.

In-person training courses come with a few specific advantages. Students will have access to a computer lab and a cohort of fellow students whom they can turn to for assistance. There are also meaningful networking opportunities to be had. The drawback is that these courses tend to be only available in fixed locations, and there are hidden costs, such as a commute. Online courses address many of these drawbacks but come with a few. Students must provide their own hardware and software and lose access to many in-person socializing opportunities.

On-demand courses are ideal for students who can’t commit to the time requirements of a live instruction course. These courses let students control their learning pace, and they can pick up and put down their lessons as their schedule allows. The drawback to these courses is that without a live instructor, students will be responsible for troubleshooting their problems as they arise, which can be difficult, especially for beginners who might not be sure where to look or how to research these answers.

Finally, free UX design resources and tutorials are available for students hoping to dip their feet into the field. These tutorials are ideal for students who aren’t yet sure they want to invest in more costly training options but still want to learn the lay of the land in UX design. These courses will provide a top-down understanding of the basic elements of the field, perfect for preparing to enroll in a bootcamp or other training program. However, these free tutorials are necessarily limited, especially for learning a subject as complex as UX design. Anyone hoping to work professionally with UX design will need more professional training.

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.

Read more about why you should learn UX design.

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.

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.

Key Takeaways