User experience design is the aspect of digital application design that concerns itself with functionality and feel. Professionals in user experience design are tasked with performing user research and prototype testing to ensure that digital applications are functional, easily navigable, and accessible to users. User experience design is primarily concerned with how consumers will use a digital application and how designers can anticipate those behaviors to design their interfaces better. In this overview, you’ll learn more about UX design, what it can do, who uses it, and how to add this skill to your professional toolbox.
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.
How Do You Get UX Design Tools? How Much Does it Cost?
One of the first steps to learning any new skill is acquiring the tools necessary to begin training. UX design is no exception, so users who want to learn how to optimize user interfaces should begin by acquiring an interface design and prototyping tool. Some of these are available, but the most commonly used tools are Figma, Adobe XD, and Sketch. Each program has advantages and disadvantages, and many User Experience Designers will use all three at some point.
Noble offers users a free introductory seminar explaining the differences between the major UI applications, including how to acquire them and their price. Adobe XD is the most expensive tool, requiring an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, but it offers the most robust prototyping tools and integrates with the rest of the Adobe Creative Cloud. Figma has the most flexibility in its pricing and has solid prototyping capabilities, in addition to a large community of developers generating design resources. Sketch is only available for macOS but is the most cost-effective option. It has the fewest prototyping features but an incredibly deep system for adding interactive and functional features to layout designs.
What Are the Benefits of Learning 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.
UX Design Careers
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.
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.
Comparable Applications/Programming 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.
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.
- User experience design refers to the process of assuring that webpages and digital applications are easy to navigate, accessible, and user-friendly. User experience design emphasizes gathering data on user behavior to make informed decisions based on how real-life consumers interact with digital applications.
- User experience design relies on prototyping tools to let designers build interactive prototypes of their web designs to perform live user testing.
- User Experience Designers and User Experience Researchers are in-demand career fields that many companies and organizations employ.
- User experience design is more research-heavy than many other graphic design fields. User Experience Designers will be tasked with building research plans to collect and analyze data on user behavior.
- In-depth user experience design training is available through courses offered by Noble Desktop.