User experience (UX) design is, without a doubt, one of the key fundamentals of digital design. With that in mind, it’s unsurprising that UX design is an increasingly sought-after skill for designers, only rivaled by the need to know basic-to-advanced level coding and development.
It’s important to note that, even if you don’t particularly want to be a web development guru, the distance between designer and developer is closing. The expectations of many clients are that their UX designer will be able to complete technical AND creative tasks. Having a robust understanding of UX design, what is possible, what is changing and what works best in certain scenarios are all crucial.
What’s more, creative directors are on the hunt for designers who are more than a one-trick pony. What once was optional has fast become a necessity for designers operating in a UX role. While it’s fair to say that back-end complexity is an unrequired aspect of a UX designer’s role, it will still help to understand elements of that side of the development world.
Nonetheless, the most important thing for UX designers has remained the same -- understanding how the user feels when on their website, and anticipating their next desires or expectations.
In order to get you up to scratch with the ever-changing skills and trends within the UX design world, we’ve compiled a list of online courses (both free and paid) that will ensure you’re in tip-top shape ahead of your future projects. Whether you need to work on your storyboard creation, get up-to-date on wireframes and user testing, or simply build an understanding of your future career options, these classes can help.
The Top 5 Online Courses to Improve Your UX Design Skills
The School of UX Design
The School of UX Design is probably the most obvious and suitable place to start your search for an online UX design course. It is catered towards students, start-ups and designers, with UX and UI design tutorials available in abundance across the website. Each course is run by an experienced professional, most of whom generally have at least ten years’ experience in the industry (never a bad thing!).
Some fundamental courses that are worth a look include:
- UX Design: How to do it Right.
- How to start a career in UX Design.
- Designing Pixel-Perfect UI.
The courses are actually held live (in London), but you can watch the online version for a slightly increased cost, compared to the event ticket.
Lynda.com is a pay-by-course learning platform, owned by LinkedIn, for topics ranging from business to software to the creative industries. The biggest benefit to Lynda is that your subscription (which is a fairly reasonable $15-20 per month) will enable you to take part in as many classes as you wish. There’s more than enough content to keep you going for a very, very long time -- 58 UX design courses and 2,380 videos, to be exact.
There a few courses which are a great starting point for up-and-coming UX designers:
- UX Foundations: Content Strategy -- although it has some dull-looking slides (hey, it's not a graphic design course...) the information and content are priceless.
- UX Design Techniques: Overview -- which is an excellent choice for beginners.
- Interaction Design Foundations.
Envato Tuts+ UX Design Course
There has been nothing but great reviews for the Fundamentals of UX Design online course from Envato Tuts+. It’s a 16-part, two-hour course led by none other than Sarah Kahn, a UX engineer at Adzerk, and it covers the what, why and how of user experience in a phenomenal series of videos.
The topics covered throughout the course include:
- Anatomy of a Web Page.
- Identifying User Problems.
- Using Wireframing.
It’s most certainly aimed at beginners, rather than already-solidified designers looking to hone their existing UX skills. To get started, we recommend sampling the initial two videos (they’re free!) before jumping in and purchasing the whole package. Plus, similar to Lynda, a monthly membership of $15 will get you unlimited access to over 900 online courses!
HackDesign’s UX Design Course
HackDesign is arguably the best online resources for UX newbies. They pitch themselves as an “easy to follow design course for people who do amazing things.” The course consists of well-organized resources that already exist on the web, systematically compiled to enhance your learning.
You’ll get weekly lessons sent directly to your inbox, including content from some of the biggest names in UX and interaction design (think Nir Eyal, Luke Beard and Grace Ng...). All of the lessons across the platform are well-structured and offer a level of interactivity that some other courses just can’t. Oh, and the best part? It’s totally free!
Last, but certainly not least, Udemy is one of the most recognized pay-per-course sites on the Internet. If you somehow haven’t heard of it, head to their website, where you’ll find over 40,000 courses with plenty of UX design options (both paid and free) available. For example, their Introduction to Web and eCommerce User Experience Design class is a particular favorite of many budding designers.
In addition to the above class, there are two other specific courses to note:
- User Experience (UX): The Ultimate Guide to Usability and UX -- a popular, well-reviewed introduction to UX design, jammed with tons of hands-on experience.
- UX Design: Secrets of Conceptual Model Design -- led by behavioral psychologist Susan Weinschenk, the course includes useful tips on how to win the attention of your users.
While searching for the perfect online continuing education, you might find that you prefer to pick out different classes and courses from various learning platforms. Or perhaps, an overarching class on UX design as a whole is for you! Regardless, one of the above courses is sure to be a strong place to start improving your user experience design skills.
Have we missed any classes that you found particularly useful on your journey to becoming a UX design guru? Let us know!