The Startup
Published in

The Startup

8 Ways to Learn UX Design Online

Avoid my mistakes and learn which method is right for you by reading about the 8 different platforms I used to learn UX design online.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

A little bit about me: I have been teaching myself UX and UI design since around April of 2020.

I understand how difficult it can be to learn an entirely new career field.

When teaching myself, I was constantly thinking, “Am I wasting my time? Is there a better way to learn?”

I have wasted my time, done things out of order, and spent money that I probably didn’t need to. I’m writing this article to help you avoid some of my mistakes.

For this list, I’m going to go in order of dedication and value. I know that people say certifications don’t matter, but I think in an interview you can explain your experience with certified courses better than arbitrary self-teaching. It’s also something that you can put on your LinkedIn profile/resume, which is especially useful when you’re switching careers to show that you have made an active effort to learn the craft.

I am only going to tell you about platforms that I have personally used and have knowledge about, there are more options out there than the ones on this list.

1. CareerFoundry

CareerFoundry is an online school that offers courses in design and development, I am currently a student of their UX Design Bootcamp.

Overview

  • Price: $5900-$7000.
  • Time Commitment: 5–10 months.
  • Certification: Certificate.
  • What I Wish I Had Done Differently: I wish that I had solely focused on the bootcamp rather than distracting myself with the other options below. I should have completed the bootcamp and then explored more advanced topics. I got overly excited.

You should pursue this if you…

  • Want or need to change careers quickly.
  • Work well under time constraints.
  • Learn by reading and by example.
  • Are okay with little supervision.

Summary

So far, my experience with CareerFoundry has been great. You learn mostly from reading, but they sometimes incorporate videos. The information is relevant and digestable. They update their course constantly, even including what information is important in a job interview.

You leave the course with a portfolio and applicable knowledge.

I have written about my experience with CareerFoundry thus far in this review:

Learn more about my experience with CareerFoundry.

Learn more about CareerFoundry.

2. Interaction Design Foundation

The Interaction Design Foundation is an educational organization that offers UX design courses. It is known for its strong local design communities where people are encouraged to meet and connect (not so much in the Covid-era).

Overview

  • Price: $16–$200/month.
  • Time Commitment: 7 weeks per course.
  • Certification: Certificate.
  • What I Wish I Had Done Differently: I wish that I had done the beginner courses when I still had a full-time job. Perhaps I could have utilized the information I had found in my marketing position and naturally transitioned into a UX designer within the company, or perhaps just have more relevant experience for my resume.

You should pursue this if you…

  • Are just starting to explore UX design.
  • Are interested in advanced topics.
  • Can work with no supervision.

Summary

The Interaction Design Foundation is a good alternative to a UX design bootcamp if you are not comfortable enough to leave your job, or if you just want to learn without a big financial commitment.

You receive your certificate at the end of each course you take by getting a certain score on quizzes. If you do exceptionally well, it will be reflected on your certificate.

From the courses I have taken, I have not been given a ‘project’ or anything that could be used in a case study. You are, however, given the knowledge you need to conduct your own case study or portfolio pieces.

What I like most about this platform is that you can pick which UX topics you learn about, there aren’t prerequisites. If you want to skip right to advanced topics you can do that, but there are also courses that guide you from intro to expert. You design your course journey.

Learn more about the Interaction Design Foundation.

3. Udemy

Udemy is a well-known online course provider that offers 10,000 courses when users search, ‘UX design’.

Overview

  • Price: $9.99–$129.99 per course.
  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes to 30 hours depending on the course.
  • Certification: Certificate.
  • What I Wish I Had Done Differently: I would have watched the video previews first, because some people are just not very good speakers. I would also not pick the longest courses available. In my mind, I thought that if I’m paying for a course it should have tons of content. However, because I picked so many long courses there are some I’m not even halfway through. Long doesn’t mean valuable, and having tons of content means nothing if you can’t get through it.

You should pursue this if you…

  • Are just starting to explore UX design.
  • Are disciplined enough to self-motivate.
  • Learn best from videos.

Summary

Udemy has tons of videos for you to sift through to find the one that meets your needs. I cannot stress this enough, do NOT just pick the longest one like I did. I’ve done that with a lot of courses and I regret it. If you don’t have the time to go through a 50 hour course, just buy a shorter one that you can actually finish.

I currently use the Udemy videos I’ve purchased to complement my bootcamp. I generally put them on when I drive, cook, or do the dishes. I treat it almost like a podcast.

Some courses are more effective than others, make sure to watch the previews to make sure you like the way your teacher speaks and shares information.

Also, Udemy has sales constantly. You should never pay more than $14.99 for a course.

Courses I recommend:

4. IBM Enterprise Design Thinking

IBM offers an enterprise design thinking course (currently for free in light of the virus). While it is not explicitly a UX design course, it is still a valuable course especially for team leaders (or people like me, who aspire to be team leaders).

Overview

  • Price: Currently free!
  • Time Commitment: 2 hours.
  • Certification: Badge.
  • What I Wish I Had Done Differently: I wish that I had done this in one sitting. Everything connects really well, but I started the first section at night and didn’t finish the rest until the following day. I might go back and retake the course because the information was really valuable.

You should pursue this if you…

  • Are part of a team.
  • Aspire to be a team leader.
  • Want to improve your meeting skills.
  • Want to improve your design thinking skills.
  • Want a neat IBM badge on your LinkedIn profile.

Summary

The IBM Enterprise Design Thinking course was recommended to me by a creative leader that I had reached out to on LinkedIn. It is a combination of reading, exercises, and videos. The information is extremely valuable and easily digestable. I would recommend it to anyone who is part of a team in any industry, in any position.

Learn more about the IBM Enterprise Design Thinking course.

5. Course Auditing

If you got your undergraduate degree, you should have alumni benefits, including course auditing. Course auditing is essentially when you sit in on a class, you are not expected to do work as you are not being graded or receiving credit.

Overview

  • Price: Should be free, depends on alumni benefits.
  • Time Commitment: 1 semester.
  • Certification: None.
  • What I Wish I Had Done Differently: I wish that I had known about UX design in college so that I wouldn’t have to audit these courses!

You should pursue this if you…

  • Liked your alma mater’s way of teaching.
  • Are okay learning on your school’s schedule unlike these other methods which are flexible.
  • Can motivate yourself to go to class even though you’re not required to go.

Summary

Course auditing can be done in person, as well, but right now everything is online due to the pandemic. I graduated from Ramapo College of New Jersey in 2020 and am able to audit 3 courses for free. I have seen some colleges require a $100 fee, however, this is still much more affordable than taking a course for credit. While you don’t get a degree, you can still put it on your resume as ‘additional coursework’, which looks good coming from an accredited university.

Check your alma mater’s website to see what your alumni benefits are, and what courses they offer.

*BONUS: You should also have access to your school’s digital library. I was able to get UX and graphic design books online and learn some techniques and theories that way.

6. Skillshare

Skillshare is similar to Udemy as it is an online platform where you have access to online courses.

Overview

  • Price: $0-$19/mo.
  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes to 20 hours, depends on course.
  • Certification: None.
  • What I Wish I Had Done Differently: I wish that I had purchased Skillshare before my Udemy courses. While my Udemy courses are great, I feel that they will be more valuable when I am done my bootcamp and have more time to listen to them. Skillshare would have been a better purchase for me at this point in time.

You should pursue this if you…

  • Are just starting to explore UX design.
  • Are disciplined enough to self-motivate.
  • Learn best from videos.
  • Plan on watching multiple videos a month.

Summary

The difference between Udemy and Skillshare is that Skillshare is subscription-based, so you have thousands of videos that you can watch for a monthly or annual price.

Remember that pressure I was talking about with purchasing long courses from Udemy? I don’t feel that with Skillshare because I am no longer paying per-course.

A lot of the videos on Skillshare are also on Udemy, so I feel that you get a better value from Skillshare. However, you do not get a certification from Skillshare, so it is up to you.

Learn more about Skillshare.

7. Youtube

Everyone knows what Youtube is. If you are an alien, then Youtube is an online platform where content creators can share videos.

Overview

  • Price: Free.
  • Time Commitment: None.
  • Certification: None.
  • What I Wish I Had Done Differently: I wish that I had looked up UX design videos the day that I heard about it. By chance, a UX design Youtuber’s video popped up in my recommended videos months after I learned what UX design is, and that’s what sparked my career change.

You should pursue this if you…

  • Are just starting to explore UX design.
  • Learn well from videos.
  • Are interested in learning from designers’ personal experiences rather than a course.
  • Want to learn about design in small chunks.
  • Want to keep up with trends.

Summary

I look at UX design videos everyday, and have even started my own channel to track my career progress and show others what it’s like to change careers and be a design student.

Going on Youtube to learn about UX design is great because it is more personal rather than matter-of-fact like online courses. You also learn more about their career journeys and how they were able to get to where they are.

This is the video that got me interested in UX design:

UX Youtubers I recommend:

8. Medium

Medium is the platform you are using right now.

Overview

  • Price: $0-$5/mo.
  • Time Commitment: 2–10 minutes a day.
  • Certification: None.
  • What I Wish I Had Done Differently: I wish that I had cancelled my Wall Street Journal subscription years ago and purchased a Medium subscription.

You should pursue this if you…

  • Are at any point in your UX design journey.
  • Learn well from reading.
  • Want to learn about design in small chunks.
  • Want to keep up with trends.

Summary

I love Medium. When I first started Googling UX design, I kept getting directed to this platform. I didn’t realize it, though, because I would viewing articles from different publications. It wasn’t until I ran out of free articles that I realized I was getting most of my information from Medium.

I purchased a subscription without a second thought. It is chockfull of UX design articles and case studies, with new and interesting information and ideas being shared everyday.

Publications to follow:

Writing this article made me realize that there are a lot of things that I would change about my UX journey. Perhaps I will write an article about that next.

I hope that you found this article to be helpful in your own journey, and remember that there are tons of options out there. While I hope you avoid my mistakes, it’s okay to make them! I wouldn’t be where I am right now without them.

--

--

--

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +756K followers.

Recommended from Medium

Design and development during turbulent times

Fist raised up

Some common mobile nav patterns & when to use them

A cartoon of hamburger menu and bottom navigation UI elements running.

How being a cosmetic chemist helped me become a better product designer

Arm with swatches of lotion

Gesturing to the desktop, reducing UI clutter with mouse proximity listeners

How remote work is changing our favourite design practices and how we can still benefit?

Conversational UI: it’s not just chat bots and voice assistants — a UX case study

Remote user interviews are finally having their moment

To know user centricity is to understand service design

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Morgan Brennan

Morgan Brennan

Digital marketer turned UX designer. Insta- https://bit.ly/morganuxinsta. Etsy- https://etsy.me/3A9HnjR. YT- https://bit.ly/morganuxYT.

More from Medium

One product, multiple countries: cross-cultured design

How people see ?(Part 1)

Product Redesign: Everything You Should Know

My first months as a Product Designer