3 tips to learn UI UX design from home.
You have probably clicked on some Skillshare or LinkedIn Learning ads during Covid-19–20–21, right? And why not! It’s become so easy to access information on a variety of topics, including digital design.
The tech and design industries are constantly evolving and require everyone to be self-taught at some point in order to stay relevant. Fortunately, we don’t have to go to expensive universities or bootcamps to get skilled up. There are a variety of ways to learn from home, whether you’re just starting out, or already a senior designer. Here are a few tips to help you navigate this vast world of online learning more effectively.
Choose a direction, and run!
First, you need to decide what exactly you’ll be studying. There are many roles to take on in this industry. UI (User Interface) design and UX (User Experience) design make up the two main categories. But, each one has many exciting fields of study that you can delve into as you begin to uncover what you’re really passionate about.
Are you more visually inclined?
UI design, as the name suggests, is focused on designing the interfaces of various digital products like smart devices, mobile applications, and websites. It’s heavily focused on creating beautiful and effective elements that people will use to interact with the digital world all around us. It can also include other visual design skills like logo and print design depending on the project.
Or maybe you’re more of a planner?
UX design is generally the ‘left brain’ of the design process. With skill sets in various areas like research, service design, and copywriting, user experience designers aim to ensure that the products also meet business goals more successfully and offer all kinds of users a great experience while using them.
Design is a team sport that favours people with specialised skill sets. So, although it’s vital to build a solid foundation in both UI and UX design concepts at the beginning of your journey, you can use your time more effectively (and become more hireable) if you focus on a specific area or niche that you are passionate about. This is a great place to go over your past experience and see what transferrable skills you have to bring to the table. For example, you might have worked in marketing before which can give you an edge in areas like market research. Then you can easily build on those skills and experience, or decide that you don’t like it and steer away from that direction in the future.
It’s not always hard.
Design is a combination of hard and soft skills, and there are actually many aspects in the design process that won’t be directly related to your job title. Things like effective verbal and written communication, or business and technical know-how all contribute to making you a more effective designer. So for example, an online English Writing or Sociology course could be an effective way to round out your skillset.
But one of the most important areas of study that I recommend delving into early on is web development. Imagine an architect who has never seen a brick or learned about gravity… Would you live in one of their buildings? No. It would probably not even be possible to build their drawings, to begin with! The same goes for digital designers. No matter whether you focus on UX or UI (or both), understanding how the technology you are designing for works will be invaluable in many areas of your work.
While there are many things you could learn in web development, taking a basic HTML and CSS course will help you to make more well-rounded designs on any platform and work more effectively in product teams.
Design is Objective
There are many criteria that can help us determine if a design is good, and it can be quite difficult to notice areas of improvement in our own designs at first. Therefore, it’s essential to socialise your work early on.
“Do not seek praise. Seek criticism.” –Paul Arden
You can easily find social media groups for designers that have moderately active communities, but quality feedback is usually hard to come by. Therefore, I highly recommend using a portion of your learning budget for a mentor on platforms such as Superpeer or hiring a designer in the field that you are pursuing that can offer you professional and tailored feedback on your projects or career journey.
Approach your learning journey with the mindset of a designer. You should write down your goals, your needs, and your pain points. Then, do research and planning to find solutions that will help you land that gig.
I’d love to hear what you have done on your learning journey that has helped you develop your skills, and connect with me on Twitter @karl_uiuxdesign