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Learning UX – My Curriculum

In this post I’ll be gathering all online and offline resources which I can recommend to extend your knowledge of UX, UI and related topics like Coding, Graphic Design and Creative Thinking in general.

Whenever I start learning something by myself I try to look into as many different types of contents, teachers, courses, books as I can to get a good picture of the topic that interests me. And while the best learning is of course by DOING – which I also do, by the way, it’s never bad to get a broader understanding of the theory.

So here is what I suggest you as a UX curriculum so far.

 

Online Courses: Lynda.com

Lynda is a great online education website by LinkedIn where industry experts create educational videos on many different topics. The fee is 25$ a month, the first one is free. I have to admit I have this account for free because the university where I’ve done my masters has a cooperation with Lynda.

What I love about Lynda are their learning paths, which are a group of online courses which make sense together. So I’ve done this path: Become a User Experience Designer. While it obviously only gives you a rough overview of different tools and methods, it’s a great way to start if you’re just getting familiar with the topic OR want to have a systematic overview while working on your first UX projects. The courses of the path are called:

  1. Planning a Career in User Experience
  2. UX Design: 1 Overview
  3. UX Foundations: Prototyping
  4. UX Foundations: Multidevice Design
  5. UX Design: 4 Ideation
  6. UX Design: 5 Creating Scenarios and Storyboards
  7. UX Design: 6 Paper Prototyping
  8. Sketch for UX Design
  9. Photoshop for UX Design
  10. Illustrator for UX Design
  11. UX Design 7: Implementation Planning

Here’s a list of other courses I’ve done and can recommend:

 

Online Courses: Coursera

Coursera is quite famous for its great university courses which can be done online – mostly for free, for a small fee you’ll get an official certificate. Here are courses I’ve done or am doing right now:

Introduction to User Experience Design

This course by Georgia Institute of Technology was super helpful to get a broader understanding of the field. Also, you can do this course for free and only need to pay 50$ in case you want to get the official certificate, which looks like this:

 

Interaction Design – 8 Course Specialization

This specialization by University of California, San Diego – The Design Lab consists of 8 courses. When you enroll, you’ll be paying 30$ a month until you cancel. So it’s not necessary to do all the courses, after the first one you can just watch single videos or parts of courses. I’m not done with the whole specialization yet, will let you know how it works after you’re done, as soon as I’m there (meaning stuff like certificates etc.). Here are the names of the eight courses:

  1. Human-Centered Design: an Introduction
  2. Design Principles: an Introduction
  3. Social Computing
  4. Input and Interaction
  5. User Experience: Research & Prototyping
  6. Information Design
  7. Designing, Running and Analyzing Experiments
  8. Interaction Design Capstone Project

One more thing which I love about the specialization here is that you get to really do some UX tasks which will be peer graded, and you also grade some of your peers who are doing this course from everywhere in the world. It’s amazing to see, what ideas other come up with!

Books

In case you love books as much as I do, then you have to check out those ones:

Creative Confidence – David and Tom Kelley.

I’ve been reading this book for ages in the morning and it gave me such a creative boost every time! It’s a very motivating book stating that every single activity, job, and person is creative and how they can start using their creativity in their lives. It’s really awesome!

The Design of Everyday Things – Don Norman.

This one is considered the UX bible and is recommended by every single person I’ve ever met dealing with UX. It’s explaining the core of what UX is, without actually going into „interfaces“ but rather taking daily objects like doors.

Don’t make me think: A common sense approach to web usability – Steve Krug.

This one deals more with how we browse the web and which elements are important. More useful if you’re actually building some kind of website or app already, so you can apply your learnings right away.

Lean UX – Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden.

This book explains what Lean UX is – basically how software, apps, websites, products, are now built in a quick pace and which famous concepts like Design Thinking, Agile Development, and Lean Startup Methods are connected to it.

The Art of Innovation – Tom Kelley.

I haven’t read this one yet, but the author is the same as in Creative Confidence, so I expect pure greatness.

About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design — Alan Cooper

It’s on my reading list.

The User Experience Team of One: A Research and Design Survival Guide — Leah Buley

I liked especially Part II where important steps in the UX process are described such as UX questionnaire or Strategy Workshop.

Designing Together: The collaboration and conflict management handbook for creative professionals — Dan M. Brown

100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People — Susan Weinschenk

It’s on my list.

Practical Empathy: For Collaboration and Creativity in Your Work — Indi Young

It’s on my reading list.

 

Also, check out this The Only UX Reading List Ever article on more inspiration.

 

Industry Insights on Medium.com

I really love Medium for their UX Collective site, which gathers all great articles by industry experts. They also have a weekly newsletter, mailing the best articles directly to you. I have an own note on Evernote collecting insights from the articles I’ve read. Here are some cool articles I’ve bookmarked:

 

Sketching for UX Designers

Sketching is a central part of any design process – and it’s very important to make clear, that sketching doesn’t mean „awesome artwork“, but only visualizing abstract (and not abstract) ideas. I thought it’s not bad to practice quick and easy sketches after reading this (Medium) article: UX sketching challenge.

The whole website/project is done by Krisztina Szerovay and is called Sketching for UX Designers. There is a small workbook where Krisztina Szerovay is explaining the basics.

And there is the 100 Day Challenge #sketchingforux100, where you get three expressions daily, which you have to sketch. To join, simply subscribe to the newsletter. The next day you get an email with Krisztina’s solutions and your new three words. It’s fun and takes only a couple of minutes daily, so do it!

And there are weekly sketch posters of important UX terms which are good to know, you can find the Table of Contents here.

 

Something missing?

I’m of course extremely happy and grateful if there is something you’re using to extend your UX or Design knowledge. Let me know in the comments and I’ll add it!

I hope you enjoyed reading this article and will find it useful. Have a great time learning about UX!

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