Looking for a place to learn UX Design? Try the Interaction Design Foundation
Where to continue your design journey
One of the things I love about UX Design is that as a UX Designer or Researcher you are always learning. You learn more about products and how they work. As you study user problems, you discover better ways to help people improve their lives. I transitioned into UX design through Google’s professional certificate program and I have continued to learn by attending workshops, joining design organizations and becoming a member of the Interaction Design Foundation.
I joined the foundation as a student and have continued to enroll in classes that interest me. One of the nice things about Interaction Design Foundation courses is that an instructor checks over your work so it isn’t 100 percent autonomous. But it is 100 percent on your own time. You can take and continue lessons at your leisure and after completing a course you can always reference the materials and guides as your real life projects require them.
The foundation also offers live master classes that you can watch on demand if the schedule doesn’t match yours. I generally pick classes that parallel my current tasks on my day job.
My first UX design job was more research based so I enrolled in “User Research - Methods and Best Practices” as I conducted research with telecommunication engineers to improve the software used at Verizon. I learned on the job and from experts at the Interaction Design Foundation on my own time.
At my second UXD job, I found myself consulting guidelines from previous Interaction Foundation courses including “UI Design Patterns for Successful Software” as I brainstormed new design solutions.
My favorite Interaction Design Foundation course (also my first) has been “Design for the 21st Century with Don Norman.” Norman is often called the father of design and in this course he explains how to use design for good and even encourages designers to solve the world’s most complex issues he calls (social-technical problems) using human-centered design.
As any student of Norman’s classes knows, people’s failures are not user errors rather they are the symptoms of bad design. So you might be thinking, “let’s just improve designs.” But as we are often reminded in human-centered design courses, though our technology has advanced, we still have caveman brains. We as humans are built to see immediate cause and effect rather than the long-term or cumulative effects of burning coal or throwing a few plastic bags into the ocean. So finding the root cause of society’s bigger problems is a challenge. It’s easier to immediately improve when you see the immediate results of your actions. And we have to make sure we are focused on the real problem first. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to make things better, Norman says. This course inspired me to use design to make the world a fairer and more accessible place.
Currently I am taking “Emotional Design — How to make products people will love” and I’m thinking maybe designers can make the world a happier place too.