With 20 years as a digital and print graphic designer under my belt and the ever increasing shift from print to web being more evident, I started to study UX (User Experience) to enhance and develop my web design skills. Starting this journey of discovery I searched sites, watched YouTube videos, signed up to all the training sites I could find, read blogs and the odd book. All of these were fine but I didn’t feel like I had a clear direction in my learning path and nothing to record my progress.
A colleague introduced me to the Interaction Design Foundation (IDF) and my mind was blown. Having a whole host of courses to choose from and a wide range of subject areas all falling under the UX umbrella, it had everything I was looking for. A way to track my progress, industry professional tutors who mark lessons, the ability to connect with like minded people in the industry and at the end of each course you receive an Industry recognised qualification.
I love the fact that you can work at your own pace, picking up and putting down with no pressure to complete work in a certain amount of time. It means I can fit courses in around a hectic lifestyle. One thing I noticed working through the lessons was that I became competitive with myself and other members trying to achieve the best score possible, it’s horrible receiving your results back from an open ended question and you haven’t achieved top marks; at the same time it’s a reminder that an actual person is at the other end marking your answer which then gives you the encouragement to try harder for the next question.
I really like having all the courses you’ve completed to hand, this means you can dive back into the lessons and perform sanity checks as I’ve done many times. If I were to be asked what my top three tips are for staying focused while learning online, my best advice would be:
- Try and complete at least one lesson per day
- Pick courses that relate to your current role
- Aim to get maximum points – it’s nice to see your name creeping to the top of the list of course takers
To date I’ve completed four courses – Gestalt Psychology and Web Design, Mobile User Experience (UX) Design, Web Design for Usability and Psychology of E-Commerce. I’ve achieved distinctions as being in the top 10% of students for each course.
I’m currently working my way through another three courses at the moment, which I’m finding thoroughly enjoyable. Paired with the fact that I was recently informed by the IDF that I fall within the top 1% of performers, it has really given me the extra encouragement to push forward and complete even more courses.
The Interaction Design Foundation has enormously increased my UX skills, it’s also given me the opportunity to move up the ladder from a position where I’d use my UX knowledge a few times a week to new role at a digital agency where I’m currently Lead UX / Web Designer.
If you are interested in learning about UX and wondering where to start, I’d thoroughly recommend the Interaction Design Foundation: www.interaction-design.org
Thank you for reading.