How to start your UX Design career. In a good and affordable way.

By Michael Nunes | Chief Creative Officer at Monday

1. Start learning from experts

First of all, I recommend you browse a few online courses, as those will help you get started on UX Design. Said online courses have major advantages, such as you being able to take your own pace and also by some of them being taught by major UX Design players. Oh, and they are usually cheaper than the physical courses.

Interaction Design Foundation

The Interaction Design Foundation is a 17-year-old nonprofit community founded in Denmark. In addition to the online courses, they also offer free of charge content about design.

Udemy

Udemy is the leading global marketplace for teaching and learning, connecting all students everywhere to the world’s best instruction — no matter where they are.

IDEO U

Who hasn’t heard of IDEO? IDEO has a learning program called IDEO U, an online school where anyone can unlock their creative potential and solve complex problems through design thinking. Here, you can learn from the best on how to be an expert on Design Thinking, Prototyping for Digital Experiences and other courses around Human-Centered Design.

2. Never stop reading

If you don’t have the money to spend on a lot of books, just use Medium. You’ll find tons of awesome articles about UX Design. Believe me, you have excellent content and it’s all for free.

3. Books: ‘Gotta catch them all!

As you can imagine, there are a lot of great books out there about UX design but, obviously, I haven’t read them all. Nonetheless, I’ve had my share of good reading, and these are the best of the best (in my opinion) to help you gain more knowledge to make the shift.

The Paradox Of Choice: Why More Is Less

One of my favorites, and if you happen to have read other articles that I wrote, or if you are following me on LinkedIn, you already guessed it. The Paradox Of Choice: Why More Is Less by Barry Schwartz. In this book, you won’t be reading on how to create the best UX strategy. What you — surely — will learn, is how choice impacts our lives, either in a good or in a bad way. This book won’t be a one time only read, I assure you. It will help you understand and interiorize the importance of analyzing and will reflect on how we can elevate people’s lives.

UX Strategy: How to devise innovative digital products that people want

A great guide to have by your side. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a Designer or a Product Manager, this book teaches you simple-to-advanced methods that you can use in your work right away.

Mapping Experiences: A complete guide to creating value through journeys, blueprints & diagrams

One of the heavyweight champions of UX books. In this Jim Kalbach book, you’ll find the best methods to implement UX strategies and to understand the underlying principles of diagramming, and also discover how these diagrams can inform strategy. If you’re a Product Manager, a Designer or a Business Owner, there you’ll learn how to help your business (or your projects), how to know your business goals, and how customers’ perspectives intersect.

Don’t make me think

An old one, but still a must-have one. This book, by Steve Krug, is as straightforward as its title, a friendly introduction to why some interfaces work or “make sense” for users while some others don’t. You’ll find a lot of useful information about usability and on how you can use it on your projects. It still strikes me that some UX “tactics” are just common sense, but applying the right UX in the right context, in advance, is not so obvious in many product teams.

4. Tools for our craft

It’s important to learn how to use some of these tools that I’ll be talking about. But keep in mind that if you’re already working as a UI Designer, some of them are already known to you.

Paper Prototyping

Paper prototyping is a technique that allows designers and non-designers to create, and to test, user interfaces quickly and cheaply. Don’t forget — it’s easier to change a prototype than to change the final design. Sketching helps testing ideas, rather than focusing on the visual part of the project.

User Flows

The user flow is a series of steps that users take to achieve a meaningful goal, they are the path taken by a user on a website, or an app, to complete a task. This flow shows us the user’s entry point through a set of steps towards a successful outcome and final action, such as purchasing a product or subscribing a service.

InVision

With intuitive tools for ideation, design, prototyping, and design management, the InVision platform gives you everything you need for digital product design — all in one place. The most known tool InVision is recognized for is its prototyping aspect. It helps us create easy and low-cost prototypes. This way, you’ll be able to test, in early stages, what’s working (or not) in your project.

5. Skills you need to start working on. They will help you create better and lovable projects.

Observe and listen

Observe the world around you. In my opinion, one of the more difficult skills, and maybe that’s why it’s one of the more important ones, is observation. It’s a behavior that will help you to better understand the differences in social groups, cultural practices, and other people’s way of behaving — whether they are online or offline — and all the problems they may face in their daily lives.

Empathy

If you haven’t heard of it yet, UX Design goes hand-in-hand with empathy. The ability to empathize with the user is a key skill for a UX Designer.

Facilitation

As a designer, it’s important to learn how to facilitate design sessions. You don’t have to be the superhero of said design sessions, but this helps you practice empathy, your listening skills and acknowledge people’s’ true pains and ideas. The job of a facilitator is to conduct design sessions, and these sessions might be through Lighting Decision Jams, Value Propositions, UX Strategy guides, and many other exercises.

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