You’ve decided you want to be a user experience professional. But where do you start?
After years in a specific field, our members are looking to make a successful mid-career transition. Others are looking to move from print design to user experience design.
Members want to know about the best online and in-person training, degrees, and individual courses to become a user experience professional.
Their questions cover multiple areas:
- What local colleges offer user experience programs?
- Do you have any book recommendations?
- What ways can I speed up my learning process?
Where Do I Start?
Last week, when one of our members said she wanted to expand her skills and become a user experience designer, over 20 recommendations were shared on Facebook by members of both meetup groups.
I was impressed by the wide range of advice and suggestions. We have a truly caring and giving group of user experience professionals in our area!
To share with everyone, I’ve compiled the recommendations for books, online training, and academic programs at the end of the post. But learning about user experience isn’t all training, taking classes, and books.
Here’s some helpful advice from our members:
Developing a strong portfolio is an important step. You’ll want to showcase examples of where you improved the UX. There are several online sites or you could use something like a WordPress portfolio template.
Josie Scott, User Experience Design Researcher at Synchrony Financial
I recommend exposure via education followed by volunteering to get some experience.
Darren Hood, UX Specialist
Follow the #ux hashtag on Twitter. You can create a Twitter list of UX people to follow, or if you want check out my Twitter list
Deborah Edwards-Onoro, Web Developer and UX Professional
- The Elements of User Experience by Jesse James Garrett
- User Experience Books for Beginners: a compilation of books by the good folks at UX Booth
- Books by Don Norman
- Any book by Steve Krug
- And don’t forget the Rosenfeld Media books
- Handbook of Usability Testing by Dana Chisnell
- Information Architecture for the World Wide Web by Louis Rosenfeld, Peter Morville, and Jorge S. Arango
- Universal Principles of Design by William Lidwell, Kritina Holden, and Jill Butler
Online Courses and Training
- Lynda.com: online videos and training
- Udemy: they often have sales on their courses for as low as $10/course
- UX Online Courses: over 70 online courses, many with comprehensive reviews, from UX Mastery. Courses range from free, to $25/month and up, to a one-time fee of $29 to $499
- Interaction Design Foundation: courses endorsed by Don Norman. Note: courses available for free to members.
Certificates, Bachelor, and Masters Degree Programs
You’ll find post-secondary programs in the list below to earn certificates, Bachelor and Masters degrees in the fields of User Experience, Information Architecture, Interaction Design, Library and Information Science, Digital Design, Human-Computer Interaction, and others.
- University of Michigan
- Kent State University
- Bentley University: offering certificate and Masters degrees
- UX Degrees: A list of post-secondary schools around the world offering degrees and certificates
Have any more recommendations or tips for learning user experience? Share them in the comments.
Update July 6, 2015: Accessibility advocate Jennifer Sutton recommended another resource to learn about user experience, AccessibleUX, a community practice that combines accessibility and user experience. Launched last week, the site provides support to people and organizations with case studies, resources, critiques and more.