Learn User Experience (UX) with Online Courses and Programs
What is user experience (UX) design?
The definition for user experience is simply the outcome or aftermath of an individual’s interactions with a product or service, whether positive or negative. With users’ needs and wants serving as guideposts, UX design lays the groundwork for desired outcomes. A UX designer uses a variety of techniques and technical processes to develop products that are easy to use, accessible, and above all, valuable.Footnote 1
UX subdisciplines are essential components of the overall UX process, and are reflected in the roles available within the field. Some professionals focus on user research, which involves understanding user needs and preferences through quantitative and qualitative methods such as interviews, surveys, and usability testing. Others become experts in usability engineering, which involves analyzing and optimizing the interaction between users and products or services.
You may have also heard of the term UI. UI refers to the user interface which is the computer or device screen. UI design is similar to UX design in a number of ways. In both lines of work, professionals advocate for customers through design, iteration, and testing. UX and UI designers also learn how to anticipate human behavior and leverage creativity and strategy to achieve business goals.
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User experience (UX) class curriculum
UX is an extensive field with opportunities for specialization. All it takes is finding the right class, boot camp, or program for you. With self-paced learning options for established professionals interested in UX product management as well as career transitioners hoping to build their coding skills, online courses can benefit people from different backgrounds. If you’re new to the field, a course that covers the fundamentals of UX can be a good place to start.
Here are some of the topics covered in online user experience courses:
UX fundamentals: Learners study design principles and explore the tools commonly used in a UX design career.
UX vs. UI: Learners determine how key design elements like buttons, typography, and color add to the look and feel of a product.
User research: Learners conduct competitive research, product and brand audits, and testing to uncover user insights.
User behavior: Learners assess how people process information and map their findings via scenarios, anticipated behavior, and more testing.
Information architecture: Learners master designing site navigation.
In UX courses, learners gain hands-on experience working on projects of their own, engaging in research, ideation, UX prototyping, user testing, UX data analysis, and finally refinement. Learn UX design and grow your technical skill set with online courses delivered through edX.
Explore careers in UX
In our digital world, having a strong understanding of UX skills can be a benefit for many job roles. Professionals with UX training work across multiple industries, using their UX design knowledge to help businesses create products that compel and retain customers. From freelance to full-time positions, UX jobs may provide creative freedom to visual thinkers, art lovers, storytellers, and more.
Some common UX careers include:
Customer experience manager
While UX professionals share the common goal of advocating for the end user and often work together, day to day tasks may vary. A content strategist, for example, writes copy. They are efficient communicators who adhere to their brand’s voice and understand the product from each touch point, starting with development all the way through research and engineering.Footnote 2 Some of their deliverables may include empathy maps, competitive research, content audits, keyword-driven projects, and user flows.
A UX researcher, on the other hand, can be thought of as a scientist who starts with a problem statement, collects research, tests ideas, and comes up with a solution. UX researchers typically focus raw data associated with user engagement on a product, looking at how long users spend on a page (bounce rate), where users are in the world, and what features they prefer. Once they’ve gathered enough quantitative and qualitative data, UX researchers process their findings and translate it into digestible reports that highlight insights and trends related to product use.Footnote 3 A UX researcher’s work can help to improve outcomes, meet user needs, and anticipate user behavior based on various scenarios within the user experience.
Whatever role you want to play in the UX field, whether research-driven, design-focused, or a storyteller, it starts with building a strong skill set. Get started with UX programs and courses delivered through edX.
How to become a UX designer online
You can study to become a UX designer without having to step into a physical classroom. Virtual learning options include UX/UI design boot camps or other online boot camps in related fields as well as online bachelor's degree or master’s degree options.
Online UX courses teach learners the fundamentals of design, user and market research, strategy, and product development, among other topics. You'll also learn how to use essential design tools for wireframing, sketching, interface designing, and UX prototyping, and continue to sharpen these skills on the job.
An online UX boot camp or UX design course can also provide you with plenty of opportunities to practice and work on projects of your own. This means you get to build a portfolio of work to demonstrate your newfound knowledge and talents.
While there are no licensing or minimum education requirements for becoming a UX designer, every job role is different and has different requirements. Some employers may ask for a background HTML programming, strong problem-solving skills, and experience with publishing tools like Flash.Footnote 4
UX is quite broad, so discovering courses you like and making them work for you is key to navigating the field. Learn UX with online courses delivered through edX.