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Learn UX design with online courses and programs

UX design involves researching and practicing techniques to improve users’ experience. Learn more about UX design practice, why it’s important, and common UX design tools with courses delivered through edX.

What is UX design?

Rooted in storytelling, user experience (UX) design focuses on planning and creating products that are practical, desirable, and usable.Footnote 1 For example, all of the apps on your phone, laptop, tablet, or TV are products that you, the user, interact with. Knowing the basics of UX design often starts with understanding user experience (UX). 

A simple definition for user experience is the overall effect created by the interactions and perceptions that an individual has when using a product or service. When someone creates an account or adjusts their settings in an app, they are engaging in the user experience. And when someone says they love a website, they may be referring to ease of use, a core tenet of UX.Footnote 2 Alternatively, that person might be inspired by how the visuals come together to form a narrative. 

A UX designer's primary role is advocating for the customer and responding to their wants and needs. These professionals solve product problems through the design, iteration, testing, and execution. UX design work includes visual design, interactive design, UX research, user flows, information architecture, and more.

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UX design course curriculum

Visual design and workflow are essential parts of the UX design training process. User experience design programs and courses typically cover both topics along with others, such as:

  • Fundamentals of  UX design: Learners explore the definition of UX design, the role of UX designers, and the skills and tools needed for the job.

  • UX vs. UI: Learners assess the look and feel of a product by looking at elements such as buttons, typography, color, and more. 

  • User research: Learners conduct competitive research and brand audits to help develop solutions to customers’ problems.

  • Mockups and wireframes: Learners master iterating versions of a product as it evolves.

  • User flows: Learners anticipate user behavior when interacting with a product and carry out testing to verify their predictions. 

  • Information architecture: Learners study product layout to understand the benefits of placing content in specific sections of a page or screen. 

Learners can also practice using software programs like Figma, Adobe XD, and Sketch. UX design courses are hands-on, enabling you to develop a portfolio that shows off your knowledge and skills. Learn how to conduct key UX functions and collaborate with product teams to deliver unforgettable customer experiences with online, self-paced courses delivered through edX.

UX designer jobs

UX design encompasses several disciplines and crosses various industries, from government and finance to healthcare and the arts. People with UX design careers may have a background in web or software design or development, copywriting, graphic or print design, research, sociology, psychology,  engineering, product management, and business analysis. Designers with UX training can pursue their craft through full-time, contract, or freelance work. Some do all three. 

Typical job titles within the field include: 

  • UX designer

  • UI designer 

  • UX researcher 

  • Product designer 

  • Motion designer 

  • 3D motion designer 

  • Interaction designer 

  • Visual designer

  • Art director 

  • Creative director

Whether looking for a career change or exploring options for professional growth, online courses or degree programs may help guide you toward your goals. 

How to become a UX designer online

Every job is different, and companies have varying hiring requirements. But some common qualities UX designers possess include experience with UX software, prototyping, user research, and testing. A demonstrated understanding of front-end technologies, user-centered design, and mobile-first and responsive design is also important.Footnote 3 Strong creativity, collaboration, communication, and people skills supplement technical know-how. An online portfolio or samples of your visual design is also usually expected. 

Because there are no formal requirements mandating a particular degree or certification, people find their way to UX design in various ways. Some take the traditional path and attend a higher education institution where they earn a relevant degree. UX-related degrees include computer science, graphic design, game design, web design, marketing, and information technology.Footnote 4 Others may learn through boot camps in a related field such as UX design boot camps that last a few weeks. Whichever route you take, a willingness to learn new skills and grow is important in the design industry, and you should be able to demonstrate that in your portfolio.