A new session of each course starts monthly. If enrolling in a series of two or more courses, please be sure to space the start date for each course at least two months apart.
All courses run for six weeks, with a two-week grace period at the end. Two lessons are released each week for the six-week duration of the course. You do not have to be present when lessons are released. You will have access to all lessons until the course ends. However, the interactive discussion area that accompanies each lesson will automatically close two weeks after the lesson is released. As such, we strongly recommend that you complete each lesson within two weeks of its release.
The final exam will be released on the same day as the last lesson. Once the final exam has been released, you will have two weeks to complete all of your course work, including the final exam.
Lesson 01 – Understanding the Nature and Role of User Experience Design in Today’s World
This lesson provides a basic understanding of user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design. After going through it, you will be able to describe who uses UI/UX design and what specific hard and soft skills are required of the users. You’ll also learn how UI/UX design actually takes place in a professional communication design workflow and be introduced to key terms of the field starting with information architecture and user profiles.
Lesson 02 – Understanding How User Interface (UI) Design Fits into Developing User Experience (UX)
This lesson takes a closer look at the differences and relationship between UI and UX. You’ll see why and how basic rules for communication design are applied in designing user interfaces for websites, apps, and communication devices (like watches). Finally, the lesson shows you how to identify the role of key user interface design elements: logos, color schemes, typography, iconography, and imagery.
Lesson 03 – Conducting a Competitive Analysis
This lesson explores the important role of competitive analysis, also referred to as comparative analysis or just comp analysis. You’ll learn why competitive analysis is one of the most cost-effective ways to begin a UI/UX design (or redesign) process. The content of this lesson presents ways to apply creativity and critical thinking to plan and carry out competitive analysis. And you will learn to sift through the data gathered through this analytical process, identify what positive features can be applied to your project, and what negative features you can avoid. Finally, you will be shown how to present the findings of competitive analysis to stakeholders who will define the objectives of the UI/UX design.
Lesson 04 – Identifying User and Stakeholder Needs
This lesson will dig deeper into the UI/UX design process and presents the rule of user profiles, also referred to as personas. These are profiles of fictional people who embody and concentrate the composite needs and preferences of people who will visit a website, app, or other web-based interactive site. You’ll learn how to conduct demographic and other research to create the basis for assembling accurate user profiles, and also to integrate user and stakeholder interviews into those profiles.
Lesson 05 – Create a Journey Map and User Matrix
This lesson illustrates how journey maps envision and chart out the way that different users will navigate through a website or app. User matrices perform that function as well. Such matrices are more complex charts which present multiple pathways that different kinds of users will follow to successfully engage with the objectives of a site. Beyond that, you will learn to test user matrices to see if they accurately represent how users will engage with a site, and if users and stakeholders will find their needs reflected in the journey maps and matrices.
Lesson 06 – Prototyping with Sitemaps
You may have experienced sitemaps, which are essentially flowcharts that define how users will navigate from the landing page of a site to a successful event based on the site’s objectives. Examples of such an event might include a sale, an inquiry, or watching a video. In this lesson, you’ll learn how sitemaps relate to wireframes, which are rough sketches of individual pages. You’ll see how sitemaps are used as a pivot from research into actual site design. And you will learn how UI/UX designers test sitemaps for their usability and usefulness.
Lesson 07 – Designing UI with Style Tiles
This lesson discusses why UI/UX designers use style tiles to create a coherent look and feel that can be applied across dozens, hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands, or more pages. You will learn about the design elements that make up the core of a style tile and why those particular elements are used. Finally, the lesson presents how designers go about creating, sharing, and applying design features through style tiles.
Lesson 08 – Applying Accessibility Standards
Accessibility, or making online content available to fully or partially blind, deaf, or disabled people, is rapidly emerging as a critical component of successful UI/UX design. Changes in technology, work environment, culture, attitudes, and laws are driving that change. This lesson presents the kinds of users who need special features to access site content and how to test a site for accessibility. In addition, the lesson shows you how to research and address the legal requirements for accessibility, and proper techniques to ensure that a site is accessible.
Lesson 09 – Key UI/UX Tools and Apps
This lesson helps you become conversant with the primary software applications used in UI/UX design: Sketch, Figma, and Adobe XD. You’ll examine how these applications provide similar tools for designing high-resolution prototypes that can be tested with users, reviewed by stakeholders, and handed off to coders who turn prototypes into websites and apps.
Lesson 10 – Creating a High-Def Prototype
This lesson takes you on a deeper dive into building prototype applications. It will focus on using key features in Adobe XD, which is available in a free version for students. You will learn the difference between a low-resolution prototype used in early stages of UI/UX design and a developer-ready, high-resolution prototype that embeds the dimensions, color codes, fonts, and other details coders need to build a website or app. This lesson also shows how design teams use shared prototypes to solicit input from colleagues and stakeholders.
Lesson 11 – Understanding and Applying Agile Development
The fast pace of web and app development requires teamwork, constant iteration (changes) in plans, and flexible deployment of resources. This lesson shows how UI/UX designers have articulated and adopted methods for design and development that address those needs using a process known as Agile development. The lesson explains how and why the Agile development process varies from older models of product development and illustrates how different flavors of Agile, like Scrum and Kanban, differ and overlap. Finally, you will learn how to apply problem-solving techniques common to all Agile development modes, including prioritizing tasks and objectives.
Lesson 12 – Presenting a UI/UX Design
UI/UX designers share their research findings, their plans, and the basis for them in reports. This lesson presents techniques for preparing, organizing, and presenting reports that convey substance and credibility. In addition, you’ll learn how to craft reports that are appropriate to audiences that require different kinds of reports. These reports could range from simple memos to presentations to the substantial and formal written reports.