What is the best way to learn about UX? UX Question #8

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Leonard from Boston, Massachusetts, asks: what is the best way to learn about UX?

I love that question. Thanks for asking, Leonard. This is UX Question number 8 and I am Ben Judy.

What is the best way to learn about user experience? Well, whatever method of learning works best for you is the best way. So let’s explore five different ways you can learn about UX.

One, you can go to college. Yeah, you can pursue graduate degree. Or, if you’re just starting out, a two or for year undergraduate degree—an associate’s or bachelor’s degree at your local college or university. Now when I went to college in 1998 there were no user experience degree programs. I ended up double majoring and one of my majors was this thing called “Multimedia technologies” which was about as close as I could come to UX at the time.

But a few colleges today — not all, but a few — offer an undergrad and graduate degree programs in UX or something very closely related to user experience. What’s even more common is a certificate program. Something less intensive than a full degree, but certificate training that will teach you the essentials quickly.

Which brings up the second way you can learn about UX: bootcamps. These are online programs that promise to take you from knowing nothing about UX to being fully ready for your first job in about three months to a year. Go back and check out Question #6 to hear more about bootcamps.

Third, you can find a mentor. There are now lots of platforms online for designers to build on their skills and connect with mentors. A few examples are ADPList and MentorCruise. Of course, your mileage will vary as to how good your mentor is in guiding you toward what you want to learn.

Fourth, work with other designers. This doesn’t necessarily mean, “get a job” working alongside other designers. You can do volunteer projects or collaborate on freelance work. Try to find other designers who have different skills than you do. If you’re stronger in visual design, find one who is better at information architecture, for example.

Finally, you can teach yourself UX design. There are thousands of self-taught UX designers in this field. And today, there are more resources than ever: YouTube videos, books, podcasts, blogs, newsletters, self paced online training courses.

The most important thing is to find a way to learn that you enjoy and that you can afford. Don’t go into deep financial debt to build your UX knowledge and skills.

Come to think of it, if only there was a YouTube channel where you could get answers to questions about UX. And not too long, either… say, in three minutes or less….

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