Design 101? Where to begin with UX

When you’re looking to learn about something that’s entirely new to you, it can be intimidating. It’s really important to avoid developing your skills in a vacuum. You need to get comfortable with the landscape. This is perhaps even more true if you’re interested in the diverse field of UX Design.

“UX Design, at its core, is the combination of a diverse sets of skills and techniques – information architecture, user research, interaction design, illustration, and strategic analysis,” according to one of our design instructors Ahmad Kadhim. “It can be difficult to attain the ‘big picture’ when people don’t even agree on what UX means.”

We were inspired by Alexa Roman’s article that helped Ahmad earlier in his career. We’ve put together three sets of resources to help you get waist-deep in UX:

  1. Read, read, read
  2. People to follow (in Toronto)
  3. Software to try

1. Read, read, read

These articles aren’t the be-all-end-all of their topics, but they definitely help you learn the basics.

Great overviews:
What is Product Design?
The Myths of UX Design
52 Weeks of Good UX

Typography:
Typography in Ten Minutes
Typography for Lawyers

Layout:
A guide to creating grid systems that are built around your content
Color Theory for Designers: The Meaning of Color

Process:
Emotional Intelligence in Design
Wireframing is NOT prototyping
Case study: Designing Ryanair's boarding pass

2. People to follow (in Toronto)

Sure, seeing design out in the wild brings spontaneous inspiration, but following a solid set of designers whose work resonates with you can really stoke creativity. Dribbble is a helpful design platform for showing off projects and connecting with others to create new ones. Here are some of our Toronto favourites:

Janna Hagan
Mike Busby
Seán Halpin
Evan Dinsmore
Matt Hryhorsky Embody Designs
Helen Tran
Ashish Thakkar
Amit Jakhu
Rishabh Varshney
Jesse James Pocisk
Konstantin Sokhan
Jared Kennedy
Katerina Lyadova

3) Software to try

Professional designers utilize a variety of tools to get the job done. We'd suggest dipping your toes into tutorials for 3 of the most popular tools in UX today. Try creating prototypes, mock ups, and wireframes out for yourself with Sketch, InVision, and Balsamiq! All of them have a free tier or free trial.

Sketch:
A Mac native tool designed specifically for creating interfaces, websites, and icons. Perfect for big documents with repeating elements and multiple layers. Sketch has provided some awesome tutorials to get beginners started!

InVision:
Pull off a high-fidelity prototype in short order. InVision helps consolidate project management and collaboration of ideas, visually. Check out InVision's introductory walkthroughs to create your first project.

Balsamiq:
Aimed to get you "in the zone" of your design, Mockups is intended for rough, low-fidelity wireframing as initial concepts are being formed. Balsamiq's tutorials break things down into mockup types:
Balsamiq – Intro to Balsamiq Mockups Video
Balsamiq – Desktop Mockups
Balsamiq – Mobile Mockups


Want to get into the exciting field of UX design? Learn to apply fundamental design principles on-screen and execute a design pitch good enough to convince any stakeholder in our full-time and part-time UX course offerings.