UI / UX Design

Design High-Impact User Experiences. Research, design, and prototype effective, visually-driven websites and apps.

SKILLS YOU WILL GAIN: Website Wireframe, strategy, User Interface Design (UI Design), User Experience (UX) And User Research

The UI/UX Design study program brings a design-centric approach to user interface and user experience design, and offers practical, skill-based instruction centred around a visual communications perspective, rather than on one focused on marketing or programming alone.

In this sequence of four courses, you will summarize and demonstrate all stages of the UI/UX development process, from user research to defining a project’s strategy, scope, and information architecture, to developing sitemaps and wireframes. You’ll learn current best practices and conventions in UX design and apply them to create effective and compelling screen-based experiences for websites or apps.

User interface and user experience design is a high-demand field, but the skills and knowledge you will learn in this Specialization are applicable to a wide variety of careers, from marketing to web design to human-computer interaction.

Learners enrolled in the UI/UX Design Specialization are eligible for an extended free trial (1 month) of a full product suite of UX tools from Optimal Workshop. Details are available in Course 3 of the Specialization, Web Design: Strategy and Information Architecture.

COURSE 1 - Visual Elements of User Interface Design

SKILLS YOU WILL GAIN: Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop And Adobe Indesign.

This design-centric course examines the broad question of what an interface is and what role a designer plays in creating a user interface. Learning how to design and articulate meaning using color, type, and imagery is essential to making interfaces function clearly and seamlessly. Through a series of lectures and visual exercises, you will focus on the many individual elements and components that make up the skillset of an interface designer. By the end of this course, you will be able to describe the key formal elements of clear, consistent, and intuitive UI design, and apply your learned skills to the design of a static screen-based interface.

This is the first course in the UI/UX Design Specialization, which brings a design-centric approach to user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design, and offers practical, skill-based instruction centered around a visual communications perspective, rather than on one focused on marketing or programming alone.

These courses are ideal for anyone with some experience in graphic or visual design and who would like to build their skill set in UI or UX for app and web design. It would also be ideal for anyone with experience in front- or back-end web development or human-computer interaction and want to sharpen their visual design and analysis skills for UI or UX.

Course and Specialization Overview

Welcome! In this first module I will summarize the assignments and expectations of this course, as well as the UI/UX Design Specialization.

What IS a user interface anyway?

In this first week we will look at some basic broad concepts and contexts for user interfaces, looking at examples both on and off-screen. We will look at basic principles of interaction theory, discuss the relationship between UI and UX, and examine the relationship between coding and designing. We will discuss the roles of functionality and aesthetics in interface design and outline a “form-first” philosophy to user interface design. This week will focus on background information and terminology and will give you the context and vocabulary necessary before you start making great interfaces!

 

Formal Elements of Interface Design

This week we are going to examine the various formal elements that make up an interface. We’ll start out with the larger questions of content, context and audience that frame any UI/UX project. In other words: What is it? Who is it for? And, where does it live? And we’ll look at the big picture of overall design direction, what is often referred to as “look and feel”. From there we’ll go into detail of how the basic components of how visual design works in the context of interface design: language, shape, color, imagery, typography, and icons. These areas will be the formal building blocks you will use to create the more complex visual structure of a screen-based user interface.

Active Elements of Interface Design

This week we are going to take our static interface elements and begin to think about how a user interacts with them. In other words, how to bring these elements a stage closer to having a life on the screen. We’ll be looking at navigational conventions, such as menus, buttons, and icons in different states. Our focus will move from what the graphic interface looks like, to include how it works and how it responds to the user. By adding interactivity to our static designs, the idea is to think more deeply about the role the designer plays in shaping a user’s interactive experience.

Composing the Elements of Interface Design

This week we are going to take our individual interface components and see what happens when we try to put them together into a more complex structure. We’ll be looking at how to get our components to work harmoniously as a family, figuring out how hierarchy works in the interface, and discussing conventions and expectations of contemporary interface design. We’ll also be examining how to navigate to different screens and how to build visual relationships between different kinds of content within a single site. Finally, we’ll be discussing different platforms, how to create variable content for different screen sizes, and looking at how to organize complex bodies of content into user-friendly structures.

COURSE 2 - UX Design Fundamentals

SKILLS YOU WILL GAIN: Adobe XD, Adobe Illustrator, InVision, Marvel And Adobe Indesign

This hands-on course examines how content is organized and structured to create an experience for a user, and what role the designer plays in creating and shaping user experience. You will be led through a condensed process that acts as a roadmap for developing robust UI/UX design: from ideation and sitemapping, to the creation of paper and digital prototypes. Building on the design skills learned in Visual Elements of User Interface Design, you will apply this methodology to produce a digital prototype for a multi-screen app of your own invention.

By the end of this course, you will be able to describe and apply current best practices and conventions in UX design, and employ the fundamental principles of how UX design functions to shape an audience’s experience of a given body of content. This is the second course in the UI/UX Design Specialization, which brings a design-centric approach to user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design, and offers practical, skill-based instruction centered around a visual communications perspective, rather than on one focused on marketing or programming alone.

These courses are ideal for anyone with some experience in graphic or visual design and who would like to build their skill set in UI or UX for app and web design. It would also be ideal for anyone with experience in front- or back-end web development or human-computer interaction and want to sharpen their visual design and analysis skills for UI or UX.

Course Overview


Welcome! In this first module I will summarize the assignments and expectations of this course.

 

Ideation, Articulation, Development

 

Your assignment at the end of this week is the first stage in a multi-step process towards developing a clickable prototype: coming up with a clearly articulated idea for an app with a specific goal in mind. So this week we will focus on how to articulate and structure your ideas and goals, how to use naming and language as a part of your app’s identity. We will also look at audience research and user centered design.

Planning, Testing, Researching, Mapping

This week we’re going to continue to develop, plan, and test your app idea. We’ll start by sketching out more extensive content and mapping it into a structure. To test what aspects of your app are working, we’ll look at how to create a non-visual paper prototype and work our way towards a sitemap. While you’re developing the logic of your app, you’ll also begin to develop the look and feel of it: the visual development process.

What Goes Where?

At this stage in our process we are going to take our site map, look and feel research, and user testing to the next level in order to get a more accurate static prototype. By building a wireframe of our interface, we’ll figure out what goes where, and on which pages, utilizing our user testing information to figure out the hierarchy and structure of our app. This week is about the logic and functionality of our interface, and how it’s actually going to work within the app.

Making it by Faking it

In this final week of the course, you will be taking your wireframes or app screens and make a simple functioning digital prototype to simulate the experience of interactivity. We’ll be using simple prototyping software to put your static screens into a realistic context, and simulating interaction in order to understand how your app feels, in order to troubleshoot and fix problems. This is the part of the course where all your talents come together! For me this is the most exciting part of UI/UX development, when it all starts to become real and you have a believable prototype in your hands.

COURSE 3 - Web Design: Strategy and Information Architecture

SKILLS YOU WILL GAIN: Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Indesign And Treejack

This course is focused on the early user experience (UX) challenges of research, planning, setting goals, understanding the user, structuring content, and developing interactive sequences. While the concepts covered will translate to many kinds of interactive media (apps, digital kiosks, games), our primary focus will be on designing contemporary, responsive websites. In this course you will complete the first half of a large scale project—developing a comprehensive plan for a complex website—by defining the strategy and scope of the site, as well as developing its information architecture and overall structure. Along the way we will also discuss:

– Different job descriptions in the web design industry and where UX and UI skills fall within this spectrum – The difference between native apps and websites – The difference of agile vs. waterfall approaches – User personas and site personas – User testing

The work and knowledge in this course continues in the last course in the UI/UX Design Specialization, Web Design: Wireframes to Prototypes, where you will tackle—finally—wireframes, visual mockups, and clickable prototypes.

This is the third course in the UI/UX Design Specialization, which brings a design-centric approach to user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design, and offers practical, skill-based instruction centered around a visual communications perspective, rather than on one focused on marketing or programming alone.

These courses are ideal for anyone with some experience in graphic or visual design and who would like to build their skill set in UI or UX for app and web design. It would also be ideal for anyone with experience in front- or back-end web development or human-computer interaction and want to sharpen their visual design and analysis skills for UI or UX.

Course Overview

Welcome! In this first module I will summarize the assignments and expectations of this course.

The User Experience Process

This week I will give you a brief overview of the user experience process that I will teach in this course sequence. We will begin by defining the term “user experience”, and then briefly look at the five phases of UX design: Strategy, Outline of Scope, Sitemap, Wireframes, and Visual Mockups. I will also talk about the differences between mobile apps and websites, and the differences between waterfall and agile approaches to UX design. Lastly, I will introduce you to the main project that you will be working on in this course and the one that follows it. You’ll be starting your first assignment at the end of the week. Last, here’s something to keep in mind this week: “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”—Steve Jobs

Asking Good Questions: Determining Strategy

This week is all about strategy. We will talk about how to conduct research in the beginning of a project. And I will tell you about the importance of defining a target audience for your website. We’ll also discuss how to determine user needs and client needs. The strategy that you develop in this first step in the UX process will influence all decisions you make further down the line. That’s why it’s so important to take the time and think about what you want to accomplish, what the goals are, and how they might be measured when the project launches.

What is in and What is Out: Outlining Scope

By now you should have a pretty clear idea what your projects will be about and who your target audience is. This week we will talk about how to take the user and client needs that you have established and create a set of content and functionality requirements from them. In other words, you’re transforming your overarching goals from last week into specific requirements for your site.

Getting your Ducks in a Row: The Sitemap

Welcome to the last week of this course. With your outline of scope in hand, you will now learn how to transform the content and functionality requirements determined last week into a navigable structure. This structure will be visualized by something called a sitemap. I’ll tell you all about sitemaps and how to create them. Along the way we will also define the term “information architecture”. And I will introduce a tool called TreeJack, which will enable you to test your site map on actual users.

COURSE 4 - Web Design: Wireframes to Prototypes

SKILLS YOU WILL GAIN:  Sketch, Adobe XD, Adobe Illustrator, HTML/CSS And Balsamiq.

This course is focused on the application of the early UX research to actual user interfaces: the creation of wireframes, high-fidelity mockups, and clickable prototypes. Along the way we will also discuss:

– Responsive web design and mobile web challenges

– Mobile-first approach

– Web typography

– The relationship between design and programming and whether it is important to know how to code

– The different web technologies that make the web work, such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, server-side coding, and databases.

This course is the continuation of the course Web Design: Strategy and Information Architecture, in which students completed the first half of a large scale project—developing a comprehensive plan for a complex website. If you are intending to complete the assignments in this course to earn a certificate you must complete the Strategy and Information Architecture course first so you have the materials and data needed to begin creating wireframes and mockups in this course.

This is the fourth and last course in the UI/UX Design Specialization, which brings a design-centric approach to user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design, and offers practical, skill-based instruction centered around a visual communications perspective, rather than on one focused on marketing or programming alone.

These courses are ideal for anyone with some experience in graphic or visual design and who would like to build their skill set in UI or UX for app and web design. It would also be ideal for anyone with experience in front- or back-end web development or human-computer interaction and want to sharpen their visual design and analysis skills for UI or UX.

Course Overview

Not Getting Caught up in the Details: Wireframes

This week is all about wireframes. After mapping out our strategy and scope in the previous course, Web Design: Strategy and Information Architecture, this is the first time in the process that we will address the screen. Now things are going to get much more concrete as we’re starting to actually lay out elements for the user interface. This week you will learn why working on wireframes first—before designing high-fidelity mockups—is a helpful intermediate step. I’ll also talk about responsive design, navigation systems, wayfinding, common design patterns, and strategies for homepage design. And, we’ll discuss which tools are most appropriate for creating wireframes. Because creating those will be your assignment at the end of the week.

Finally, Make it Beautiful: The Mockup Phase

We finally reached the point that many of you—especially if you consider yourself a visual designer—have probably been waiting for. We’ll now talk about designing the look and feel for your website. Meaning, we’re ready to design visual mockups. Finally, you’ll get to decide on colors, typefaces, and images. Maybe you’ll create a few illustrations. And your site will need a logo, too. This week, we’ll focus on designing the visual mockups of just the homepage. To find some inspiration, I’ll also have you create a mood board.

An Excursion to Codelandia

This week, you’ll continue the visual design of your websites, refining the look and feel based on peer feedback. Having worked on the homepage mockup last week, it’s time to design the remaining screens. As an important aside, I will take you on a short expedition to the land of code. Although this specialization isn’t about learning how to code, I want to at least introduce you to the technologies that make the web work. And we’ll look at a few coding examples. After all, the web is built upon certain languages—HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. in order to be an effective UX designer, it is helpful to have a rudimentary understanding of these technologies.

Putting it all Together: Final Presentation

Welcome to the final week of this course and the final week of the entire UI/UX Design Specialization. I hope that you learned a lot of new concepts, techniques, and skills that will allow you to design some amazing interactive experiences in the real world. This week, you will have time to revise any of your project components. And then I’d like you to assemble them into a presentation that will represent the culmination of all of the UX phases we covered. This should be a great project to include in your portfolio. I’ll also show you how to take your static mockups and assemble them into clickable prototypes.