How to develop UX & UI Design skills? | Grab a Coffee ☕️ #17

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Grab a Coffee ☕️
More than 10 years ago I discovered my love for mountain sports through my partner. Before that, I actually hardly did any sports and my fitness level was accordingly or rather non-existent. 😅
But moving in the mountains, going hiking, climbing mountains, or ski touring is exhausting. So I had no choice but to start small, with short tours and few vertical meters. Over time, I became more fit and better at hiking.
Just as this progress took a lot of time, getting into UX and UI design takes time. I didn’t start my career as a UX designer, but over many years and various jobs, I have immersed myself in the subject, gained experience and developed my skills along the way.
The combination of knowledge and the use of that in practice have let me become the designer I am today. And I am far from perfect and there is many things I can still learn. Thanks to endless resources, every week I stumble upon new insights that will shape my further growth and work, and I make valuable contacts that help me become even better in the future.
What I want to say? You won’t be perfect at something overnight, whether it’s mountaineering, UX and UI design, or anything else. Learning is a process that is hardly ever complete. So get into it and give it the time it needs.

📒 What to expect and how to learn?
You won’t become a UX and UI specialist overnight. You should be aware of that. So you need some time to grow into the material. There’s no general time for this and just because most bootcamps last 10-12 weeks doesn’t mean that you’ll know everything afterwards.
How you can learn:
  • Read as much and as often as you can about UX and UI
  • Network with other designers
  • Look for a mentor if you are seeking personal feedback
  • Use YouTube, online courses or bootcamps to learn
How you make progress:
  • Learn the basics of UX and UI.
  • Find a project, e.g. an app you want to develop (or improve)
  • Apply the different concepts, processes, patterns, and methodologies as you gain your own experience and actively apply your knowledge.
But it’s not only worth learning as a UX and UI beginner. Even if you’re already working as a product designer, it’s helpful if you continue your professional development. Because as the saying goes, “Stagnation is regression”.
And let’s face it - no one covers all areas perfectly and there is always something new you can learn.
📚 What to read?
Don’t make me think — Steve Krug
The best-known classic among books for UX and UI designers is the book Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug. Each chapter aims to illustrate how to make digital applications as simple as possible for users. 
A must-read for any aspiring designer.
Just enough research — Erika Hall
Research is often underestimated and is not given the importance it deserves in many companies. “We already know our users” is often the statement we hear as designers. 
The book Just Enough Research by Erika Hall is perfect to know which methods - regardless of team size and budget - you can use as a designer.
Practical UI Patterns for Design Systems — Diana MacDonald
With many practical examples Diana MacDonald explains in Practical UI Patterns for Design Systems the most common UI patterns which you can use in your Design Systems and where some difficulties will await you.
You will learn what UI patterns are, how you can use them and why consistency is king when it comes to product design. Diana MacDonald also shows in her book the best examples of very common UI patterns so that you get inspired for your own work.
👩‍🏫 Where to study?
Online Courses IxDF
If you just start learning about UX and UI Design I would recommend to do some online courses at the Interaction Design Foundation. IxDF
You can become a member of the IxDF with just a few clicks and the membership is compared to the amount of knowledge that’s waiting there for you, not really expensive.
I did a lot of courses at IxDF when I decided to go deeper into this topic and learned a lot. If you follow along the courses you can create truly outstanding case studies for your portfolio from them.
But also if you’re an advanced designer, there are some quite interesting topics which will help you to deepen your knowledge in some parts, like Information Visualization, Designing for AR or Gamification.
Join IxDF and save 2 month membership fee! 🚀
Bootcamps at Memorisely
In 2021 I attended two Bootcamps at Memorisely. Since last year Zander Whitehurst and his team are quite popular in the UX/UI bootcamp industry and are very present on social media.
I did the 12-week UX/UI Bootcamp and afterwards I signed up for the Design System Bootcamp. Both I can highly recommend, even if you don’t necessarily have to do the design system bootcamp after the UX/UI bootcamp. Some of the content overlapped, but the UX/UI bootcamp was of course much more extensive and intensive. 
Especially the interactive live classes were the hit of these bootcamps. The collaboration and exchange with other (aspiring) designers is really valuable. 
But here too, just like with self-paced online courses, the same applies: You have to bring input, participate a lot and work intensively on your projects. Then you can get the best results out of these bootcamps, learn a lot and acquire excellent knowledge.
There is also a recent UX Research Bootcamp that is certainly also extremely exciting and educational. However, I can’t report anything about it, since I haven’t attended it myself.
Just a cup of coffee ☕️
Thank you so much for reading so far and I hope you learned something new and enjoyed your coffee. Because that’s the goal I want to achieve: sharing with others to grow together 🚀 (and drinking good coffee).
If you would like to support my work and with that help other people to find their way into UX/UI industry, you can support my mission by buying me a coffee here. ☕️
Need more insights? Follow me on Twitter or Instagram and please share the Grab a Coffee ☕️ newsletter with your friends, colleagues and all other people who could be interested.
See you next week with new topics and an amazingly good cup of coffee. ☕️
Marina 👋
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Marina
Marina @marina_kdot

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