Design Patterns &
This is a long webpage, so I'll say it upfront: only read this if you want to design intuitive and easy-to-use web and mobile apps, but you currently struggle to do so.
There's a weird fact about human beings that people who make stuff often struggle to also make it usable. Developers are notorious for cranking out difficult interfaces. Graphic designers volunteer for their first UX project and think “so what exactly am I supposed to do here?” Try and Google around to answer these questions, and you’ll soon be reading about Fitt’s law and card sorting, and all kind of crap that – let’s be honest – UX designers basically never use. It might make for a nice article, but it’s not getting you any closer to making complex software simple and elegant.
It’s infuriatingly difficult to find the core ideas of making software usable. The principles that come up again and again. And yet those are the most important things!
This all gets even worse when you realize that many parts of designing good user experiences are already solved problems. Here’s an example. Say you’re making an email input field. Awesome – literally millions of people have entered their email address into billions of input fields. UX designers have been observing this for decades, and now, as a field, we just know the 20 or so most common pitfalls and pain points that bad applications have here.
Avoid those, and you have a wonderful little email input UX. It’s that simple.
The unfortunate truth is a whole lot of bad UX comes from not having a really big checklist. “Here are 50 things you’re just going to design at some point, and here are the 20 things to either (A) definitely do or (B) definitely not do for each". That would have saved me some time in my own UX career!
Oh, and then there’s user research and usability testing. This stuff gets seriously blown out of proportion. I’ve had clients come to me concerned about not being able to do eye-tracking research on their MVP landing page. I’ve listened to otherwise competent professionals discuss about how many users need to be interviewed before comments are “statistically significant”. And the classic problem of teams who just "don’t have the budget for research"? Don’t get me started. (It’s like tax evasion: you may save a buck now, but you’ll have to pay eventually – and with interest)
These qualms about research and testing are all due to one common mistake: we’re overthinking it. We’re not trying to discover quantum gravity here, folks. We’re just trying to make our app suck a little bit less next week than it does this week. And fortunately, the most valuable research and testing doesn’t take an army of PhDs to perform. It’s simple enough that one person can do it in a day’s work. Of course, like any part of creating a great product, it’s never over. But fundamentally, there are a few things to get right – and a few pitfalls to avoid – but that’s the gist of it. It can all be done, no stats class required.
All in all, designing a great user experience is still a strangely difficult task. But you still want to learn anyways? Fantastic.
Everyone’s reasons for learning UX are a little different.
There’s room for all of us here, by the way. Humans are pretty complex little lumps of emotions and values and wants and needs. Trying to design something we love? It’s fundamentally interdisciplinary.
And yet it’s so critical. Consider the following.
If your app technically solves 100% of your users' problems, but is frustrating and confusing to use, your users will jump ship the first chance they get.
On the other hand, if your app is usable and delightful, even if leaves a couple features to be desired, your users will send you feature requests – with love letters for preambles. (Ask me how I know)
And at the end of the day, “I love your app and use it every day, but wish it did X” is a way better problem than “I deleted your app after an hour of trying to figure it out”.
In an ideal world, no software would need a manual. You’d just download it (or log in) and start using it. Features would be exactly where you looked for them, error messages – if you saw them at all – would be helpful and specific, and you’d never spend 5 clicks doing what could be done in just one. But what do you actually need to know to do this? How do you learn to think like a UX designer? How do you create something users will love?
I’m glad you asked.
The Complete Online Video Course
Over 18 hours of video lessons, filled with strategies and live examples covering all major areas of user experience design.
Lifetime access to PDF cheatsheets. Print them for your office wall, or just download them to your computer. Either way, a quick reference for a myriad of UX do’s and don’t-do’s.
Old-school? No doubt. But it works.
Get access to a series of PDFs with key design tips and tricks. I keep these hanging on my office wall — you’ll want to too.
Come for the feedback, stay for the community. Learn alongside other UXers — in an actually beginner-friendly environment.
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Go from zero to pro-level UX design.
Imagine having an idea for an app. You can lay out the UX confidently, knowing that even as complex as the app is, you will be able to create something that users love. You don’t need to hire anyone to do it for you. Instead, you talk to your users, knowing exactly what to say (and what not to say) to get the best, most unbiased feedback. You confidently sketch out new features, new flows, and new apps, knowing the best practices of modern digital design. UX is a part of your skillset, and you can use it whenever you need it.
Learn UX Design covers the knowledge you need, whether you want to freelance as a UX designer, get hired full-time, or simply make your own projects delightful and intuitive.
Get a practical foundation in user experience:
I’ve created this course to be the single-best way to learn user experience design. It’s only the industry-tested lessons I’ve learned and used on the job for clients like Amazon, Soylent, Pro.com, and more.
Learn UX Design is a video course. This means you’re watching my screen as I do design work on dozens of real-world projects. Some are based on my actual client work, others are apps I’d like to make, and some are simply redesigns of existing apps.
Each project is carefully chosen to illustrate the point of whichever lesson it appears in. And as I design it, I’m also narrating the questions I’d ask myself (or users, or clients), and the different options I’d try, and all the little things I’d be thinking about.
But the net effect is you watch over the shoulder of an industry professional for 18 hours of live design work – from the comfort of your own home, on your own schedule, whenever in the future you’d like (all students have lifetime access to the course).
Furthermore, when you think you’ve created something great, you can post it to the student community Slack for feedback – from other designers-in-training – and me. But perhaps I should introduce myself.
Hi, I’m Erik Kennedy. I’m a freelance UX/UI designer based in beautiful Seattle, WA.
My clients have ranged from startups to Fortune 100 companies, and have included folks like Amazon, Soylent, Pro.com, and more.
I’ve spoken here and abroad at businesses, meetups, and universities (like UW, Yale, and UC Berkeley). In addition, my design writing has appeared in publications like A List Apart and Smashing Magazine, and been read by over a million people.
I’ve taught the fundamentals of great design to over 2000 students, and I’ve poured thousands of hours into creating the very best courses on design in the industry. Let’s take a look.
Learn UX Design is a comprehensive introduction to user experience. Enough to go from zero to getting hired, freelancing, or launching your own professional-quality app.
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From common usability mistakes to user research, you’ll be able to go through the entire design process confidently for any app – web, mobile, or otherwise. You’ll be able to speak to clients, bosses, team mates, developers, and, of course, users to create delightful, usable experiences.
But I know you probably have some questions.
No. This course is suitable for complete UX beginners.
However, if you are knowledgeable in some areas of UX, there are virtually no prerequisites between videos, so you can skip freely to whatever topics interest you – and bypass anything you already know.
Yes. Even if you have no prior UX experience, Learn UX Design will walk you through the process of creating your first projects and assembling a high-quality portfolio.
However, this is optional. Not all students go through Learn UX Design in order to create a design portfolio, so the tasks and activities that relate specifically to this are called out separately from the normal course homework.
Yes – there's a 30-day 100% money-back guarantee.
Try Learn UX Design for 30 days. If you like it, great – you've got lifetime access to the 30 lessons, homework assignments, and resources. Not to mention that over time, I'll be adding new lessons and improving existing ones. And who will have access to 100% of the new material? You will, you lucky dog.
This course covers UX design: the art and science of making apps intuitive, easy to use, and delightful.
You might think of UX as “how it works” and UI as “how it looks”. This course covers the former. For more on the latter – topics like color, typography, alignment, etc. – check out Learn UI Design.
There is no coding necessary in this course, although I reference many terms and ideas from software development.
To become a UX designer, you will need to be proficient in software that can produce wireframes – and ideally prototypes as well.
Based on years of personal experience, as well as talking to hundreds of my design students, I recommend using Sketch, Figma, or Balsamiq for this.
Yes. You can get a certificate upon completing the course.
I say “web and mobile apps” as a matter of shorthand. Web and mobile apps are the most common types of apps you will be designing as a UX professional – but the principles in Learn UX Design also apply to:
Technically yes, but that’s not what this course is designed for.
Learn UX Design focuses on interaction-heavy digital experiences – apps where the user does things like browse lists of data, type in new data, search, filter, navigate to different parts of the app, etc. While many principles will apply to simpler websites, you should skip this course unless you want to design more complex apps.
Yes. I dislike how some online courses make you wait for weeks to see all the content. I prefer to treat all my students as adults capable of managing their own learning. You will have instant access to the entire course the moment you enroll.
All students have lifetime access.
As long as this course exists, you will be able to watch any video, complete any homework assignment, and see any resource. You can start the course the minute you buy it, or a year later – it's up to you.
You’ve read this far, so let’s talk money.
It’s no secret that the tech industry pays well. With an entry-level UX job, you’re looking at about the six-figure mark in major cities. And senior positions – which often only take a few years to reach – pay even better.
And that’s just for full-time employment. As a freelancer, you take the risk of finding your next client onto yourself, but you also have far more say into how much you’re rewarded for it. From my own experience, I was at Microsoft as a PM for years before I became a freelance UX designer. Even though Microsoft is one of the best-paying tech companies in the nation, guess where I ultimately was making more money?
Hint: not Microsoft.
It’s not everyone’s dream, but freelancing can be done from almost anywhere in the world, giving you the ability to travel, live abroad, and schedule your time on your terms. There are few better positions than UX designer for living the “digital nomad” life. And I’m speaking from experience here. With only a year of experience as a freelance designer under my belt, my wife and I took a year-long honeymoon around the world, visiting 16 countries and over 25 states. Some friends and acquaintances thought we must’ve inherited money. Nah, bro – it’s called a job.
But it was only possible because the job was design – something companies are willing to pay thousands of dollars for.
What will you do with professional-level UX skills? Build a portfolio and get a job? Freelance and travel the world? Your call.
Introducing: Learn UX Design, the complete online video course for non-UX designers who want to create intuitive and usable web and mobile apps.
Enroll and get:
Comes with a 30-day, no questions asked money-back gaurantee.
Get Notified When Enrollment Opens
Want to be notified when Learn UX Design opens for enrollment? I'll post advanced notice and a day-of announcement on my Design Newsletter – which also features original long-form design articles, and already has over 30,000 people on it. Can’t be that bad, right?