At thelighthouse, we believe in career insight that is personalized to you and rooted in real, up-to-date industry context. That’s why our industry and role cheat sheets are curated by real industry professionals — they’re in the field and are here to share their top tips, resources, and insights.
Breaking Down the Industry
What is UX?
“User experience” encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products. More details here.
See the role defined in a 60 second video here.
“The field is really about combining technology with psychology and trying to break down people’s mental models and how they understand concepts in the real world and applying that to technology. We’re designers, we’re researchers… we try to understand how [the customer] uses technology and make the products better for them”
lighthouse Host and UX Designer & Researcher at Google
What are the different types of UX?
UX Design: create models and wireframes, and rely on user feedback for proof or basis for iterations and product enhancements.
UI Design: is all about the visuals and aesthetics of digital interfaces. UI designers select patterns, icons, shapes, animations, transitions, sounds, all based on their professional expertise, industry trends, and while taking into account user and client needs.
Research: conduct tests, gather data, and analyze that qualitative and quantitative data to identify “pain points” and drive product improvements.
Courses To Get The Hard Skills
General Assembly’s 10 Week UX Course
Location: In-Person or Online
Kickstart your career a 10-week immersive program, or learn in-demand skills in a part-time course — on campus or online.
Flatiron School’s 24 Week UX & UI Design Course Price: $15k (online), $17k (in-person) Location: Online or In-Person Learn the user experience, client management, technical, and practical skills necessary to launch a successful career as a user experience (UX) or user interface (UI) designer in a fully online model.
Treehouse’s Design Track
Price: Monthly memberships ranging from $25–199/month (they have a free trial!)
Smaller courses on need-to-know UX topics including: Intro to Wireframing, Design Thinking, Creating User Experiences, and more!
UX Certification from the NN/g Nielsen Norman Group
Options for one to seven day intensive UX training. Leave with proven UX methods and practical skills you can apply immediately. Learn from NN/g experts, invited speakers, and industry peers.
General Assembly User Research Methods Price: $350 Location: In-Person One-day workshop to learn more about user research methods and making sense of research findings to answer important business and customer questions.
UX Design In A Day at Noble Desktop Price: $325 Location: In-Person Learn about the UX Design process.
User Experience Design Fundamentals by Udemy Price: $19 Location: Online Learn how to create effective web sites, mobile sites and apps that encourage conversions and leave users wanting more.
- Check out these 14 Must-Know Tips for Getting Started in UX by Ira Blossom himself :)
- UX Collective
- IDEO’s human centered design process: How to make things people love
- The Mockplus blog
- Interaction Design Foundation
- The UX Notebook
- UX Booth Weekly
- UX Mag
- UX Collective
- The full list of newsletters can be found here
Communities To Join:
- LinkedIn UX Professional Group
- Subreddit r/UXdesign
- UX Stack Exchange
- Dribbble to get feedback on your work
Must Read Books:
- “Set Phasers On Stun” by S.M. Casey
- “The Design of Everyday Things” by Don Norman
- “Don’t Make Me Think” by Steve Krug
- “Sprint” by Jake Knapp
- “Just Enough Research” by Erika Hull
- “Lean UX” by Jeff Gothelf
- “Validating Product Ideas” by Tomer Sharon
- “UX Strategy” by Jaime Levy
- “UX Research” by Brad Nunnally and David Farkas
- “The User Experience Team of One” by Leah Buley
- UX Planet named these the 7 best UX Design books
Podcasts & Videos
- The User Defenders podcast is hosted by UX Designer and user advocate, Jason Ogle
- What we can learn from city flags? Roman Mars reveals five basic principles of flag design and shows why he believes they can be applied to just about anything (like UX design too!) here.
- 99% Invisible hosted by Roman Mars
- UX Podcast is hosted by user experience professionals Per Axbom and James Royal-Lawson
- What is Wrong with UX is an entertaining and insightful podcast where the two co-hosts share cocktails and talk about how to build great products
- Thelighthouse x LaToya Westbrooks Career Lunch Series Episode on Breaking in and growing a career in UX Research.
- See the full list here
You’re off to a great start in making your UX dreams come true! Check out these additional resources via General Assembly as you prepare to dive deeper into the world of UX:
- Get a GA veteran instructor’s take on the key UX skill of customer journey mapping.
- Check out the GA guide to Human-Focused Design — it’s a great overview of the field.
- How UX designers from major brands define UX in 60 seconds (video).
- If you have time to do some reading, Don Norman’s The Design of Everyday Things is a classic, beloved by UX designers everywhere. (Not free, of course, but worth the price of admission!)
- Lastly, read up on this guide for How to create a UX portfolio without UX experience from InVision.