This post is in partnership with the Interaction Design Foundation, which kindly offered an extension to the membership I paid last year, in exchange for my feedback. Opinions are mine, unaltered and unedited.
Last year, when my professional skills weren’t progressing as I wished, I started looking for User Experience courses that are valid but don’t cost a fortune. I’m glad to have stumbled upon the Interaction Design Foundation (IDF).
The IDF is a nonprofit initiative founded in 2002 that takes inspiration from the Scandinavian education system. The Foundation offers low-cost, high-quality education, and releases industry-recognised certificates.
For a small fee, anyone – no matter what their level of knowledge – can have access to the courses, potentially for an entire lifetime. There are suggested paths, based on the individual’s starting point, but people are free to build their knowledge as they wish.
I used to consume a considerable amount of articles across various publications about User Experience, with the intent of staying up to date and deepen my skills. What I needed was structure and the challenges of a course.
My Journey With IDF
I started with Design Thinking: The Beginners’ Guide. My interest in Design Thinking goes back to 2017 when I attended the one-day workshop at the Nielsen Norman Group’s UX Conference in London. I was hooked and wanted to know more.
I found the course to be very comprehensive, with a vast array of information and valuable tips that apply even if the companies we work for don’t officially use the Design Thinking process.
Then, I’ve obtained a certificate for Conducting Usability Testing. A smaller but efficient and useful course, it brought back my old passion for usability.
There are a few other topics I‘m currently studying (User Research, Interaction Design for Usability and Gestalt Psychology among others), and I’m even more convinced that anyone interested in design should take a look at the Interaction Design Foundation’s offering.
I firmly believe that, after the current crisis ends, we designers will face new and uncharted challenges. Even more than before, we’ll need to be able to innovate responsibly, while quickly adapting to changes. I hope that Dieter Rams’ motto, “Less, but better” will become everyone’s way of designing.
Having started as a web designer and developer in 2004, I slowly transitioned to UX. I didn’t have a formal education in the field, though: all I knew I learned by myself or through working experience and attending conferences.
Being self-taught comes with pros and cons. I was able to explore and deepen my expertise on topics that genuinely interest me, but I sometimes felt other professionals were either more assertive or more knowledgeable than me.
After months with the IDF, I can say that my confidence received a considerable boost. I was able to connect the dots, filling the gaps in my skillset.
Keeping up with a daily schedule, along with the possibility to connect with other designers in the IDF community, makes me feel like I’m breathing design, which is the reason why I chose this career in the first place.
Should you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments, or in an email.
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