Want to learn UX design but not sure where to start? Check this comparison of the best free UX design courses currently on the market, both online and in-person.
UX design is one of the most in demand jobs out there. Plus, in today’s increasingly digital world, it can be a useful skill to have even if you don’t plan to launch a full-time UX career.
One of the best ways to learn about UX design is to take a course. Today, there are numerous options available that will cost you absolutely nothing but your time and attention. If you’re a beginner, you can find a course that covers the basics, and if you’re a mid or senior-level UX designer, you can find a course that will enhance your knowledge and skillset.
To help you find a course that works best for you, we’ve run a comparison of the best free UX design courses. Here are our best picks for 2022.
1. General Assembly’s Intro to UX Design
Maybe you’ve heard that UX design is an in-demand field and are curious to know more. Maybe you know a little bit about the field but aren’t sure it’s for you. If that’s the case this online two-hour workshop from General Assembly is a great place to start.
General Assembly’s Intro to UX Design is a low-commitment option taught by a professional in the UX industry and it will introduce you to the basics of UX design, including what UX design is and what separates good UX design from bad UX design. It also presents some basic tools that will give you a taste of what it might be like to work as a UX designer. Plus, since it’s a live-streamed workshop, you can ask any questions you have about UX design as they come up.
While this course isn’t comprehensive, it’s a good option for anyone who wants to quickly learn the basics of UX design. And it may be just the introduction you need to decide if UX is for you and if you want to learn more.
- The course is a single two-hour live-streamed workshop
- Introduces students to the basics of UX with minimal commitment
- Learn from an industry professional
2. University of Michigan’s Introduction to User Experience Principles and Processes on Coursera
Coursera is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) platform that offers free classes on almost any topic you can think of, including a number of UX classes. For those looking for a thorough introduction to both UX design and UX research, one of the best is University of Michigan’s Introduction to User Experience Principles and Processes.
The course covers everything from how to conduct user interviews to sketching and prototyping UX design concepts, while maintaining a focus on user needs. Each week there are videos, readings and practice exercises that will ensure you will come away with a thorough understanding of the material. Plus, if you want to learn more, this course is part of a 6 course User Experience Research and Design Specialisation.
- The course is 6 weeks long and will take 12 hours to complete
- Teaches the fundamentals of both UX design and UX research
- Upon completion students receive a shareable certificate
3. CareerFoundry’s UX Design Short Course
CareerFoundry offers classes in UX, UI and other web-based skills. Their UX Design Short Course consists of six daily lessons along with an optional test on the seventh day. The course is flexible and self-paced, so students can complete the tutorials whenever they find time. Each lesson takes approximately 15 minutes to go through and each one focuses on a different topic and includes videos, reading materials and brief exercises.
The course is an introduction to UX design that’s tailored to anyone contemplating a career change to the industry. As a result, in addition to the basics of UX design, the course’s lessons cover topics like the kinds of roles that are available in the field, how to create a UX design portfolio and how to navigate the UX job market.
- The course consists of six lessons and can be completed at students’ own pace
- Includes brief hands-on exercises that offer a taste of what working in the field is like
- Emphasises UX job opportunities and the UX job market
4. UX Design Institute’s Introduction to UX Design
The UX Design Institute offers a free seven-day course for beginners to UX design that consists of content taken from its university credit-rated programme in UX design. It’s a great survey of topics in UX design as well as a great introduction to everything the UX Design Institute’s programme has to offer.
Brief video lessons are emailed to students every day for seven days along with additional resources for anyone who wants to learn more about a particular topic. The course’s lessons will help newcomers to the field learn the fundamentals of UX while deciding if a UX career might be a good fit for them.
- An email containing a video lesson is sent to students each day for seven days
- The curriculum is taken directly from the UX Design Institute’s university credit-rated UX programme
- Provides a brief but comprehensive introduction to key UX design topics
5. Google’s Product Design Course on Udacity
There are few tech companies that have been more successful than Google. If you’ve ever dreamed of understanding how they do it, this online course on the MOOC platform Udacity is a great choice for both driven beginners and mid-level UX professionals who have a specific idea for a digital product.
The course will help you develop and test your product idea while teaching you the ins and outs of UX and the related field of product design. This includes how to perform UX research, create user flows and low fidelity mockups and how to understand and interpret metrics for user traffic and engagement. The course also demonstrates Google’s Design Sprint Process.
- The course consists of 4 lessons and takes approximately 2 months to complete
- Real world examples and insights from UX professionals are provided
- The course is especially valuable if you have an idea for a digital product you want to develop or are interested in becoming a product designer
6. UX Writing Hub’s A Taste of UX Writing
UX writer is a fairly new job title in the UX field. If you want to learn more about what a UX writer does, the UX Writing Hub’s free online intro course is a great option for everyone. It’s suited to beginners and long-time UX professionals who want to acquaint themselves with this new area of UX, as well as writers who are wondering if UX writing would be a viable option for them.
The self-paced course consists of eight brief modules that include lessons and quizzes and it wraps up with a final exercise that brings everything together. It covers all aspects of UX writing including topics like understanding microcopy, writing user journeys and creating a content style guide. Along the way it teaches you the basics of how UX writing fits into the larger UX design process, ensuring you complete the course with a thorough understanding of everything UX writing entails.
- The course consists of eight brief modules which can be completed at the student’s own pace
- Each module focuses on a different aspect of UX writing
- The course provides a real-world overview of what it’s like to be a UX writer
7. Georgia Tech’s Human Computer Interaction II: Cognition, Context and Culture on edX
This course, which is adapted from part of a class that’s included in Georgia Tech’s online Master of Science in Computer Science programme, is offered via the MOOC provider, edX. It is the second in a series of four courses Georgia Tech offers on Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), a topic that’s the cornerstone of both UX and UI design.
Beginners to HCI should start with the first course in the series, Human Computer Interaction I: Fundamentals & Design Principles. However, for those who’ve already been working in the UX industry, this second course may be of more interest. It delves into the psychology and cognition of users by exploring topics such as mental models, learned helplessness, user errors and hierarchical task analysis. The course also takes a wider view by covering how people and technology work together to form larger cognitive systems and how society impacts design and how design impacts society.
- The course is six weeks long and requires five to six hours of work each week
- Lessons focus on user psychology and cognition, and design’s impact on society
- An introduction to user behaviour that may be especially useful to mid-level UX designers
8. Intro To the Design of Everyday Things on Udacity
This course, available online via Udacity, is a valuable introduction for just about anyone interested in design. It may be especially inspiring for early career UX designers or those who need a refresher on some basic UX design concepts. It’s taught by industry pioneer Don Norman and based on the first two chapters of his seminal book The Design of Everyday Things.
The course consists of four robust modules that each includes multiple lessons covering various facets of a single topic such as affordances and signifiers and conceptual models. Each module is full of video tutorials and in-depth explanations about key concepts. There are multiple ways to apply what you’ve learned including quizzes, projects and an in-depth final project.
- The course takes approximately two weeks to complete, although lessons are self-paced
- Videos feature industry leader Don Norman
- Introduces key UX concepts and includes projects where students can practice what they’ve learned
9. Gymnasium’s UX Fundamentals
This course, available on staffing agency Aquent’s online Gymnasium platform, is geared towards beginning UX designers and web and UI designers who want to learn more about UX design. It requires that users have access to a programme like Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Powerpoint or Apple KeyNote and know how to use it to make simple drawings for assignments.
The course is taught by an industry professional and includes six lessons that provide an overview of UX, including identifying UX goals, creating wireframes and prototypes, understanding content organisation, using UX design patterns and conducting usability tests. Each lesson includes short videos explaining the topic and wraps up with optional quizzes as well as homework assignments.
Students also have access to an online forum where they can join discussions and receive feedback from their fellow students as well as from teaching assistants. The course concludes with a final exam and those that get an 85% or higher will earn a certificate.
- The course videos take around three hours to go through
- An online forum enables students to share their assignments and get feedback from teaching assistants
- If students pass a final exam with 85% or better, they receive a printable certificate
10. Hack Design’s Design Course
Hack Design’s course is an easy option for anyone interested in staying current on what’s happening in web design at any level of experience. Each week a lesson about some aspect of design is sent to students’ inboxes. The lessons are curated by industry professionals and may include lists of resources, explanations of techniques, introductions to design tools or interactive content that will help students enhance their understanding of design in ways that can improve their work in the field.
Topics are wide-ranging and can cover everything from user interface design to typography to front-end design but there’s a strong emphasis on various aspects of user experience and interaction design. The course is entirely self-paced and students learn independently, so they can do a deep dive into the topics they’re interested in and ignore the rest. The first 50 lessons are currently available to check out on Hack Design’s website, so potential students can take a look and get an idea of what to expect if they sign up.
- A single lesson is sent to students’ email inboxes each week
- Each lesson is curated by top designers
- Lessons cover different aspects of web design, and are especially well suited for those working in the industry
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