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oktober 25, 2023


A high-income skill for creatives: user experience

So far in our high-income skills series, we’ve explored how you can use data analysis to demonstrate your impact and project management to enhance your workflow. Both of these skill sets tend to involve internal workflows. This week, we’re shifting to an external focus: the user experience.

User experience (UX) has to do with understanding the way a person (the user) interacts with (or experiences) a product. The product can be a physical item, such as a sneaker, or a digital asset, such as a web page. When you consider a user’s experience, you’re making your product more user-friendly, oftentimes by drawing upon your creativity and social perceptiveness.

What can you do with strong UX skills?

Typically, when we think about UX, jobs like UX designer or UX researcher may come to mind. People in these roles typically work with products that are crucial to a business’s success. At Coursera, for example, UX designers help design the online classroom experience.

But we can also broaden that perspective: Anyone can be considered a user, and anything that a user interacts with can be considered a product. Say you’re building a portfolio to share with potential employers. Your potential employers would be your users, and your portfolio would be your product. Tapping into your UX skills, you may consider the type of experience you want your potential employer to have when they look at your portfolio, and then use design elements that encourage that experience.

Here are some ways you can incorporate UX skills into your regular workflow:

1. Conduct research to understand your target customer.

Knowing your audience is a crucial aspect of effective communication. People skilled in UX often gather data about their target audience in order to determine how to develop a product that speaks to them.

Use this two-hour Guided Project to practice using Google Forms to analyze user research data like a pro, or learn more about UX research with the University of Michigan’s User Experience Research and Design Specialization.

2. Design attractive and engaging products.

Whether you’re writing a data report or making a presentation to the board, good technical design can be the difference between a captivated audience and a bored one. Next time you’re tasked with sharing your latest project, impress your colleagues and supervisors with a top-tier visual experience.

Boost your design capabilities with the University of Colorado’s Graphic Design Elements for Non-Designers Specialization.

3. Connect your customers’ needs with your business goals.

Design thinking involves more than just compelling visuals; it’s an iterative problem-solving process. In this way, you can use UX and design principles to solve complex business problems and help move closer to your team’s goals. 

Learn more about design thinking with Innovation Through Design: Think, Make, Break, Repeat, a free course from the University of Sydney.

Where to begin

If you’re new to user experience, start with the first course in Google’s UX Design Professional Certificate, Foundations of User Experience (UX) Design. This introductory course covers the basics of design thinking, process, and research, and if you enjoy it, you can advance to the next course in the certificate program.

For a crash course, try Georgia Tech’s Introduction to User Experience Design. This single course runs through the design process in about six hours.

To enhance your web development skills, consider CalArts’ UI / UX Design Specialization. Here, you’ll learn how to incorporate design principles into your web design.

That’s all for this week. Next week, we’ll talk about artificial intelligence skills. See you then!

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