A little context
In 2018 I was started to play with web design during my summer vacation because I have to create a project for my college. But soon, I found my interest in web design.
But being from a lower-middle-class family, and lack of money, connections and guidance. It stopped me from becoming a designer, but a “learning mindset” helped me come up from those bad conditions.
Now I am happy with my job and life, and I also wanted you to be a better designer. By the way, I am currently working as a UX designer at a conversion optimization agency “Optiphoenix”.
My main reason to share this article is to make you aware of different books and courses which can help you learn design skills without wasting your time and money on random courses and books.
That’s why I had curated a list of my courses & books, which helped to make my design carrier. With every course, I will add my personal note about it. What I like and what I don’t like about it.
Note: None of the courses and books is affiliated; I am just putting my perspective. What I like and what not about it. I had not bought all the courses. Some are reviewed by using friends and peers course account.
If you wanted to become a product and UX designer
When I first saw this course, I was not intrigued. You know why? Because the Erik landing page was not looking awesome as compared to other design courses, let’s face the truth, visual design always increases the value of the product. Hence, the same thing happened to me.
Due to not having great looking page, I left the website without buying the course, but one thing that got stuck in my mind was the course curriculum.
Erik was teaching a lot of stuff which was very unique. As a newbie designer, I had never seen those things anywhere else.
After a couple of days, I subscribed to his newsletter because I like his blog post. The level of knowledge for a beginner was extraordinary and in-depth. This knowledge made me so impressed, And I purchased it.
1. Everything a beginner UX designer should know has been covered in the course
1. Expensive for those students whose currency difference are very high.
2. Lack 1:1 mentorship
Erik Kennedy has recently updated his UI design course in 2022. and I really love his content!
This course is provided by the CXL Institute. It’s a well-known institute for research in conversion optimization and digital psychology. This course will not help you directly in the UX design because it is more based on psychology & cognitive bias rather than UX principles and process.
One thing in which this course definitely will help you is standing out among other UX and product designer.
We all know that UX is for human beings, not for machine and servers and if you know the underlying psychology behind human actions & decisions. You can also reverse engineer it and use it and whatever way you want.
For example: how they read, what type of cognitive biases can affect humans, then you can help them make better choices.
Honestly, I didn’t pay for this course due to weak financial conditions. Thus, I decided to take their scholarship program. If you are also interested in it, then you can apply from their website.
No pros and cons because it is an bonus course
I took this course very early in my career when I was unaware of UX and product design.
I found this course accidentally when I was a member of a Facebook group author of this course was helping many beginning designers by answering their question.
Doing this kind of act grab my attention, and I end up on the course website. The course was very costly for me, but when I talked with the author. She provided me with a student discount, and I started to learn from the course.
The content quality was good, and the videos were short and practical. But still, I will recommend you take the UX design course by Erik. Once you take that course rest of the courses and materials will be a bonus for you.
1. 1:1 mentorship
2. Help you to build one real-world project for your portfolio.
3. An excellent course in terms of product design.
4. After giving you any knowledge, the author will also show it practically.
1. Lack of in-depth knowledge of UI/UX process and principles.
This course is also provided by CXL Institue, and here is how it will help you as a UX designer. I found many situations where you will have to deal with quantitive data(Like A/B testing, statistics, google analytics, etc.).
I haven’t found any specific course that teaches about it using quantitative data and gives you a framework to optimize things. So this course will teach you about it.
One more thing which I want to add is, As a designer, many companies, especially small ones & startups. Businesses don’t just want a good UX in their product. They also want their product to be more profitable. So, This course will help you in that also.
No cons, only pros because it a bonus skill to have under your belt
If you want, to become a Web & visual design
Before entering the design industry, I wanted to be a freelance web designer. So, This was the first course that drew my attention towards it.
To be honest, I found this accidentally. I saw this course on a torrent site and due to having a good name of the course. I decided to give it a try, but later I purchased the course because it helped me earn more than $1500.
If you want to be a designer and never design a single piece of app or a website, you should definitely check out this course. It is very affordable. One of the best things is rather than giving you design principles. The author will show you step by step to design a new website from scratch by understanding the client brief.
1. Affordable for everyone
2. Give you some basics on how to understand the client brief
3. Teach you the basics of freelancing
4. My favourite (You will be learning to design websites over the shoulder of the author)
1. The whole course is taught in photoshop
2. Don’t teach basic design principles and other small details like button size, which colour to choose.
If you are an intermediate designer looking to sharpen your web design skills and stretch to the next level. In that case, this course will definitely help you. Actually, this an upgrade version of the course mentioned above. Also, it’s a great course to teach you suitable lessons regarding design trends and how to create them.
No pros and cons because it’s a bonus with the above course
I was introduced to the author of this course when I was learning web design at the thefutur academy. I saw an interview of Chris do with Ran Segall(the main author of the course).
He talked about how he charged $10,000 for a website as a freelance designer. Seeing such a vast about of money intrigued me, and I searched about the author further on youtube.
Long story short, I took his course. As the name suggests, this course is about the author’s process, which is personally used to create a website and charge $10,000 for one website.
1. Practical and straightforward content
2. All aspect of the web design process is covered (like sending proposal and project management)
No cons found so far.
This course is built explicitly for those designers who want to sharpen their visual design(for website).
I personally enjoyed this course because it will give you the process to design a creative, eye-catching website.
However, this course will not allow you to deal with the client like running strategy session, project management, onboarding etc. But, it will definitely give you the process to come up with creative ideas to design beautiful landing pages.
Teach you the process of how to come up with a new & creative design idea.
Teach you some basics of design principles
Lack of enough hands-on design exercise.
Creating a website is not just about throwing images & colours and coming up with beautiful web pages. A website should be built to solve a business problem, which means we need a strategy to solve a particular problem. So I had already shared with you the course “10k website process”. This course will definitely give you the strategy to create a winning website.
I want to share another bonus course that will help you understand your audience, basics of marketing and teach you how to write online(copywriting). I personally used this course to write copy for my website. You can check my homepage www.khadush.com
If you want to be a UI designer
I had already shared one course of this author above yet. This is another course in which the author had taught UI design in a practical and in-depth way.
Personally, this is the best UI design course that I had learned so far in my carrier. So, I am 100% sure that this course will benefit you also.
If you are a completely new designer and looking to understand the UI principles and process from scratch, don’t think for a second. Go ahead and buy this course.
1. Practical and in-depth lessons
2. Homework assignments
3. Example with real-world project
4. Teach you how to deal with client
Videos are a bit longer (but that’s ok)
Laura Elizabeth, the author of this course, is quite famous on social media and among the client for his freelancing work. If you are working as a developer and looking for a short, practical and affordable course that will teach you how to design websites. Then, this course is definitely for you.
Even if you are a designer, this course gives you some practical tips and hacks to design a good-looking website. But, you are ok without also. If you have extra money, then you can check this course.
1. Filled with practical tips & tricks for web design
2. Lesson are fun to watch and short
1. Suitable only for developer
2. Don’t teach you any process to design a website
I am a fan of matt d. smith(author shift nudge course) because I love his visual design skills as well his lifestyle. When I first saw his course website, It blew my mind completely. His website was looking very classic and high end.
So, My expectation with this course was also very high. But, unfortunately, this course didn’t meet my expectation. I didn’t find this course worth the money because whatever you can learn in this course by paying $500+ money can also be learned from the “Refactoring UI” course.
If you are a new designer and looking for a UI design course, I will recommend the “Learn UI design by Erik Kennedy” course.
1. All the tips will be taught over the shoulder of the author with a practical example.
2. Demystify lots of apps interfaces so you can understand why it is looking beautiful
1. Not worth money
2. Videos are very long
3. Lack of straightforward design process (This is what I was expecting more)
If you are intermediate designer who has learned the UI skills as well as did some real world project then this is the best content you should invest into. Personally, I learned lots of new tips & tricks can help in making the interface looking more beautfiul. So, without thinking to much invest your money in it.
This is not a course so take this as an addon with your UI skills.
Some personal read book recommendation
Like most you guys I also don’t like to read books but here are some of the books which I had read personally and I learned so many great things from it!
If you also want take advantage then go and grab this book
- Solving product design exercise
- Designing with mind in mind
- Designing UX: Forms: Create Forms That Don’t Drive Your Users Crazy (Aspects of UX)
- Design of everyday things
- Building story brand
- Marketing made simple
That’s all, folks. I will keep updating this list from time to time as I will see other courses and also if there will be update in the courses mentioned above. If you have any doubt or question. Feel free to reach out to me!