Coming from a background in Digital Design, I advanced my career to managing a team with varied experience in UI design, UX architecture, and User Research. At this point in my profession I had dabbled in many of these areas myself, but my role now focussed more on increasing the efficiency of the design team and integrating the team into a more Agile way of working. Like many other organisations, the company I was working for at the time had far more focus on the delivery and development of website features, with little to no understanding of user centred design and the benefits of user research. Frustrated in the position I was in, I decided to look up tools I could use to get the buy in for good design practices.
My search for tools led me to Interaction Design Foundation. I had heard of this platform from peers in the past and figured the cost of the membership was affordable when you look at all the material available. The User Experience courses catered for designers new to the field, all the way to senior designers that wanted to harness their management skills and even learn about the psychology involved with design.
The course that immediately caught my attention was UX Management: Strategy and Tactics. It covered areas vital to what I was experiencing in the company I worked for; including making a business case for UX, UX being core to delivery, climbing the ladder, looking at roadmaps and processes, and continuing to grow UX within an organisation. This enabled me to approach my role slightly differently, especially when it came to talking about the UX return on investment and how to deal with stakeholders. This resulted in an increase in confidence and working more collaboratively with other areas of the Digital team I was a part of.
From a process perspective, Interaction Design Foundation opened up my eyes to the Design Thinking process. This broadened my view on how to deal with approaching and solving problems that weren’t just set in the digital sphere, integrating this way of thinking to Agile working within the organisation I was based. This wasn’t without its challenges, but we found a way to make it work by adding more discovery work before sprints.
I was perhaps caught out by the sheer number of courses; taking on more courses than I could handle with a full time job. However, the recent pandemic and lockdown enabled me to revisit some of the courses I had begun or signed up to without completing. I guess every cloud has a silver lining! As the courses are split into smaller chunks, this allowed me to balance my time in learning new skills via the courses and having relevant breaks through the day.
The courses are run by professionals in the field. This helps as they discuss their real-life experiences in their career which helps relate them to what we may be going through ourselves. A mixture of videos and reading material also helps to stay focussed through learning, helping me to better digest the information in front of me.
To date I have completed 7 courses, each generating a certificate I can add to my LinkedIn profile. These courses range from new material to areas I thought I’d brush up in to gain that refresh I’ve wanted for a while. And yet there are even more courses I’d like to complete; including but not limited to Augmented and Virtual Reality, Emotional Design, and The Brain and Technology: Brain Science in Interface Design.
I have since moved on from the company that I was at when I joined Interaction Design Foundation, but I find that my learnings from the courses still apply to my new role within the new organisation that I work for. I highly recommend signing up for a membership to anyone interested in design, be it aspiring UX designers or design managers interested in furthering their knowledge in the field.
This has been a guest post by Bhupinder Hothi