That’s not another obvious instruction pointing at what we all already know! We present an unconventional guide for those who have read the same tips up to the 10th page of Google!
Why Shouldn't You Listen to Trivial Tips from the Search?
By the way, here they are, and we bet you’ve come across all of them hundreds of times:
- Courses. Offline or online, they offer mostly theory without valuable practice. Some of them do, of course, however, the majority of popular educational pieces on Coursera or Udemy provide attendees with theory and useful recommendations.
- Books, blogs, vlogs. Well, that’s not a surprise! We already know that we can find more tips in publications, but will they help us to succeed in practice? Moreover, employers won’t be in a hurry to send you an offer if you say, “I’ve read how to create UX design in a book.”
- Mentors. They can really help when it comes to practicing design, as these people focus on real hands-on experience. Nevertheless, have you ever tried to find a good mentor? Some of them don’t have time, some of them are too expensive.
- Internship. The last tip is to find an employer who offers an internship. Sounds well, especially if you want to continue working for the company later. However, there are dozens of talented newbie designers, so will you wait in the queue?
To not face these issues, we’ve prepared truly actionable advice for beginners who need more hands-on experience!
Set Tasks for Yourself
Want to have a rich portfolio to surprise your potential employers? Think of what projects you’d like to be involved in, set several tasks for yourself and create UX/UI design as if you were doing this at work.
As a result, you’ll have several works to show at an interview and experience. 1-2 hours of practice every day will make you a pro just in a year! Also, the greatest thing about setting tasks for yourself is that you can do it anytime and anywhere
Can’t come up with the right task? See the next point!
To make your practice focused and the future results more tangible, participate in challenges. This works both for people who don’t know where to start and for designers who are already practicing on their own.
There are special generators that offer ready-made imaginary challenges:
More than 15 million prompts are waiting for you! Get your next task for free:
- Choose a category or select all of them at once.
- Click ‘New Challenge’ and start working!
What we love about this generator is that you can choose the design vector and practice UX, marketing design or branding.
This one is free as well. Just like in a video game, you can choose the level of difficulty for your future prompts. Designercize has a timer, so you won’t have time for procrastinating - only design, only hardcore! ;)
- Choose which task you’d like to tackle - Easy / Medium / Hard.
- Reload challenges until you find something attractive.
- Set the timer if you want to train your speed.
The only drawback of this generator is that it doesn’t offer any categories. However, it looks fascinating and works the same way - you should try it out right away!
Surprisingly, complex UX challenges with a handful of details can be free! Platform creators divided challenges according to 4 design stages:
As you pass them, you will learn how to do practical tasks, thanks to which there will be no impossible tasks for you at work!
When you choose what to start with, you get the full description of the task, as well as links to tutorials and useful tools. Finally, you can share your work and ask for feedback on Twitter - add #uxtoolschallenges and tag @uxtoolsco in your post.
As it comes from the name, this free challenge generator is tailored to the needs of UI designers. Also, you can collect anonymous feedback about your work here, that’s just awesome! Just don’t be upset if you receive criticism - treat it as a valuable lesson and another point of your design evolution!
- Click on ‘Generate Challenge’ from the very first screen.
- Get your task with the details:
- Color palette
- Fonts ideas
- Illustration libraries to use
Once you are done with the design, log into the system and upload your work. Learn from feedback and feel free to look at what others do!
This challenge generator is a great match for people who want to try working with realistic briefs and look for extended functionality (feedback, exercises, links to relevant online lessons, etc.).
It has a free version and Pro, which costs only $5 per month. Here’s how the free version works:
- Choose the category you want to practice in:
- Logo design
- Web design
- Graphic design
- UX design
- Click on ‘New Prompt’ and get a short brief:
If you’d like to get more detailed briefs, get rid of ads, access dark mode and benefit from other perks, consider the Pro version.
What Should I Design
This platform is your way to fun and creativity. So, if you’re tired of serious realistic prompts, check it out! It is free and extremely easy to use. You can literally click on the button ‘Design another thing’ and get an offbeat task like this:
The power of this online app is in its non-standard approach to design. It is simply impossible not to fall into the abyss of endless creativity!
No, it’s not about Dribbble! We can bet that you’re aware that visiting this resource regularly is essential, as well as exploring Behance. We’re here to suggest something non-trivial:
Case Study Club
This resource offers a rich collection of professional case studies.
They explain why designers did it the way they did and which pieces of research are there in the background:
- In the ‘Case studies’ section, you’ll find a list of cases, which can be filtered by categories. You may either take a look at previews by clicking on a case title or head to the study by clicking on ‘Direct.’
- In the sections ‘Interviews’ and ‘Journal’, you’ll find more tips and brilliant ideas on design.
- You may also join the community and participate in live discussions and online events. Apply for the Pro membership. It costs $39 per month.
This platform hosts plenty of design cases, in which you’ll find the answers to the questions: ‘What? Why? How?’
- Choose the category:
- User onboarding
- NPS surveys
- Upsell prompts
- Product tour
- Feature release
- Mobile apps
- Made with Appcues
- Explore the screenshots of cool design and read the professional comment on why this piece is awesome!
Learning from others is always beneficial. We’re sure that you’ll find at least a couple of things to implement in your future work!
Look for Non-Standard Courses and Books
First, let’s see what differs an average thing from the one you need to try out right away:
- A handful of practical tasks or exercises.
- Future updates for your portfolio.
- Actionable exclusive tips based on the author’s unique experience.
- Lots of positive reviews.
- Many attendees, if it’s a course, or purchases, if that’s a book.
Also, consider our recommendations! ;) We’ve picked a free online course for people who would like to learn theory and try how it works in practice:
UX Design Curriculum
This one from Springboard is free. All you need is to authorize and start learning. You will discover:
- Research methods in design.
- Actual user-centered techniques.
- How to interview users efficiently.
- How to create top-notch user personas.
- What deliverables UX designers produce.
The course contains 38 resources that will take you around 55 hours to complete. Every section can be marked complete so you can track the progress.
Also, strengthen your everyday practice with reading books such as:
- an interactive 52 Weeks of UX by Joshua Porter,
- Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability by Steve Krug,
- Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal,
- and Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days by Jake Knapp.
Finally you will have a rich portfolio of creative design, which will win the hearts of both users and your future employers!