Learning UX? Here’s my review of the Interaction Design Foundation

My foray into the world of design started many years ago when a colleague suggested that I would be really good at design and “co-creation“. Prior to this, I didn’t know there were design careers outside of graphic design and had never heard of co-creation. So I quickly jumped on Google to explore user experience (UX) design and it wasn’t long before I came across the Interaction Design Foundation (IxDF) and their UX courses. A whole new world opened up to me as I explored the IxDF’s extensive, free library of design thinking and UX articles.

Still, I wasn’t quite ready to take a plunge into the world of design. Until a few years later when I came across Harness Projects, a six-week project-based UX course. When I saw the IxDF logo on their curriculum partners list and learnt that their course included membership to the IxDF, it basically made up my mind.

Two projects later and I have now transitioned to my own IxDF membership because I loved their UX courses so much. I completed the ‘Become a UX Designer from Scratch‘ and ‘User Research – Methods and Best Practices‘ courses as part of my two projects with Harness Projects. I am currently working through the IxDF’s Product Manager career track.

Learning the principles of Design Thinking with IxDF

Things I love about the IxDF courses

1. It’s extremely affordable

For me in Australia, it’s about $23 per month (AUD). This is incredible value considering you get basically unlimited access to their courses. They are limited by when intakes are available. However, courses have at least one intake every year and there is always something open.

2. It’s self-paced and bite-sized

The courses are made up of bite-sized segments which are either articles or videos with between 1 to 3 comprehension questions at the end. This makes the courses highly digestible. I found it easy to complete one or two segments on my commute

3. It’s an authoritative source, especially on UX design, UI and usability

IxDF works really hard to maintain up to date industry-leading content in their courses and their literature library. The father of design, Don Norman, writes for them, among other industry leaders and educators. I reference their library frequently when trying to explain design concepts to colleagues and clients. It is my go-to recommendation for anyone seeking to learn the foundations of design across the spectrum of design practice.

4. It’s truly global

All IxDF members have the option to join a local group. These are community-led groups that are based in many cities around the world, including Perth (usually this side of the country misses out on global programs).

My profile at IxDF

What the IxDF courses are not

1. An immersive UX project experience

Although IxDF does offer a UX bootcamp, this is separate from the regular membership. Many of the IxDF courses include an optional project you can complete for your portfolio. However, I get the most value out of the education content, clarifying and expanding my understanding of design concepts and techniques. I then built these skills by seeking out other projects. That said, you could definitely build a UX portfolio if you dive into the prompts provided within the IxDF course and supplement this with their bootcamp.

2. Specialised in every type of design

IxDF has huge expertise in user experience, usability and interaction design. They have also expanded into adjacent topics such as product management and marketing. However, their courses aren’t as comprehensive on other practices within the design family, such as service design or design futures. However, they are constantly iterating their classes and developing new content. I have noticed they are developing a lot of material around service design at the moment. Plus they do have heaps of in-depth content on the tenents of design thinking and other design concepts that are transferable to these other practices. This gave me confidence in the basics and helped me ask the right questions to find other resources.

Testing what I’ve learnt from IxDF UX Courses

Where my IxDF education has taken me

From being an accountant who had never heard of UX design, I am now employed as a Senior Project Lead at Innovation Unit, delivering service design work to make an impact on social problems here in Australia. I am also freelancing as a designer and facilitator for enterprises looking to improve how their teams and leaders operate. You can check out some of the projects IxDF has helped me complete in my portfolio.

Without the foundations I learnt from the IxDF library, I would have not even known these roles were a career option. And without their UX courses, I would not have had the confidence to transition my career.

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