Course Description

Every product or website should be easy and pleasurable to use, but designing an effective, efficient and enjoyable product is hardly the result of good intentions alone. Only through careful execution of certain usability principles can you achieve this and avoid user dissatisfaction, too. This course is designed to help you turn your good intentions into great products through a mixture of teaching both the theoretical guidelines as well as practical applications surrounding usability.

Countless pieces of research have shown that usability is important in product choice, but perhaps not as much as users themselves believe; it may be the case that people have come to expect usability in their products1. This growing expectation puts even more pressure on designers to find the sweet spot between function and form. It is meanwhile critical that product and web developers retain their focus on the user; getting too lost within the depths of their creation could lead to the users and their usability needs getting waylaid. Through the knowledge of how best to position yourself as the user, you can dodge this hazard. Thanks to that wisdom, your product will end up with such good usability that the latter goes unnoticed!

Ultimately, a usable website or product that nobody can access isn’t really usable. A usable website, for example, is often overlooked when considering the expansion of a business. Even with the grandest intentions or most “revolutionary” notions, the hard truth is that a usable site will always be the windpipe of commerce—if users can’t spend enough time on the site to buy something, then the business will not survive. Usability is key to growth, user retention, and satisfaction. So, we must fully incorporate it into anything we design. Learn how to design products with awesome usability through being led through the most important concepts, methods, best practices, and theories from some of the most successful designers in our industry with “The Practical Guide to Usability.”

What you will learn

  • An understanding of user interface design principles and usability considerations
  • How to best position yourself as the user
  • How to conduct usability evaluations and cognitive walk-throughs
  • Best practices for user testing
  • The practical application of usability

Who should take this course

This is a beginner-level course suitable for newcomers and experienced practitioners alike:

  • UX designers looking to boost their work experience with evidence-based theoretical knowledge
  • Project managers who want to build user-centered products that stand out from the competition
  • Software engineers interested in augmenting their development skills with a sound knowledge of usability
  • Entrepreneurs looking to ship products that are free from usability flaws and thus succeed
  • Newcomers to design who are considering making a switch to UX design

Courses in the Interaction Design Foundation are designed to contain comprehensive, evidence-based content, while ensuring that the learning curve is never too steep. All participants will have the opportunity to share ideas, seek help with tests, and enjoy the social aspects afforded by our open and friendly forum.

Learn and work with a global team of designers

When you take part in this course, you will join a global multidisciplinary team working on the course and the exercises at the same time as you. You will work together to improve your skills and understanding. Your course group will be made up of an incredibly diverse group of professionals, all of whom have the same objective—to become successful designers. It’s your chance to learn, grow, and network with your peers across the planet.

1 Mack, Z. & Sharples, S. The importance of usability in product choice: a mobile phone case study.

Lessons in this course

Note: Lessons become available at a schedule of one lesson per week. Once a lesson becomes available, it is open for you forever — you can take all the time you want to go through each lesson. There is no time limit to finish a course, and you always have access to your classmates, course material, and your answers.

Lesson 0: Welcome and Introduction

To be scheduled

  • 0.1: Introduction and Welcome!
  • 0.2: Please check your information before continuing
  • 0.3: Meet your peers (online)
  • 0.4: Meet your peers (offline)
  • 0.5: The 3 Components of Courses from the Interaction Design Foundation
    • 0.6: A mix between Research-based Versus Example-based Learning
    • 0.7: Course Structure, Point System and Course Certificate
    • 0.8: The Didactics and Educational Choices for IDF’s Courses
    • 0.9: The Exercise

Lesson 1: User Interface Design Guidelines

To be scheduled

  • 1.1: Shneiderman’s Eight Golden Rules Will Help You Design Better Interfaces
  • 1.2: User Interface Design Guidelines: 10 Rules of Thumb
  • 1.3: Principle of Consistency and Standards in User Interface Design
  • 1.4: Visibility of System Status
  • 1.5: Match System to Real-World
    • 1.6: User Control and Freedom
    • 1.7: Error Prevention
    • 1.8: Recognition Vs. Recall
    • 1.9: Flexibility and Efficiency of Use
    • 1.10: Aesthetic and Minimalist Design
    • 1.11: Aesthetic and Minimalist Design - More Needed Than Ever
    • 1.12: Offer Informative Feedback
    • 1.13: Help and Documentation
    • 1.14: 'Permit Easy Reversal of Actions'
    • 1.15: Provide Informative Feedback
    • 1.16: Reduce Short-Term Memory Load
    • 1.17: Support Internal Locus of Control
    • 1.18: UI Design Failure
    • 1.19: 8 Ways to Improve the Usability of Your Website
    • 1.20: The Psychological Basis for UI Design Rules

Lesson 2: Usability Considerations

To be scheduled

  • 2.1: Simply Simplify
  • 2.2: Simplicity in Design: 4 Ways to Achieve Simplicity in Your Designs
  • 2.3: Simplify Navigation
  • 2.4: Consistency
  • 2.5: Shortcuts and Memory
    • 2.6: Don Norman: The Three Ways That Good Design Makes You Happy
    • 2.7: User Experience - Marc's Advice on Designing with Experience in Mind
    • 2.8: User Experience - Marc's Main Guidelines and Ethical Considerations
    • 2.9: Demonstrating Simplicity in Design

Lesson 3: Thinking Like Users

To be scheduled

  • 3.1: External Cognition in Product Design: 3 Ways to Make Use of External Cognition in Product Design
  • 3.2: 'Chunking'
  • 3.3: Banner Blindness
  • 3.4: Serial Position Effect: How to Create Better User Interfaces
  • 3.5: The Self-Generation Effect: How to Create More Memorable User Interfaces
    • 3.6: How to Prevent Negative Emotions in the User Experience of Your Product
    • 3.7: Retain Goal-Relevant Information
    • 3.8: Security
    • 3.9: Preventing Errors
    • 3.10: Protect the Areas at Most Risk
    • 3.11: Important Superficial Decisions
    • 3.12: Context of Use
    • 3.13: Designing Interfaces
    • 3.14: Drawing Users' Attention
    • 3.15: Slow Loading Images: Designing Interfaces
    • 3.16: Focus On Users
    • 3.17: Using Sound
    • 3.18: Usability Considerations
    • 3.19: User Experience Design Diagram
    • 3.20: When Usability Sucks

Lesson 4: Usability Testing and Evaluation

To be scheduled

  • 4.1: Usability Evaluation
  • 4.2: Recommended reading
  • 4.3: The Importance of Usability Testing
  • 4.4: 15 methods for ensuring user acceptance and business success

Lesson 5: Inspection Methods: Practice and Application

To be scheduled

  • 5.1: Heuristic Evaluation: How to Conduct a Heuristic Evaluation
  • 5.2: Usability Inspection Methods
  • 5.3: User Experience - Future directions of User Experience and Experience Design
  • 5.4: When to Use Which UX Methods
  • 5.5: Carrying Out a Heuristic Evaluation of a Product

Lesson 6: Personas: A Method of Maintaining User Focus

To be scheduled

  • 6.1: Personas and User Research
  • 6.2: Personas
  • 6.3: Answering Important Questions
  • 6.4: The Science Behind Creating Personas
  • 6.5: Personas from Expert Lene Nielsen
    • 6.6: Disney Personas
    • 6.7: Persona Templates
    • 6.8: Sharing your ideas

Lesson 7: Practical User Testing Documentation

To be scheduled

  • 7.1: User Testing: Practical Guide to Usability
  • 7.2: Recording Testing Sessions: Practical Guide to Usability
  • 7.3: User Testing Scripts: Practical Guide to Usability
  • 7.4: Checklist
  • 7.5: Discussion Forum

Lesson 8: Usability Testing: Practical Application

To be scheduled

  • 8.1: Practical Issues: User-Centred Design
  • 8.2: What are the user's needs?
  • 8.3: What are the alternative designs?
  • 8.4: How do I choose an alternative design?
  • 8.5: Integrating UCD and Other Life-Cycle Models
    • 8.6: Usability Testing: What to Test?
    • 8.7: Discussion Forum

Lesson 9: Course Certificate, Final Networking, and Course Wrap-up

To be scheduled

  • 9.1: Course Evaluation

Industry-trusted UX Course Certificate

You earn an industry-trusted Course Certificate once you complete the course - even if you finish the course after the official end date. In other words, as long as you have enrolled in the course you will always be able to finish it and to get a course certificate. You will also have permanent access to the course material, your answers and the discussions.

Course Certificates from the IDF are verifiable and trusted by industry leaders. You can highlight them on your resume, CV, LinkedIn profile or your website.

Course Certificate

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