Graphic Design to UX Design


How to Enhance Your Skills to Make the Jump from Graphic Design to UX Design

Is there a gap between graphic design skills and UX design skills? Yes, but it’s not an insurmountable one. Graphic designers already speak the language of design; they just need to brush up their skills to include those that are unique to UX design.
Once you have those skills, you can start to work them into your graphic design work (because user experience design can inform graphic design just as much as it can inform product design) and start to tailor your CV to highlight your UX skills as well as your graphic design skills.
As we mentioned above, the real key for graphic designers is to understand user research in all its forms. All the courses we’ve highlighted below should address this need to a greater extent.

Online Courses

Interaction Design Foundation

We’d like to modestly present our own course offerings for this, as the Interaction Design Foundation is the world’s largest specialist design education community. Don Norman, the same man who coined the term “User Experience” and who is one of the world’s best known designers, says that we’re “a goldmine of information on interaction design”; Forbes magazine says we supply an Ivy League level of UX design education!
There are three courses that we have put together specifically with a career change or first job in UX design in mind. In Become a UX Designer from Scratch, you’ll be introduced to all areas of UX work, learn basic practical skills to conduct UX work, and gain the confidence to work with UX clients as a consultant. In Get Your First Job as a UX (or Interaction) Designer, you’ll find out how to get the experience in UX that prospective employers are looking for, learn to develop a winning cover letter, CV and portfolio to get a UX interview, and negotiate a job offer. And in User Research – Methods and Best Practices, you’ll learn the various methods of conducting user research, and then putting the research results into action.
We also offer a bunch of other courses (32, and constantly growing!) to help you further develop your skills in UX design. The good news is that with a low annual fee, you get access to all of our courses for a year with no additional charges, and you get access to our community too.
You can find out about our other courses here.


You might also want to try the folks at, which is a low cost but high quality education provider which delivers courses on a wide range of subjects including UX. It’s run by a consortium of universities and courses are generally very good. While all their courses used to be free (which was excellent value) they currently charge by the course for most programs. It’s also worth noting that their courses are only available infrequently (at most once or twice a year).


Udemy is the world’s biggest broker of training. They don’t design their own training; rather, they enable course creators to sell their courses on their platform. They offer literally thousands of courses in almost any conceivable subject. The trouble is that Udemy provides no quality control, and while you can find some great courses there, there are a lot of not so great courses too.

Classroom Courses

Nielsen Norman Group

If you have deeper pockets and would prefer to learn in a classroom than learn online, then you might want to check out the classroom courses offered by the Nielsen Norman Group. The group has an excellent reputation and is one of the world’s most respected UX consultancies. They offer their courses in a range of locations, but we can’t guarantee that you’ll find one on your doorstep and you may have to travel some distance to take part in them.


We also think that has a great reputation for providing classroom training for UX design. Once again, it’s not cheap but that is always going to be true of professional classroom training. They do, however, also offer a wide range of locations for delivering their courses and that’s useful for those looking to minimize travel.

University Courses

We’re not sure that university is the best option for those seeking a change of career direction; it’s not just the money required, but also the time taken. You could be earning and learning using a different method rather than spending 3 or 4 years on a bachelor’s degree or 2 years on a Master’s program. However, if you do decide to go the university route, you’ll want to spend a lot of time researching exactly the right program for you. We’ve got a couple of examples for you here but there are literally hundreds of programs globally and we couldn’t hope to cover them all.
Carnegie Mellon – HCI Programs
York University – MSc in HCI Technologies
We’d urge that you sit down with a calculator and think about the costs associated with going to university before booking a place. HSBC, as reported by Top Universities, found that the average US university course will cost you $36,564 a year (including rent, tuition, books, etc.). (4) Over a 4-year degree, that means shelling out a cool $146,256—and that’s without the costs of a loan to cover those expenses.

But that’s not all—you’ll also have to give up full-time work. According to the US Census Bureau, a non-graduate earns an average of $27,351 per year.(5) This gives us a 4-year opportunity cost (that is, the income that you’ve forgone while in university) of $109,404. That means 4 years at university will set you back a huge $255,660!

Web Accessibility Checklist


A beginner's guide to web accessibility

Landmarks ARIA Landmark Roles are helpful landmarks that can be used by AT to navigate a website.
Note: When you validate html using landmark roles, you'll receive a warning stating these roles are redundant. In HTML5, several of the landmark roles are implicit via the native structural element which is supported by most modern desktop browsers with the exception of IE and iOS Safari. So, if you support IE and iOS browsers, you'll want to use the landmark roles. For more information, read Quick Tip: Aria Landmark Roles and HTML5 Implicit Mapping.

Focal content of document. Use only once.

Represents an independent item of content. Use only once on outermost element of this type.

Supporting section related to the main content even when separated.

Contains information about the document (meta info, copyright, company info, etc).

Add a `search` role to your primary search (how to implement).
Language Attribute Declaring a language attribute on the html element enables a screen reader to read out the text with correct pronunciation.

Specify a language with the lang attribute on the element.
Document Outline
Use unobtrusive Javascript (never use inline scripting).

Provide alternatives for users who do not have Javascript enabled and for environments where Javascript is unavailable.
Tab order of the form follows a logical pattern.

(e.g. )

An exception to this rule would be smaller forms with one or two fields (eg. search or log in forms)

Media (Audio and Video) Providing text alternatives makes the audio information accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing. This also goes for search engines who are deaf and hard of hearing as well.
Color and Contrast
Best done early in the process, by ensuring that the foreground and background colors of your site have sufficient contrast you will help make your site more readable for everyone. Contrast Ratio is one tool for checking the contrast of your colors for both standard vision and color deficient user.
Test for different types of color blindness.
Test against different types of color blindness with a tool like If you are on a Mac, another option is Michel Fortin's, Sim Daltonism color blindness simulator.
Testing Navigating your site using a range of tools, such as just the keyboard or a screen reader, will help you understand how a blind, low-vision, or limited-mobility user will experience it.

Lily drone

Lily is the world's first throw-and-shoot camera.

Flying selfie camera follows you around as you ski or run
Like a third-person Go Pro, the Lily Camera is meant for filming those that need their hands for doing extreme sport

A new drone camera has been released that allows users to simply throw it in the air and have it follow them around.
The drone is designed to allow people to be filmed without having someone do it for them. It looks to be positioned towards the same people who use Go Pros, mounting them to their head to film snowboarding and other extreme sports, but allows for them to feature in the video themselves.
To use the drone, users simply turn it on and throw it up into the air. From there, it will follow a special transmitter or go in pre-programmed routes.
The drone is waterproof and small, only weighing 2.8 lbs.

While it’s flying, users can choose where to send the drone — either following or leading ahead of people, or circling around them. Then those photos and videos can be exported and viewed after the fact.
The drone has a camera that can take 1080p video, or 120 frames per second slomo films at 820p. It also takes 12 megapixel stills.
The drone can be pre-ordered now for $599, plus $20 shipping. But they won’t be delivered until February 2016. 

5 Secrets of Success from Elon Musk

Elon Musk grew up in South Africa, went to college at the Wharton School of Business and then moved to California and started a company called Paypal. He later sold Paypal to Ebay for $1.5 billion dollars.
Musk then went on to become the CEO of Tesla Motors and Space X, where he’s currently pushing the boundaries of human travel and exploration. He clearly knows what it takes to become successful, and in his commencement speech at USC in 2014 Elon Musk he gave us some of the secrets that have made him so successful.
There are 5 Secrets of Success in Elon Musk’s 2014 USC Commencement Speech.

Elon Musk’s 5 Secrets of Success.

“Alright, thank you – so I’ve got about apparently five to six minutes to say the most useful things I can think of, I’m gonna do my best. I slowed things down to three, three items I think, but I think I’ll go with four, and I think these are pretty important ones. Some of them are gonna sound like, well you’ve heard it before, but it’s worth reemphasizing.” (He ended up going with five.)

Tip #1: Work Super Hard.

I think the first is you need to work, depending upon how well you want to do and particularly if you’re starting a company, you need to work super hard. So what does super hard mean?
Um, well when my brother and I were starting our first company uh instead of getting an apartment we just rented a small office and we slept on the couch. We showered at the YMCA, and we were so hard up we had just one computer so the website was up during the day and I was coding at night; Seven days a week, all the time.
I so briefly had a girlfriend during that period and in order to be with me she had to sleep in the office, so uh, work hard like, every waking hour. That’s the thing I would say, particularly if you’re starting a company. And if you do the simple math, say that someone else is working 50 hours and you’re working 100, you’ll get twice as much done in the course of a year as the other company.”

Tip #2: Attract Great People.

“The other thing I’d say is that if you’re creating a company or if you’re joining a company, the most important thing is to attract great people.
Either join a group that’s amazing that you really respect, or if you’re building a company you’ve gotta gather great people. All a company is, is a group of people that are gathered together to create a product or service. So depending upon how talented and hardworking that group is, and the degree to which they’re focused cohesively in a good direction, that will determine the success of the company.
So do everything you can to gather great people if you’re creating a company.”

Tip #3: Focus Solely on the Product or Service.

“Then i’d say focus on signal over noise. A lot of companies get confused, they spend money on things that don’t actually make the product better.
So for example, at Tesla we’ve never spent any money on advertising. We put all the money into R+D, and manufacturing and design to try to make the car as good as possible. And I think that’s the way to go.
So for any given company just keep thinking about “the efforts that people are expending, are they resulting in a better product or service? If they’re not – stop those efforts.

Tip #4: Don’t Follow Trends.

“And the final thing is to sort of, don’t just follow the trend. So, you may have heard me say that it’s good to think in terms of the physics approach of first principles. Which is, rather than reasoning by analogy, you boil things down to the most fundamental truths you can imagine and you reason up from there.
And this is a good way to figure out if something really makes sense or if it’s just what everybody else is doing. And its hard to think that way, we can’t think that way about everything, it takes a lot of effort, but if you’re trying to do something new, it’s the best way to think.
And that framework was developed by physicists to figure out counterintuitive things, um, like quantum mechanics, so its really a powerful, powerful method.”

Tip#5: Take Risks.

“Then the final thing I think I would encourage you to do is, now is the time to take risks. You don’t have kids, uh your obligations are… ahhh probably obvious.
But as you get older your obligations increase, so once you have a family you start taking risks not just for yourself but for your family as well. It gets much harder to do things that might not work out.
So now is the time to do that, before you have those obligations. So I would encourage you to take risks now, to do something bold, you won’t regret it.”

Warka Water

The Warka’s water harvesting technique and construction system are inspired by several sources. Many plants and animals have developed unique micro- and nano-scale structural features on their surfaces that enable them to collect water from the air and survive in hostile environments. By studying the Namib beetle’s shell, lotus flower leaves, spider web threads and the integrated fog collection system in cactus, we are identifying specific materials and coatings that can enhance dew condensation and water flow and storage capabilities of the mesh. The termite hives have influenced the design of Warka’s outer shell, its airflow, shape and geometry. We also looked at local cultures and vernacular architecture, incorporating traditional Ethiopian basket-weaving techniques in Warka’s design.

How is it Made

WW version 3.1 is 33 ft (10 m) in height and 132 pounds (60 kg) in weight, consisting of 5 modules that are very easy to assemble, from top to bottom.
The outer frame structure, made with split bamboo elements, is structurally optimized for lightness and strength. The elegant design of the triangulated frame geometry offers both stability and robustness. The joints are made with metal pins and hemp ropes.
A network of ropes provides additional stability. The tension in the diagonal guy-wire, combined with the compressional strength of the bamboo structure, allows the tower to withstand strong winds. 8 fixation points are placed radially at 26 ft (8 m) distance from the WW base and are tightened with 8 polyester ropes, which are very low-stretch and ultraviolet resistant.
Inside the bamboo structure hangs the plastic Mesh that collects droplets of water from the high humidity in the air and the Collector where the dew condensation can happen at night.
A textile canopy around the WW bamboo structure creates a shaded area.


Below are the key details of Warka Water 3.1 :
Daily water collection: 13 to 26 gallons (50 to 100 L), annual average.
Water tank storage: 264 gallons (1000 L).
Construction: 4 days, 6 people (by hand, no electrical power machinery required).
Assembly: 3 hours, 4 people
Weight: 132 pounds (60 kg).
Materials: Bamboo, hemp, metal pins, bio-plastic.
Dimensions: Height 33 ft (10 m) – Footprint Ø 13 ft (4,2 m).
Surface Area: Mesh 262 sq ft (80 sq. m), Collector 141 sq ft (43 sq. m), Canopy 285 sq ft (87 sq. m).
Cost : ~ $1,000 (production in Ethiopia).
Maintenance : easy to be maintained, cleaned and repaired.


bamboo forest








Warka is realised with local and biodegradable materials such as bamboo, hemp and bio-plastic.




Construction Tools





















Warka is designed to be easily built and maintained by local villagers without scaffolding and electrical tools.





We are conducting researches on various subjects in the following fields:
– Water Harvesting and Collection
– Weather Monitoring Equipment
– Water Filtration Material and Technique
– Biodegradable Materials
– Natural Ventilation and Sun Path

Fog Harvesting


Dew CondensationDew Condensation

 Time-lapse footage of water condensation combined with data gatherd by Warkino
Time-lapse footage of water condensation combined with data gathered by Warkino
 Time-lapse footage of water condensation combined with data gatherd by Warkino
Time-lapse footage of water condensation combined with data gathered by Warkino


Warkino - weather monitoring and material surfaces temperature survey
Warkino – weather monitoring and material surfaces temperature survey
A meteorological station designed specifically for the development of the WW, Warkino enables us to study the water harvesting abilities of different types of materials under various climatic conditions. Warkino helps us to monitor the local environment (humidity, air pressure, temperature, winds, water collection, water quality, material surface temperatures). The Warkino is fundamental to launching a successful pilot and improving the water harvesting materials.

Tests & Experiments





Tests and research activities are conducted in a rural location in central Italy, with full-scale prototypes and materials. The ongoing daily experiments have brought new changes and updates to latest version, Warka Water 3.1. We are selecting potential sites in Ethiopia to launch the first pilot. The most important criteria for pilot are the lack of potable water and the urgent needs of the community for a solution. We will also assess other important factors relating to the local environment such as pressure, average temperatures, humidity, dew point and precipitation.  


Environmental Impact

Warka Water mainly uses local natural and biodegradable materials. It is a temporarily structure designed to not leave traces on the environment after removal and therefore doesn’t require excavation or ground modification works for set-up. The Warka doesn’t extract water from the ground. In addition to drinking water, the water generated by the Warka tower can be used for irrigation, reforestation, and ecosystem regeneration. As part of training local villagers, we plan to institute a water management program that teaches the best practices of using, distributing, and recycling harvested water. Through this program, we hope the villagers can understand our relationship with the environment and move away from the “slash-and-burn” agriculture, which is responsible for deforestation.

Long-Term Results

The Warka Water project is currently in development with first test pilots scheduled to launch in the first quarter of 2015. We believe that installing the Warka tower in remote villages can lead to numerous impactful initiatives:
– Education: Women and children can engage in productive activities such as care, education and crafts that can lead to self-sufficiency
– Economy: Manufacturing the Warka tower locally and sourcing indigenous materials can create jobs and boost the local economy
– Society: The Warka tower’s canopy creates a gathering place for the community
– Agriculture: Water produced by the Warka tower can be used for irrigation and farming
– Environment: the water management training program can introduce the principles of permaculture
– Technology: Future developments include a shared internet connection point for rural villages, which can connect the isolated communities and bring valuable real-time information (e.g., weather forecast, market prices of crops)

Innovative Methodologies

Warka Water is designed for autonomous distribution and scaling. The tower can be easily built and maintained by the local communities using simple tools and 5 workers for 4 days. The tower can be also maintained without using special parts or heavy machinery. With training and guidance, the locals can easily build and maintain the Warka tower. This local know-how can then be transferred to surrounding communities, with villagers helping install other towers in the area and creating an economy based on the assembly and maintenance of the towers. This can expedite the scaling of Warka Water in the region. Following the prototype development and testing phases, we intend to start manufacturing the Warka on a large scale, which can bring the material’s cost down to $1000 per tower significantly less than other water relief options available.


As part of the Warka Water project, we will also plant a new Warka tree next to each Warka tower. The growth of the sapling will be supported by the water generated by the Warka towers as well as the dedicated team from the local community that maintains the tower. With time, the new tree will not only counterbalance the negative effects of increasing deforestation, but also will help create a better environment for the Warka tower to function. The humidity created by the tree will facilitate the water production of Warka Water.
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