Graphic Design to UX Design

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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.

Coursera

You might also want to try the folks at Coursera.org, 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

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.

Cooper

We also think that Cooper.com 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

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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
Images
Javascript
Use unobtrusive Javascript (never use inline scripting).

Provide alternatives for users who do not have Javascript enabled and for environments where Javascript is unavailable.
Forms
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 http://colorfilter.wickline.org/. 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.