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Information Architecture, User Research, UX

Learning UX with the Interaction Design Foundation: A Review


About IDF

The Interaction Design Foundation (IDF) is an independent non-profit initiative established in 2002 in Denmark. Its purpose is to democratize knowledge of User Experience, product design and human-computer interaction at a low-cost and high quality.

IDF offers self-paced UX courses which are divided into sections and lectures. Lectures can be video micro-lectures, but they can also include audio, text, and presentation slides. Every course has a landing page with a course description.

USER EXPERIENCE EDUCATION
A review of the Danish NGO with a unique mission: making design education affordable globally.

I find e-learning a really good way to learn new things. Finding the right UX educational materials is not easy, and I think it has something to do with the exponential diversification of User Experience in nowadays society. The domain becomes so vast that its meaning is rather a matter of interpretation than definition; so, each teaching institution has a very different approach, right? Not to mention that we are all different individuals with different levels of prior training, or expectations.

In this regard, IDF is the right place for you namely if you’re in search for the perfect balance between academic rigor and practical relevance.

For me, the IDF experience became something more than just learning UX. It’s simply the next step further, their online courses, more important than learning; you’ll find that they are specifically crafted to encourage you to do it!

Sometimes you need more than learning. You need someone to believe in you, because motivation is more important than knowledge. Motivation is what pushes you to learn.
The Interactive Design Foundation is all about that.

I cannot comment on Coursera or edX. There are many other eLearning websites also. But, I think IDF stands out. Currently IDF is offering lifetime access to all its courses. The annual subscription costs $150, (Approx) that´s $13 dollars per month, pretty cheap for the amount of content that you have access to.

IDF is the right way to go for companies, studios, agencies, or even solo practitioners, especially if you are on a budget. The availability of courses is something I’ve not seen in any other offering, and the platform for consuming the content is straight forward, and pleasant to use. I couldn’t recommend this enough, and I’ll definitely continue to use them.

I wholeheartedly recommend the user experience courses offered by the Interaction Design Foundation.

An attempt to describe what these guys are doing is best summed up in the words of industry giant Don Norman!

Don Norman

Their global community now reaches 471 local groups in 84 countries; prompting users all over the world to frequently host meet-ups where both members and non-members alike can get together to discuss quality design. As Soegaard describes it, “The IDF is a global movement to advocate great design and what great design can do for humankind. Nothing less.”

As they continue to collaborate with the likes of Stanford and Cambridge, as well as the founder of UX himself, Don Norman, the IDF remains completely transparent with how they spend each dollar of their users’ sign-up fee. Membership costs $150, with $0 going towards a profit of their own. The only issue can be that courses get filled up fast, so you need to be speedy.

Courses

There are around 30 UX courses available, they are organized as a beginner, intermediate and advanced. It’s noticeable the content is aligned with their purpose of providing high-quality education; there is a lot of detailed information which is always referenced by a research or author. Several chapters are explained with the help of examples.

IDF UX DESIGN COURSES

Community

The forums are very active and usually, there is an answer for any post, it could be better but it seems that the community is developing. The forums are divided into sections such as Design Resources (links and tools), mobile UX, portfolio review, etc. So far users in the forums are kind and respectful to each other; I haven’t observed any kind of toxic behavior, which is great for the development of the community.

Conclusion

The greatest advantage of the Interaction Design Foundation besides having great courses and content is to have so much information about User Experience in one place, if you search online you will find a lot of articles and blogs (and you should, there is a lot of great stuff out there), but usually they are talking about a specific subject. On IDF you can get the basics, intermediary and advanced all in one place.

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About Nadeem Khan

User Experience Consultant

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