Learning User Experience Design

Despite seeing suggestions to not call people “users” in UX, user experience design affects everyone, whether they work in technology at a high level or use technology from systems to someone just using their phone.

Google’s Abigail Posner says, “When we use the word ‘user’ it implies just when that person is using that device. The device is the story; the user is just the person who uses it. So if we take away that word and think about the human being then the kind of research that we would use would be much broader, much deeper, and therefore really allow us to understand the human being who uses that technology or uses that software.”

Gizmodo lists the Degrees of the Future 2022 top UX Design programs at universities. But is the Google UX Design Certificate worthwhile?

It is a low-cost design certificate and worth considering if you are new to the user experience (UX) design field or job market. It costs students less than $200 from start to finish.

Can you compete with someone that has a degree with a certificate? You will clearly have competition applying for entry-level UX design jobs. It would be advisable to try for some freelance design work or do volunteer work for non-profits while completing the certificate to build up your resume and give you samples of your skills.

Kinds of Web Developers

Web development today is a broad field. It has changed much since I first started to learn HTML in the 1990s and create websites that it is almost unrecognizable. For one thing, it is now a part of almost every industry. I can’t imagine any business – from the local pizza shop to an industry leader – not having a website (possibly multiple websites) and a strong social media presence.

Some of the biggest changes I have seen came from the rise of mobile, faster bandwidths and cloud-based software.

But I still have people ask me when they hear that one thing I do is web development is “What does web development mean?” It’s a tough question because it varies so widely. Web developers design and create websites, and applications, use cloud-based software, maintain sites and handle the technical aspects of a site’s function.

For that local pizza shop, all that may be done by one outsourced company or even one person, but for large companies, all of that entails large departments with the work being specialized and handled by different individuals.

When I started building websites in the 1990s, it was for myself. Next, came websites for the school district where I worked. When I moved to work at a university, I became part of a team and had specific parts of the very large website that I was responsible for maintaining and designing.

Today I would put developers into some general categories.

Back-end web developers handle the technical construction of a website. They create the basic framework of a website. If you’re using a platform like WordPress, they do most of the back-end.

Front-end web developers are responsible for how a website looks. They do the layout, incorporate graphics, and applications for things like e-commerce.

Full stack web developers manage both the front- and back-end of a website or application and are good choices for smaller businesses.

API (Application Programming Interface) developers allow applications to access data and interact with other external software or operating systems. This is critical to the online processes businesses use.

UI/UX developers specialize in the user interface and user experience and creating an online customer experience that is both visually appealing and functional.