Learn UX: 5 Resources for Refining Your UX Skills

Do you need UX research or design courses tailored to your organization? Email us at info@uiuxtraining.com.


At UI UX Training we often receive questions about how to learn UX and get started in the field.  In 5 UX Methods all Practitioners Should Master we outlined 5 critical UX methods that UX professionals use in their daily work. In this post, we point you to five resources that you can use to learn UX and refresh and refine your existing design and analysis skills.

Learn UX: Back to Basics

The 7 Factors that Influence User Experience summarizes 7 UX tenets. Designs should be:

  • Useful: Whether utilitarian (checking your bank balance), entertaining, or pleasing to the art lover, p product should have a purpose.
  • Usable refers to enabling users to achieve their objective. A computer game requiring three controllers is not likely to be usable.
  • Findable refers to how easy it is for users to locate the product. For sites and apps, findable means that content and controls (buttons, text fields, etc.) are easy to locate.
  • Credible refers to trust, an increasingly important part of the user’s experience in this era of cybersecurity threats.
  • Desirable is conveyed through branding, image, aesthetics, and emotional appeal. When a product is desirable, customers brag about it and generate desire in others.
  • Accessible: Accessibility is about providing an experience that people with a full range of abilities can use. It’s the right thing to do but also good business. Nearly 1 in 5 people experiences some form of disability.
  • Valuable: A valuable design benefits users and the company. Value is a key factor in purchasing decisions. “A $100 product that solves a $10,000 problem is one that is likely to succeed; a $10,000 product that solves a $100 problem is much less likely to do so.”

The point is that “The success of a product depends on more than utility and usability alone.” A useful reminder for all UX practitioners.

Learn UX by Avoiding These 5 UX Mistakes

In 5 UX mistakes that make startup failure inevitable Sahil Vaidya takes a slightly unconventional approach as he explains basic UX principles in the context of startup failures. Mistakes include:


  1. Forgetting the ultimate purpose of a site, product or app; it’s for users, not product owners. Yes, this is business and UX 101. Yet, as the author points out, the business landscape is littered with startups that have failed precisely by committing this sin.
  2. Using the wrong research methods. Vaidya argues that using the wrong research methods is worse than failing to conduct any research. He cites a Walmart case study in which the organization lost money even though it listened to its customers. How? By failing to provide customers with the proper context when posing questions. The point is that context is critical when conducting qualitative research.
  3. Copying a competitor’s design. While adhering to best design practices and copying are not equivalent, as Vaidya writes, “Every product has different goals and user needs to meet, and it cannot look and work exactly like a competitor’s product. Every element of the product should be designed carefully to make it relevant to the brand and its users.”
  4. Failing to validate the user’s experience by conducting usability testing. Certainly, usability testing is among the most basic and well-known methods practiced by UX professionals. The problems, of course, are time and budget. “We don’t have time; we don’t have budget.” It’s wise to make time and find budget because, as Viadya points out, IBM reports that “every dollar invested in ease of use returns $10 to $100.” (See also our post about ROI.)
  5. Failing to maintain a product after the launch. Once a product is released, it’s essential to track usage and gather user feedback. Only through maintenance and design iteration can a produce improve.

The value of this article is context. Readers can learn basic UX principles in the context of business objectives.

Learn UX: Heuristic Evaluations

Vamsi Batchu provides a useful tutorial on how to conduct a heuristic evaluation

He begins by explaining this often misunderstood technique. A user experience expert reviews the user interface by comparing it to an established set of design principles or heuristics.

Heuristic evaluations involve one or a small group of UX experts and can be conducted more quickly and affordably than a full-scale usability test.

A UX expert can conduct a heuristic evaluation at any stage during the design process and before or alongside other testing methods, such as tree testing or card sorting.

Often, UX professionals advise conducting the evaluation before a usability test in order to identify and correct basic problems before involving users. This approach allows the testing team to write a test protocol focused on the more complex aspects of the UI and the user’s experience.

When conducting a heuristic evaluation, always refer to an established set of heuristics such as Jackob Nielsen’s 10 Usability Heuristics for User Interface Design.

Interface Review

In A UX review template anyone can use Vernon Joyce outlines a review framework that includes, but also reaches beyond, heuristic evaluations. For example, Joyce reminds us to review analytics to identify user drop-off points and assess differences in user behavior on mobile versus desktop. Specifically, Joyce recommends:

  • Google analytics or Crazy Egg event tracking. Crazy Egg offers heatmaps for clicks and scrolling on different devices.
  • Google Analytics behavioral flow reports with data on drop-offs and the ability to highlight and analyze specific user paths.

Joyce reminds readers to include an accessibility review because “It has however become increasingly important to consider disabled users as we become driven by digital.”

Technical reviews are also important because even small code changes can affect speed. Note that page load speed often varies between mobile and desktop.

A technical review should include an assessment of SEO. While UX professionals don’t often focus on SEO, they should. “SEO deals not only with your rank, but also your search appearance. If your page does not have an enticing title and description you lose every opportunity to bring that user into your website.”

The good news is that resolving certain accessibility problems, such as making alt text more descriptive, also improves SEO.

CTA Buttons

In UX Practices: 8 Handy Tips on CTA Button Design, the authors remind us that the keys to an effective CTA button are size, color, shape, placement, and microcopy. The question is how to make these aspects powerful. Three of these tips are especially noteworthy:

  • Apply contrasting colors so that the CTA button stands out. Sounds obvious. Yet, even in 2019 it’s not uncommon to find buttons or button text with low contrast. In fact, some are so poorly designed that they are hard to find.
  • More imperative, fewer words: Again, a straightforward point. The difference here is that writing effective microcopy is hard. It’s essential to select strong words with clear meanings. Microcopy is content meaning that a UX design team would be wise to work with a seasoned copywriter for microcopy. It’s important to test the microcopy and revise accordingly.
  • Placement and user flow: Proper placement increases the chance that users will click the CTA button. On a landing page, for example, it’s best to place the CTA button below explanatory copy so that users understand the button’s purpose, and where it will take them.

Contact UI UX Training

Do you need UX research or design courses tailored to your organization? Email us at info@uiuxtraining.com.