UX resources have improved tremendously over the years, and now there’s no shortage of great sources of learning for new UX designers. In the old days, UX designers might have had a few basic books to turn to and not much other than pen, paper, and their own ideas. Today, it’s a whole different story. Not only is there an abundance of UX literature, but also a wealth of courses and tons of specialized tools.
Some of the first UX resources to enter designer toolkits were Axure and Balsamiq, for designing user flows. These are still around, but have been joined by Adobe XD and Figma. New digital UX assets save designers time, but it’s also good to remember the old way of doing things.
Trine Falbe, Ethics and UX Design Specialist at Falbe Consultancy, is one of the contributors to our UX Design Foundations course, a comprehensive distance learning introduction to all things UX that we compiled with Parsons School of Design. Here she gives us some tips on the best UX resources for new UX designers.
Check out their website to learn more about Falbe Consultancy. And for more information on user experience design, check out our guide to UX and UI trends for 2022 and our expert tips for UX design.
01. Literature and courses
Gone are the days when there were only a handful of basic user experience books. Even though the protocols behind UX remain largely the same, there is now a huge range of literature, and UX design has been made more accessible through courses.
“First, learn the protocols,” suggests Falbe. “Think Aloud, 10 Usability Heuristics, Heuristic Evaluation, Cognitive Procedure, and Basic Interview and Observation Techniques. Without this foundation, you can be a Figma helper and still go wrong.”
A great place to start is our own UX Design Foundations distance learning course, which covers essential aspects of UX design. You can find out more on the course website and in the course brochure.
We can divide UX tools into two main stacks: tools for user flows and tools for testing. For the former, Falbe suggests learning a lo-fi wireframing tool, like Adobe XD, Balsamiq, or Axure. On top of that, she recommends learning Figma for high-fidelity design, if you plan to work in UI design.
“Just use the right tool for the job,” she says. “For example: don’t use Figma for wireframing, because you’ll probably end up doing too much visual design.” Check out our guide to the best UI design tools for more details on all these tools and more.
When it comes to testing, usertesting.com was one of the first, but it was still based on the think-aloud protocol invented in the 90s and still the protocol used for user testing today.
As in almost every discipline and interest area you can imagine, social media has become a huge source of information, advice and inspiration in UX design. UX designers and agencies often share insights into their work, tips, and general observations about the world of UX design that can be very helpful for anyone new to the field.
Falbe recommends following a group of good UX designers on Twitter and Linkedin, which she says is a great network for UX designers. She also suggests signing up for newsletters like Smashing Magazine, UX Collective, and Toptal. “In general, I read a lot,” she suggests. “Nowadays there is no shortage of resources, so it’s more about filtering information than finding it.”
04. Pen and paper
Last but not least, while UX designers today are a bit resource-strapped compared to the past, going back to basics can be very helpful as well. Pen and paper are still two of the most important resources a UX designer can have.
“UX designers are greatly aided by the digital tools available today because they save us time,” says Falbe, “but personally I’m still a huge fan of pen and paper for early wireframes and flows. It’s fast and cheap and encourages iteration, where sometimes I can get stuck in digital tools that take too long to do quick scribbles.”
Want to learn more about UX testing? Don’t miss our UX Design Basics Course.