Part 6: Neglected skills

There are some basic skills that you’ll need for any UX role that you seldom get taught at school.

Some, like a knowledge of basic statistics, are practical. Others, like understanding teamwork, are more philosophical but equally important if you want to have an impact.

Core – Teamwork / politics

Making User Experience Happen as a Team (Chris Nodder)

Just because you have some great ideas about how the interface should look and behave doesn’t mean they’ll immediately get implemented. Learn about the pressures on a team to deliver, and how you can fit in to the process and get the most important user modifications accepted. 

Agile Foundations (Doug Rose)

You’ll be working as part of a product development team. Most likely, they’ll be using some variant of an agile methodology. It pays to be familiar with the terminology and techniques so that you can fit in faster. 

Core – Stats and Data Science

Stats is normally taken as prerequisite classes for a university course, but typically ignored in bootcamps. Even if you think you don’t like stats, you’ll find that with a real-world framework to apply them to they really aren’t so bad. 

Statistics Foundations: 1 (Eddie Davila)

Statistics Foundations: 2 (Eddie Davila)

Statistics Foundations: 3 (Eddie Davila)

Some people get scared away from user research because it sometimes involves statistics. Luckily, Eddie Davila has created a lovely series of courses to explain statistics in a way that makes good sense to people who might have to use stats in their jobs. Eddie covers descriptive stats, and statistical tests of similarity and difference. 

Core – Creativity and empathy

Creativity: Generate Ideas in Greater Quantity and Quality (Stefan Mumaw)

Stefan shows how creativity is a habit that can be learned and exercised every day. Practical, fun exercises to increase your creativity in a structured way.

A Systematic Creative Process for Designers (Von Glitschka)

Design isn’t all “inspiration” – in fact, it’s a process, with data-fueled inspiration being just one part. Von walks us through the graphic design process he uses to get from initial client request to deliverable. 

Empathy in UX Design (Cory Lebson)

Learn how empathy skills can help you uncover user needs and goals, and better sell user research to stakeholders.

Technology and Design Ethics (Morten Rand-Hendriksen)

What’s best for your users? How do you ensure your product is ethical? Morten provides a framework for ethics in tech, discusses matters related to privacy and security, and explains how to discover and define virtues.

Optional

Learning Data Science: Understanding the Basics (Doug Rose)

Learning Data Science: Ask Great Questions (Doug Rose)

Learning Data Science: Tell Stories With Data (Doug Rose)

As soon as users start working with beta releases of the code, it’s possible to capture metrics on their behavior and use that to help guide design decisions. Doug Rose’s courses on data science are really useful here because they are aimed at user experience people and other team members who will be working to understand and present data rather than becoming a full time data analyst themselves.

UX Foundations: Making the Case for Usability Testing (Chris Nodder)

How to sell the idea of usability testing to a team or company that hasn’t done it before. The justifications here are ones you should know for pretty much any situation where you’re advocating for users.

The Creative Inspirations series (for instance Creative Inspirations: Hot Studio Experience Design) takes you inside the processes of different people and design shops. Released in 2009, this series is beginning to show its age, but it’s a great way to understand how designers and design agencies do their jobs. 

Homework

Read a book on a topic that is tangential to UX. There’s a list of books like this at the end of the reading list, or choose your own. Write a review of it, discussing how the core concepts in the book relate to an element of user experience or user interface design.

Remember: having a broad set of design- and human behavior-related knowledge will give you a creative edge in your work. It will also make you sound smarter in interviews. Reading outside the core UX domain will help expand your knowledge base.

Optional: In Part 8, we’ll discuss improving your online reputation by posting regularly on UX topics. If you write up your review as a LinkedIn post or article, you’ll get a head start on this process.

Discussion topics

Take it in turns to present a short summary of your book and its UX parallels. As a group, discuss the implications of this topic for user experience and interface design.

Project

There’s no project for this section. Save your energy – you’ll need it for the project in the next section!


Next – Part 7: The UX Process


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