UX Design: How To Get Started (A Full Guide)

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in this video I'm gonna share with you

six simple steps for how to get started

in UX design and I'm going to tell you

how I started my journey until I got a

job and the lessons I learned from it so

that you can avoid making the same

mistakes so let's get started


follow these six steps I guarantee you

you will get a job and how do I know

that because that's what I did over a

longer period of time and it got me a

job where I'm working right now hi my

name is amar and I'm a self-taught UX

designer working at a design agency

called Ajay and smart and I wanted to

make this video because I wish it

existed when I was first starting out so

I didn't study UX design in university

but I loved design and technology and

when I found out that there was this

thing called UX design I was immediately

hooked so I made this video to like

really condense down the steps to the

essentials for you to get started to

make sure that you have all you need to

go from a beginner to someone who can

actually get a job in UX design as

you're watching this video if you have

any questions about any part of what I'm

talking about make sure to let me know

in the comments and I'll make sure to

get back to you

also if you have any tips that I forgot

to mention please make make sure to put

them in it'll be useful to me and anyone

else watching this video in the future

by the way if you're interested in

videos like this make sure to subscribe

and hit the bell icon to get notified

every time we put out a video we do

videos like this every week so let's

dive into step one which is deciding

whether UX design is for you so I'm

assuming if you're watching this video

you already know a little bit about what

UX design is but you might not know if

it's actually the thing for you you

don't know if you're gonna enjoy this

and I picked a really useful resource

for you to be able to do that so there's

this website called career foundry and

they offer UX design programs but they

also have this very nice and short

emailed course it's a 6 day course

if you put in your name and your email

you don't have to pay anything and

they'll basically send you a series of

introduction email about UX design to

help you decide whether this is the

thing that you want to be doing as your

job by the way everything I mentioned in

this video is going to be linked in the

description so you can check it out you

can keep referring back to it as you go

through these steps the other thing you

can do to decide whether UX design is

for you is to actually talk to someone

who has a job that you want to be doing

so in this case you go and find a UX

designer whether it's a friend or a

friend of a friend just talk to them

about what their job is like what they

enjoy about it when they don't enjoy

about it and that'll give you a

much more solid idea of what the day to

day job is like and not just the

highlights or what's great about it so

that's also a really good thing for you

to try alright so step two is to take a

course to learn the principles now this

is really important because a lot of

people when they want to learn about UX

designs start watching random tutorials

here and there and have the feeling that

they're making progress but when you're

learning in such a scattershot way you

never have anything concrete that you

can say that you've mastered and that's

why it's really important for you to go

through a structured curriculum and I

picked out two really good courses for

you to try and I'm going to show them to

you right here so the first one is the

introduction to user experience design

this is a course by Coursera and it's

free for you to take and you only need

to pay to get the certificate which is

not something that's that important in

my opinion and this course has gone a

ton of really good reviews and the

syllabus is also really good it's not

too long it's five weeks long and it

gives you all the basics that you need

if you don't know a lot about UX design

it has a really good overview in the

beginning at just takes one hour and

then it takes you through the steps that

you need to know like how do you gather

requirements for a design and then how

do you start thinking about alternatives

and then prototyping and then you final

step is to evaluate your design so this

is a really good course to go through

and is completely free

another option is from Accenture and

it's called digital skills user

experience this is also a really good

course I just put it as an alternative

here because sometimes some people

respond to some course is better than

others so you have a choice between

these two but I narrowed it down

intentionally so that you don't have to

choose between multiple things and spend

a lot of time choosing instead of

actually learning and doing so just

start with this course the Coursera one

and if you don't like it move on to the

next one it's really not that important

which one you choose as long as you

actually go through it and finish it and

like I said both of these courses are

completely free but there's also a third


that I want to show you which is really

mostly useful for people in Germany and

it's from career family career family

has a really good boot camp a long boot

camp I think it's around six months or

something like that but it's also quite

pricey but if you're someone who's

living in Germany and you're unemployed

if you're making a career change you can

actually get this course for free and

we'll have a link in the description for

how you can do that if you are someone

who living and who's living in Germany

and you don't have a job right now and

once you finish the course now you're

ready to start practicing on your own

and start mastering a design tool now

for this I also picked out two tools for


one is figma and it has a very generous

free plan you can be working on it using

all the features completely for free and

it has some collaboration features so

that if you're working with someone

you're able to work on the same design

file at the same time kind of like

working in a Google Doc figma is a great

option this is what we use at agent and

smart we're designing apps pretty much

every week and it's a very very good

tool another option is from Adobe if you

already have some Adobe apps

it's called Adobe XD and it also has a

generous free plan that you can go with

figma is based in the browser so no

matter which computer you have like a

Mac or a PC or a Linux it'll work on

everything same thing for Adobe XD so

these tools are both free and they're

available no matter which computer

you're using I'm also going to include a

link to a quick tutorial for figma this

is a short tutorial that will show you

all you need to know just to get started

and with the principles that you have

from the course you'll be able to apply

them while designing something an app or

a website in figma alright step number

four now this is the most important step

which is practice this is where a lot of

people actually stop most people are

happy to do kind of the passive learning

kickback watch some videos or read some

articles you feel good about yourself

but you're not actually learning until

you start practicing the easiest way to

get started is to take something that's

already out there and redesign it or we

create a design that you like inside

something like figma because when you

take a good

design and you draw out the design

pixel-by-pixel again you start to like

absorb why these decisions were made

what's a good layout good typography

good spacing you'll learn that by

copying a good design another thing you

can do is take an app that you think is

really bad so maybe you're using an app

for your bank and that is that that was

really bad you know that you don't like

it your friends don't like it so what

you can do is take all the principles

that you learned in the course which

include gather gathering user

requirements and just doing some

research and then designing a new

solution and then testing it out with

people to see how much of an improvement

at me right and then after you've done

that you should write about that and put

it out there and get feedback on it so

that's what practice means it's really

going through a whole cycle applying all

the principles that you learned and

that's really I can't stress this enough

this is the most important step and this

is the step that most people skip out on

like they watch a few tutorials and then

they call themselves a designer it

really doesn't work that way you have to

put in the hard work and you have to put

up with the feeling that you know that

you're not good enough in the beginning

but you know in your mind what like a

good design looks like and you want to

get to that point and that gap is always

frustrating but you will get to it only

by practicing so one tip I can give you

when you're practicing if you're

designing for iOS or Android basically

you're designing a mobile app is to

check out the human interface guidelines

by Apple and Google so you can design

apps that feel natural that feel at home

on these two platforms so if you're

designing something for an iPhone or an

iPad you should check out the human

interface guidelines basically what this

is is a set of guidelines from Apple

telling you what makes good design on

iOS and all the pages in it are quite

short it's not a long book that you have

to spend a ton of time reading but it

just shows you the principles of what

makes a good looking iOS app and just by

sticking to these principles you can

design something that's not too flashy

but that feels right at home

on iOS and the same thing for Android so

if you take a look at the Google

resource and again all of these are

going to be linked in the description

you'll be able to see what good layout

looks like on Android

how much spacing you should leave when

you're designing something you don't

want text to be like right against the

edge you should be leaving some margins

and things like that

so both of these guides are really extra

excellent resources for you to get

started designing something for iOS or

Android and to have it look really good

from the start ok the next to last step

is to join a community now this is

really important especially if you're

someone who's learning design on your

own and you don't know a lot of other

designers being a part of community is

gonna help you a ton because it's gonna

be a place where you get to ask

questions you have other people who are

on the same level as you are that are

learning and you can meet them online

you can start asking and answering

questions getting feedback on your

design in the community and it'll just

keep you motivated because you won't

feel like you're going through this

journey alone so I picked out one

community that I'm gonna link in the

description and it's called designer

hangout this is an invite-only community

but it's a free community there are also

paid communities but I wanted to focus

everything in this video on what's free

and basically your request and invite

you fill out a few information there

just just to control the quality of

who's coming in and then you'll be able

to join a slack community where you get

to have you have to chat to people there

q and A's there's even a job board

communities are a great way to get a job

as you start talking to people in

building relationships maybe someone

will be works at a company and you've

already built a good relationship with

that person they will think of you and

they need someone to hire for a UX

design job for example all right final

step step six is learning what you need

to know in order to get a job so this is

only relevant if you want to go and get

a job at a company instead of freelance

somewhere and my two tips for you to get

a job is one to browse job descriptions

because that's the best way for you to

know exactly what a company wants and

someone that is hiring because sometimes

especially if you're hanging out online

and seeing what

designers are talking about you're gonna

think that that's what companies care

about but it's not necessarily the same

thing when someone is hiring they're

looking for a very specific set of

requirements and you may have like three

of them and they need five or six of

stuff that you haven't really learned

about yet so just browsing job

descriptions is a really good way to

know what you need to hit exactly and

start to work on your pitch and you're

presenting yourself as someone who knows

all these topics and can do a good job

of them so you can browse any job

listing website and just search for

junior UX designer and you'll find

something like this and what you want to

focus on is the requirements and the

skills and experience and this will give

you a really good idea of what you need

to hit in order to be able to get a job

at a company basically the the list of

requirements should be a list of goals

for you you should browse a few job

descriptions and create a checklist of

items that you need to have so that when

you start applying you already have

these things that you know you need

rather than you finding out during a job

interview that there is this really

important concept that you should know

and now you need to go learn about it so

one thing that comes up a lot when

you're applying for your job even from

junior positions is that you'll see the

company is asking for two or three years

of experience for you to apply to that

job now the reason most companies put

that is just to intimidate people and

like start to pre-filter candidates who

aren't confident enough to apply so as

long as you're confident enough in being

able to present your skills and show

what you've worked on just go ahead and

apply to these jobs anyway what's really

important for you in this step is to

have something to show so if you

remember from Step four of practicing

you need to work on something and then

post it online along with a write-up

that means don't just show me some

pretty pictures some pretty designs

write an article saying exactly how you

went through the whole design process

how you did user research how you what

your design process was like your

thinking process the drafts that you

tried the alternatives that you

considered before you settled on a

design and then the final design that

came out and how you tested it and what

the results were like and what you

learned from that and publish that as an

article the biggest mistake that junior

designers make is just to make some

pretty screens put them up on a website

and think that that's a good portfolio

it's not because one you could have

gotten those from anywhere and two it

doesn't show the person looking at them

that you know what you're doing maybe

you just happened to design something

that was simple enough and looks okay

but you didn't show that you're actually

a good designer who knows how to think

about design problems and design

solutions for them so basically all that

a company wants when its hiring someone

is to answer the question can I trust

that this person can do this job or not

and if you have something documenting

your thought process that I can just go

and read it and see how much you know

about this topic what your thinking

process is like and that will help me

make a decision about whether I think

you're good enough for this job or not

the last tip I have for you for getting

a job is to employ a concept call the

canvas strategy now we have a full video

about this that we'll link in the

description and above but the idea is

that in order to get a job at a company

in this case you want to help that

company do something and prove that you

can be a helpful employee to that

company so what I mean by that is let's

say you you decide that there's a

company that you like and you want to

work there so you start following them

on social media you start following the

people who work there on social media

and just start looking for an

opportunity they're not going to come

out and say hey we need someone to go

and design something for us but what you

might notice it that there's a gap so

for example maybe something on their web

site is not great

maybe something in their app is not the

best that it can be so what you can do

in this case is go and do the work and

do the research to create a solution for

a problem that you've identified you can

go say hey I really like your service I

really like your website for example but

I knew

this part was a little bit lacking and I

did some research on it I've talked to

some people I asked them how this could

be better and I designed the solution

for you I just want to give it to you I

don't want anything in return

so this is you're just doing them a

favor something that's actually really

useful for them and giving it away for

free and not expecting anything in

return and this is really important you

shouldn't feel entitled for anything

they might just say thank you and that's

it or in what like most people will be

impressed enough to start a conversation

with you so after that you can start

talking about whether they have a design

opportunity for you to to apply for or

that you know they can maybe point you

in the right direction to get a job but

it's a really really great way to get a

job somewhere and that's actually how I

got my job at the company I work at

where I found out that the CEO the

company was having a problem with his

podcast and I went and helped him with

it and that made him trust that I'm the

type of person who he wants to have

working at his company so this is a

really really good tip I really

recommend that you check out the video

on the canvas strategy it's a great way

to get a first job okay so this rounds

off the six steps that I wanted to share

with you for how to go from a complete

beginner to someone who can get a UX

design job but as you notice there are

like six simple steps but simple doesn't

really mean easy right like these are

six hard steps and it's gonna take you a

while and you should expect this whole

process to take you like six months up

to a year if you're really serious about

this especially if you're doing it

alongside another job and you're

learning this on the side so it's really

not easy and that's why I start out with

a step of figuring out whether this is

for you or not because it's serious

commitment and unless you really wanted

you won't be able to go through the

whole process so to offer you some

additional help I want to share with you

a few lessons that I learned the hard

way about how to go on this journey and

the first one is find a partner that you

can do this with so find a friend find

someone that

you may be like know a little bit just

anyone who can be an accountability

partner for you what that means is that

if you find a friend who also wants to

learn about UX design you can start

doing this together and this will ensure

that both of you are making promises to

each other so that when you're checking

in with each other every few days or at

least like once a week checking in on

the progress you're making a promise to

your accountability partner to say like

okay in this week I'm gonna finish the

first module of the course I'm gonna do

some practice and this is what I want to

have by the end the reason this works

and this is important is because you

break promises to yourself all the time

and we all do this but it's much harder

and you feel a lot more you know shame

when you're breaking a promise to

someone else so having someone to go

with on this journey is really really

helpful if you can find a friend to do

that that's great if not then maybe you

can do it through a community that I

suggested earlier so that's the first

step and it's really really important

second lesson that I learned the hard

way is to set a deadline for yourself so

I said earlier that this journey might

take you for six months up to a year and

during that journey you're gonna want to

have to have some really concrete

milestones and deadlines so that's why I

suggested courses for you that are very

structured week by week but you're gonna

need to keep that structure even after

you finish the courses as you're

learning the tools as you're looking for

a job you need to set deadlines for you

because when you have a deadline it

forces you to make some hard decisions

about what to prioritize what you need

to do how much time you can dedicate to

learning and practicing and without a

deadline you will just never finish this

if you say I want to learn UX design and

you don't give yourself a deadline

you'll be saying that for years

and I've seen this with other people and

you won't be making any progress so you

need to be setting deadlines

constantly you need to have one big

deadline of I want to get a UX job

within six months or a year and then you

need to break that down month by month

okay if I want to get a job within six

months what do I need to do by month one

by month two by month three and four and

so on and then break that down even

further week by week like okay this week

I need to do these modules and I need to

you know design two screens or whatever

it is until you get to planning out the

day level and that's the next lesson of

blocking out your time to learn and

practice so what that means is that if

you're a student or if you're someone

who's working another job you need to

find hours in the day whether it's in

the morning in the evening where you can

actually learn and practice and my tip

for you is to put it on your calendar if

you don't use a calendar you should

start using right now so everyone has a

calendar on their phone just create a

recurring event for yourself maybe it's

after work in the evening you know 7

p.m. to 9 p.m. or maybe it's the first

thing in the morning you know 6 p.m. 7


no matter how long it is or how short it

is just commit to something so that

you're making daily progress because if

you set a goal for yourself to finish

something within a month but then you

don't give it any time during the day

it's never gonna get done because you

will only get to that goal after one

month by slowly chipping away at it

day after day after day lesson number

four is about publishing your work and

I've already mentioned this but it's

that important you need to be practicing

and then publishing your work somewhere

just start a blog somewhere on medium or

tumblr or whatever it is or WordPress

and start documenting your learning

journey this is really really important

if you don't commit to putting something

out there and this should be one of your

milestones and deadlines to say I'm

gonna publish a design once a week and

put it out there and that's how you

slowly build a portfolio it's not about

about like getting these pretty images

and then putting them on a pretty

website it's about slowly and surely

building up your portfolio by doing good

design work and going through the whole

process all the steps included and the

last lesson that I have to learn the

hard way is that you can't avoid getting

feedback so the best part about design

is that you get to design a new app that

you're really excited about and you

really think it's a lot better but you

don't wanna

faced with a hard truth of showing it to

other people and them not liking it as

much as you do but this is a reality

that's gonna happen time and again when

you're a designer so it's really

important to not just avoid critical

feedback just so that you wouldn't feel

bad you need to take out your design you

need to publish them you need to show

them to your friends and then get

feedback on them and even better you

need to get feedback from other

designers who can tell you what you did

wrong and how you can improve it because

you might show an app to someone and

they might not like it they can't tell

you what's wrong with it but another

designer can and that's where the

importance of a community comes in so

that's a really really important lesson

and as you'll notice these lessons all

tie back to the steps that I mentioned

earlier and they're really important for

you to consider when you're going on

this learning journey otherwise the

chances of you completing this journey

are much much lower

so one last resource I want to share

with you is a list of three books that

will help you to start to see the world

like a designer and think like a

designer so the first book is don't make

me think by Steve Krug and this is a

really good book for someone who wants

to design than any app or website or any

digital product it has really good

principles it's a really fun read it's a

funny book and short read as well as you

can see it's not a very thick book and

the second book is the design of

everyday things by Don Norman and that

book will really give you like a

designer eye into the world you'll start

to see things differently and you'll

start to consider how like everyday

objects are designed what makes good

design what's bad design and you'll

really enjoy that if you're going into

UX design the last book I want to share

with you is called sprint by Jake Knapp

this book was written by Jake nap while

he was working in Google Ventures so

this process came out of Google and it's

a great process for solving big problems

so the full name of the book is sprint

how to solve big problems and test new

ideas in five days so it's a great way

to take all of the design process and

condense it into five days you go

everything from understanding the

challenge to coming up with alternatives

and prototyping and

saying all within one week and we're a

big fan of this process at agent smart

in fact we use it with our clients all

the time we only do projects following

the sprint methodology and it's a great

process for you learn if you're just

starting out in design so those were my

six key steps for going from a complete

beginner to someone who can get a UX

design job in a short amount of time and

when I say short I mean like six months

to a year because it took me more like

three to four years to make this

transition and I really wanted to make

this video to condense down the

essentials for you so you can get

started quickly all you need to focus on

is showing up every day doing the work

and you'll get a job in UX design before

you know it I hope you found this video

helpful please subscribe and hit the

bell icon we put out videos on UI UX and

product design every week so make sure

not to miss out on these and check us

out on LinkedIn for more articles and

daily tips on product design and UX

design if you have any questions please

let me know in the comments and I'll

make sure to get back to you and let me

know also which step or which lesson

resonated with you the most or excited

you the most that's also really helpful

thank you so much for watching and see

you next time

hi in this video I'm gonna and my

biggest tip for you in this case is soup

and my tip for you in this case is to

and the best thing you can do


a man whatever I feel in this position

please know that always a very when

you're feeling like you're stuck

somewhere or you're not sure what to do

next and the last book is called sprint

so sprint believe it or not I didn't

have anything to say okay so hold on I

think that the title is actually good