Finding the Best Online UX/UI Courses For You

Online UI/UX design courses help jumpstart your user experience and user interface design career. UI and UX are two parts of how people experience websites and applications. User interface is the overall aesthetics of how a site or app looks and its interactivity. UX is how a user interacts with your brand on a broader scale.

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UI and UX work together to help guide how people experience a product or website. UX and UI courses may help teach web development as it relates to design and can help you enter these growing fields. The median salary for UX designers in 2018 was $95,000 (PDF, 533 KB), according to a survey by the User Experience Professionals Association.

What is a UX/UI Design Course?

UX, or user experience, and UI, or user interface design, are related but often separate professions. Many courses in this field are broken up into UX courses and UI courses, but in some cases are combined. UX courses typically focus on the overall experience of using a website, app or program, while UI courses typically focus mainly on visual design. Some courses, even those specifically labeled as UX or UI, may teach a combination of UX and UI.

The Difference Between UX and UI Courses

UX and UI courses do not always completely overlap. There are several ways to understand the differentiation between UX and UI. For instance, it’s commonly said that UX comprises the entire experience users have with a product. In this view, UI is the part of UX that deals with visual, interactive elements. Someone who works primarily in UX, however, may focus less on the visual aspect of the product and more on the structure, layout and even text with which a user interacts. In this way, UI may be seen as both part of and different from UX.

UX Courses and Skills You’ll Learn

UX courses are focused on the user, often touting user-centered design. This approach combines research and analysis with implementation that is focused on an end product.

UX courses may focus skills such as:

  • The fundamentals of User-Centered Design (USD)
  • User research and interviews
  • Usability analysis and heuristic evaluation
  • Empathy mapping and personas
  • Mobile-first navigation
  • Card-based design
  • Content strategy
  • Information architecture (IA) and card sorting
  • Sitemaps
  • Wireframing
  • Creating prototypes
  • Basic visual design
  • Front-end coding, including HTML5 and CSS

UI Courses and Skills You’ll Learn

User Interface courses may focus more on functionality of applications and software, beyond just aesthetics. There are many aspects of UI, which is why it can be beneficial to take multiple courses on both theory and application.

UI courses may focus on skills such as:

  • Product branding and identity
  • Visual hierarchies
  • Layouts and grids
  • Responsive design
  • Typography and icon design
  • Color theory and palettes
  • Prototyping
  • Applying user research
  • Wireframing
  • Mastering design programs: Sketch, InVision, Adobe XD

Georgia Institute of Technology

Introduction to User Experience Design

Atlanta, Georgia

Name of Degree: Introduction to User Experience Design

Enrollment Type: Self-paced

Length of Program: Less than 6 weeks

Credits: N/A

Concentrations: N/A

California Institute of the Arts

UX Design Fundamentals

Santa Clarita, California

Name of Degree: UX Design Fundamentals

Enrollment Type: Part-Time

Length of Program: Less than 6 weeks

Credits: N/A

Concentrations: N/A

How Can I Enhance my Career with a UI/UX Design Course?

As mentioned, UI/UX is a well-paying field—the median salary for UX designers in 2018 was $95,000 (PDF, 533 KB), according to a survey by the User Experience Professionals Association. That is higher than the national annual mean wage. Some UX and UI courses help students put together a project at the end to show the skills you’ve learned in class, which may be a useful addition to your portfolio if you are looking to transition to a new career. Learn more about your options on Master’s in Data Science.

Last updated: August 2020