Upgraded: Our Evening + 1-Week UX & Visual Design Programs

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This month, GA is rolling out major improvements to our evening and 1-week User Experience Design and Visual Design programs! Driven by student and instructor feedback, the Instructional Design team has partnered with the expert faculty members from our Product Advisory Boards to revamp both courses. With InVision reporting that 70% of design teams have increased headcount over the past year1, we want to help you reach your career goals by providing expertly crafted lessons in UX and visual design that meet the moment.

What’s Changing With User Experience Design?

Leveraging the Design Framework in Lesson Design

In analyzing student and instructor feedback, we learned that we weren’t spending enough time on the “How? behind creating UX deliverables at the beginning of the course. Instead of following a typical lesson flow that starts with overarching definitions of design thinking, user research, prototyping, and critique, we now leverage the Double Diamond framework2 to inform lesson progression. By observing the iterative nature of design in our curriculum, students will be able to start user research by Week 1 and begin sketching their designs as early as Week 2, working through the UX design process more than once throughout the course.

Flexible, Accessible Design Tooling

Our Instructional Design team works to strike a good balance between instruction and innovation, and this is evident in how we approach teaching design tools. 

On the one hand, too much emphasis on tools at the beginning of a course can shift the students’ focus away from truly grasping foundational design concepts and skills. On the other, it’s difficult to illustrate how a more technical concept can be applied without the use of design tools. 

In addition to that balance, we also want to account for the fact that different employers require different tools — and the top design tools can change from year to year. So, our end goal is to ensure that our students are well-versed and well-practiced in core skills so that they can easily pick up different tools as required by their employers. 

Our solution is to introduce a design tool tutorial — a companion to the course materials — with resources and weekly design challenges. The tutorial currently features Figma but can be modified to feature another platform such as Sketch or Adobe XD. The tutorial is also mapped to the course’s final project to make pacing and time spent outside of class more manageable and productive. 

Project Choices

The final project now has three specialization tracks: Research, UI, and Generalist. This enables students to customize their learning experience based on personal and professional interests, career focus, and available time. 

See the New Syllabus

What’s Changing With Visual Design?

Leveraging the Design Framework in Lesson Design

We’re using the Double Diamond framework in our Visual Design course to group visual design concepts in a way that illustrates the discipline’s iterative nature and more organically integrates UX concepts throughout the program.

Diverse Projects

We improved the final project prompts to include a broader range of industries, including food, nonprofit, fitness, and connected homes. The company structures and product offerings have also been expanded to account for visual design in both digital and non-digital spaces. This way, students will be able to choose and customize projects that benefit both their career focus and their personal interests. 

Lesson Emphasis

We have reworked the curriculum to place more emphasis on design research and content strategy. This will help encourage students to:

  • Make research-based design decisions.
  • Tell a  holistic story through content.
  • Think more critically about content types and design elements before wireframing begins.

By popular demand, we’re bringing back the course’s imagery lesson and incorporating an additional application-focused imagery session so that students can further refine their wireframes using images, as well as typography and color.

See the New Syllabus

1InVision, 2019 Product Design Hiring Report
2Design Council, What is the framework for innovation? Design Council’s evolved Double Diamond

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