Designlab teaches in-demand UX/UI design skills through fun, part-time, online courses. Designlab courses consist primarily of hands-on projects and 1-on-1 mentorship from expert designers — Designlab mentors give students timely feedback on work and Skype with students regularly to help them improve. The Designlab community of mentors includes top industry professionals from companies like Twitter, Airbnb, Dropbox, and more. Courses are self-paced, which means students can complete the readings/projects whenever their schedules permit. Designlab is ideal for a developer, product manager, entrepreneur, marketer, aspiring designer, or anyone working on web/mobile products.
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UX Research & Strategy
In this 4-week online course, you'll learn the basics of UX, and user-centered design, explore the core research techniques professionals use to gain customer insight, and get experience by working on hands-on projects, develop your UX portfolio, creating deliverables like personas, storyboards, customer journey maps, & empathy maps, and work with your own expert mentor, with feedback on all your work and weekly Skype sessions. By the end of this course, you'll know all about user research, and have a toolkit of methods you can use throughout your career. You'll have a strong portfolio of work and crucial real experience to draw upon for interviews. Whether you want a career in UX/UI Design, or you just want to build better products, this course is the perfect next step.
Application Deadline:February 2, 2017
- Minimum Skill Level
UX: Interaction Design
In this 4-week online course you’ll develop an eye for seeing, and a language for talking about, interaction design. You'll become familiar with human interface guidelines, principles of usability and fundamental interaction design details. You'll also practice evaluating if and how interactions can be improved. Finally, you'll develop a portfolio to demonstrate your interaction design prowess. As with all Designlab courses, you'll work 1-on-1 with an expert mentor, with feedback on all your work and weekly Skype sessions. By the end, you’ll have an interaction design toolkit for evaluating and improving the usability of your products. You’ll have examples of your process and work that you can speak to and draw on in related projects. This course is especially useful to anyone looking to develop better communication of and confidence in their interaction design work, and for folks looking to develop their ability to understand and work with product designers.
Application Deadline:February 2, 2017
- Minimum Skill Level
Branding & Identity Design
The Branding & Identity Design course will prepare students to design and establish visual identities and brand standards across a variety of mediums. The course will help the designer look beyond logo design and acquire a fundamental understanding of the aspects of designing a brand system that is scalable and replicable, regardless of application. In this 4-week online course, you'll design a logo and apply the logo across a variety of platforms and applications, create a business overview, looking at your market competition and customers, develop a brand standards guide, in which you’ll define typographic, color, design and voice standards, and hone your skills & build your branding portfolio with a series of hands-on projects. Work with your own expert mentor, with written feedback on all your work and 4 Skype sessions. You'll end the course with a certificate of completion, a portfolio of projects, and a strong foundational skill set in branding that you can use to work on branding and identity design projects.
Application Deadline:February 2, 2017
- Minimum Skill Level
In this 4-week online course built for design beginners, you'll learn about the fundamentals of color theory, typography, and layout in web design, gain familiarity with the design tool of your choice (Photoshop, Sketch, or Illustrator), hone your skills & start building your portfolio with a series of hands-on projects, work with your own expert mentor, with written feedback on all your work and 4 Skype sessions. You'll end the course with a certificate of completion, a portfolio of projects, and a strong foundational skill set in design.
Application Deadline:February 2, 2017
- Minimum Skill Level
In this 4-week online course you will: Learn basic typographic terminology, be able to distinguish differences between typefaces, be able to identify parts of letterforms, be equipped to decide which typeface to use, know how to set type for optimal legibility and clear hierarchy, and learn how to design and evaluate page layouts and control typographic aesthetics. You'll end the course with a certificate of completion, a portfolio of projects, and a strong foundational skill set in typography. There's a reason why they say that web design is 95% typography — considered type choices are an essential component of any layout. Learn the skills to make your designs stand out.
Application Deadline:February 2, 2017
- Minimum Skill Level
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I was in the second cohort of the new UX Academy from Designlab.
I had a wonderful experience and learned a lot! The curriculum was good, the mentors were great, and the community of other students was so helpful!
I got a job as a Product Designer just 3 months after I finished the course.
Coming into the second online class I have taken I had some expectations. Design Lab over achieved to say the least. The class structure starts off with the basics then moves deeper into the nuances and nuts and bolts of interaction design. A mentor who is an industry professional is provided to you at the beginging of the course to guide you along the way. It was great to have live feedback during skype sessions and also have the albility to view other classmates work through project submissions. You get to see how other designers think and thier design process. Coming out of the class I've developed a new skill set and a new way to think about design that unbeknowst to me 4 weeks ago was foreign. I am more than pleased with the outcome.
Design 101 was my first introduction in visual design, typography, color theory, UI and UX. It was also my first time using Sketch, or any design application for that matter. The course gave me a great start. The reading materials and assignments provided me with a good beginners background. It was awesome to get quick feedback on my work from my mentor and have an hour a week to discuss design with a professional. I would highly recommend this course to any beginner.
I previously had zero design experience. My goal was to become familiar with the tools and concepts used by designers so that I would have a primitive foundation for creating attractive designs for my projects. What I found was that this course was much more than I bargained for. This course, as it turns out, covers almost nothing about using the tools themselves (although, they do provide tutorial resources for you to review independently). Designlab wanted to provide an experience and knowledge-base that couldn't be attained by merely scouring Youtube for a few hours. Their goal in this course is to walk you through true design theory and convey the principles that compose good design. Don't be discouraged if you don't have any technical experience because they structure the projects in a gradual way that's attainable for a design beginner. What ties the Designlab experience together, though, is the mentor system. Being paired with a design professional that has proven track record gives you the confidence to head in the right direction with your design ideas. In the true nature of Designlab philosophy, my mentor, Joe Callahan (VP of Design at Classy), wanted to ensure that I was grasping the higher-level concepts that would help me become a successful designer in the future. He was encouraging of my technical inability, emphasizing that those skills would develop with time, but understanding the principles that make good design would set me apart. Designlab was well worth all time and resources invested. Will be pursuing more of their courses in the near future.
I am halfway throught the Design101 DesignLab course and I love it. The framework is practical, the support is fantastic, and I love the way which I can check out what other students are doing along the way. I am doing this course as a ramp up to a uni degree I am beginning in November. I feel like this has given me a great head start.
I had issues with billing on my end, and the guys at DesignLab were fantastic and understanding. I would highly recommend Designlab to anyone looking to get a crash course or a touch up on their existing skills.
I took DesignLab just to get more learning experience in designing and this course did just that! They give you so many resources and different articles to read from real life designers and you get a peak into their world. I loved that this course was totally self-paced and it was great that your mentor works with your schedule. My mentor experience was awesome, she was so knowledgeable in designing and she truly helped me on all of my projects. I plan on taking more courses from DesignLab in the future! Highly recommend!!
I remember when I just stumbled upon Design Lab, not thinking it would be that good, or similar to other online classes. But for some reason I had a feeling I should look into this. After doing some research I decided to try out the Design 101 class of which I am so glad I did! I would highly recommend it!! The platform is easy to understand, the readings are great, and the mentors are wonderful! I have learned a lot and I am thinking about taking more classes from them in the future.
The course was good, but I found that I didn't get the quality of help from the instructor as I had hoped.
I wanted to apply designlab to my own project at the time. Chatted with the founder and he was all for it. Because the projects I did deviated from the course materials, I found that the instructor didn't have as much insightful feedback on my wireframes.
I would encourage anyone taking this course to stick with the original curriculum.
I would like to begin by saying that the cost of this course is phenomenal vis a vis to what I've learned and covered in just four weeks. Designlab takes you by the hand from the early definition of UX strategy and research, how to do proper UX research, methodologies, concepts, all up to the landing page of your potential project. I couldn't thank the team that put this together enough. The course was really well thought out, very organized, and systematic with never a dull moment! My mentor was excellent. Karin Schmidlin taught me in such a short span of time how to ask the proper questions and seek the proper research method. She also helped me in creating my UX portfolio, which I am very grateful for that. If I were to suggest something, it would be that Designlab students get the opportunity to collaborate on projects and maybe work together on assignments, surveys, or general questions and opinions. I really have no negative comments for this course, I should say that maybe I was a bit skeptical at first given the great price vs other courses out there. But Designlab, you outdid yourself! Now I am ready to soar in the UX industry in NYC. Thank you, DL :-)
I took Design 101 online and it definitely taught me a lot about the basics of visual design. The sequence of the topics was appropriate. What I loved best about it was it didn't feel like an online course. We had multiple projects (1-3) each week after reading the lessons, and it helped us put theory into practice. The feedback and mentoring sessions with my mentor were awesome too because I got to pick his brain about stuff and he gave me a ton of good resources which I probably wouldn't have found on my own. Sometimes it felt like I was happy with the design and my mentor would point out something which could be improved on and it totally made sense. For the price I paid to what I got I feel like it was soooo worth it. Just make sure you have the time to actually do the course, the more you put into it the more you will get out of it.
I loved this course. It was engaging, informative and challenging. I learned a lot but didn't get burnt out or overwhelmed. The interface is easy to navigate and fun to use. The units are easy to follow. The best perk is the mentor aspect where you meet with a professional in the field for hour long segments. I found it very helpful and was sad when this course ended. I will be taking more from them!
Designlab provided what I was looking for with their overview of the design process. Their interactive projects throughout the course were helpful in understanding how to put the process into practice. The mentor sessions were valuable in giving real time feedback into the projects, but also into applying these to the daily interactions. This was helpful in becoming a more complete products person.
As an experienced researcher interested in UX research, I wanted to immerse myself in UX vernacular and practices. The DesignLab curriculum delivered both in an easy to digest format and the weekly mentor sessions were great for questions along the way.
The design mentorship and hands on curriculum at Designlab are fantastic. I've never found such a perfectly customized way to work with powerhouse designers from a variety of industries than at Designlab. The design connections, terminology, and knowledge gained from the curriculum itself are huge steps forward in my own design career.
I took this course because I was curious about a closer look at UX design. After having completed the course I can honestly say that it was a great introduction to the research methods that are employed in the beginning processes of UX. The course workflow is set up in a way that is easy to follow and easy to track–its very clear where you're at regarding course progress.
The lectures are intuitive and set up in a way that lets you take on little bits of information at a time, often times with additional resources and sites included at the end of each so you can study more on each subject in your own time. I really enjoyed the projects that were provided as well. It was nice to be able to put the lectures to use through hands-on assignments that gave you a good idea of what kind of work is involved.
One of the most helpful parts of the course were the 1-on-1 mentor sessions that were held each week. I learned so much through being able to talk directly to my mentor about what I learned, and in turn he was able to give me real world examples of how the things I was learning were applied on the job, showed me examples of his work, and also gave me additional resources to study more on subjects. Because of my mentor I was also able to learn more and push farther into the assignments due to his detailed feedback and critiques on the key areas of each assignment.
I would recommend this course to anyone who wants to gain a good understanding of what is involved in the initial stages of UX design.
- The best part of this course was the mentor. He was very supportive and encouraging.
- Reading books and going to conferences is great, but actually doing the work, and creating UX artifacts is a far better way to learn.
- The course is very inexpensive, especially when you consider the four hours of one-on-one time you get with your mentor.
- Don't fall behind in your coursework. Do a little each day (or follow the suggested time line they provide), and you'll do fine!
This program is great for people who are looking to switch careers and may not be able to afford going back to get another degree in design, or even students just starting out who want to see if they'd be interested in a career in design. I haven't found any other program like DesignLab that offers courses in visual design - and they do an excellent job! The course contained great articles and videos to help us learn typography, layout, color theory, etc. My favorite parts of the course are that you work on several projects, receive feedback from your mentor and peers, and you receive a certificate that displays all of your projects to keep with you as a portfolio. The DesignLab team is very friendly and helpful! Excellent course - I highly recommend it! I hope to take more courses through DesignLab soon!
This was my first mentor-driven online learning class. Man, I lucked out. The coursework is direct, clear and gives an awesome framework for approaching UX research. The key is they don't overwhelm with every strategy known to man. They tell you the core of what you need to know. Great basic framework and real projects to solidify the content. The mentor was great. This was critical to my learning as I got stuck on a couple of concepts that the mentor cleared up. For $299 this is well well worth it, especially if you feel overwhelmed with info and asking yourself what the most important stuff is to know in this field.
This course was seriously worth it. Although it is a bit condensed, perhaps a little too condensed, it delivers nonetheless. I learned about the process of UX, and then was able to apply the new knowledge to techniques for projects throughout the course. In the end, I had new skillsets, a deeper understanding of UX and the process, and really wonderful advice from my mentor. I am definately signing up for more courses.
I was looking for a course that could provide some credibility of Design skills and practical tools that I could have confidence applying in the real world. I feel Designlab's course delivers on my goals. I like the fact it is aligned to and references the Standford D-school principles and practices. It is also an extremely accessible course. Having everything on-line helps tremendously, as does the layout and functionality of its site, and the punchy, to the point nature of its lectures. The coup de grace though is probably the way they make you put it in to practice, so that all the learnings make sense. The mentor approach means you have someone to turn to to make sense of things. I found they can also point out aspects you'd never of thought of and would have completely missed without their expertise to show you. Mine did that quickly and succinctly. No overanalysing or missing the point.
I am looking to switch careers from technical project manager at a software company to being a web/UX designer. I had looked at doing bootcamps but didn't have the time or money for most of them. DesignLab's course was perfect. The feedback my mentor had for me was great because he's currently working in the field and he wasn't shy about always pushing me to do better. I loved the projects and all the resources provided as well!
Our latest on Designlab
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Dalton Mitchell works as an IT Manager, but struggled with the more aesthetic side of design. Without quitting his job or taking on the financial burden of full-time bootcamps, Dalton decided to join Designlab, a part-time, mentor-driven, online learning platform. Having completed the Design 101 course, Dalton tells us about finding a career path that he loves and how Designlab helped him develop his skills while fitting his learning style, schedule, and price range.
What were you up to before you decided to take the Design 101 Designlab course?
I graduated in 2002 with an Associate degree. I took one semester in website design in a general computer technology program. I love coding and building websites and connecting over the web. The aesthetic and design aspects of coding were really difficult for me, though. I liked print design, but it was difficult for me to translate that into something that I could actually produce on the web- I really needed the foundations in web design.
Did you work full-time while you took the Designlab course?
Yes. I work as a developer and the “IT guy” at a very small plant that builds steel framing for construction buildings. The company has an intranet application for all employees, which started as a PHP app, so I came in to build that. After the Designlab class, because I now have more design skills and front end skills, I’m trying to focus on the interface and UX of the intranet.
Where are you currently based?
I live in the Sacramento area.
Why did you decide on an online program? Did you ever consider doing an in-person bootcamp in San Francisco?
Price was a really big factor. For a couple of years I tried to freelance on my own. It was a good learning experience but financially it really put me in a hole and that made it more difficult to afford a bootcamp.
Designlab was a nice alternative because I got project-based and mentored learning, but they were really nice with me and even let me pay weekly.
Was there an application process at Designlab?
When I did Designlab, it was still pretty new. I was skeptical because money was tight so I wanted to make sure it was going to be worth my while. Designlab has a couple of simple projects before signing up. I did those and I got familiar with their whole interface before signing up. It was really what I was looking for.
How did you get matched with a mentor?
At that time, Designlab had you fill out a small profile, then they assigned you with someone. My case was a little bit unique because my mentor got a really good job and his schedule got kind of hectic. We had some issues getting our schedules to connect, so they matched me with another mentor, Hope.
Who was Hope and what was she like as a mentor?
Hope had just left her design job at Visa and she now works at a startup in San Francisco called Quettra.
She realized that I had some experience and I had some big gaps. She started with some basic feedback but she realized that I had a lot of specific questions.
I wanted to see what it was like to work as a designer and I wanted to learn the the day-to-day workflow as much as I could in 4 weeks. I wanted a little more critical feedback because I wanted to prove myself, so she was really good about pointing out things I didn’t think about. She understood really quickly what I was looking for and tailored her feedback to that.
How did you and Hope communicate during mentor sessions?
At the time, I had a really old laptop and I’m in a rural area so Wi-Fi can be spotty sometimes. Google Hangouts ended up working best for us. She was willing to work with me.
How many times do you meet with your mentor during the 4 weeks?
You end up meeting once a week, usually for about an hour.
How do you work through the Designlab curriculum?
Designlab gives us a curriculum and I worked through the curriculum on my own. Hope and I did communicate throughout the week. I would send her emails as I was working on things to just ask questions, get some feedback and get direction on what I was doing.
Then in the hour long session we would discuss any real glaring questions I had. She would also leave feedback through the Designlab platform as I submitted projects.
Did you ever interact with other students in the program?
The Designlab interface is set up like a little social network where you can comment on other students’ submissions. Seeing what everybody else is working on is motivating.
I liked that we learned from our mentors but also learned from seeing everyone else’s work and other mentors’ feedback. I would spend a couple of hours every week going through to see what everyone else was working on and the feedback they got. It wasn’t the same type of communication we would experience sitting in the same room, but we still got a chance to interact with other students.
Can you tell us about one of the projects that you worked on at Designlab?
The first week, you start off with a really simple project building a landing/marketing page for a fictional product through Designlab’s platform. That platform is a stripped-down, web-based version of a program like Sketch or Photoshop; but it’s built in the web.
I chose a fictional application. Some other people chose projects that they wanted to make in the future.
We spent the rest of the course defining the brand and thinking about color choices, layout, our mission statement and how to reflect the mission statement in the landing page. We took each steps incrementally so you really see the process that leads to a final design. The final project is to actually mock up that landing page using everything you’ve learned.
Since your skill set was in back-end development, this seems very complementary.
It was perfect for me because I had some experience using Photoshop and Illustrator, but I didn't have those fundamentals that you might pick up in art or design school. I could make buttons all day long and they would still not look right because I did not understand hierarchy or how to use white space effectively. When you pick it up on your own, it’s easy to skip those fundamentals.
How many hours a week were spent on Designlab?
I would probably read for at least an hour every day. Towards the end of the week I would start getting into the software and start building things.
What did you create for your final project?
I made a landing page for a fictional Windows phone app because it was new. I had a sample phone asset so I built a mockup of the application to use as the phone image.
We were told that if we really want to be a designer, we should think about the details. I thought through what the app would look like on the actual phone, then mocked it up so I could have screenshots. I spent probably 10 hours throughout the week working on that- I did a little bit more because I really wanted my final project to be something I was proud of.
How have you been able to incorporate your Designlab skills into your fulltime job now?
I do mostly development at my job, but a couple of weeks ago I got to spend a whole week doing design work. A lot of what I learned at Designlab was design thinking and that helped my development style. Now I’m able to plan out my ideas on the whiteboard first, even if I’m just working with data. It makes my code cleaner and made me more focused.
I knew I wanted to start on the design career path, but I didn’t really know where to start. I didn’t know where to apply for jobs, how my skills would be evaluated, and what to improve on. Now I know what areas I need to work on, what areas I’m comfortable showing potential employers, and what kinds of jobs I actually want to work in.
Are you now ready to start applying for designer jobs?
I’m getting there. I reached out to a designer I really like from a podcast called Design Details, which is done by Bryn Jackson and Brian Lovin. I met with Brian, showed him some of the apps that I’d been working on at work, got some feedback on where I am, where I need to be, and some motivation to keep going. He encouraged me to do more side projects, which I have done. It’s important to have live projects that you can show employers. Side projects also reveal how much hard work design really takes. I understand that now, but I’ve also learned that I’ve got what it takes and I don’t need to be afraid of it and back down.
Would you take another class with Designlab?
Yes, I’m currently taking their Branding & Identity Design course. One of the things that’s helped me get better at design is finding constraints. Branding is something I’m passionate about because you have to find a company’s identity; you really have to take a whole company and all of their stakeholders, their history and competition and consider all of it. I know it’s difficult but I really like that challenge. I’m comfortable with my design skills now overall but I’d like to find something that I can specialize in.
Good luck on the new design career path!
From talking with mentors at Designlab and the designers I’ve reached out to, I understand that I need to be patient and focus and that there are tons of positions out there. I just need to wait for the right opportunity.
Before I took the course and started to pursue this in a serious way, I thought I would just be making things pretty and making logos. Now I know where I want to be and I know the position I’m going to be happy in. I’m going to find a position that I love and until then I’ll keep learning.