Learning UX Design with the Interaction Design Foundation — a review

Laís Lara Vacco
6 min readMar 23, 2021

In January 2021, I've received an email from the founder of the Interaction Design Foundation congratulating me for being part of the top performers of their courses as my name came up in their top 1% from a database extraction.

The email was also an invitation for me to write an article about a review of the course, and in return, they would add 3 free months to my membership and give me some visibility.

As I enjoyed their course and people already asked about my experience during it, I agreed to write this article. I hope it is useful for you. :)

Welcome email from the course

My context when I joined the course

For 6 years, I’ve worked in the audiovisual field, mainly as a video editor. In 2018 I decided to transition my career and work on something meaningful that would also pay fair compensation for my work.

After readings and talks, I've found the UX Design field, and it was when I started designing my own UX design career.

In the beginning, it was interesting to read about this field, but soon it became confusing. There were too many paths to follow (i.e., UX Research, UX Writing, UI Design, UX Design, etc.), and I wanted to understand a little bit of it all. That's when I decided to take a course with structured lessons about the foundation of the field.

It wasn't easy to find an affordable and high-quality course. In Brazil, the most popular courses would charge up to 1000 dollars for a one-month immersion, and it was way too much to begin with.

That's when the Interaction Design Foundation (IxDF) appeared, at an affordable price.

Also, I had recently read The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman, and when I saw him as part of their Executive Board, I signed up.

Screenshot of the people behind the course

Self-paced lessons

I have created the habit of studying by myself, and I could easily fit the courses into my agenda. The UX courses have a date to book but no deadlines.

This might be challenging when not used to self-directed learning. If this is the case, the book about The Art of Self-Directed Learning might be helpful and inspiring.

Community learning and lessons with a mix of text, image, and video

There was a big community of active students, sharing and willing to learn with each other. The lessons were a mix of text, image, and video, making the content more entertaining and easy to absorb.

There were several practical exercises in each lesson. I was making them all and posting them in the forums. It was great to see each other's answers and to gather feedback from other students.

Screenshots of some of my exercises

When learning about usability and guerrilla testing, they incentivized to practice it. It wasn't mandatory, but I wanted to try.

I wasn't confident, though. Just going out and starting testing with strangers was intimidating, but my husband encouraged me and went with me to a park in the city, so I practiced with strangers!

Afterward, it felt great to learn by doing, which reminds me of this quote from James Clear:

“We often avoid taking action because we think “I need to learn more,” but the best way to learn is often by taking action.”

If you want to know more about this case study, here is the link:

I also shared my prototype with the Brazilian community from the course to gather more feedback.

How I got my first UX job

After a few months of studies, practices, and publishing UX projects, some companies started reaching out.

The journey map of my learning UX Journey

One of the companies was the one from the case study I've talked about previously. The app was one of the biggest Brazilian sharing economy platforms, and their design leader found the case study and contacted me through LinkedIn. After a few talks, he invited me to be part of their team. It was my first UX job, and I was amazed by this unexpected opportunity.

I got hired and could run an A/B test to validate my proposal.

Conclusion

I had many positive experiences during the course, as mentioned above, and to be honest, two things got me frustrated.

When trying to cancel my membership, I saw a message saying, "Are you sure you want to lose all your progress in the IxDF and stop learning?". Neither one was my answer, and continue paying to keep my things didn't sound fair.

Because it is a UX Design course, I had high expectations about my experience there, and a good ending, was one of them, especially considering the peak-end rule:

“people judge an experience largely based on how they felt at its peak and at its end, rather than the total sum or average of every moment of the experience.”. Source.

So I wrote them an email, sharing my thoughts on it:

They answered that I'd not lose my certificates; however, only members can access the platform and content.

Indeed I've never lost my course certificates, and I'm still able to see them.

My profile at the course

I hope they have removed that message, and it makes sense to me that only members are allowed to access the course, but from my ex-student perspective, it would be great to still have access to their forums and the answers I've shared along the course.

I frequently receive emails about comments and likes on my exercises, but I cannot see it within the platform nor interact with the comments.

Screenshots of the right are the emails I frequently receive. When clicking on "Go to a discussion thread," I see the "Verify your Student Status" alert on the right side.

I'm out of the context of this decision, and still, I wanted to be open about my experience within the course.

Looking backward, I see the course as an important part of my UX journey, along with other readings and practices I did. This course was the foundation I needed to understand this field and a nudge to put the theories into practice.

I'd recommend it, as my overall experience was positive, with quality content, at an affordable price.

If you are interested, you can click here for my invitation link: this gives you 2 months off the yearly membership and I get 1 month of free membership.

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