For as long as we‚Äôve been running the Interaction Design Foundation, we‚Äôve been asked many of the same questions: for example, ‚ÄúI know nothing about 211≤ ∆Ī Design; can I still benefit from your courses?‚ÄĚ, or, ‚ÄúCan I use my graphic design experience to become a 211≤ ∆Ī Designer?‚ÄĚ.
Rather than answering these common questions ourselves, we figured we should let our members do the talking! By compiling snippets from some of the in-depth, empathetic reviews our members have been kind enough to write over the years, we‚Äôre sure you‚Äôll find that the majority of your questions will have been answered by the end of the article. Let‚Äôs get to it!
- Are your 211≤ ∆Ī courses suitable for beginners, or those looking to change careers?
- Are your courses just for individuals, or can they also be used by companies to train their teams?
- Are your courses useful for professionals and design teams already working in the industry?
- If I‚Äôm studying 211≤ ∆Ī at university, will I still benefit from becoming a member?
- Why is an education in 211≤ ∆Ī, Design Thinking and Interaction Design so relevant at the moment?
- Is an online education really comparable to programs offered at prestigious universities?
- Why should I choose the IDF when there are so many different competitors offering similar courses?
- Is it true that there are real-life course instructors involved to help you learn and grade your work?
- Are the course certificates awarded by the Interaction Design Foundation worth anything?
- Is there genuinely a sense of being part of an active community when you join the IDF?
- Can non-members benefit from the Interaction Design Foundation?
- What kind of effort does creating an organization like the Interaction Design Foundation involve?
- Can I build my own app after taking your courses?
Are your 211≤ ∆Ī courses suitable for beginners, or those looking to change careers?
Matt Donnelly‚Äôs review is a great place to start with this‚ÄĒfor one thing, the introduction alone sounds like it‚Äôs straight out of an episode of Silicon Valley:
‚ÄúI had just been hired as a copywriter and a content strategist for a small software-as-a-service (SaaS) startup in Boston. ‚ÄėThis will be a piece of cake,‚Äô I thought. ‚ÄėI‚Äôve written blogs before. I‚Äôve written snappy headlines. Been there, done that.‚ÄôMy next-door neighbor in our open office plan was a young woman with thick, black-rimmed glasses. I met her minutes after I arrived for my first day of work.Hi, nice to meet you. I‚Äôm the 211≤ ∆Ī designer. I look forward to working with you.‚ÄôI paused. 211≤ ∆Ī designer? I‚Äôd never heard of a 211≤ ∆Ī designer.‚ÄĚ
If you‚Äôre curious, there was a happy ending‚Ä¶ and you can read Matt‚Äôs to find out.
Now, if you‚Äôre looking to change career into the world of 211≤ ∆Ī, then you might resonate well with what Ajayraj has to say:
‚ÄúI started my career as a developer, but my passion has always been in design, psychology and solving problems‚Ä¶. So, I planned to switch my career to become a UI/211≤ ∆Ī designer.The initial phase was rough and blank as I had no clue where to start, whom to ask and how to proceed. I surfed the internet about 211≤ ∆Ī related stuff, and it is like travelling inside a dense jungle with no start and end, no sense of orientation, and I was literally lost.Then I came to know about IDF and it was a happy story after that. They have content for beginners who have no clue about 211≤ ∆Ī design, and they guide you throughout the whole course with proper examples, theories and concepts.IDF played a key role in helping me to get the UI/211≤ ∆Ī designer job that I was dreaming of. The courses give you so much insight, and the certifications are recognised and valued by industries and organisations worldwide.‚ÄĚ
You can read more about what journey Ajayraj has been on .
As you can see, the Interaction Design Foundation has courses for everybody‚ÄĒno matter what situation, or stage of your career, you‚Äôre in. Don‚Äôt know a thing about 211≤ ∆Ī design? No problem; we‚Äôre here to get you started. Already built two beautiful digital products that are super successful? Great! Head to our advanced courses and‚ÄĒfor all you know‚ÄĒyou might just get a brilliant idea for what your next project should be.
Are your courses just for individuals, or can they also be used by companies to train their teams?
‚ÄúIDF is the right way to go for companies, studios, agencies, or even solo practitioners, especially if you are on a budget. The availability of courses is something I‚Äôve not seen in any other offering, and the platform for consuming the content is straight forward, and pleasant to use. I couldn‚Äôt recommend this enough, and I‚Äôll definitely continue to use them.‚ÄĚ
You can read his full review of the IDF .
Are your courses useful for professionals and design teams already working in the industry?
Just have a look at Fernando Carreon‚Äôs story:
‚ÄúI work as an Interaction Designer at one of the big companies at Silicon Valley and I have been here for a little bit less than a year. 15 years ago most of us at the Web business were Jacks of all trades, but you may know that to have a strong value as a professional you must specialize on whatever you must love. I always try to be informed about anything and Interaction Design is not an exception, so when I discovered The Interaction Design Foundation, I decided that I must give it a shot. I got access to tons of information and 211≤ ∆Ī courses. It was better than having an exclusive Interaction Design or 211≤ ∆Ī library. The way of learning kept me focused and engaged as I could interact with other Interaction Designers while taking those valuable courses.‚ÄĚ
You can read Fernando‚Äôs . It‚Äôs appropriately titled ‚ÄúImproving your career with Interaction Design Foundation‚ÄĚ.
If I‚Äôm studying 211≤ ∆Ī at university, will I still benefit from becoming a member?
Not only is the answer to that question ‚Äúyes‚ÄĚ, but we even have a discounted ‚ÄúStudent‚ÄĚ membership especially for people in such situations. In our constantly changing world, there‚Äôs nothing more important than supplementing your classroom learning with other resources when you get home. You might be super inspired by your professor; however, without a properly organized library of material, you‚Äôll find it very difficult to remain intellectually stimulated outside of the classroom. This is where our self-paced online courses can come in handy‚ÄĒby providing you with access to a wide variety of essential educational material that your university is often not able to provide.
‚ÄúI am a graduate student in HCI and 211≤ ∆Ī design. During this frantic and frenetic ‚Äėseason‚Äô of my life, all I can think about is how much I can learn now, in order to feel confident at work, after I graduate. This is where IDF has been most helpful. If you don‚Äôt have time for using the foundation‚Äôs website for networking, for reading randomly the research articles, then you can really focus on your weak points through their courses. IDF‚Äôs courses filled a lot of the gaps in my graduate education, and they are specialized by topics that are narrow enough for you to feel like a specialist, once you complete them.The courses range from Design Thinking, to Gestalt Psychology, Information Visualization and Mobile User Experience‚ÄĒanywhere up to about 30 courses running at any given time, and they range from beginner to advanced. What is special about the courses at IDF is that they are comprehensive, well-founded in research, and very thorough. They make you think. And it is hard to go through more than a paragraph without having to take a thinking break, just to digest the material and incorporate it deep into the personal knowledge storage. Then, all this knowledge is immediately applicable in my courses, providing a competitive edge, and making it an all-around satisfying experience.‚ÄĚ
Read Vera‚Äôs full review of the Interaction Design Foundation ; this one‚Äôs written specifically for students enrolled in HCI and 211≤ ∆Ī courses at university.
Why is an education in 211≤ ∆Ī, Design Thinking and Interaction Design so relevant at the moment?
Tori has first-hand experience of why being educated in the field is so important right now:
‚ÄúEven now, the curriculum in many universities can only scratch the surface in teaching the design skills required to keep up with an ever-changing and expanding design market. As the VP of Service Design at a Digital Learning Agency, I see this happening first hand as we expect Instructional Designers to become Learning Experience Designers, expanding beyond the traditional models to build a new approach that encompasses User Experience and Service Design. There is no question that a mindset of life-long learning has become an essential part of a designer‚Äôs success.‚ÄĚ
You can read more of her suitably-named story here:
‚ÄúI have worked mostly with print design and now I want to work with digital product design. One of the reasons I find interaction design so interesting is that it analyzes design and human behavior ‚Äď subjects that I am highly interested in. Another reason is that digital products can be updated as we better understand the necessities from users and results can be measured easier than print design, giving a great feel that your work had an actual impact on the product.‚ÄĚ
You can read Sergio‚Äôs on the 211≤ ∆Ī Blog.
Is an online education really comparable to programs offered at prestigious universities?
Forbes Magazine ran a wonderful feature on our mission here at the IDF‚ÄĒand it‚Äôs perfect for getting this one answered. In the first sentence, the author compares our courses to the caliber of those you would find at an Ivy League university:
‚ÄúImagine getting an Ivy League level education in 211≤ ∆Ī, product design or human-computer interaction from the comfort of your home ‚Äď anywhere in the world. What sounds like the offer from a spam email is actually the open-source education reality that Denmark‚Äôs Interaction Design Foundation has devoted the last decade to promoting.
Built over the foundation‚Äôs 10-year history, IDF‚Äôs library of design-focused courseware and textbooks includes contributions from faculty at the likes of Stanford, Harvard and MIT and researchers from IBM, Google and Apple and boasts over 16M readers to date.‚ÄĚ
Read J. Maureen Henderson‚Äôs in Forbes Magazine.
Why should I choose the IDF when there are so many different competitors offering similar courses?
In Rhys Merritt‚Äôs words:
‚ÄúAfter looking into some courses like udemy, nngroup, and general assembly, we were a little put off by price and availability‚Ää‚ÄĒ‚Ääthen we found Interaction Design Foundation, and it seemed to answer all of our questions, and then some. Not only was it remote friendly, but we only paid a fraction of the price, compared to what others were charging‚Ä¶ and that was for a full year of access to any course! It was our answer.‚ÄĚ
You can continue reading Rhys‚Äôs .
Asif also had something to say in this regard:
‚ÄúI did a thorough research and cross-compared based on my work to conclude that IDF fits in with my requirements.
I just had a few thumbs up guiding my decision:
- Their yearly membership fees for professionals are extremely modest and it gives you access to as many courses as you wish. To me, that‚Äôs quite cost-effective.
- People behind IDF are some of the most prominent names from 211≤ ∆Ī/UI industry like‚ÄāDonald A. Norman,‚ÄāDaniel Rosenberg, Irene Au, Jonas L√∂wgren,‚ÄāKen Friedman,‚ÄāMichael Arent and‚ÄāBill Buxton.
- IDF provides a designer‚Äôs community platform where designers from all over the world can interact with each other and also you can meet designers from IDF community within your area.‚ÄĚ
You can read Asif‚Äôs full account of .
Is it true that there are real-life course instructors involved to help you learn and grade your work?
IDF member Paolo Sammicheli writes:
‚ÄúThe thing that I appreciated most is that for many lessons you got exercises to do that are not the typical multi-choice tests. You've to write the answers in plain English and then the trainer will review it providing feedbacks and suggestion. That's really valuable for the students, especially for those who are not English native speakers like me: It helps also in practicing the English language while staying at home.
Trainings are self-paced so you can find the time even in busy schedules to follow the class and read the material. This is perfect for workers, especially for those who commute every day.‚ÄĚ
Read Paolo‚Äôs .
Having dedicated course instructors is one of the things that makes us stand out way above the rest. Mentors, coaches, teachers‚ÄĒcall them what you will‚ÄĒthere‚Äôs simply no alternative to learning from experts who‚Äôve been there and done that. ‚ÄúPeer-reviewing‚ÄĚ is popular on many MOOC platforms, but it is at best a mediocre alternative to no grading at all. Compared with that, our courses involve long-answer questions where your written answers get graded by real humans.
Are the course certificates awarded by the Interaction Design Foundation worth anything?
‚ÄúI realized that specially for the German market, educational background functions like proof of knowledge (something that is not valid for the Greek market, where proof lies within the end product). Therefore, I often had various questions like ‚ÄėWhere did you learn user research?‚Äô, ‚ÄėWhen did you learn about mobile design?‚Äô, ‚ÄėWhere did you learn about responsive design?‚Äô, etc., where most of them would be answered: ‚ÄėFrom my university studies, 10 years ago.‚Äô
As you understand, the 211≤ ∆Ī field was nearly non-existent 10 years ago, same with responsive design and most technologies used today. And even though you may have worked with them for the last 5+ years, your proof of knowledge still remains outdated.‚ÄĚ
You can read Dimitrios‚Äôs full account of the .
You earn a course certificate for each course you complete and can highlight your achievements by adding them to your r√©sum√©/CV, LinkedIn profile, or website.
Is there genuinely a sense of being part of an active community when you join the IDF?
Chhavi Shrivastava begins by saying she‚Äôs no good at reviews‚Ä¶ but she can tell a great story; that‚Äôs for sure:
‚ÄúAround two years back, for sometime I had been lingering around the discussions in the IDF community, still in that learning user-interface-is-a-part-of-user-experience phase of a newbie designer.
In just one of my lingering sessions, I saw a message on a group chat asking if someone is up to do the ACM CHI 2016 design challenge together. Within hours we had connected. Turned out she too was a novice in design and was venturing out with this. Even though we were living across the world from each other‚ÄĒshe was pursuing her PhD from University of California, Santa Barbara and I was studying to become a Bachelor‚Äôs of Design, IIT Guwahati in India‚ÄĒarmed with the user experience courses of IDF we enrolled in full-time academic courses and decided to complete this in less than 15 days. What followed were days when we worked at odd hours, scrounged IDF for user experience courses and used excessive amounts of Google Drive and Hangouts.‚ÄĚ
That‚Äôs an inspiring story if there ever was one, and highlights just one example of the international community spirit we have here at the IDF. Read Chhavi‚Äôs .
We know that learning is best done together. With almost 500 IDF Local Groups in 90 countries all over the world, being a part of the IDF‚Äôs learning community is always easy, and you will soon notice just how extensive the benefits are. Take part in your local group‚Äôs activities to expand your local career network, meet your next employer, employee, and client, and connect with like-minded people, some of whom you will likely soon call friends. When the world becomes smaller, learning and connecting become easier.
Who are the people behind the Interaction Design Foundation‚Äôs mission?
The people behind this mammoth project are notoriously publicity averse, with almost no interviews or public appearances available. Instead, they choose to focus on the task of achieving their over-ambitious goals. In this core77 review of the Interaction Design Foundation‚Äôs open-access design textbooks, the two founders and editors-in-chief give a glimpse into what keeps the team motivated to do what they do:
"If we give away free knowledge and free educational resources on how to design technology and things, then we can create a better world, both aesthetically and in regards to productivity," noted Editor in Chief Mads Soegaard in an interview with Core77. Soegaard founded the Interaction Design Foundation and heads it up with his wife, Rikke Dam. They brought together writers from universities like MIT and Cambridge and companies like Yahoo and IBM to contribute their writings to the foundation (Core77's own Don Norman serves on the board, too).‚ÄĚ
Read the whole .
Can non-members benefit from the Interaction Design Foundation?
This one‚Äôs well-answered by Hai Ho:
‚ÄúIDF‚Äôs open-sourced literature, used by institutions like MIT and the University of Cambridge, are rich in information on topics ranging from gamification to social design.
Their cornerstone publication, The Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction, is currently in its second iteration and is actually a compilation of work written by Ivy League professors, expert designers, and bestselling authors such as Don Norman. If you‚Äôre short on time (like many of us are) or simply looking for a lighter read than an encyclopedia, browse through 211≤ ∆Ī Daily, a hub for countless [numbers] of great articles on topics surrounding user experience design.
The best part about the books and articles? They‚Äôre completely free to read ‚ÄĒ no membership required.‚ÄĚ
You can read Hai Ho‚Äôs .
Our model of open-access publishing offers an alternative to academics and professionals wanting to share their work. Traditional journals and academic publishers work on outdated models of paywalls that benefit no one. At the cost of forgoing some royalties, authors publishing with us have the satisfaction of knowing that their work will have a massive impact on the world and will be read by hundreds of thousands of professionals and students.
The benefit to our readers is obvious‚ÄĒwithout any monetary investment, they get access to the latest cutting-edge research in user experience and design. Ultimately, the net benefit of free information is invaluable, and our readers have enough content to literally never stop learning.
What kind of effort does creating an organization like the Interaction Design Foundation involve?
‚ÄúFounders Mads Soegaard and Rikke Dam don‚Äôt take gathering their information lightly. The pair flew to Germany and spent several days recording world-renowned, Marc Hassenzahl, in order to create a free textbook on User Experience. They also spent time at Cambridge University with a film crew persuading a museum to let them film after hours, in order to create some impressive resources on Visual Representation.
Their global community now reaches 471 local groups in 84 countries, prompting users all over the world to frequently host meetups where both members and non-members alike can get together to discuss quality design. As Soegaard describes it, ‚ÄúThe IDF is a global movement to advocate great design and what great design can do for humankind. Nothing less.‚ÄĚ
You can read the rest of Robyn‚Äôs .
Can I build my own app after taking your courses?
Jennifer Arlington writes:
‚ÄúThe key thing to note here is that in an industry filled with ‚Äėquick-fixes‚Äô, these courses are fighting the de-intellectualization of design.
That‚Äôs not to say you won‚Äôt learn practical skills, but the emphasis is on maintaining relevance in a world so fast-paced that softwares become obsolete in the time it takes to learn how to use them. You learn timeless concepts based on fundamental principles, infinitely adaptable to different contexts.‚ÄĚ
Jennifer has a very informative ; it‚Äôs a great introduction to our teaching methodology.