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Insights from a UI/UX Mentor: Exploring the Significance of Diverse Perspectives in UI/UX Education with a course

Published on 05 Oct , 2023

My name is Vivin Richard, and I work as a UI/UX Designer for Converge2Digital. Additionally, I also train students in UI UX as a passion.
For over 4 years, I have been training students in UI/UX design with ITLH, Mumbai. Throughout my more than 10-year career, I have worked in universities and closely worked with students. One thing I have heard for a long time is that everyone wants to learn something on their own. The concept of DIY and the IKEA effect has become so ingrained in our lifestyle that we want to do everything ourselves.

As a kid, I depended on my parents to teach me everything, and I still depend on people for a lot in my life. Although I'm a grown-up and can make decisions on my own, I still rely on people for their experiences and thoughts. On the same note, I have also learned many things online. For example, I learned Photoshop entirely through YouTube. I replicated designs and followed YouTube tutorials repeatedly to use the tool more efficiently. But when it comes to UX, it means user experience. To gain this, I must go through the basics correctly.
"Design is self-taught; I can learn design on my own."

Learning from Perspectives

However, when it comes to UX design, I have learned that I can only learn UX with perspectives. For example, if I see a tree from one side, I may see a brighter version because the sun is shining on that angle, and I see it as green, bright, and nice. But a person on the other side may see it as dark and shaded because they view it from a silhouette perspective. So even when we see nature, there are multiple sides to it. Learning UX design from one angle would lead to becoming a prejudicial learner, believing that what I learned is right and what I'm doing is right.

I have seen many students coming from graphic design backgrounds making this mistake. I used to be that person. I used to think that what I did was good because I did it. But then I realized that design has perspectives. This realization allowed me to explore studying through boot camps and workshops, which gave me a holistic view. I learned to take negative comments positively and rework my designs to give them to my boss. Even when I was a graphic designer, I used to test my designs with the target audience before finalizing a design.


What do you get in doing a course?

The learnings you would get in a design course equal infinity. The reason is you get a trainer/mentor to learn under. Who can be available to answer your doubts in real-time? Then you have a student community, your fellow learners who can become your teammates, group mates, and even friends, and then start learning together and exploring the UX industry. And most importantly, learning diversified aspects when you come together as a group. UX is not a solo work. We will learn that together.

I remember when we did a card-sorting exercise in class. Where those who have never opened their mouth to speak in a class will start to speak and ask doubts in a group activity-led session. Many students have told me that they took an online course, bought a book, or watched many YouTube videos on UX and are still stuck somewhere in between. They understand partially but not fully. The reason here is that they are trying to learn something that should be done as a group activity. Although some talented people have done this, they are different from the norm.
The catch is that we must ask ourselves if we are the talented ones who can grab and do anything we start with. The ones I have met were like, "Sir, I could not understand the affinity diagram," after watching a video. Understanding specific UX topics with a proper learning system is possible.

During one of my classes, I led an affinity diagramming workshop where we enjoyed learning together on FIGJAM. A student came to me and said, "Now I learned affinity mapping because I did it with all of you." We can do many amazing UX activities as a group and learn. We learn from different people from different parts of the country with different perspectives thinking of a solution together. Learning becomes complete with experience.


Break the Misbelief

In my life, I have seen these different types of people. If you are one of these, please jump out of this mindset.

  1. I have the internet, and I can learn on my own: This can lead to very grave mistakes as a designer because the internet is loaded with information, but learning in a flow is really needed.
  2. I have a big ego that can't accept design corrections and criticisms. I have seen so many designers who cannot accept corrections/feedback. This is the biggest pitfall for any designer.
  3. Solo Designers. This may sound nice as a term, but it strikes really hard when you have to work with a team. It isn't possible because you have been all alone all the way long.
  4. Looking down on teaching organizations thinking that they only get money from you and not teach you properly. Maybe yeah, but researching well about a course / about the trainer / about the organization. Putting efforts into this will help you to choose the best among the lot.

If you are interested in learning UX, take a cohort, understand how it works, learn from different perspectives, and enjoy your sessions with experienced trainers who can guide and respond to you. They will help you correct and rework your mistakes rather than assuming that what you saw on an online platform was right. Having a self-taught portfolio with some errors, understanding what was wrong during interviews, and later finding the best practices is not the right way.

We must understand that UX is an experience we must go through and learn to get our brains to go beyond our limits. The jumpstart, the launchpad, would be a cohort, and then going way beyond because you have learned the basics right.

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