Best UX Courses from Interaction Design Foundation (IDF)

IDF for learning UX Design

The Interaction Design Foundation (IDF) was founded in 2002 and counts 90,000 graduates in design alumni. They’re known for UX courses on a subscription (“all you can learn”) basis.

Why learn with IDF?

  • Thorough curriculum with great instructors, design assignments, and even a nifty UX certificate upon completion.
  • Engaged community of graduates, meetup and online groups
  • Courses are controlled for classroom size. The one you want might be full at the moment, but they restart quickly.

Editor’s note: IDF is geared towards UX students, compared to general platforms like Skillshare or LinkedIn Learning.

Scroll to bottom of post to see how to get 3 months free (25% off)

ux beginner oz profile

In this guide, I curated 10 UX courses unique to IDF and ordered them from beginner, intermediate and advanced design courses. Enjoy!

– Oz Chen, reviewer & founder of UXBeginner.com

Note: We are an Educational Partner of Interaction Design Foundation, which means there  are affiliate links to IDF on this page. We stand by our recommendations for UX students. Thanks for supporting our free site!

10

UX COURSE RECOMMENDATIONS

30+

IDF COURSES EVALUATED

3

UX COURSE LEVELS

Beginner level

UX Basics

Multiple exercises

11 hrs over 5 weeks

IDF’s flagship UX course offers a ‘hard reset’ that shows students how to embark on a new career in UX design. You’ll learn… 

  • The main 5 stages of the UX design process
  • All the relevant UX deliverables and tools companies care about
  • Optional exercises to drill in new concepts
  • The confidence to work with clients as a UX consultant

Also included: interviews with UX managers at top companies like Google and SAP on what they value in new UX designers.

Beginner level

8 sections

course certificate

18 hrs over 7 weeks

New UX designers will save a ton of time if they start off with a solid set of design patterns. This course will teach you the ins-and-outs of…

  • Using the right design patterns for the right interaction and product
  • How to speed up your design process with UI design patterns
  • (Underrated) How to organize content so that it’s usable

Beginner level

Data visualization

HCI Professor

14 hrs over 5 weeks

Information Visualization is one of the most underrated subjects new designers skip, but it’s vital when you run into data you want to visualize (dashboards and metrics). It’s also super handy to have this knowledge for creating presentations—including the all-important UX portfolio. Learn how to…

  • Apply a variety of basic and complex information visualization techniques
  • Avoid common problems of visual perception in your designs
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of information you’re illustrating

Beginner level

visual principles

Tons of examples

12 hrs over 5 weeks

Gelato, what? Gestalt (guh-shtaalt) in German roughly translates to “pattern.” Learn Gestalt, and you’ll learn how to organize information in interfaces so that designs feel cohesive instead of fragmented. You’ll learn how to…

  • Create clear, easy-to-understand designs
  • Analyze existing designs according to Gestalt principles of perceptual organization
  • The fundamentals of proximity, spacing and grouping elements in your design

Extra: read IDF’s article on Gestalt psychology

Intermediate level

LEGIT Instructor

Practical Project

5 hrs over 3 weeks

A design isn’t tested and proven until users have interacted with it. That’s the magic of usability testing; making sure things aren’t broken before they land in users’ hands. In this course, get hands-on experience and also learn…

  • How to conduct effective usability testing
  • Plan, run, analyze and report on usability tests
  • Best practices how structuring and delivering usability tests
You’ll come away with a practical UX skill you can use throughout every design project.

intermediate level

Management

Soft Skills

8 hrs over 6 weeks

The unavoidable part of any job is that we’re going to be managed or end or managing others. UX has unique problems in this space because it’s a newer industry. This course, geared for practicing UX designers and design managers, includes:

  • How to improve the ROI (“return on investment”) of your design work
  • Learn best design management practices
  • Leverage these skills to “manage up” in your UX or design job

CORE UX SKILL

8 modules

INTERMEDIATE LEVEL

14 hrs over 7 weeks

Can a solution be user-centered you don’t know what user’s think? Get into the minds of users with this course, which will teach you:

  • How to plan user research projects that are valid and ethically sound
  • How to conduct user interviews, perform contextual inquiries and make user observations
  • How to interpret research results and apply qualitative analysis to improve designs

Bonus: the course also teaches you how to communicate your user research to stakeholders.

Consulting skills

BUSINESS SKILLS

intermediate level

18 hrs over 7 weeks

Freelance skills can make all the difference for career transitioners looking to gain UX experience and add projects to their portfolio.

In this course, learn:

  • How to set up a successful freelance business
  • How to market and sell your business services effectively
  • How to handle all the day-to-day management of a solo freelancing business

Bonus: This course is taught by one of IDF’s founders, Rikke Friis Dam, who packs a lot of practical knowledge from hiring freelancers.

Visual perception

Neuroscience

advanced level

13 hrs over 5 weeks

These last two recommendations are a bit more brainy and academic—but still fun ways to get an advanced edge in UX.

You’ll not only learn how visual perceptions are formed based on the anatomy of the eye, but also pick up…

  • Theories of human color vision and how to apply color theory to your designs
  • How humans perceive objects, and how to use that knowledge for screen-based interfaces
  • How imagery, context, and attention form important considerations for all kinds of designs

Advanced UI Design

Psychologist prof.

advanced level

18 hrs over 7 weeks

This course merges brain science and computer science to give students a thorough understanding in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI).

You’ll learn optimal approaches to design better software with knowledge in…

  • How to design for short attention spans
  • How the brain processes visual information, in order to create seamless UIs
  • How to create effective designs based on how the brain prioritizes the sensory information it receives

By the end of the course, you’ll have a firm grasp of how to design for human brains 🧠

If you’re ready to start learning with IDF, make sure to use UXBeginner’s educational partner link to get 25% off, or equivalent to 3 months free.

Upon activating the link, you should see a message that Oz (that’s me) invited you. You might see a different message if you clicked on an individual course. No problemo, continue on through IDF’s sign up flow to get your savings.

Already have an IDF account? You might want to sign up with a different email to get your 25% discount.

Step 1: Use our referral link

IDF’s memberships are paid annually (12 months). The regular plan for unlimited courses is $192 ($16*12) and the  student plan—2 courses at a time— is $120 ($11*12).

With our referral link, you’ll save $48 and $33 respectively, for a total of $144 or $99.

idf-referral-3-months-free-instruction-1

Step 2: Go through the sign up flow

As a new user, you’ll go through IDF’s normal account creation flow.

Don’t worry, you’ll see your savings in the third step.

Step 3: See your savings

You’ll see your 25% savings here.

For professional memberships (unlimited courses), you’ll save $48.

For student memberships (max of 2 courses at a time), you’ll save $33.

Boom! that was easy.

idf-referral-3-months-free-instruction-2
ux beginner oz profile

I hope this hand-picked selection gives you more confidence if you’re considering IDF as a learning platform.

Like other educational streaming services, IDF offers unlimited UX courses with their standard (“professional”) membership. It’s low cost and easy to cancel.

The catch is that IDF really only comes with annual subscription plans, though they advertise their monthly price. Luckily, UXBeginner is an educationl partner of IDF and we’re able to offer 3 free months (equilvant to 25% off) with an annual subscription.

This is a great option to learn UX and support UXBeginner.com at the same time. Thank you!

– Oz Chen, reviewer & founder of UXBeginner.com

About the Author

oz

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Oz first started UX Beginner was a way to document his own journey to become a UX designer. Now the site helps thousands of professionals transition into the user experience field with UX career resources, articles and courses.

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