Upgrade your design skills in 2017

Illustration: Flavio Montiel

For many, coding is a lot easier and more fun than they imagined – but that's not the case for everyone. "If your brain just doesn't work in that way, there are plenty of other tools you can learn to help bring your interactive ideas to life," says Sennep's Matt Rice.

01. Start prototyping

"This is where prototyping comes in: making static designs come to life helps you understand pain points in your design and discover what works and what doesn't. Some tools we've been using at Sennep include Invision, Marvel, Flinto, Pixate and Atomic."

02. Do an intensive workshop

A related field is UX, or user experience. UX is essentially about designing systems that users find easy and pleasurable to interact with. Rosie Isbell, senior experience designer at Wolff Olins, boosted her UX skills a couple of years ago by completing the Adaptive Path UX Intensive workshop in Dublin.

"It was 'intensive' but really hands-on, which meant I was able to bring it back into the work I was doing the very next day," she says. "It really encouraged me to continue to focus on service and experience design and push this within my projects and career."

03. Read up

Joseph Bramall of Well Made Studio first embarked on learning UX and front-end development by searching around the web and Twitter for courses and workshops.

"I ended up buying A Practical Guide to Information Architecture by Donna Spencer and going on a UX Bootcamp course run by Leisa Reichelt, who has some amazing projects under her belt. From there I went on a massive self-initiated learning drive," he recalls.

"It's helped my career loads. I've been able to take more responsibility for projects, communicate better with suppliers and other designers and have more control over the way things work and who we work with."

04. Be inquisitive

For those wishing to follow his example, he advises: "Be inquisitive, read as much as you can, and remember to focus, UX is a broad field and you won't be able to cover it all. Take small steps and you will get to where you want to be. Join UX and web design groups and take an active interest in it."

Useful resources

Illustration: Flavio Montiel