Upgrade your design skills in 2018

Illustration shows robot using a tablet

Illustration by Flavio Montiel

Many people find coding is a lot easier and more fun than they imagined, but it does depend on where your natural talents lie. If your brain just doesn't work in that way, fear not: you no longer need to be able to code to bring your interactive ideas to life.

01. Start prototyping

A moving prototype is a great way to see how your design might work in reality. "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," says Sennep's Matt Rice. For a more in-depth look at some tools that help you design moving prototypes without dabbling in code, read our article 5 tools that bridge the design-development gap

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 few years ago by completing a UX workshop run by Adaptive Path.

"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." The latest iteration of the course is called SX Intensive, and explores how to design multi-channel experiences.

03. Read up

Joseph Bramall of Well Made Studio first embarked on learning UX and frontend 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 boost their UX stills, Bramall 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."

05. Read up

Illustration shows metallic object being welded

Illustration by Flavio Montiel

Your first port of call should be these prototyping and UX skills articles:

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Tom May

Tom May is an award-winning journalist and editor specialising in design, photography and technology. Author of the Amazon #1 bestseller Great TED Talks: Creativity, published by Pavilion Books, Tom was previously editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine. Today, he is a regular contributor to Creative Bloq and its sister sites Digital Camera World, T3.com and Tech Radar. He also writes for Creative Boom and works on content marketing projects.