“With so much of what we do in our lives moving online, there is an explosion in the need for user-experience design. At the same time, as the general population becomes more adept, their expectations for a frictionless experience are high,” says Jessica Thompson, an instructor with over 18 years of professional experience in branding, user experience, visual design, and digital strategy, who now teaches in Otis Extension’s new certificate program in UX/UI for Web Design. Otis Extension took the strongest parts of its former Web Design Certificate Program, streamlined the curriculum to include the 10 most essential courses, and reinforced the user-experience (UX) and user-interface (UI) components. The new program offers an even stronger value-proposition to anyone with a traditional design background who is interested in pivoting to UX/UI, or who is new to design but attracted to the blend of design and critical thinking offered in a UX/UI career. The certificate program is also a great option for those switching careers or exploring something entirely new.
“In addition to focusing the educational goals around UI and UX technical skills within design, we built into the curriculum an opportunity for students to be exposed to industry-relevant knowledge, such as team collaboration, project management, and exposure to professional environments in the field,” says Terry Nauheim, Otis Extension’s Director of Curriculum. “These items are representative of our certificate programs’ mission to prepare students for professional-ready knowledge in today’s creative fields.”
Thompson says graduates of the UX/UI Web Design Certificate Program can easily segue into careers as user experience designers, UX researchers, user interface designers, UX project coordinators, and user researchers, to name just a few.
“UX is a multifaceted discipline combining design theory and process, cognitive science, and collaborative practices for arriving at effective design solutions to everyday problems. The Otis Extension program focuses on arming students with foundational knowledge, and hands-on experience learning and applying UX design practices that are in accordance with current practices happening in companies and design shops around the world,” she says. “Students will learn the common language and philosophies shared by designers in the field of UX, so that they can immediately begin applying their skills in a real-world setting.”
The 10 courses, which can be completed in 12 to 15 months, run the gamut from Color Theory and Design and Typography, to Introduction to Graphic Design and Digital Design Tools. Topics covered include everything from design standards, accessibility best practices, basic coding, and common workflows, to industry-standard tools like Sketch, Figma, Mirro, and Adobe Creative Suite. Students will also be able to learn from experienced professionals and artists, connect with a network of creatives, and receive career support, including career counseling, career assessment, internship advising, and employer networking opportunities. At the culmination, graduates will be armed with a professional-quality portfolio demonstrating conceptual, design, and technical proficiency for entry-level positions in the web design industry.
Otis College of Art and Design has always been on the cutting edge of preparing graduates to thrive in the Creative Economy. Otis Extension works from the same set of values, adapting courses and certificate programs to emerging and changing industries. “It is one of the greatest assets of our certificate programs,” says Nauheim. “It is a unique advantage to be agile with an educational program—as industry trends change, so can we in order to best serve our students with knowledge and portfolios relevant to entry-level positions in current and emerging fields. We are fortunate to have a group of colleagues in the field who provided valuable insights towards the finalized UX/UI for Web Design Certificate program, some of whom will be teaching in our classrooms.”
Across the board, Nauheim says they have seen Otis Extension alumnx attain successful careers in a range of design-oriented fields, including graphic design, web design, motion graphics, brand strategy, copywriting, surface design, entrepreneurship, project management, illustration, and digital design.
“Otis, having a long and storied history in the field of graphic design, is in the unique position to train students in traditional design—which is essential—and merge with it the new and emerging skills required for UX,” says Thompson. “Many other schools offering UX/UI programs are lacking in foundational design history and insights, which are crucial to having a well rounded education in this field.”
Learn more about the UX/UI for Web Design Certificate Program and register for classes by visiting the program web page.