Self-learning is easy these days.
Digging through library archives or interviewing (stalking if you like) an expert used to be standard practice. Now that there’s Google and tons of online courses available, you do a bit of google-fu and voila — You have 5184965 search results to sift through!
But there’s one downside: It means you have to wrestle with information overload. This is what I’ve been grappling with the past month while learning the ins and outs of user research.
And it looks like I’m not alone.
Ana, another usability researcher in training mentioned the same struggle in one of our email correspondence. I found her blog when I was looking for more information on Steve Portigal’s book Interviewing Users and I emailed her with “Hello, we’re on the same UX research boat. Mind if we share notes?”
After several emails sent back and forth, we both agreed that there’s just too many resources out there.
To avoid burnout, feeling overwhelmed, or even give up on the learning process itself, I’ve decided to stop hopping from one UX resource to another and just stick with the following resources.
UX Mastery is a community of both newbie and seasoned usability folks.
Besides the forums and blog posts, I like the fact that they have regular AMA (Ask Me Anything) sessions with experts.
My recent favorite was an AMA with Laura Klein (author of UX for Lean Startups). I’ve also noticed that some senior members give detailed feedback to research portfolios. Plus, the UX Mastery team reviews new books and UX courses in detail. (Hat tip to Ana for recommending UX Mastery!)
Speaking of UX courses, my second favorite resource is..
User Experience (UX): The Ultimate Guide to Usability and UX Course on Udemy by David Travis
I’m just starting out and I’m impressed with David’s first set of lectures. I’d probably write a full review once I’m done with it.
My main goal in doing this course is to help me transition from theory to hands-on experience with research because the course requires me to complete several tasks. Hopefully, this will help me come up with a decent portfolio.
While going over the course, I noticed that David is quick to reply to queries. No wonder the course has rave reviews from former students and the UX Mastery crew.
The UX Sisters
The team behind this blog are two former colleagues at HubSpot’s user research team. What I like about The UX Sisters is their focus on providing tips and hacks on usability testing, one of the research methods that I’m particularly keen about.
This blog post on getting quick user feedback during usability tests is one of my favorites.
On top of the aforementioned resources, I occasionally browse the Nielsen Norman Group site to catch up on UX reports and insightful posts. And of course, there’s A List Apart, the User Testing blog, and the Dollars to Donuts podcast.
Learning styles vary. What works for me may not resonate with you and vice versa. The takeaway here is to experiment and figure out which resources will help you connect the dots.