Curious to learn more about UX design, but not ready to pay for a formal degree or certification? No problem. You can still learn plenty about UX without breaking the bank.
There are countless resources out there if you want to read design thinking books and blogs or listen to podcasts. The only problem is that many of these D-I-Y educational routes don’t provide guidance to the true newbie—or structure for those who prefer a more strategic approach.
Thankfully, there are a lot of free short courses and tutorials out there for aspiring UXers who are looking to broaden their horizons; so many, in fact, that it can be challenging to find the one that meets your particular needs. And that’s why we’re here.
Here are our top nine free UX trainings to help you find your footing in the world of UX. These are all 100% free (no subscription required), 100% online, and are offered by trusted sources in the field. Here are the UX trainings we’ll cover:
- InVision’s Principles of UX Design email course
- General Assembly’s Intro to UX workshop
- CareerFoundry’s UX Design for Beginners course
- LearnUX.io’s Career in UX course
- Udacity’s Product Design course
- Springboard’s free UX design curriculum
- CareerFoundry’s UX Research for Beginners course
- UX Writing Hub’s UX Writing Foundations module
- Figma’s Learn Design Pilot
InVision is a well-respected design and collaboration tool—and they offer free e-courses, delivered directly to your email inbox. This particular training will give you an expert’s introduction to UX design
This ebook/course is delivered directly to you by email—one chapter each week over the course of nine weeks. It’s a manageable window into the world of UX. Here are a few of the topics this course will cover:
- What is user experience?
- UX practice and roles
- What is user research?
- User personas
- Information architecture
This email course is a good choice for someone who wants a written introduction to UX in manageable, weekly chunks. It doesn’t look like there’s a hands-on focus for the course, so we’d recommend pairing this with some tutorials or other resources that will get you putting knowledge into practice.
General Assembly offers an ongoing and impressive selection of online events and workshops on a variety of topics—including a succinct, two-hour introduction to UX design. These workshops are remote and recurring, but they do take place at scheduled times. You’ll need to carve out the time to attend, but you’ll have two hours with a UX expert to hear their overview and insights into the field.
During the workshop, you’ll explore:
- The decision making process that dictates how users interact with a digital product
- Why businesses value UX and why it matters
- Fundamental UX tools and techniques
- How to create a clickable prototype
- Resources to continue learning
This is an excellent introduction to UX, and a great jumping off point for continued learning.
CareerFoundry offers a range of certification programs (with a job guarantee) that you can pay for, but there’s a variety of free courses available as well, and on a variety of topics related to careers in tech. This particular course—UX Design for Beginners—will give you a free dive into all things UX.
The course is broken down into six self-paced tutorials. Each tutorial is made up of in-house, expert-authored reading materials, visual aids, and videos that come together for a complete introduction to the world of UX—and each tutorial includes a practical exercise to help you put your learning to good use! The course will cover topics such as:
- What is UX design?
- The UX design process
- Career paths in UX
- Core UX design skills
- Tips for a UX portfolio
If you’re looking to understand the field of UX, what a career in UX might look like, and some of the common processes and deliverables UXers use—this is a great course to start with.
It’ll give you a full introduction to the world of UX with a hands-on component to help you get active with your learning. The course also includes a final test so that you can assess your own progress (and earn a discount on a paid course).
LearnUX.io offers a variety of video courses and is generally a great place to go for some hands-on learning with specific tools. But if you’re considering a career in UX, their Career in UX course will take just over two hours to complete and it’ll cover topics such as:
- An intro to UX and the design process
- Analysis and mapping
- Architecture and design
- Research and design tools
- Applying for UX jobs
It’s a good overview of the profession, as well as the basics you’d need to know. In terms of a deeper dive or some practical, hands-on application, we recommend checking out their usability course or pairing these with another learning experience that includes hands-on application.
Udacity is a well-known education platform, but where Skillshare and Coursera offer a free trial prior to a subscription/membership fee, Udacity offers free versions of paid courses. You’ll have access to all the course materials (including project briefs); you just won’t have a dedicated instructor or project feedback.
Udacity’s Product Design course will walk you through four lessons that each include practical projects:
- Ideation and validation
- Basics of UX and UI
- How design sprints work
- Key metrics to measure the success of a product
The free version of the course is self-paced, but it doesn’t provide individual feedback, mentorship, or certification. But that seems to be the norm across the board for completely free UX training.
Springboard’s UX design curriculum is a curated selection of videos (with supplemental learning materials, some of which are paid), organized into a complete introduction to UX design, covering topics such as:
- Design thinking
- Research and personas
- Content and strategy
- Design documentation
- Teams and communicating design
If you’re looking for a structured guide of curated video content, this is a great place to start.
Though the course doesn’t include explicit, written guidance on how to apply your learnings, it does offer guidance on how to build a portfolio website—and the curated content is gathered from all across the web, from respected voices in the field.
If you’ve already done some exploration and learning about the broader field of UX and the design process, you might want to consider other areas within UX. Do some free learning about key UX specializations! CareerFoundry’s UX Research for Beginners course is an excellent starting point. Topics covered include:
- What is user research?
- UX research methods
- UX research tools
- How to conduct user interviews and card sorts
- How to analyze research findings
This course is great if you’ve got an interest in UX (more broadly) or specifically in UX research, and you want some practical application for your learning. These seven, self-paced tutorials create a structured set of expert-authored reading materials, videos, and practical exercises to kickstart your learning and doing in UX research.
UX writing is another UX role/specialization that’s picking up interest in the industry—and UX Writing Hub’s foundational module is an excellent, self-paced primer on all things microcopy.
This module is actually the first of several in their full UX Writing Academy. The full academy requires paid tuition, but the first module is free! It’s a combination of reading materials, videos, and supplemental resources (all free) that will help you build a foundation in your UX writing knowledge. The module covers:
- UX writing processes
- Research methods
- Best practices
- UX writing tools and resources
- Examples of the best microcopy out there
Whether or not you have knowledge about UX design, if you’re intrigued by UX and have a way with words, this is an excellent resource to guide you.
If you’re interested in the visual side of UX design (overlapping with UI design), Figma’s Learn Design Pilot is a great resource. Learn design—and get hands-on with it. Design Pilot gives a structured learning path through:
- 12 lessons that consist of reading materials, visual examples, and resources for further exploration
- Five design exercises to guide you as you apply what you learn
The lessons and exercises are more focused on the visual side of the design process, but you’ll cover a variety of topics, including:
- Graphic design
- Design thinking and ethics
- Accessibility and inclusion
- Design research
Your learning here is completely self-paced, but Figma does offer the option of joining a community to take the course with–if you take this option, you’d have a group of fellow learners to share ideas with and get feedback from as you go through the course.
If your interest has been piqued by the dynamic and creative field of UX, there are many directions you can explore and even more resources out there to help you get started. The trainings we’ve looked at in this guide are a great place to start.
If you’re looking for something even more concise, try this free UX design short course and learn UX in 15 minutes per day for six days.
And if you’d like to read more about how to kickstart a career in UX design, here are a few other articles you’ll find helpful: