Designation: The UI or UX Path
Designation Labs is an immersive digital design program located in Chicago. Over the course of 12 weeks learning remotely and 12 weeks learning in-person, designers absorb the full stack of design skills—UX, IxD, and UI; research, practice, and presentation—then put those skills to work for real-world clients and portfolio creation. In the first twelve weeks of the Designation program, students are asked to choose either a UI or UX focused path.
At Designation, User Interface (UI) is defined and taught as the design of interactive elements. As a result, students who focus on this path will work primarily in digital media, on computers, tablets or smartphones. Students who study UI design will learn how to create and edit the interactive parts of applications and services including: drop-down menus, clickable buttons or elements, button design or styling, and form fields. Anything that will help people to use a program or app. UI designers essentially design "the look."
User experience design (UX) focuses on the structure of elements you interact with. As a research intensive field, UX designers are not only responsible for building certain functionalities, but are required to heavily study their market or users. UX designers will use tools and methods taught by Designation to better learn the behavior of their target audience. They'll also learn how to use competitive analysis, interviews, wireframing and journey flows before launching their product. After a product has been completed and launched, UX designers must analyze the success or failure of their product and return to the drawing board to better serve those who have interacted with their product or program. UX designers essentially design "the feel" of a product or service.
The Benefits of Designation
Designation is considered a hands-on learning environment in which you learn by doing. Students graduate from Designation with several portfolio pieces and experience working on real-world projects. Designation is particularly unique because students work with real clients on projects, which enables them to understand client needs from both a business and creative perspective. Ultimately, both Designation's approach and community set students up for success. According to reviews on SwitchUp, Students consider the staff knowledgeable and supportive before, during. and after the job hunting process.
Things to Keep in Mind
Cost: Designation does come with a higher price tag than many comparable UI/UX programs. With a $15,800 price tag, this program may be out of reach for some. However, their hybrid curriculum of 12-weeks online and 12-weeks in-person in Chicago results in a financial commitment of only $658 a week.
Time commitment: Designation is 70-80 hours a week (in-person). Committed to teaching you a large amount of information in a short period of time, this intense bootcamp is only meant for individuals who can dedicate all of their time to learning as opposed to working.
Professional learning environment: The expectations for designers going through Designation are more like the professional environment than traditional education environments. The creative directors expect designers to take initiative and be proactive in their projects. Because students work with real-world clients, there is an added pressure to get things done at the highest ability.
Design Essentials (6-weeks): The pre-requisite part-time beginner's course that covers fundamentals of visual design. This 6-week course covers a breadth of skills and tools you will need in your designer's arsenal. This intro course covers key concepts of both UX and UI design.
Virtual Phase (6-weeks): At the start of the 18-week bootcamp experience, students choose either a UX or UI focused path and then take a deeper dive into that specific discipline.
In the UX path students will study: Intro to User Research, Usability Testing, Research Synthesis, Wireframing and Prototyping.
- Wireframing: A wireframe is a two-dimensional illustration of a page's interface that specifically focuses on space allocation and prioritization of content, functionalities available, and intended behaviors.
- Usability Testing: Refers to evaluating a product or service by testing it with representative users.
In the UI path students will study: Style Tiles, Visual Design, Interaction Design Principles, Branding, Typography & Color Theory and Prototyping.
- Typography: The style and appearance of printed matter.
- Prototyping: Prototyping refers to an initial stage of a software release in which developmental evolution and product fixes may occur before a bigger release is initiated.
Project Phase (10-weeks): After mastering the basics, students will apply what they have learned on both mock and live client projects.
Portfolio Development (1-week): Using career workshops, studio tours, and one-on-one mentorship, students will develop a resume, personal brand, and portfolio to prepare for the job hunt.
After graduation students leave with career counseling and support, monthly check-ins, continued mentorship and unlimited email correspondence. As the job hunt begins, Designation ensures that both their UI and UX designer focused students have the support they need to succeed in this field.