Teaching UX Research with CareerFoundry

This is an overview of my UX design teaching experience. As a tutor, I've led more than 30 students through one of 3 UX courses in the past 15 months. You can learn more about the research process I teach on my Teaching UX Research page.


course structure

Students use a Lean research and design process to design a user-centered native mobile app. For each activity, students read a short lesson explaining a UX concept or method, and then they try to apply it. I evaluate their planning documents (e.g. interview scripts) and artifacts (e.g. personas, journey maps) and steer them toward improving their skills. Through written feedback, I coach them to revise mistakes and improve their methodology and output.


my role

Since the curriculum aims to get students applying methods as quickly as possible, my engagement with students is the primary catalyst in their learning. As a tutor, I stay with students throughout the course and help them apply UX research and design methods. I collaborate with other designers (mentors), who give students career-oriented guidance and portfolio reviews.


course trajectory

I've taught 3 courses with CareerFoundry, including a 1 month introductory course, a 6 month course, and a 9 month course. The 9 month course is the focal point of this discussion, as it's the more comprehensive process. It follows the design thinking trajectory outlined below (from CareerFoundry).

user-centered design process.png

4. ideate: design patterns and wireframes

Students start by exploring basic design patterns and applying them to a few key screens in their core user flows. I give them feedback based and they complete multiple iterations. 


Low-Fidelity Wireframe Flows

Next, students sketch out the complete flows for their 3 core features. Again, I give feedback and we go through an iterative cycle to improve obvious flaws.


Mid-Fidelity Wireframe Flows

Students use digital tools of their choice - most frequently Balsamiq - to create mid-fidelity digital wireframes.



5. high-fidelity clickable prototypes

Students wireframe high-fidelity flows and put them together into a clickable prototype. They most often use InVision, but sometimes use Prott or related products.


6. usability testing

Students test their clickable prototypes with users to identify usability issues.

usability-testing example@2x.jpg

After testing, students identify and prioritize usability issues. The rainbow spreadsheet helps them prioritize issues and organize them for a test report.

We discuss next steps for future iterations, and they continue to tweak the layouts and interactions as they add UI design elements to their project.


Students continue to learn visual design elements and presenting the story of their project to prepare their portfolio.