Photo of a review of Interaction Design Foundation as a product design resource

A review of Interaction Design Foundation as a product design resource

Hi, I’m Elle! I work as a product designer at Getaround and as an industry mentor here at Pathrise, where I help our fellows land great jobs in product design through technical workshops and 1-on-1s.

What does Interaction Design Foundation do?

Interaction Design Foundation (IDF) is a paid online resource for product designers. With courses for beginners as well as advanced designers, they offer in-depth learning paths, which are composed of multiple courses, in UX research, interaction design, visual design, usability, UI design, and user research, as well as marketing, product management, and front-end development for designers. Students can also take individual courses on topics such as becoming a UX designer from scratch, information visualization, the psychology of e-commerce, introduction to human-computer interaction, and more. 

Users choose from 2 different subscription options: professional and design league. The professional option allows students to take an unlimited number of courses, earn industry-recognized course certifications, participate in online UX meetups, and download UX/UI design resources. Self-paced, each course features recorded lectures, assignments, and projects. Users can ask questions and receive feedback on projects by posting on the online discussion boards.

The design league option, which includes the same benefits as the professional one, also comes with access to a personal coach. The personal coaches are industry experts and they help users master technical skills and offer feedback on job materials, such as resumes and portfolios. Users connect with their mentors through private instant messaging sessions on the online learning platform, as well as 1-on-1 video meetings.

Who is Interaction Design Foundation for?

Current and aspiring product designers can benefit from the courses offered by Interaction Design Foundation. It is helpful for beginners who are studying the basics, as well as experienced designers who are looking to learn new tools, network with fellow product designers, and advance their knowledge to keep up with the latest industry trends.  

What does Interaction Design Foundation cost? How much work is involved?

Interaction Design Foundation uses a subscription-based model and offers two options: professional and design league. The professional option costs $16 per month, while the design league costs $200 per month. 

To create an account, users register with their email address. After selecting their subscription option, they make their initial payment via credit card and begin learning. 

Ratings and reviews

Online reviewers of Interaction Design Foundation are mixed. While some felt that the courses do not adequately prepare users for a career in UX design, others benefited immensely from the self-paced courses. 

Those who reviewed the program on a Reddit thread largely felt that the classes at IDF were not worth taking, with one user noting that “their courses are super weak.” “One drawback is that they don’t teach you design tools,” said another user. Reviewers responding to another Reddit thread questioned the legitimacy of IDF, with one person observing that “it’s an organization with questionable priorities.”

Users on a different Reddit thread also had mixed feelings about IDF. One user reported that he was “fairly underwhelmed with the content of the site,” noting that the courses had “comically easy test questions” and that “you’d honestly be better off taking a MOOC on Coursera or edX if you want to have a good online learning experience.” 

But, another user on that Reddit thread felt that “the content is relevant, the site works great.” Reviewers on Trustpilot similarly enjoyed IDF as a resource for people who are new to UX design and looking for an affordable way to learn the basics. According to one reviewer, the courses are “great for anyone seeking a career shift into UX.”

Similarly, one Medium blogger felt the IDF courses prepared him well for a career shift from print design to product design. After his first job interview for a UX position, “the interviewer gave me great feedback about how detailed and considerate I was with UI design and User Experience.”

Alternatives to Interaction Design Foundation 

If you are looking for alternative courses and resources to learn product design, check out the following list.  

  • Aspiring designers can look into Designlab, an online bootcamp that teaches the necessary skills to land a job as a UX designer. Read more about Designlab in our review of the program.
  • Students can also consider Udacity and Springboard, which are online learning platforms that students can use to brush up on the basics or advance their current skills in UX/UI design and more. Read more about Udacity and Springboard in our reviews.
  • Similarly, Udemy, Coursera, Treehouse, and Pluralsight have many classes in UX design and other subjects.
  • Those interested in taking online instructor-led or self-guided product design courses can check out DesignerUp. Learn more about DesignerUp in our program review.
  • HackDesign is a free newsletter that sends weekly design lessons to your inbox.
  • One of the most well known bootcamps is General Assembly, which offers full-time, part-time, and 1-day courses on a variety of topics like UX design, software engineering, data science, digital marketing, product management, and more. Read more about General Assembly in our review.
  • You can also check out GrowthX Academy, which is an online bootcamp that has courses in UX design, as well as other topics. Learn more about GrowthX Academy in our review.
  • Skillcrush, Bloc, and Flatiron School are online bootcamps with courses in product design as well.
  • Similarly, Kenzie Academy is a full-time tech bootcamp that offers in-person and online courses in 2 tracks: UX design and front-end engineering & software engineering. Learn more about Kenzie Academy in our review.
  • Students located in the Bay Area or looking to work in Silicon Valley can check out Tradecraft, which has tracks in product design, growth marketing, engineering, and sales.

How does Interaction Design Foundation compare to Pathrise?

Interaction Design Foundation is an online resource with courses for current and aspiring UX designers who are looking to learn the basics or advance their current knowledge. Those who select the design league option work 1-on-1 with a mentor on advancing technical skills and preparing job materials, but there is no formal job search curriculum. 

Pathrise is a full-service organization that helps our fellows land the best job possible. Our mentors have experience on both sides of the hiring table and work 1-on-1 with fellows on every step of the job search, including resume and LinkedIn optimization, portfolio building, behavioral and technical interview prep, cold emailing and reverse recruiting strategies, salary negotiation, and more. The program is personalized to fit each individual’s specific background and goals. Workshops and 1-on-1 sessions are weekly and additional 1-on-1s can be scheduled as needed by fellows.

Pathrise is a career accelerator that works with students and professionals 1-on-1 so they can land their dream job in tech. If you are interested in optimizing your job search by working with a mentor, become a Pathrise fellow. 

Apply today.

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