UX training is a bit of a new issue, compounded by the increasing presence of technology in an also increasingly visually-oriented culture. Training in and of itself is a monster to deal with in any industry, but training for UX is a whole new bucket of scorpions to deal with. There seem to be no presumed standards of what to teach or how to approach teaching it, resulting in too many chefs in the global kitchen at this point. If UX training is such a new challenge, what can possibly said about it that nobody else has had a chance to think of yet? Well, I’ve written a lot of material about training, and I’ve had a lot of experience in UX in various roles over the years as well, so with these two disciplines mostly under my belt at this point in my life, I think I can tell you a good approach for getting the most out of UX training.
First, a little bit of programming helps. You don’t need to turn them into programmers, but a basic grasp of what programming really is, and how one has to begin to think when approaching it is useful. I find introducing people to the basics of programming, especially if they’re going to be involved in UX, is through Visual basic .net and some complex hello world programs. They work with industry GUI and a little bit of the coding that the programmers must juggle to interact with it. Good experience results in good understanding of the implications of their actions in design.
Next, teach them some basics of art. Art history, advanced art techniques and the like aren’t important, but for those with no art background, teaching them the core sciences behind it are important. Space and pattern aesthetics, color coordination and understanding how the eye moves about analyzing something is helpful. Mix a little bit of archaeology with this in studying how ancient civilizations got ideas across visually helps too, as the GUI must do this.
Finally, teaching them a little bit of how the human mind works is important too. A UX professional must be able to get inside the heads of their users and forecast how users will perceive the experience at any point of the use of the design. This allows them to account for potential problems before final release, as well as designing a UX that best matches a given demographic. For those training their UX teams, remember, the UX department can only put out as much information as is put in. Therefore, your team relies on you and others in the future to provide them with a functioning engine to work around, as well as a look into the minds of the demographic you must know before tasking yoru UX team to cater to them.
Approaching UX training isn’t so daunting as you thought now, is it? Of course, the actual science of training itself, I have not touched on here for the sake of your own sanity, but I have a feeling you’ll experience that joy soon enough either way.