Review: Mobile App Design from Scratch

Review: Mobile App Design from Scratch

Mobile App Design
Summary:

In the next in our popular series of reviews of online UX courses, Sarah sets her sights on mobile app design.

She dives into a course that promises to teach how to design a mobile app from scratch—and comes up pleasantly surprised.

This is a review of the online course Mobile App Design from Scratch by Maxime Cormier. This is part of our series of reviews of online UX courses.

Read some of our other reviews or see our full list of online UX courses.

Course Information

  • Course Name: Mobile App Design from Scratch
  • Author: Maxime Cormier
  • Hosted by: udemy
  • Length: 29 lectures (approx 7.5 hours of video content)
  • Intended Audience: Entrepreneurs, programmers, product managers, designers, complete beginners – anyone who wants to design or improve a mobile app
  • What You’ll Learn: UX research techniques, visual conceptualisation, the mobile app design process, icon design, exporting an app in preparation for coding and how to use Sketch as a design tool
  • What You Won’t Learn: How to use PhotoShop or how to design on a PC – this course uses tools that are only available on a Mac
  • Assumed Knowledge: None. You don’t need to know anything about software or design in order to take the course.
  • Price at time of review: US $99

Review

To date I have reviewed courses that have been primarily about user experience design or usability testing. This course is different in that it is not specifically about UX – it is primarily about building a mobile app. What makes it interesting from a UX design perspective, is that rather than talking about UX design as an arbitrary concept, Cormier shows us how to apply it contextually to a project.

This course is very beginner friendly – it starts with the basics, demonstrating step-by-step how to download and install the required software. It then follows a well structured and carefully orchestrated path through UX research, mocking up, visual concepts (like typography and colour), progressing through the actual design process and finishing up with exporting in preparation for coding.

The course takes a very pragmatic approach to app design. Simple, relevant homework projects are set throughout the course. Useful tools like personas are introduced and explained (you can find out more about personas in our handy UX Techniques  Bank) and then applied to the project.  Lots of time is spent looking at the problem that you want to solve, rather than getting caught up in trying to use ‘cool features’. Semantic exploration, potential user interviews and monetization brainstorming are all carried out before beginning on any design.

Throughout the course, Cormier hands out lots of little gems, such as “Don’t get emotionally attached to a feature.” As the course (and the project) progresses, there is ongoing reference back to conclusions drawn in first lectures. I found myself collecting up lots of great tips (like using Gimmebar for collecting inspiration) and a very solid understanding of not just the how but also the why when it comes to making design decisions.

Description of UX
Concepts and processes are carefully described throughout the course.

The Presenter

Maxime Cormier is an entrepreneur and an application designer for mobile and web. He is a teacher of entrepreneurship and design at SciencesPo, a university in Paris. As well as teaching, Cormier is a UX consultant and interface designer, working mainly with startups. His approach is a practical one and ensures that knowledge is learned in such a way that it can be easily recalled and applied. My favourite bit of advice from this course was “if you are impatient to get started, jump ahead to the interesting bits and come back to the other lectures later when you have time”. Smart.

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Maxime Cormier
Maxime Cormier is UX consultant who works mainly with startups.

The User Experience

I have spoken at length about my appreciation of the udemy web interface in previous reviews. I find it intuitive and well suited to my learning style. Cormier makes the most of the interface with his smart use of the Materials tab in each lecture (more on that soon).  One small niggle however, is the fact that clicking “Resume lecture” takes you to the beginning of said lecture, rather than where you left off, which the description implies.

course resources
Each lecture is broken down into time stamped segments and listed along with extra resources.

A Generous Approach

The thing that I like the most about both this course and Maxime’s approach to teaching, is his generosity with tips and resources. He makes very clever use of the Materials tab in the udemy interface to break down the lectures into time-stamped sections, and to intersperse them with links to tools and resources that are mentioned in each section. This approach gives you a really well-rounded understanding of the subject and certainly adds bang for your buck.

Pros

  • A single example project is threaded throughout the course, which makes it easy to follow the process.
  • The course is thoughtfully structured, with time being apportioned to each subject area as it should be during the actual design process.
  • Student files (including example templates) are available for download in one place and are carefully explained early on in the curriculum.
  • Key points from each lesson are summarised as an abstract in the lecture description.
  • Plenty of extra resources and reading are linked to as extras for each lesson.

Cons

  • The slides could do with a bit more flair – they are bordering on bland.
  • While Cormier’s English is faultless, I had occasional trouble understanding words due to his accent.
  • Questions aren’t answered as promptly as I have experienced in other courses.
Sketch
Screen casting is used to describe how to use the Sketch interface for designing your app.

Summary

Overall, Mobile App Design from Scratch is a fantastic course. The combined use of slides and screen casting makes it very easy to follow the process with no prior experience. I had never used Sketch before but now have a good understanding of it. More importantly, I feel like I have a solid grasp of the mobile app design process, including the necessary research and planning stages. The course is enjoyable and at no time did I feel my attention waning, which is not something that I claim often. I thoroughly enjoyed this course and would highly recommend it.

  • Content (how useful, up to date, practical, and comprehensive): 10/10
  • Delivery (presentation style, pace, clarity, authority): 8/10
  • Production (video quality, audio quality, editing): 8/10
  • User Interface (reliable infrastructure, usable interface, convenient): 9/10
  • Overall rating: 9/10

Take this course.

 

Mobile App Design from Scratch is hosted at udemy. Note: This post contains affiliate links, so if you do decide to enrol in the course, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale, to help pay the hosting bills.

Sarah Hawk
Written by
Sarah Hawk
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1 comment
  • This course for designing the mobile apps sounds interesting, a lot of effort goes in to create even the simplest app as it has to be user friendly, easy to use and must be advance in its features and graphics.