Review: User Experience Design Fundamentals

Review: User Experience Design Fundamentals

UX Design Fundamentals

Sarah delves into a course that is aptly titled “User Experience Design Fundamentals”.

The course is an in-depth exploration into the processes and techniques behind user experience design. Here’s what she has to say…

This is a review of the online course User Experience Design Fundamentals, by Joe Natoli. This is part of our series of reviews of online UX courses.

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

Course Information

  • Course Name: User Experience Design Fundamentals
  • Author: Joe Natoli
  • Hosted by: udemy
  • Length: 59 lectures – 5 of which are lab exercises (approx 11.5 hours of video content)
  • Intended Audience: Web designers, total beginners to the field of usability, designers interested in the social science behind UX
  • What You’ll Learn: You’ll come away with a comprehensive understanding of the scientific concepts behind UX design – the first third of the course covers those in detail. It then goes on to explain process and techniques – from managing client expectations to wire-framing tools and everything in between. The content is organised into the ‘5 Planes of  UX’, which were first introduced by Jesse James Garrett in his book The Elements of User Experience.
  • What You Won’t Learn: This gives a good overview of all aspects of UX design, but some points are pretty heavily laboured so beware of tuning out and missing the hidden gems.
  • Assumed Knowledge: Basic familiarity with web design projects would be useful, but this course really does cover everything from the ground up.
  • Price at time of review: US $99


This was an incredibly comprehensive walk-through of UX design, to the point where I found myself getting a little restless and wanting to skip through. It starts with a solid introduction of the basic concepts, giving a good foundation on which to begin learning the tried-and-true techniques, which are then systematically explained in detail. You’ll find these techniques (and more) compiled into a handy list in our UX Techniques Bank.

A slide from the course
The slides are descriptive and plentiful.

The course is very analytical and will appeal to people that like to know why as well as how. It covers a lot of ground and is careful to apply examples to a number of scenarios, meaning that it useful for everyone, from freelancers to small startups to larger corporations.

The Presenter

Joe Natoli refers to himself as a ‘UX Evangelist’ and with good reason. With 22 years in the industry, Joe is a straight shooter. In his own words, UX is “no dog and pony show”. I like that.  He has worked with many industry leaders and values the measurable success that comes from tried-and-true best practices.

Joe Natoli
UX Evangelist Joe Natoli is a 22 year UX & UI industry veteran.

Joe enjoys a laugh and chuckles at his own jokes throughout the course. It’s an endearing quality that takes the seriousness out of studying. I did feel at times like he was a bit more verbose than necessary, which perhaps made some of the lectures drag slightly.

Target Audience

As a relative newbie to the field of UX design, the course was perfectly pitched at me. I have come away with a solid understanding of the main concepts and feel confident that I could tackle a small project unassisted (with reference to my notes of course!).

If what you’re after is a quick refresher then I would suggest that this probably isn’t it.

The Experience

I have done many hours of online learning in my time, but this was my first experience of udemy. As far as firsts go, it was notable. I was really impressed with its ease-of-use and I heavily utilised the note-taking functionality to jot down my thoughts, which I was able to download into a handy .csv file for later reference. I opted for the in-browser experience, however Matt is a big fan of the udemy app, which he mentioned in his review of  User Experience: The Ultimate Guide to Usability, so I’ll download that for next time and get back to you on it.

The course extensively examines the thought processes behind web decisions.

Fifty shades of black and orange

My only real criticism of this course is the same-sameness. In a nutshell, it is approaching 12 hours of Joe’s voice set to a background of black and orange slides, which are more than slightly reminiscent of a boardroom PowerPoint presentation. Don’t get me wrong, Joe is a very likeable and clearly knowledgeable guy, but I just felt that things could have been mixed up a bit, which might have increased my attention span somewhat.

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  • Comprehensive, well structured content from a presenter who clearly knows his stuff.
  • Student questions are answered promptly and helpfully.
  • The course is a thorough and careful walk through of the major processes, tools and techniques.
  • A wide variety of examples makes the course applicable to most business situations.
  • Lab exercises spread throughout the course ensure that you put newly learned skills into practice.
  • The course wraps up with a list of useful websites for finding further information. (We are missing from the list but I’m sure it’s just an oversight.)


  • The content is slow at times. While many people may find the stories and anecdotes useful, I found them to be a little over-explained.
  • There’s no follow-along example threaded throughout the course. There are lab exercises after the main practical sections, but I would have preferred a single project that was built on.
  • 11.5 hours is a fair whack of time. While there is no doubt that you’re getting bang for your buck, if you’re not a note-taker you’ll probably need to review the content periodically to retain it all.
  • The visual content lacks variety and stock imagery is heavily used.
Wireframes vary in their level of detail and are a crucial part of the UX design process.


Overall, User Experience Design Fundamentals is a carefully put together and comprehensive course. Joe Natoli has left no stone unturned and uses analogies and examples to clearly demonstrate concepts. However, there is a lot of content and at times it feels a bit repetitive, so I would recommend that you do this course in small chunks in order to stay focussed. The slides are clear and well laid out, but there is not a lot of visual variation. This course would be perfect for someone new to UX design that would like a very thorough introduction to the subject. If you are an analytical thinker with a long attention span, then this is the definitely course for you.

  • Content (how useful, up to date, practical, and comprehensive): 8/10
  • Delivery (presentation style, pace, clarity, authority): 5/10
  • Production (video quality, audio quality, editing): 8/10
  • User Interface (reliable infrastructure, usable interface, convenient): 9/10
  • Overall rating6.5/10

Take this course.


The User Experience Design Fundamentals course 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.

Written by
Sarah Hawk
Join the discussion

  • Sarah, thank you so very much for an extremely thoughtful, detailed and well-rounded review. And the cons mean as much to me as the pros — experience or not, I still consider myself a work in progress, and the goal is continuous improvement. Again, my thanks for the kind words and for taking time to write such a comprehensive review. I wish you much success in all you do.

  • I’m currently taking this course at the moment and though I haven’t yet dived into the meat of it I’m enjoying it. I agree that a practical follow along exercise from start to finish would have been an excellent means of imprinting the principles unpacked along the way.

    I also did find the pace quite slow, there are a few very long pauses in between, most likely helps to give the listener a chance to digest.

    The overall experience has been good though. It’s got me hooked on udemy courses definitely. I think if these courses forced the student to come out with an end result they would take things to a really great level.

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