How would you make a difference with UX skills? We’re running a contest in partnership with FITC, IBM, and InVision with the design curious in mind.

Bring us your innovative ideas on how design can make an impact in 50-100 words. You’ll have the opportunity to win 50% off tuition of either our full-time UX & Product Design or part-time User Experience Design courses! Other great prizes include scoring tickets to FITC’s Spotlight: Advanced Responsive Design event, a one-year professional subscription from InVision, free access to visual flow tool NodeRed and custom training on Bluemix.

There’s tons of information out there about UX design. If you’re new to the topic, it can feel a little intimidating. Taking inspiration from Alexa Roma’s article, we’ve put together some resources to help you get waist-deep in UX:

1) Read, read, read

Becoming familiar with the broader landscape of a subject is crucial when learning something new – you want to avoid developing skills in a vacuum.

A great overview can be hard to find! We’ve found ones that cover what product design entails. Check out week-by-week musings on good UX and also get some perspective on UX myths.

Curious about the impact that typeface makes? Get a ten-minute crash course in typography and then see Matthew Butterick demonstrate how even legal documents can be aesthetically inviting.

Having a firm grip on grid systems and color theory are the basis of creating good design layout. Build out from technical knowledge with an understanding of the role of emotional intelligence.  A good real-life example of process is this case study of recreating Ryanair's boarding pass.

2) People to follow (in Toronto)

Sure, seeing design out in the wild brings spontaneous inspiration, but following a solid set of designers whose work resonates with you can really stoke creativity. Dribbble is a helpful design platform for showing off projects and connecting with others to create new ones.

Here are some of our Toronto favourites (in no particular order!): Dave Ruiz, Matt Hryhorsky, Janna Hagan, Mike Busby, Seán Halpin, Evan Dinsmore,  Embody Designs, Helen Tran, Amit Jakhu, Ashish Thakkar, Jared Kennedy, Katerina Lyadova, Konstantin Sokhan, Rishabh Varshney, Jesse James Pocisk.

3) Software to try

Professional designers utilize a variety of tools to get the job done. We'd suggest dipping your toes into tutorials for 3 of the most popular tools in UX today:

Perfect for big documents with repeating elements and multiple layers. Sketch has provided some awesome tutorials to get beginners started!

Pull off an interactive prototype in short order by consolidating project management and collaboration of ideas, visually. Check out InVision's introductory walkthroughs to create your first project.

Aimed to get you creatively focused on your design, Mockups is intended for rough, low-fidelity wireframing as initial concepts are being formed. Balsamiq's tutorials include a basic introduction as well as specific walkthroughs of desktop and mobile mockups.