Designlab's new UX Academy program



Great to hear your thoughts @jdebari

How would you rate compared to Career Foundry?

Also, would you recommend the Designer Track or UX/UI Design Fundamentals from



Just wanted to giver everyone an update…I’m in week 4 of the DesignLab intensive and I LOVE it… My mentor is great, and I’m learning so much. It IS an online course, so you have to be disciplined, it’s 40 hours/week. I decided not to work while I’m taking it, and I’m glad, because I can take my time with each of the modules (if I was working, I think I’d feel like I had to rush to get through with everything). 40 hours/week is a pretty good estimate, some weeks were a few less, but none have been more (so far!), and you have a week to complete each mod., so that includes sat. and sunday. DL has been pretty responsive, if any of the students have concerns or questions, usually Harish will hop on the slack channel and get us answer within a few hours (and there’s always someone on the slack channel to run something straight to the top asap if we there’s problem). I’ve also had a few direct email conversations with Harish, and he’s quick to back to me. I can’t really compare it to any other programs since I’ve only take this and one other short class at DL, but I’m definitely happy with it…


Following…I’m interested in hearing what people have to say between (Designer Track) and Career Foundry (UX or UI track).

@anton_rose: I did attend the information session and they mentioned the Designer Tracker includes everything from the UX/UI Fundamentals course but goes more in detail and also includes front-end development (heavy emphasis on JavaScript).

I think the CareerFoundry UX track and the designlab UX Academy are very comparable (similar cost ~$3000, duration is the same, content looks similar). The DesignLab UX Academy is relatively new, so it’s hard to find reviews from current students.


@inca431 Glad to hear you’re liking the Design Lab UX Academy! It looks amazing - I’m debating between that and the CareerFoundry UX course. Do they teach you how to the use mainstream UX tools like Balsalmiq, Photoshop, Sketch, etc or do they expect you to know those? Any other thoughts would be helpful!


Thanks for the feedback @pchheda16

The thing I like about is that you complete 4-6 projects during the course. The best way to learn is by doing IMHO and you end up with a sweet looking portfolio. The one down side is it looks quite light on the UX material. Things missing in the course plan include:

User-Centered Design
Interaction Design & Heuristics of Usability
Develop SMART business goals and SMART user goals
Task Models & Customer Experience Maps
Information Architecture (Card Sorting)
UX Design Principles and best practice

CareerFoundry has all of these but you only do one project.


Good points regarding vs CareerFoundry…which is another reason I’m considering DesignLabs - they provide a couple more projects like

I have another thread I started yesterday regarding CareerFoundry - you can see what students are saying:


I wouldn’t just assume that more projects equals a better learning experience. Remember too that in the real world you are probably going to be working on the same projects for weeks or maybe months - constantly revising - doing more user testing, updating designs, more user testing etc etc. It takes time for the designer to learn the app they are designing themselves.

A design evolves, I don’t think you very often come up with a great design on the first couple of tries. So doing say, 5 different apps over the same time period means that the last few projects are going to be better than the first few you tried because you will have had more experience.

In theory, the CF approach - doing one project over the course of 3 to 6 months, has the potential to provide a more in-depth, more realistic, learning experience.


I’m still in the first half of the course… the only tool we’ve had to use so far has been sketch, which is really easy to pick up. They suggest you do some tutorials online before you start the academy, and they are ok with you using a different tool if you already know it. We are about to start using Invision, and it looks pretty simple, so I don’t think you need to be an expert in anything… but it will save you a little time if you’re familiar with the tools


Design Lab is very focused on learning “design thinking” and you do practice a lot of

User-Centered Design
Interaction Design & Heuristics of Usability
Develop SMART business goals and SMART user goals
Task Models & Customer Experience Maps
Information Architecture (Card Sorting)
UX Design Principles and best practice

The one caveat is … if you are planning to do the full time schedule, it really is 40 hours/week… don’t think you can do it faster. I decided not to work while I was doing it… I might be able to do a few days here and there for clients, but in general, I’ve needed to focus (I supposed you could do the course during the week, then work weekends… ) the students that are trying to do both work and full time have all cut back to half time. Which is a cool thing Design Lab allows you to do… I like that they are very focused on getting you through the program. they really want people to finish and do well… it’s not one of those “we’ve got your money, now we’re done” sort of things.


BTW… one of your projects is to write blog postings about design. i’ve had a lot fun doing it, if anyone wants to see some quick results of my "design"


@jdebari I appreciate your feedback but feel your comments have a distinct favoritism to CF. Its subtle but nonetheless you have chimed in that opinion several times.


hi @inca431,

I am about to start DL design101 as a prereq for ux academy.

How was the rest of your experience in the second half?

How have you found it post program? finding work, feel confident in your skill set ?


Hi @helenlearns_ux ,

You are free to have whatever opinion about the various programs you want.
I have been an instructor and mentor with various online and offline
programs and that is my opinion, nothing else. I do not favor CF personally
as I feel each program has its pros and cons.

I recently replied to another thread mentioning that neither CF or DL offer
mentor training and seem to accept almost anyone and I do feel that is a
disservice to the students. is the only program that has some rigour to it from a mentor/student



Hi, Helen
I’m still in the program. I won’t finish for a few more weeks. I just finished the first capstone project, and I hated it! but it’s not because of the program, I just really didn’t like the capstone I chose and I found it very confusing to go through the process of UX Design for that specific project. I started my second capstone today and I have to say it’s already a much easier project. I’ll update when I finish the program in a few weeks.


Thanks Inca! i hope you enjoy the rest of the program.

I am in LA too so if you ever want to get together and chat ux, I am open to that.
I am in highland park.



Helen! that would be great!
I am going to this screening on Thursday…

and I’m pretty sure a few other people from Design Lab are going, so if you can make it you could check in with them about how they feel about UX Academy as well.



Oh, I would love to attend this but I have to cover a shift at work that night.

let me know how it is, it sounds really interesting!


Hi Chris!

how was the documentary?

hope the course is going well and you are learning lots!


It was great! and the course is intense… I’m almost done. I’ll report in a few weeks when completely finished. chris


Hey @helenlearns_ux and all! Chiming in here as co-founder/CEO of Designlab. Just wanted to offer some further information in response to Julia’s comment (and others) about our program on this thread.

Here’s how we approach mentorship:

  • We vet all of our mentors thoroughly before they join the platform, looking for strong designers with demonstrated expertise (
  • We require mandatory onboarding before mentors get started
  • We monitor student feedback and promptly respond to any sort of mentor issues
  • We provide significant community support (and access to our range of mentors through our new Office Hours program — in addition to the 1-on-1 mentorship that’s core to the course experience

Moving forward:

  • We’re implementing detailed critique features within our platform that will allow students to directly coach their mentors on how to better meet student needs, during the course
  • We’re working with industry experts from reputable design firms like Frog on expanding our mentor training even further
  • We’re developing career advancement curriculum to propel designers from junior to senior to director level — meaning our mentors will also avail from this opportunity to continually improve
  • We’ll be hiring some in-house instructors to augment our part-time mentorship model

Generally, as I’ve said elsewhere, we pride ourselves on being ultra responsive to students, and on continually improving the product, platform, and curriculum through rapid sprints on an ongoing basis. We have some very exciting plans through the end of this year and early next, and I think you’ll all be thrilled to see what’s in store.

If you have any questions about the course and our approach, whether it’s a fit, or you just want to talk about UX in general :slight_smile: — give me a call on my cell at 408.802.2008 or email me:, we’d love to chat. Thanks!