(Review) Is the Google UX Certificate a good idea?

In this opportunity,  I’ll talk about the Google UX Design Professional Certificate on Coursera, a program that caught my attention because it’s Google who’s behind.

Coursera is promoting a lot! So, I was wondering, is this worth it?

I have been working in UX / UI for a couple of years already, so I decided to try it before to give my opinion about the way that Google does.

In this article, I don’t talk about each part of the course, I just want to give an overview from my experience, my goal of this blog post is to create debate and grow as UX Designers.

Ok, let’s put aside all introductions and move forward. You are going to find the best, the worst, and a couple of tips if you’re thinking of taking this certificate.

The best of the certificate.

Photo by Shuki Harel from Pexels

Keywords and their definitions

Don’t worry if you’re a beginner, Google concisely explains all keywords with a simple definition and great examples, giving you a solid foundation about UX terminology.

Each part of the course is divided into small pills of information to make it easily digestible. Each course is fragmented into weeks, so students can learn step by step with little hours in a day.

Complementary resources.

At the end of each module, you will find a lot of resources to broaden the content already learned. It’s almost a rule to find links to blogs, videos, articles that will help you to understand better the basis of UX.

As I mentioned in the introduction, this certificate is basic -In some modules too basic- the goal is to introduce you to the UX career, so if you’re a UX Designer already, maybe a couple of lessons result annoyed for you. 

Ignoring that, all resources are high quality, many times I fall in love with those content. To be honest, I found the info of this resource lessons more complete than the original one in the course.

What type of resources?

  • Blogs article(most of them come from UX Collective)
  • Downloadables such as templates, formats.
  • Youtube videos
  • Tools.

Accessibility is core in this course.

As well as we know, UX Designers need to think about our end-users. However, it is usually forgotten. It’s important to remember that our end-user has their personality, point of view, impairments. 

Don’t forget, there are temporal, permanent o situational disabilities. 

Google’s certificate contains a complete module to talk about accessibility and includes a couple of lessons along with other modules. 

In addition, they told the role of UX Designers to get that “The Next Billion Users” a smooth transition to the internet.

Who are the next billion users (NBU for short)?

They’re the people who live in developing countries or places where internet use isn’t common. These people will access to internet eventually.

In the practice, what does that mean?

We need to consider people without permanent internet connection, poor connection or people that never have used internet before…

Therefore, thinking about offline functions, damaged screens, friendly empty states will be a good idea for example.

Get a strong foundation for your career

The stronger part of the certification is to learn about terminology. At the end of each module, you will find a glossary with keywords and their definitions. So, you can reinforce all learned.

Besides, when you’re finishing a week in the course Google includes a wrap-up video to synthesize all topics of the course.

A preview about UX job

It was fantastic this section, Google explained all areas that you can work as UX Designer, and told about the roles, what the market expects from you and which industries you can work in.

Additionally, Google explained different roles in UX, and how to identify them on job posts.

The course is designed to get ready for work, but I disagree, I consider that the course is too basic and students need to improve their skills to join in the real market.

Photo by picjumbo.com from Pexels

The bad side of the course

Like all in life, there are things that we don’t like at all, and this course isn’t the exception. 

Too basic

No, don’t matter how many years are you have working on UX, or do you think that my ego is too big. Nope! A lot of lessons were explained as if you’re a kinder garden student.

My mind was blown when they dedicated a couple of videos to teach how to draw a square, a button, and basic stuff on paper. WTF! 

I need to confess, I needed to speed up x1.5 or x2 because I felt too slow the way that they explained. I think that it was a little redundant and repetitive.

Maybe, it was a strategy to beef up the knowledge. However, I didn’t like it. Remember that each one feels different and this was my experience. 

Quizzes were too obvious

I think that is a good idea, but with a bad implementation. Let me explain.

They show quick quizzes along with the video, those quizzes were about the video’s topic and you need to choose an option.

It’s a good idea, don’t you think?

What’s wrong with that? The quizzes were shown a second then to say the answer. Literally then, no second before, no after. When the teacher ends to pronouncing the answer the quiz is shown.

I think that a better way is to show at the end of the video, so people can beef up what they’re learning. Please, if you’re someone from Google, consider adjusting it.

Coursera… needs improvements.

It was disappointing to see this course on Coursera, Google already has a better platform with a better design, such as “Google actívate” 

I simply hate the Coursera platform and app, I couldn’t use their app because it was always crashing…

However, the last time that I visited Coursera, I found a couple of updates, so I hope that if they want to teach about UX, hire a couple of them to improve the site.

P2P isn’t working anymore.

I know that is for keep scalable, but it should be considered a new way to evaluate because P2P isn’t working. 

I understand it’s a MOOC and P2P usually is the solution… but you’re Google! You can do better than that!

On the other hand, I can’t be rude, I understand that it is business and Coursera contain ways to evaluate.

Anyways, It’s important to say that only self-taught people can take MOOC like this.

Unnecessary repetitive.

Of course, repetition is part of the learning process, but in many cases, we can find how to explain multiple topics in the same lesson.

Maybe it was a Coursera strategy to extend the course, or maybe a learning methodology, I don’t know.

As a user and based on my experience learning online, I prefer how Accenture broadens UX topics. If you want to see what I’m talking about, I invite you to see this free course called: Digital Skills: User Experience Accenture.

Photo by GrabStar .io from Pexels

Conclusions

Finally, here are my opinions about the certificate program:

  1. If you’re someone who has never been working in UX and don’t have contact with this area, this certificate can be helpful but not enough. Take this like an introduction or foundation.
  2. Is it enough to start working? Well, each situation is different, but personally, I don’t think so, because you’ll need a lot of practice with the tools and processes before joining in a real work. Maybe I’m wrong, so don’t worry and apply for the job post. What is the worst that can happen?
  3. Are you a UX Designer already? No, I don’t recommend this course for you. I prefer to recommend you Interaction Design.
  4. The course is basic, so you don’t require a lot of technical tools to take it. You only require a desktop, laptop, or even a phone with an internet connection and passion to learn.

So, I hope the best for you, go forward and keep learning!

Feel free to leave any comment, don’t worry if you disagree with me, let me know what do you think!