Charles Brian Quinn
This past week, I had the pleasure of attending a great conference right in the heart of Georgia called Creative South. It was my first time at the conference and y’all… if you’re a creative-type person, you should definitely check it out.
The first day was full of workshops and I got my day started early with a mobile design workshop. This was the only real digital design offering on the agenda the whole weekend; the rest was mainly graphic, typography, illustration and lettering. Naturally, I had to attend the mobile design course. I love mobile design. And I teach mobile design, so it was a great fit.
The talented Rick Messer from Funsize, a super-cool Austin agency, taught the class, and while I don’t envy his position of trying to teach mobile design in four hours, he did a great job.
As a self-taught designer myself, I’ve had to piece together many things on my own. Now that I teach design bootcamps at Big Nerd Ranch, I have a sense of the depth that is required in a workshop so that students can truly take away useful tools.
The Creative South workshop got me thinking, though. What do designers, who may have little to no experience with mobile design, want and expect out of courses? Do web designers or graphic designers see the value of an extended, in-depth course like we offer at Big Nerd Ranch?
We pride ourselves on the level of rigor that it takes to get through one of our bootcamps. The training we offer is above and beyond what you’ll be able to find on YouTube or collect in any online school.
Our technical bootcamps are for app developers who have read the books, scoured the web, and want more intensive training that will prepare them for the big leagues. Our design courses are the same level of intensity, and for very good reason. Let me explain.
The mobile app design process deviates from web design in critical ways. During most courses you’ll find online, the basics will be covered in a couple of hours: app concepting, basic app flow, user interface elements, wireframes, maybe visual design and maybe prototyping. Especially in workshops where the students are also creating screens and the instructor is giving feedback, it is nearly impossible to get even this much into a few hours.
That is why we created a curriculum where we dive deep into topics that are not normally included in most mobile design courses. We cover topics such as how to design a temporary modal that fits with the overall interaction design of your app, or mobile animations and transitions, how to optimize your iPhone app for the iPad, typographic hierarchy, different navigational models and when to use them, mobile design trends, and how to export your assets the right way so that your developer doesn’t have to come back to you for more.
Throughout the entirety of our bootcamps, students do exercises so that they can apply their knowledge in context. The instructor gives one-on-one feedback and students can learn by doing. We’ve carefully crafted these courses so that designers can confidently start designing a mobile app right away.
I believe that the value of our in-depth bootcamps cannot be matched. I know that the students who have left our design courses feel confident about what they learned. They understand the essence of mobile design and how it differs from web or graphic design. We’ve refined our materials and training over the years to make it the most in-depth but practical courses for mobile designers. I’m proud of the bootcamps we offer and have a new appreciation for the empowerment we offer students.
Charles Brian Quinn