UI Essentials

UI Essentials

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Are you curious to learn how designers create user interfaces that are simple, easy-to-use, and easy to look at? Let us teach you how to make better design choices in order to build user interfaces that are useful, understandable, and styled. If you work with a designer, you’ll work together with more efficiency and with less friction. If you’re making your own designs, you’ll learn to make ones your users will actually want to use.

  • Programmers who want to make smarter UI design choices or who want to work more efficiently and effectively with designers.

  • Product Owners looking to more effectively communicate and understand design.

  • How to narrow down features by taking into consideration user needs versus user wants. 

  • The difference between recall and recognition and how they’re used to create intuitive interfaces. 

  • How to elegantly compose user interface elements on a screen in order for the user to focus on key tasks to complete.

There is no pre-reading or major prep work for this course. That said, you will need:

  • Something to write with: fine-tip pen or sharp pencil, a broad, black marker (Sharpie or similar), and a broad, colored marker (Sharpie or similar)
  • A print out of the Big Nerd Ranch Design Workbook
  • The ability to take a photo of the completed workbook sheets (8.5”x11”) and upload them in order to share with the class.
  • A mobile device (iOS or Android) for application research. Either a phone or tablet will be fine.


  • What you’ll learn during class


  • Brainstorm features for a hypothetical application.

  • What is user want versus user need.

  • Reducing features from a brainstorming session in order to create a well tailored application.


  • Using the concept of recall versus recognition in order to make intuitive interfaces. 

  • The importance of using hierarchy in order to organize content and user interface elements.

  • Using human language rather than computer language to more fully inform the user.


  • Building intuitive interfaces that better direct a user's eye to the most important elements.

  • Optimizing app features to create a less distracting interface for the user.

  • Creating consistent interface elements in order to cut down on user confusion and cognitive load.

Click this link for a print-friendly syllabus.

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What our students have to say

I did the swift and iOS bootcamp in Georgia. It was incredible and totally worth it. I had only played around and pieced together iOS apps before I went to the bootcamp. After everything made so much more sense and I was able to create and publish new iOS apps with ease.

Anna Sherman, Developer, Carbon Five

I used other online free courses to learn basic Kotlin and some advanced topics. It was nice to have the classroom setting, with the Kotlin Essentials course, to gain better-detailed knowledge. I do feel more confident with the basics of Kotlin, and I am looking forward to taking the more advanced courses.

Steve Hamilton, Android Software Engineer, Disney

I was able to start my research lab, HealthHawks, because Big Nerd Ranch gave me the skills to build software on mobile applications. I equip medical professionals with software that they test to be able to determine if it helps clinical outcomes. It is awesome. Big Nerd Ranch taught me how to change the world for the better, one line of code at a time.

Elizabeth Baker, Associate Professor of Information Systems, UNC Wilmington

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UI Essentials

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