More and more businesses are recognizing the role that user experience design plays in the creation of websites. Considering that there are billions of mobile users on the planet, it’s essential that businesses learn how their websites and apps appear on mobile devices.
If you’re a budding entrepreneur with a great idea for an app – but you aren’t sure where to start – you might want to consider taking the course Mobile App Prototyping: Designing Custom Interactions on Skillshare. Taught by expert product designer Noah Levin, this course is great for burgeoning app developers who want to learn better ways to communicate their ideas and carry out their visions.
Ready to get started? I took this class – here’s what I thought.
What is Mobile App Prototyping?
Mobile app prototyping is a type of user research that is meant to determine the ins and outs of the design direction of a product. Prototypes are basic visualizations of a finished product. In the development of mobile apps, prototypes can help create a basic understanding of how the product will ultimately function and feel, making it easier to determine how customers will react to that design.
When you’re able to use a prototype in your usability testing, it will allow you to implement changes and address potential issues long before it becomes either too late or too costly to make significant changes to the user design.
If you’re going to do any type of mobile app creation, understanding mobile app prototyping is essential – it will help you design and develop an app that is user-centric and effective. You can get to a product with maximum value, as often, the process of prototyping will show you new opportunities that you can take during the development process. This process is cyclical but requires constant revision.
If you’re new to mobile app prototyping and want to learn the essentials, the Mobile App Prototyping course on Skillshare can help you get started.
What Kinds of Content Does the Course Cover?
This course, at only 50 minutes long, serves as a great introduction as to how you can use this skill to express your ideas and showcase your vision. You will learn all the basics of mobile app prototyping, from finding new patterns to making new designs.
You will finish the class with three basic competencies that you can incorporate in your mobile app design – you‘ll be able to engage in screen transition, animate an image, and make to-do app actions.
You will also learn some basics of coding, which can give you a solid foundation as you start your career and bring your designs to life.
In the first section of the course, you’ll learn more about Noah Levin and his background. He goes over his credentials and discusses why he is passionate about mobile app prototyping and teaching the class. He also details everything that you will learn about in the course, including the basics of Framer and animation.
The first main module of the course deals with the major benefits of prototyping. He outlines all the major features of prototyping and how to choose the right tools for your needs.
Prototype 1: Create an Animation
In this module, Levin launches into the first Framer exercise. He encourages students to download a free trial of Framer so that you can work alongside him as he moves through the exercises and examples of interaction components. One of the nicest features of this section of the course is that you’ll be able to watch and work right alongside Levin as he shows you examples.
You’ll feel like you are right in the middle of a classroom during this section, since you aren’t just listening to Levin rattle off details but instead are getting involved with your own learning. He gives some easy to understand examples that you can use as you are working with your own animations, too.
Prototype 2: Create a Transition
Next, you’ll learn how to make a transition by sketching and importing your files directly into Framer. This will help you make prototypes that much faster. The next module includes examples from Google Docs and while you can use whatever images you’d like, Levin also provides students with a Sketch document.
Again, he encouraged students to go to the Sketch App website and download the free trial. He also recommends a preliminary course in Sketch on Skillshare that can help acquaint you with the basics of this program.
Prototype 3: Create a To-Do App Action
In the last example of the course, Levin teaches you how to make an interactive to-do app. With this, you’ll bring together what you’ve already learned from the first two lessons about sketch importing and animation and you’ll add in some skills on how to use a scroll component. That way, you can have both a scrollable list and a draggable component that will enable you to animate content as you drag.
To help you bring this instruction life, Levin offers the use of an example sketch file so that you can follow right along. Again, he recommends taking the Sketch class on Skillshare so that you have your own custom to-do app design to work with for this section.
Your Final Prototypes
In this section of the course, Levin warps up everything that he already discussed. As you’re taking the class, I really recommend going through all three prototype sections so that you know the basics of all the exercises and can create a high-fidelity mobile prototype on your phone.
After You’ve done this, you’ll know how to animate things and how to think more about spring physics. You’ll be able to build complex prototypes whenever you need them.
Levin doesn’t leave students with too many takeaways or “to-do’s” after finishing the course but does recommend that students continue to practice. He also invites users to upload their projects so that they can discuss them and get feedback from other users.
The Course & The Instructor
This course has been completed by more than 9,400 students on Skillshare and is geared toward students at a beginner-intermediate level. It’s taught by Noah Levin, a product designer out of New York City.
Levin is a skilled instructor with respectable credentials of his own. He has taught framer workshops at Google, General Assembly, ClassPass, WhiteSpace, and all kinds of start-ups.
He also spent more than a year at ClassPass helping to grow the UX team so that people could live happier and healthier lives via studio fitness. He also spent four and a half years at Google leading the iOS Google app with voice search and Google Now design.
His experiences are nothing short of remarkable. In fact, before working at Google, Levin worked at NASA designing an interface for astronauts. He was educated at Carnegie Mellon University, where he earned degrees in Human-Computer Interaction.
The Skillshare Course Platform
I’ve taken a lot of online courses in the past, from college classes that required a great deal of time and commitment to complete to more basic half-an-hour tutorials on how to do simple tasks.
Long story short, online education has really come a long way. I enjoy taking online courses for their flexibility and convenience, and the Mobile App Prototyping class on Skillshare is no exception.
Skillshare isn’t my favorite online platform to take courses on, but it’s not the worst, either. I like the layout of the courses as they tend to include more video and audio content rather than just the face of an instructor talking to you. Because of this, you’ll actually be able to engage with the course and feel like you’re part of a unique learning experience rather than just sitting in on yet another dull lecture.
Skillshare was created by Malcolm Ong and Michael Karnjanaprakorn, who developed the platform while living in New York City. It only launched in 2010, and while it’s still relatively young, it continues to evolve.
Unlike other learning platforms, like Udemy and LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda), Skillshare includes course topics that are primarily in specific categories like lifestyle, creativity, and business. You won’t be taking classes that are accredited in any way, so you won’t get a certificate of completion (something I’ll go into more detail about later on). However, you’ll still be able to learn from some of the top experts in your niche of choice.
Skillshare is easy to use. Even if you have to create and pay for an account, you’ll likely only spend about five minutes doing so. Then, you can spend all the time you want browsing content and find the right course. There are thousands of courses on here, but if you have a general idea of what you are looking for, you shouldn’t have any problems getting started.
Skillshare offers a free trial so that you can give the platform a “try before you buy.” There’s a mobile app, too – something that I absolutely love. I don’t like being harnessed to my computer when I want to take a class. Instead, I’d rather be free to move about and do other things while I’m learning more about a given subject.
Major Benefits of Taking This Course
Clear Learning Objectives
This course, like many that you’ll find on Skillshare, is offered with a clear layout and even more importantly, learning objectives that are clear, easy to understand, and actionable. In this class, you will learn how to work with mobile app prototyping in a general sense as well as in relation to your own projects.
You’ll complete the course having mastered the following skills:
- Product design
- Mobile design
- UI/UX design
- Web development
- Framer skills
Taught By a Skilled, Experienced Instructor
It’s clear just by skimming over Levin’s credentials that he has extensive experience in his field. That’s not always the case with Skillshare instructors – not all teachers have the credentials you might want to see, and (sometimes even worse) they often aren’t engaging, either. Not every teacher rocks – you might have to spend some time finding one that offers a teaching style you can jive with.
Levin is not one of those teachers. His instruction is clear and concise and he has what it takes to make an impact with his teaching. I enjoyed learning from him, as he was easy to understand and remarkably proficient in what he was teaching.
Although I’m not a huge fan of how Skillshare offers the transcription services for its courses, it’s important to note that there is a transcribed version of the content available at the very bottom of the course. I would rather see the transcribed words with each individual section of the course rather than all lumped together, but nevertheless, it was good to see that this was still an option.
The transcription is helpful to me as I go back through a course and revisit course material. Sometimes, it takes me a few tries to get the hang of things, and being able to reread the content is hugely helpful.
Additional Resources Available
After you completed his course (or even before, if you’d like), you’ll be able to view additional resources that Levin recommends for students who have completed the course.
For example, you can complete an optional assignment that will enable you to create a mobile app prototype for a fun interaction. You can create any one of the three simple prototypes described in the course: a scroll/swipe action, a page transition, or an animation. With Framer, you can create one or all of those three prototypes. He provides a link to download Famer if you don’t have it, too.
There Are other links available to help you get started on your journey in mobile app prototyping as well. He gives students a link to the Intro to Mobile App Design with Sketch 3 course so that you can learn the basics of app design and create a to-do list app as well as a link to the Framer gallery. He Also gives users a quick tutorial that can help them get started with the basics of Framer along with additional Framer resources. He even gives users a link to a tool that can be used to make a prototype into a GIF.
One of the best parts about taking this course is that it is 100% self-paced. You’ll be able to pace yourself as you move through the class and you won’t feel rushed by other participants. That offers a huge benefit to learners who would rather take their time as they move through the material (as well as those that don’t like to be slowed down by less-than-speedy classmates).
Plus, you can go back and review any information you might not have understood the first time around. For people like me who sometimes need a second try to understand the content, this is key.
Access to Project Gallery
One of the things I love about Skillshare, especially when compared to other online learning platforms, is that it allows students to upload their work to the Project Gallery for feedback. You will be able to see actual examples of work that other Skillshare members have created. This will not only allow you to get valuable feedback on your project but it might give you inspiration for projects in the future, too.
Helpful Skillshare Groups
Groups were added on to the Skillshare learning platform only recently, and it’s a fun feature that’s worth mentioning. When you take the Mobile App Prototyping course on Skillshare, you’ll be able to connect with millions of other platform users to find peers in your niche. You’ll be able to stay connected to learn more, stay on top of industry trends, and get some ideas for networking.