Google Helps Developers Gain UX Skills for Mobile Apps

Improving the user experience (UX) for mobile users is a key to building better apps. Google is sharing these skills with developers in a new online class.

mobile app user experience

Google is helping app developers improve their products with a new online course aimed at teaching about the importance of user experience when building apps that creators hope will become popular.

The new UX Design for Mobile Developers course was announced by Nazmul Idris, a Google Android developer advocate, in a July 31 post on the Android Developers Blog.

"As a mobile developer, how do you create 5-star apps that your users will not just download, but love to use every single day?" wrote Idris. "How do you get your app noticed, and how do you drive engagement? One way is to focus on excellence in design—from visual and interaction design to user research, in other words: UX design."

That's where the new course comes in, he wrote. "The 'UX Design for Mobile Developers' course teaches you how to put your designer hat on, in addition to your developer hat, as you think about your apps' ideal user and how to meet their needs," he wrote. "The course is divided into a series of lessons, each of which gives you practical takeaways that you can apply immediately to start seeing the benefits of good UX design."

The course, offered through online learning vendor Udacity, can be taken for free as a self-guided program where all of the course materials are downloadable, or users can get a free two-week Udacity trial and then pay $150 per month to be a Udacity user, according to Google.

"Without jargon or buzzwords, the course teaches you where you should focus your attention, to bring in new users, keep existing users engaged and increase your app's ratings," wrote Idris. "You'll learn how to optimize your app, rather than optimizing log-in/signup forms, and how to use low-resolution wire-framing."

Participants can access the full course materials—all the videos, quizzes and forums—for free by selecting "View Courseware" on the course Webpage. Personalized ongoing feedback and guidance from Udacity coaches are also provided to students who pay to enroll.

Google also offers a video series about UX design from a developer's perspective on YouTube at the "AndroidDevelopers" channel, according to Idris.

The course will take a typical participant about four weeks to study, assuming six hours of work per week is put in, according to Udacity.

In July, Google offered several other developer classes through Udacity. One class was an online course on how to build scalable apps on the Google App Engine platform to help Java developers increase their skills and development toolkits. The class, "Developing Scalable Apps With Google App Engine," will teach users how to build a conference management application as part of their coursework.

Course participants will also learn how to store data in the Datastore, use Memcache to speed up responses and cut down on Datastore quota usage, write queries, understand indexes, and use queues for tasks that execute outside front-end requests. Also featured will be lessons in how to implement Endpoints to make the Cloud Platform API available externally, and how to use the Endpoints API from an Android application.

Earlier in July, Google announced an Android apps basics course on Udacity to teach more developers about how they can create and improve their apps for the popular mobile operating system, according to an eWEEK report. That course, "Developing Android Apps: Android Fundamentals," offered step-by-step training to build an Android app as well as best practices for mobile development, in general. The eight-week course required about six hours of coursework a week.

Google often offers online classes for developer training in a wide range of Google software disciplines.

Also in July, Google announced a traveling North American Developer Roadshow for its growing group of Google Cloud Platform developers so they can continue to expand their skills with its products. The remaining roadshow sessions on this tour are Aug. 5 in New York City; Aug. 7 in Cambridge, Mass.; Aug. 12 in Toronto; Aug. 12 in Boulder, Colo.; Aug. 14 in Austin, Texas; Aug. 19 in Atlanta; and Aug. 22 in Chicago.

In April, Google began offering a free online course through the Code School program to Google Maps developers who want to update their skills using the Google Maps SDK for iOS.

In March, Google offered a free online Google Analytics Platform Principals course to digital marketers who want to gain new insights and lessons about the platform.

A free online course about the Google Drive API was offered to developers in February, including lessons in using the API as well as authenticating the code to uploading files, retrieving metadata and more.