Learn more about the opportunities, responsibilities, and salaries of UX/UI designers in the education industry here.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
Online learning platforms and edtech have historically lagged behind mainstream consumer tech, and nowhere has this been more apparent than during the Covid-19 pandemic when schools and colleges around the world were forced to use technology for remote learning—attendance fell, systems crashed, and many students felt disconnected from both their peers and the material they were learning.
Recognizing these shortcomings, the e-learning sector—from K-12 school systems and colleges to edtech startups—has begun heavily investing in UX/UI designers to bolster student engagement across the board. UX professionals are being brought in to help colleges revamp their websites to improve recruitment; design educational games that are as enjoyable and desirable as mainstream video games; build tools that make both teaching and learning more accessible and enjoyable; streamline and simplify learning portals; and make online learning as effective as possible.
When successful, UX designers can have a significant impact on large swaths of the population. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 65% of households with children used remote learning during the pandemic. Before Covid-19, a quarter of all post-secondary students in the U.S. were enrolled in a distance education course of some kind. And the value of the edtech market reached almost $90 billion in 2020 alone.
“Digital education is predicted to thrive with a wide array of beneficiaries across the geographical regions, age, and socio-economic conditions,” according to research firm Grand View Research. “The education sector is on the cusp of a digital revolution.”
At its core, UX/UI design in the education sector isn’t too different from UX/UI design in other industries—the ultimate goal is to create a positive user experience that will lead to stronger user engagement, retention, and, depending on the product or service, conversion. But when it comes to UX for edtech, designers have to consider the needs of multiple stakeholders, who each have different goals, challenges, and preferences.
“Understanding student, teacher, and school leader needs, and developing educational experiences that serve those needs, is the ultimate in service design,” according to UX designer Pilar Strutin-Belinoff. “Public education requires a different approach, not the standard rollout of research and design deliverables—your standard discussion guide nor protocol won’t work here.
Below are some of the ways UX design is employed in the education sector:
Most UX/UI designers bring technical design skills to the table such as the ability to conduct and make sense of user research; wireframing and prototyping; interactive design; visual communication; information architecture; and proficiency with tools such as Sketch, Invision Studio, Proto.io, Webflow, Balsamiq, and Axure. And while these skills might help a designer build a visually appealing e-learning platform, the education industry expects its UX/UI designers to develop a strong understanding of student psychology so that they can both appeal to reluctant users and effectively deliver learning materials.
“Students compare the apps and platforms they see in the classroom not only to similar products at school, but to non-education applications and platforms that often seem more exciting by comparison,” according to Danielle Reid, the leader director of design at Toptal. “In order for students to choose an education game or platform over non-education ones, the app must be exceptional in all aspects, especially in its design.”
Some of the key responsibilities of UX/UI designers at education organizations include:
Among hiring managers, UX/UI design is one of the top five most in-demand skills, according to a LinkedIn report, with the demand expected to rise throughout 2021. And as investment in elearning platforms and academies increases, so too will demand for UX/UI designers who can make those platforms engaging, accessible, and effective.
UX/UI designer salaries are typically determined by education, years of experience, location, and organization type. As of 2021, the average base salary of an entry-level UX/UI designer in the education sector is around $74,000. The average base salary of a senior-level UX/UI designer in the video game industry is around $100,966.
Ready to switch careers to UI/UX Design?
Springboard offers a comprehensive UI/UX design bootcamp. No design background required—all you need is an eye for good visual design and the ability to empathize with your user. In the course, you’ll work on substantial design projects and complete a real-world externship with an industry client. After nine months, you’ll graduate with a UI/UX design mindset and a portfolio to show for it.
Check out Springboard's UI/UX Design Career Track to see if you qualify.
Not sure if UI/UX design is the right career for you?
Springboard now offers an Introduction to Design course. Learn what designers do on the job by working through a project with 1-on-1 mentorship from an industry expert. Topics covered include design tools, research, sketching, designing in high fidelity, and wireframing.
Check out Springboard’s Introduction to Design Course—enrollments are open to all!
Download our guide to UX design fundamentals
This 50-page guide will take you through the foundations of user experience, including information architecture, user experience, and user interface.
Ready to learn more?
Browse our Career Tracks and find the perfect fit