Dark UX Academy: From Zero to One

Project Summary
I created an online design academy based on UX and market research to identify a glaringly large gap between Academia and the real expectations of the workforce. I built it from nothing, and it currently has over 100 enrolled students.
I kept getting reached out to from people who wanted to transition into UX, and those that weren’t sure how to improve their UI/UX skills.

I recognized a big gap in academia and required real world skills for product design. In the process of soul searching and finding my "Ikigai" (Japanese concept for one’s reason for being) I realized it is sharing my design knowledge with others to help them shape the world positively.
I set out to create an online academy that addressed the gap and help people transition into UX, and sharpen their skills to be more directly applicable for the industry.
After many contextual interviews with so many people looking to transition into UX and improve their design skills, I distilled a core set of ‘burning pains.’

I designed a course titled ‘The UX Field Guide’ with a curriculum covering identified pains (Portfolio presentation, UI, and UX skills awareness.) I designed and launched the website and course in May 2021.
• I authored and designed the course curriculum.
• I designed the brand & marketing.
• I designed and developed the website.
• I launched the social media strategy.
• I developed the website & marketing funnel.
Started with closed beta: 5 students

🥰 Grown organically to 100 students
💯 1900% growth in user base
❤️ Positive, heart warming sentiment from alumni
🥺 Overwhelming feeling of purpose and mission
Final Thoughts
It's easy to want to give up, but more satisfying if you don't
It’s so easy to want to give up. There were so many questions I didn’t know the answer to, but I leaned into my design training and did discovery, competitive evaluation, and pieced together a roadmap and solutions.

Content creation is hard but not impossible
This was my first foray into content creation both as an educator, and social media manager. It requires a mix of creativity, brevity, and strategic planning.

Learning to become my own biggest fan
My own personal pitfall, self criticism. In the process of creating content, sharing it with others, seeing it work - it really validated for me on a personal level that my knowledge was sound and effective.

Important to find something that feeds your soul
There’s still so much that I don’t know because the well of UX and Design knowledge grows deep. I hope that my academy can continue to grow and add more spokes in the wheel of design to it to help as many people as I’m able to.