Netcraft

UX Design

What can other educators and institutions learn from the successes and failures of your experience-oriented academic program?: 

As we look back on the academy’s first class, we can see just how far we’ve come. Our path included successes, challenges, mistakes and failures that all taught us how to improve the academy itself and the learning experience of our students. Our secret to success is that we’re in love with UX. It’s our passion and we made the decision to teach UX because we love it and not use it as business, and our students can sense it. Every little problem and every mistake we have made along the way was always resolved because we do what we do out of great love to the profession. It is clear that love alone is not enough. One of our first mistakes was to hire teachers that are great professionals but not good speakers, as it is important to have skills and experience but it is important to also raise interest and inspire students. This is the second thing you could learn from Netcraft Academy. Choosing the right teachers for the academy was essential to the program’s success, we also found out that the class and the learning environment is no less important. When we started our first courses, we used a classroom outside of our offices. The classes were equipped and pleasant but lack of personal Netcraft Academy touch. After 6 month we made a brave decision that later turned out as a success: we built our first classroom inside our offices. The classroom was equipped with all the necessary equipment but we wanted to make the experience more special, so we enhanced the learning experience with a touch board for the teachers, inspirational posters on the walls, and reviews recent projects we did so students could see our results. We recently added a pool table, manager’s chairs, and a second state-of-the-art classroom that is, like the first one, in our offices, where students like to walk around and absorb inspiration from our staff. This is the third thing you could learn from Netcraft Academy- create an interesting and inspirational learning environment. One of the most interesting mistakes we made and probably keep on making is related to the content choices. We constantly change and improve our courses and add more topics that we think will bring value to our students. For example, when Windows 8 was released we added a new chapter about prototyping and designing for the new kid on the block, but it turned out that there was no demand in the market for that skill and only few projects. Our aspiration to keep our students up to date can put is in difficult situations, but is also makes us unique and we are happy to welcome the good with the bad. We also want to share a success story that we are very proud of: We have close relationships with our students even after the course is over. We keep a close relationship with each of one of our alumni, help them find jobs in companies we work with and help to plan their career path. We have an active, vibrant alumni Facebook group where we answer professional questions, publish job posts and create a forum where alumni can share their new experiences, knowledge and help each other. We enjoy seeing this community grow. We also conduct alumni events where they can hear the latest trends and new topics we added to the course. We also give them the opportunity to speak at our events.

What is the structure and content of your program?: 

We’d like to understand what opportunities and requirements students of your program have. If your program involves of major/minor concentrations or certificates, please describe the required courses as well as the electives. If your program plans multiple departments and/or degree programs, please help us understand how it all comes together to prepare graduates for careers in experience-oriented professions. Please also provide course descriptions for at least the key, if not all, courses or units in your program. Detailed curricula and syllabi are also welcome if you think they’ll help us better understand the strength of your program. In the website that we prototyped, designed and developed especially for Design for Experience Awards you can find a lot of information about our courses and a syllabus for our flagship course: Usability and User Experience. To enroll in Netcraft’s Academy each applicant must prove a basic understanding of design, development or show equivalent understanding of the digital world. To graduate from Netcraft Academy the student has to submit a weekly UX assignment and present it in the class where they are open to the teacher and other student’s review and critique. The final project that they have to submit is a responsive UX design. All the assignments assist them to establish a professional portfolio. When they graduate, they get a framed diploma that is well recognized and distinguished in the industry. We have varied courses that you can read about in the above website. We recommend starting with our flagship course: Usability and User Experience.

When students complete your program, what credentials, experience, and portfolio materials have they accumulated, and how do they support their career success?: 

To answer this question we have to fully understand the students that join our program. They are split into two groups: UX professionals that are sent by their respective companies and freelancers that want to have a deeper understanding of UX and broaden their skills. The first group gain professional strength from Netcraft Academy in courses tailored to their work environment and profession. The UX assignments they get every week are adapted to their field and the final project is a product they can present to their office. During the course, all students receive tailored made assignments at different levels that are increasingly complex as the course progresses. The final project that students have to submit is a complex assignment that meets a high professional standard. Most of Netcraft Academy’s assignments find their way into alumni portfolios. In addition, we offer our alumni the opportunity to join our mentoring program. We assign every student with a mentor that help the student build a portfolio. We have a 100% of success in job placement for our students and we are very proud of this program. Unfortunately, the amount of students to get accepted to this program are small since each student get assign with a mentor that devoted to him.

Who are your program’s key instructors and what qualifications and experience do they bring?: 

All of our professional teachers are a part of Netcraft’s team and work and breathe the UX industry. **Lior Yair**, Netcraft’s Co-CEO and the founder of Netcraft Academy. Lior teaches Entering the World of User Experience, Usability Testing and Research Methods for Interface Validation, Data Mining, Heuristic Review, Ten Foot UI, Presenting Prototypes to Clients. After over a decade in the UX industry, research and interviews across multiple continents, hundreds of notebooks sketched, and rooms covered top-to-bottom in Post-it notes, Lior Yair is still creating interactive prototypes and wireframes on a daily basis. Although he is driven by the finished product, his real pleasure comes from the journey leading to those products. Lior is the manager of all of Netcraft’s user experience teams around the globe. In addition to managing the team’s research, user experience, and design activities, he is also an expert in usability testing and eye tracking technology. Most recently, Lior has worked with a number of successful companies including StubHub, Comigo, and Any.do, and he advices venture capital funds and investment companies. Originally starting as a computer programmer in one of the Israel Defense Forces’ elite technological units, Lior soon realized that his true passion was in user experience. Once he began to design user experiences, he never stopped. The founder of NetcraftAcademy, the biggest user experience school in Israel, Lior is also a local leader of the IxDA (Interaction Design Association). In addition, Lior is a lecturer at Delaware University, the Holon Institute of Technology, IDC Herzliya and the College of Management Academic Studies,. Lior is also the founderUXonBeer, digitalplay, and digitaldesign conventions. In his spare time he enjoys reading comic books, playing Settlers and spending time with his two cats Peter and Suki.

**Ravit Gonen**, Director of Netcraft Academy Ravit teaches Cognitive Processes and the Limitations of Human Perception Ravit is the director of Netcraft Academy, and a UX specialist for the last 10 years. She specializes in user research and UX cognitive modeling methods.

**Ofer Holtzman**, UX Team Leader Ofer teaches The Mobile User Interface and Aesthetics and Infographics. Ofer is a UX specialist, working on web and mobile applications and websites. Educated as a graphic designer but with a technical edge and an emphasis on making users' lives easier, Ofer specializes in infographics and complex data systems.

**Yonatan Dubinsky**, Psychologist and UX specialist Yonatan teaches Information Architecture, Navigation Panel and Accessibility

**Tamar Nevo**, UX Team Leader Tamar teaches about e-commerce Graduate of UPENN (University of Pennsylvania) in BSE, Computer Science, Digital Media and Marketing.Specializes in Ecommerce.

**Moran Asseraf**, Design Team Leader Moran teaches about design trends, from print to digital and design a portfolio.

**Igal Steklov**, Front End Team Leader Igal teaches designers and UXers to code. With more than 10 years of experience Igal has an In-depth knowledge of web development. Igal lives and breathes code.

How do you ensure your program’s content is and remains in synch with modern practices and the needs of employers?: 

One of Netcraft Academy’s clear advantages is its proximity to the industry. Netcraft Academy grew from its parent company, Netcraft which is the leading UX agency in Israel. Among our client you can find international companies as well as Israeli based startups. This is what enables us to continue to lead the UX industry professionally and constantly innovate. Since all of Netcraft Academy’s teachers are a part of Netcraft’s team, the student are granted the opportunity to learn from the experts that work in UX every day. When we (Netcraft) get to do a new and innovative project that we haven’t had the experience to work on, we share our brand new info with the students to keep them constantly up-to-date. We live and breathe UX and our students get the most up-to-date info and work methods directly from UX experts. They learn from our successes and mistakes and stay current in this ever-changing industry.

Please share any objective and anecdotal evidence that demonstrates the your program’s ability to equip students for “real-world” value and successfulness.: 

We measure our success by the success of our students. They are our pride and joy and the reason we show up early to class every day. We’re proud and happy to say that most of our students integrate to the UX industry and get great jobs in the industry. In addition, some of them became leaders in the field. We want to share some of our success stories: Andrew Zusman- Andrew is a writer, speaker, and designer. Andrew published several articles in UX leading magazines and blogs such as UX Magazine, Speckyboy and more. He also spoke at prestigious conferences across Europe including WebExpo Prague, UX Scotland, and UX Conference, and is also a nominee for a Design for Experience Award for his work in accessibility.. Andrew is the creator and curator of 52Designers.com, a project to bring international attention to Israeli graphic designers. Avi Itzkovich- Avi is one of the most respected design professionals in Israel. Avi has published articles in Smashing Magazine and will soon publish a book about designing with senses. He is also the founder of UX SALON, one of Israel’s leading UX conferences that will feature some of the greatest UX minds in the world. To read more about the event: Michal Ofir- Since Michal graduated from Netcraft Academy she has worked in several established company. Recently she started to the coordinates the UX and Startup fields in the Holy Land- Jerusalem. Some of our alumni have decided to be educators and now teach UX courses in the leading universities and colleges in Israel. In addition to our alumni are now in key positions in international companies like: HP, Amdocs, Comverse, Nice, Wix, Comigo, eBay, Ness, Check Point, ICQ, Conduit, SAP & Orange.