Designlab vs Springboard: UX of the Champions

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Suitable for Beginners and Intermediate learners

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Digital experiences are all around us and it seems like every product or service we use has an app or website to interact with. UX is important to provide a smooth and easy experience to the users, so today we will be comparing two of the most popular UX learning platforms in this Designlab vs Springboard and find out who is the UX champion.

The consistent and continuous expansion of these app-dependent services has also created intense demand for professionals with the right skills to create practical and useful user experiences.

UX is one of those things that you’re not supposed to notice (when it’s good), but you can definitely tell when it’s not

In a world where everyone has experienced well-designed apps from technology-heavy hitters, and access social media to complain about and highlight bad experiences, good design has become even more crucial.

These two forces: increased demand coupled with increased exposure to good and bad design have created the ideal environment for companies that want to offer training in UX and interaction design.

The question remains though, are any of these courses worth the money, and which course is right for you? 

We’re going to look at two of the leading online UX Bootcamp, Springboard and Designlab to compare their curriculum, experience, career prospects, and pricing.

What do other students say – Ratings and reviews

DesignLab Home Page

Let’s find that what the rating and reviews tell about these two platforms in this Designlab vs Springboard comparison.

The first thing to look at when considering an online course is the experience and reviews previous students posted. The good news is that both platforms have very good reviews on Switchup.org – a leading coding Bootcamp and course review platform.

Designlab is slightly in the lead with an aggregate score of 4.79 compared to 4.69 for Springboard but on the other hand, Springboard has twice the number of reviews (1015 compared to Designlab 433).

Both platforms overwhelmingly have 5 and 4-star reviews from recent graduates (2021) and with quotes like “Prepare yourself to understand fundamentals to create a portfolio to get you hired.” (for Springboard) and “I learned UX/UI principles that I will carry into my future career!” (for Designlab) you can’t go wrong with either platform.

Unique features & perks

None, both Designlab and Springboard have the coveted Best Bootcamp Winner badge for 2021 from Switchup.

Verdict: Tie

Getting in – Application & admissions

Springboard Applications and Admission

Let’s explore the admission and the application process of the Designlab and Springboard in this Designlab vs Springboard detailed comparison.

A key difference between the two courses is the entry criteria. To start the UX Academy with Designlab you have to either provide a portfolio of wireframes and high-resolution prototypes demonstrating your experience as a UI/UX designer to date or to take their 4-8 week foundational course (the tuition for which will be deducted from the overall course fees if you continue with the UX Academy). 

When you apply you will need to provide your portfolio for evaluation, but this is the only step between application and beginning the course.

On the other hand, Springboard recommends that you have at least one year of documented professional experience in user experience. 

This factors into Springboard’s admissions process which is a bit more complex, requiring an interview with the Admissions Director followed by a skills survey (if you pass your interview). 

It does not involve a portfolio, though you can of course bring one to your interview. This means that without relevant experience you might not be able to join Springboard’s Bootcamp.

Unique features & perks

Designlab has the UX Academy Foundations course ($499) which provides a grounding in UX design if you’re pursuing this as a career without any experience, which is refunded if you go on to complete the UX Academy.

Springboard does not require a portfolio, if you already have the required experience you only need to do a short interview and a skills test quiz, which makes their admissions process less time-intensive for busy professionals.

We prefer Designlab’s more straightforward approach and application process that focuses on proven practical skills. We also like that they offer a foundational course.

Verdict: Designlab

What will your learn – Curriculum 101

The curriculum for both courses is pretty comprehensive covering the key aspects of user research, user-centered design, wireframing, prototyping, and feature delivery.

Designlab Curriculum

DesignLab Curriculum

  • 480 hours of coursework
  • 100+ hands-on project & 4 portfolio projects
  • 7 Modules:
    • Design & Communications (6 hands-on projects)
    • Introduction to UX Design (5 hands-on projects)
    • UX Research (9 hands-on projects)
    • Information Architecture (5 hands-on projects)
    • Interaction Design (7 hands-on projects)
    • User Interface Design (7 hands-on projects)
    • Iteration & Implementation (6 hands-on projects)
    • 3 Capstone Projects and 7 Personal Brand Projects

Springboard Curriculum

Springboard Curriculum

  • 350+ hours of coursework
  • 11 Modules:
    • Design Thinking
    • User Centered Design (UCD) Discovery Phase: Understanding the Problem
    • UCD Discovery Phase: Understanding Your User
    • UCD Discovery Phase: Synthesis and Presentation
    • UCD Design Phase: Designing, Ideating and Information Architecture
    • UCD Design Phase: Sketching, Wireframing, Interaction Design and UI Design
    • UCD Evaluation Phase: Prototyping, Usability Testing and Presenting Your Work
    • Design Sprints
    • Psychology Principles and Special Topics
    • Capstone Project
    • Building a Portfolio & Industry Design Project

We like the curriculum for both platforms for different reasons, though Designlab has a slightly more practical approach. 

While both use User-Centered Design as a backbone, the Designlab curriculum is more adapted to more practical applications which are also reflected in their very specific and larger number of portfolio projects. Springboard provides a good grounding in the theory and methodology of User-Centered Design and delves into innovative practices like Design Sprints. 

However, their portfolio projects are a bit more open-ended requiring more guidance from the student or the industry partner, which means your final portfolio might be better or worse than a Designlab one depending on which partner you land.

Verdict: Tie

Who are you learning from

Both platforms provide a mentor to support you throughout the course, answer any questions you have as well as provide feedback on your work and projects.

Designlab provides a certain number of mentor sessions per module (from 1 to 4, for a total of 25 sessions).

Springboard on the other hand provides unlimited mentor support, starting at weekly sessions (which for the 6-month program works out to 25-26 sessions depending on the month). 

However, you can request more sessions if you need more help.

The mentors for both programs come from well-known companies like Google, Adobe, Tundra & Uber, though Springboard seems to be recruiting more aggressively from big tech companies, so if you want to learn from someone who works at Uber or Google you have a better chance of being paired with a mentor from there on Springboard.

Unique features & perks

Springboard offers unlimited coaching & mentoring as part of the program but it might not all be with your personal mentor, they only guarantee a weekly 1:1 with them.

Designlab has a set number of mentoring sessions, but the number varies by module so you get more help in the more intensive modules and less in the simpler ones.

Verdict: Springboard

Also Read: Designlab vs Careerfoundry

What do they cost

Let’s compare the pricing of the Designlab and Springboard UX programs in this Designlab vs Springboard.

Tuition fees and payment options are in a similar bracket for both courses Designlab is slightly better value.

Designlab

  • Pay the entire course fee up front ($6,249) saving $400 off the monthly payment plan
  • Pay in 6 monthly payments of $1,041 for a total fee of $6,649 (The course take 15 weeks to complete)
  • Pay using their Flexible Long Term Financing – depending on your interest rate you can expect to pay $177 – $194 a month for 36 months after a $399 deposit. The financing is provided by Climb Credit and works out to a total cost of $6,941 to $7,611.
  • Designlab offers a tuition reimbursement policy if you’ve not found a job 6 months after completing the course, though the requirements are pretty stringent, so while it is a safety net you have to make sure to read the terms before starting.

Springboard

  • Pay the entire course fee up front ($6,900) saving $894 off the monthly payment plan
  • Pay $1,299 month to month for up to 6 months (though if you complete the course yearly you don’t have to pay for all 6 months). This option is capped at $7,794
  • Pay using their Flexible Long Term Financing. Also provided by Climb Credit, though Springboard uses a different option where you only pay interest on your loan ($45 – $89) during the course (after a $500 deposit) but slightly higher payments of $236 – $262 for 36 months after you’ve graduated. Total cost between $8,780 – $9,958.
  • Deferred tuition where you pay a $500 deposit and only start making monthly payments of $264 for 3 years after you start a new job
  • Springboard also offers a reimbursement policy if you’ve not found a job 6 months after completing the course, though their terms are a bit vaguer than Designlab and they require you have a Bachelor’s degree in addition to the course, which Designlab does not.

Unique features & perks

Designlab’s course is cheaper overall, by up to $2,500 depending on the payment option you choose, their reimbursement terms are also much clearer (though extensive) so it’s easy to know what they expect you to do to get a job.

Springboard offers more payment options, including being able to defer payment until after you find a job (though this option is almost 50% more expensive than paying upfront).

Verdict: Tie

Check it out -> My Experience: Udacity Review 2021| Are Nanodegrees Worth $1400?

Student experience

The student experience on both platforms is very similar, you have access to the online course and have a series of mini-projects to complete on each module with an additional capstone or portfolio project at the end. This Student experience might be a similar point in this detailed comparison of Designlab vs Springboard.

Both courses offer 1:1 mentoring and accountability but their approach to the learning process is slightly different.

Designlab puts a lot more emphasis on its group feedback and community critique process. 

All your projects are critiqued by multiple mentors. There are also 12 group critique calls throughout your course where your cohort critiques your design and provides feedback. 

They also have an extensive slack community of alumni and mentors where you can ask project and course-related questions.

Springboard focuses less on the community aspect by offering unlimited calls with one of their mentors if you need it. 

So it really depends on if you prefer a more 1:1 mentoring and coaching learning experience or if you thrive in a group critique and feedback environment.

Unique features & perks

Springboards unlimited 1:1 support can be useful if you want to learn at your own pace and aren’t confident in a group of designers yet.

Designlab’s group-based feedback approach is more similar to what you’d experience in a UX role where multiple stakeholders will all provide feedback that you need to integrate into your design.

Verdict: Designlab

Certification and career prospects

Now, let’s talk about the certification and the career prospects of Designlab and Springboard in this Designlab vs Springboard comparison article. Both courses offer a certificate of completion after you successfully pass your capstone projects

Both also offer 6 months of personal Career Coaching to help you create your CV, portfolio and prepare for interviews and design challenges set by potential employers

Designlab’s course and especially capstone projects are designed to help you build a more varied and cohesive portfolio, including a responsive web design example, an end-to-end application, and adding a feature to an existing product. 

You are guaranteed to have 4 portfolio projects by the end of the course, though these will all be based on briefs from Designlab themselves.

Springboard takes a slightly different approach. The course has a much larger single capstone project that includes all steps from research and validation to design, but the brief is a bit more open-ended compared to Designlab’s very specific projects. 

One advantage Springboard has is the industrial design project, this will give you a portfolio piece that solves a real-life problem, though of course how useful this project is to your portfolio depends on what industry projects are available in your cohort.

Both courses have testimonials from previous attendees that now work at Google, Facebook, Lyft, IBM, Microsoft, American Express. 

Though of course, this is no guarantee of a job, coupled with their excellent reviews on Switchup it’s a good indication of what you should be aiming for.

Once you get a job you can expect to earn between $64,000 and $93,000 a year depending on the role you go for and your experience before starting the course. 

Though keep in mind that both these ranges are for entry to mid-level positions if you have the significant experience you might start at a higher salary.

Must see -> DesignLab UX Academy Review 2021: Learn UI/UX Design Skills

Conclusion

Both Designlab and Springboard are a good choice if you’re looking to make a move into UX Design, or if you’re a junior UX Designer that has had no formal training in the role. Hope this Designlab vs Springboard comparison finds you useful and comparison.

The curriculum for both will give you a comprehensive look at all UX and human-centered design principles but each course has slightly different strengths.

Springboard has opted for a more thorough grounding in the basics of User-Centered Design through their curriculum but has added modern practices, like Google’s Design Sprints, into the mix. 

They have also opted for a more comprehensive capstone project that evaluates all the skills required to be a well-rounded UX designer coupled with a smaller real-life industry project. 

Designlab on the other hand has focused on a more practical approach to both its curriculum and projects. 

The curriculum is centered around practical skills you will need to have and apply day to day as a UX designer, underpinned by User-Centered design

Their projects and feedback mechanism highlight this as well, with more functional and specific capstone projects that more closely mirror real-world tasks.

Which course you choose really depends on your preferred learning style and what skills you want to focus on more, but you’re in safe hands either way.

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