Reading List — design, product, etc
This is a list of good books that I’ve read, my learnings and notes. This is work-in-progress and unlisted.
What is Design? (noun)
- Design came into prominence after Industrial Revolution. Mass manufactured goods needed good understanding of material, function and aesthetics. It is not art. It is craft with a purpose.
- Almost everything we see, touch, use is human made.
- Objectified, Helvetica by Gary Hustwit
- Ten principles of good design by Dieter Rams
- Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman — introduces terms like Affordances, Signifiers, Mental Models, Natural Mapping, Gulf of Understand, Gulf of Execution, Constraints, Discoverability, Feedback,
- Universal principles of design — 100+ principles for designing
- Form follows function. Mostly.
- Designing for Emotion by Aarron Walter
What is a good Design Process?
When presented with a problem, do not jump into designing and bulding the first thing that comes to one’s mind
- Understand the problem and context — talk to users, stakeholders, observe users, do literature study, learn about the capabilities of technology etc
- Reframe the problem statement
- Explore multiple diverging ideas and filter them based on constraints
- Prototype/Build the most promising idea(s) in most efficient and least risky way
- Test them with people/market — who will ultimately decide if the product is useful, usable and desirable.
- Repeat steps 1–5
This has been adapted and interpreted by people for different scenarios:
- Design Thinking by Stanford d.school, Human Centered Design by IDEO.org, Double Diamond design process by Design council UK
- Lean Startup when applied to new venture ideas. Each iteration is an experiment, where Hypothesis is created a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is used to validate or invalidate the hypothesis
- The Design Sprint a ‘five-day process for answering critical business’ question by Google Ventures
Sketches and Prototypes
- Sketching is a way to explore, self-critique and improve. Sketches are not Prototypes. Sketching User Experience: Getting the design right and right design by Bill Buxton
- To draw straight lines, look at where the pencil should go, rather than seeing the pencil tip.
- Prototypes are for ‘solving the right problem’ (eg. experience prototypes), ‘solving the problem right’ ( prototypes with varying amount of features, functionality, interactions, form and visuals)
- MVP is the quickest way to test a hypothesis. It could be an emailer, a sales brochure, a prototype with static data, or a hacky app with working data. It is a thin slice across all product characteristics and not an incremental build up of a product.
- Instead of MVP, create MLP , MAP , MOP (Minimum Outstanding Product term is up for grabs)
Creativity and Innovation
- One has to create many bad designs to get one good design. Quantity is needed for quality.
- Good artists copy. Great artists steal. ‘Good’ designers copy from Dribble. Great designers think from first principles and then steal what’s needed.
- Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson. Good summary here.
User Experience Design
- Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman — excellent introduction to Affordances, Signifiers, Gulf of Execution, Gulf of Evaluation, Mental Models, Natural mapping, Constraints
- Elements of user experience by Jesse James Garret
- About Face by Alan Cooper. Goal directed design is one of the comprehensive design process/framework for software design.
- Badass: Making Users Awesome by Kathy Sierra — interesting idea of ‘Perceptual Exposure’
- Simple and Usable Web, Mobile, and Interaction Design by Giles Colborne
- Designing for the Digital Age: How to Create Human-Centered Products and Services by Kim Goodwin — 700 pages of pure knowledge.
- Interaction Design: Beyond Human-Computer Interaction by Jenny Preece, Helen Sharp, Yvonne Rogers
- The UX team of One by Leah Buley is a shorter playbook with examples
- Basics Interactive Design: User Experience Design by Gavin Allanwood, Peter Beare
- Fun read : 400+ slides on Visual definitions of UX by Gena Drahun
- Practical tips: 50 Things You [Probably] Forgot To Design by Jon Moore
- Excellent primer on designing for iOS vs Android — a bit out dated
- Designing with the Mind in Mind by Jeff Johnson — one of the best and practical books on UI design
- UI is Communication by Everett N McKay
- Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug
- Designing for the Web by Mark Boulton
- Pixel Perfect Precision Handbook 3 by Ustwo
- Optical Adjustment
- Font Characteristics — though there are books on Typography, this article is more actionable
- Designing Interfaces: Patterns for Effective Interaction Design by Jenifer Tidwell
- Excellent blog on ‘What is Interaction Design?’
- Interaction Design sketchbook by Bill Verplank — Interaction Design is about “How do you DO? How do you FEEL? How do you KNOW?”
- Designing Interactions by Bill Moggridge
- Principles for Interaction design by Bruce Tognazzini
- Principles for Interaction design by Jakob Nielsen
- Microinteraction by Dan Saffer
- Macrointeraction by Mike Kruzeniski
- Proxemics is an interesting concept
- Designing Gestural Interfaces by Dan Saffer
- For a drive through the history: collection by Bill Buxton, video on evolution of video games
- Picture This: How Pictures Work by Molly Bang
- Before & After: How to Design Cool Stuff by John McWade
- The Non-Designer’s Design Book by Robin Williams
- Job to be done as a better framework than User Personas. Job Stories instead of user stories
- Lean Product Playbook by Dan Olsen
- Inspired: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love by Marty Cagan
- Measure What Matters by John Doerr
- Talks by Product Managers
- Following a process does not make up for poor decisions by people
- Getting customers to pay for a product is a better way to validate product than asking if they find it useful.
- Having a deep understanding of user and making product decisions, is* better than showing mocks and asking users.
- Bottlenecks: Aligning UX Design with User Psychology by David Evans — (a) Task positive and Task negative modes in a user ; (b) Habituation or banner blindness ; (c) you hire data analysts to perform a psychographic segmentation of your users’ needs, in all likelihood it will reveal the five types of needs in Maslow’s 1943 theory.” ; (d) 24 things we ‘find fun to’, (e) ‘When there is an unknown amount of time or actions we must take before rewarding content appears, our visits and clicks will increase dramatically.”
- 100 Things Every Designer Needs To Know About People by Susan M Weinschenk
- Visual Thinking by Colin Ware — perception, cognition, and attention and application to Design.
- Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman
- Design for the mind by Victor Yocco
- The power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
- Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations by Dan Ariely
- Designing for Behavior Change by Stephen Wendel
- Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
- Drive by Daniel H. Pink
- Persuation: Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini
- Persuation: Neuro Web Design: What Makes Them Click? by Susan M. Weinschenk
- The Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli
- Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
- Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely
- Brain Rules by John Medina
- Just Enough Research by Erika Hall
- Interviewing Users: How to Uncover Compelling Insights by Steve Portigal
- Microcopy: The Complete Guide by Kinneret Yifrah.
Information / Data Visualisation
- The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward Tufte — Data ink and Chart junk.
- Information is Beautiful by David McCandless
- Relative Magnitude Estimation — we are better in discerning differences when data is represented by position, then by, length, slope, angle, area, volume, color (in decreasing order)
What’s after GUI?
- Designing Connected Products: UX for the Consumer Internet of Things by Elizabeth Goodman, Claire Rowland, Martin Charlier, Alfred Lui, Ann Light
- The UX of VR
- Designing Voice User Interfaces: Principles of Conversational Experiences by Cathy Pearl
- Career — So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport
- Finance — IIMA-Day To Day Economics by Satish Y Deodhar, The Millionaire Fastlane by M. J. DeMarco
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance
- How To Lie With Statistics by Darrell Huff
- The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt
- What They Teach You at Harvard Business School an peek into the life of an MBA
- Mental models is a powerful way of thinking
- Career advise by Scott Adams — ‘become very good (top 25%) at two or more things’
Technology, ML / AI
- Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change from the Cult of Technology by Kentaro Toyama
- Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI
- The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies
- Video on ‘AI: What’s Working, What’s Not’ by a16z