Books and Tools that Will Make You a Better Designer

Learners are earners. The more you read, the more you understand. Reading allows us to gain experience from other people for just a few $. It also opens up a world of imagination, creativity, solutions. Here is the list of books and tools that helped me become a better designer and person.

Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience

The Lean UX approach to interaction design is tailor-made for today’s web-driven reality. You will find out more about valuable UX principles, tactics, and techniques from the ground up—how to rapidly experiment with design ideas, validate them with real users, and continually adjust your design based on what you learn.

 

Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality

Ideas are worthless if you can’t make them happen. In Making Ideas Happen, Behance founder Scott Belsky chronicles the process behind the legendary teams at Disney, IDEO, and Google — as well as individuals like John Maeda, Seth Godin, and Chris Anderson — to share tried-and-true methods for overcoming the obstacles between vision and reality.

 

The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman

In this entertaining and insightful analysis, cognitive scientist Don Norman hails excellence of design as the most important key to regaining the competitive edge in influencing consumer behavior.

 

Atomic Design by Brad Frost

We’re not designing pages, we’re designing systems of components.—Stephen Hay

 Value Proposition Design: How to Create Products and Services Customers Want (Strategyzer)

Value Proposition Design helps you tackle the core challenge of every business — creating compelling products and services customers want to buy. This highly practical book, paired with its online companion, will teach you the processes and tools you need to create products that sell.

 

Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers

Business Model Generation is a handbook for visionaries, game changers, and challengers striving to defy outmoded business models and design tomorrow’s enterprises. If your organization needs to adapt to harsh new realities, but you don’t yet have a strategy that will get you out in front of your competitors, you need Business Model Generation.

Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug

“After reading it over a couple of hours and putting its ideas to work for the past five years, I can say it has done more to improve my abilities as a Web designer than any other book.” –Jeffrey Zeldman, author of Designing with Web Standards

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

How do successful companies create products people can’t put down? Why do some products capture widespread attention while others flop?

Nir Eyal explains the Hook Model—a four-step process embedded into the products of many successful companies to subtly encourage customer behavior. Through consecutive “hook cycles,” these products reach their ultimate goal of bringing users back again and again without depending on costly advertising or aggressive messaging.

UX Strategy: How to Devise Innovative Digital Products that People Want by Jamie Levy

User experience (UX) strategy requires a careful blend of business strategy and UX design, but until now, there hasn’t been an easy-to-apply framework for executing it. This hands-on guide introduces lightweight strategy tools and techniques to help you and your team craft innovative multi-device products that people want to use.

 

Sprint by Jake Knapp

A practical guide to answering critical business questions, Sprint is a book for teams of any size, from small startups to Fortune 100s, from teachers to nonprofits. It’s for anyone with a big opportunity, problem, or idea who needs to get answers today.

 

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

Most startups fail. But many of those failures are preventable. The Lean Startup is a new approach being adopted across the globe, changing the way companies are built, and new products are launched.

Lean Analytics by Alistar Croll

By measuring and analyzing as you grow, you can validate whether a problem is real, find the right customers, and decide what to build, how to monetize it, and how to spread the word. Focusing on the One Metric That Matters to your business right now gives you the focus you need to move ahead–and the discipline to know when to change course.

 

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini

This book explains the psychology of why people say “yes”—and how to apply these understandings. Dr. Robert Cialdini is the seminal expert in the rapidly expanding field of influence and persuasion. His thirty-five years of rigorous, evidence-based research along with a three-year program of study on what moves people to change behavior has resulted in this highly acclaimed book.

True wisdom is knowing what you don’t know. (Confucius)

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

A holistic, integrated, principle-centered approach for solving personal and professional problems. Covey reveals a step-by-step pathway for living with fairness, integrity, service, and human dignity–principles that give us the security to adapt to change and the wisdom and power to take advantage of the opportunities that change creates.

 

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Engaging the reader in a lively conversation about how we think, Kahneman reveals where we can and cannot trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking. He offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our business and our personal lives―and how we can use different techniques to guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble.

 

Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim

The global phenomenon that has sold 3.6 million copies, is published in a record-breaking 44 languages and is a bestseller across five continents—now updated and expanded with new content.

 

Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek

Simon Sinek’s recent video on ‘The Millennial Question’ went viral with over 150 million views. In Leaders Eat Last, Sinek explores how leaders can inspire cooperation and change, and focuses on the millennial generation in the workplace.

 

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t by Jim Collins

Built To Last, the defining management study of the nineties, showed how great companies triumph over time and how long-term sustained performance can be engineered into the DNA of an enterprise from the very beginning. But what about companies that are not born with great DNA? How can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness? Are there those that convert long-term mediocrity or worse into long-term superiority? If so, what are the distinguishing characteristics that cause a company to go from good to great?

 

Winning Decisions: Getting It Right the First Time by J. Edward Russo

Winning Decisions offers step-by-step analyses of how people typically make decisions and provides invaluable advice on how to improve your chances of getting your next big decision right the first time.

Tools

Sketch 3

The sketch app is built for modern graphic designers, and it shows in every fibre of the app. I’m a fan of the app since the first month it came out.

Framer

Framer is a tool for drawing, prototyping and sharing projects across teams. It combines the familiarity of visual editing with the flexibility of code. An entire design workflow, now in one smart interface.

Principle

Principle makes it easy to design animated and interactive user interfaces. Whether you’re designing the flow of a multi-screen app, or new interactions and animations, Principle lets you create designs that look and feel amazing.

Alfred

Alfred is a productivity application for Mac OS X, which boosts your efficiency with hotkeys, keywords and text expansion.

Double Pane

This one is golden. DoublePane effortlessly repositions application windows to maximize your screen space for easy side-by-side viewing. Set up shortcuts and customize your application layouts.

BetterTouch Tool

I listen to the music a lot while designing. Moving between different windows would distract me, that’s why I configured my mouse and trackpad for actions like previous song, next song, pause, repeat the song with simple mouse shortcuts. This app allows you to configure global or app-specific gestures. It’s addictive. 😉

***

I’d love to hear what your favorite books and tools are and how they helped you improve your design process.

***

Thanks for reading!

Ps. I don’t get money for referrals.

Leave a Comment.