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My Design & Development Reading List

By Robbie Farrell

Introduction

This is a personal collection of design and development related articles to read.

Robbie Farrell — Digital designer, food lover, gym junkie, BMW enthusiast.

1 Timeful — Medium

credsUX Study: TimefulAn example of UX improvements on an app I'm a huge fan of Timeful, which uses "Intelligent Time Assistance" to recommend times to complete tasks. You can tell it you want to run for an hour 3 times a week, or you want to spend 2 hours a week looking for a job, and it'll recommend when you

2 How One Cold Email Landed Me A $15K Consulting Project

I run a web consultancy that works with internet startups and high growth companies. We provide strategic UX, design and front-end development services. Most of the projects we receive are referrals from happy customers who told others about the great work we did for them. Those referrals then come to us with a similar project or needs and the cycle

5 Write better walkthroughs with the 3x3 Method

As a product designer, you have many roles to fill. Strategist, UX designer, front-end dev, and marketer to name a few. The smaller your team (maybe your "team" is just you), the greater the number of hats there are to wear. Among these roles, yet often overlooked, is that of salesperson. Not the suited, briefcase-wielding type; but the stealthier kind:

6 Complete Beginner's Guide to Interaction Design

Web design has followed a long and winding road from it's rather modest beginnings. Initially, the term "web designer," described something much more akin to that of a graphic designer: a designer who concerns themselves with the presentation of text and pictures. Today, however, the majority of websites and applications online are interactive. In turn, modern web designers are called

7 The Making of Aprilzero: Part 2

This is the journey of designing & coding this site, continuing from part 1. I will share how I went from the early mockups to the final site, with the many iterations and challenges encountered along the way. Here's where we left off...After testing a bunch of apps and hardware for a few months, I had decided on the final

8 The Making of Aprilzero

This is the first chapter of how I designed this site. I will share some sketches, deleted concepts and old prototypes explaining how it evolved along the way. March 2014 - InspirationGet your move onI was about to go to Paris with my roommate. He is an avid photographer and usually when we go somewhere he builds a minisite about

9 What I Learned In My First Year as a Product Designer

What I Learned In My First Year as a Product DesignerFor the past year, I've had an incredible experience contributing to the design team at Edmodo, a K-12 education startup backed by Greylock Partners, Benchmark Capital, and Union Square Ventures. While I wasn't new to building stuff, having hacked projects together with friends in college, the last twelve months have

10 Off To The Races: Getting Started With Design Sprints - Smashing Magazine

Many modern software development best practices draw on influences from the industrial era and concepts like specialization, where individuals with specialized skills worked in an assembly line to mass-produce physical products. These practices from the world of manufacturing have come to influence how things are done when designing and building software products as well. Lean thinking is one of the

13 Off To The Races: Getting Started With Design Sprints - Smashing Magazine

Many modern software development best practices draw on influences from the industrial era and concepts like specialization, where individuals with specialized skills worked in an assembly line to mass-produce physical products. These practices from the world of manufacturing have come to influence how things are done when designing and building software products as well. Lean thinking is one of the

14 Leaving Airbnb

I felt like I just ran a marathon, but it was only the first day. I had put in notice at Airbnb and was slowly starting to tell friends, family and colleagues. People were uniformly shocked. "Why?! Didn't you say Airbnb was amazing?""Did something go wrong? Did you get let go?""Are you an idiot?"(That last one gets a chuckle out

15 The Dribbblisation of Design

There are divergent things happening in the product and interaction design community. On one hand, we have some amazing pieces of writing from the likes of Ryan Singer and Julie Zhuo, moving our craft forward. On the other hand, we have a growing number of people posting and discussing their work on Dribbble, the aggregated results of which are moving

16 Leaving Airbnb

I felt like I just ran a marathon, but it was only the first day. I had put in notice at Airbnb and was slowly starting to tell friends, family and colleagues. People were uniformly shocked. "Why?! Didn't you say Airbnb was amazing?""Did something go wrong? Did you get let go?""Are you an idiot?"(That last one gets a chuckle out

17 How Prototyping is Replacing Documentation

Jason Frasier, design director at DesignMap, stopped by Tradecraft last week to share his perspectives on prototyping, how it is replacing documentation as a UX deliverable, and how we can utilize prototyping in our design process. Here are some of my learnings- Final Documentation ≠ Final ProductWorking at a design consultancy, documentation is often the primary deliverable to hand off

18 Great Responsive Web Design is a Matter of Process

Great Responsive Web Design is a Matter of ProcessDesign for Content not for Devices.A successful web design is one that comes from a carefully planned approach. But when it comes to creating a great responsive web design (RWD), the tried and true process of web design that has worked for many designers in the past is no longer necessarily the

19 Styleguide Driven Development

Styleguide Driven Development (SDD) is a practice that encourages the separation of UX, Design & Frontend from Backend concerns. This is achieved by developing the UI separately in a styleguide. By separating the UI and backend tasks so they don't rely on each other, it allows teams to iterate fast on prototypes and designs without having to make changes to

20 What is Product Design?

Chances are, if you are reading this, you work in the tech industry. Chances are, you are currently, have recently, or aspire to be involved in the creation of a modern digital product. This article aims to give you a deep understanding of the role of Product Design in this process. The answer to what it means to be a

21 Re-designing busuu

Last month marked my one year anniversary at busuu; representing one 26th of my entire lifetime, and one 5th of my lifetime as a product designer. As a result of this monumental occasion, I would like to talk about the monumental task that I have been doing since I have been here; the redesign of both our mobile and web

22 How to get a job as a designer without going to design school

Working on my first design project at Startup Weekend SeattleHow to get a job as a designer without going to design schoolI became a designer without going to design schoolUpdate: I first published this blog post over a year ago. The books I reference in this guide are classics, but some of the online tutorials are out of date. If

23 Getting to Pocket Inbox Zero

Getting to Pocket Inbox ZeroPocket is a fiendishly addictive metagame for reading that helps you read more than you normally would. But the game makes it difficult to engage deeply with text, and distracts from Pocket's potential to be a tool not only for consumption, but also for creation.Earlier this week, Om Malik published a visualization of his read-it-later habits

25 A Roadmap To Becoming An A/B Testing Expert - Smashing Magazine

A/B testing, also known as split testing, is the method of pitting two versions of a landing page against each other in a battle of conversion. You test to see which version does a better job of leading visitors to one of your goals, like signing up or subscribing to a newsletter. You can test two entirely different designs for

26 Breakpoints And The Future Of Websites - Smashing Magazine

When the iPhone came out in 2007, the demonstration of its web browser by the late great Steve Jobs gave the not-so-subtle impression that Apple wasn't too perturbed about its users pinching to zoom and swiping to scroll as part of the browsing experience. Responsive web design aimed to solve this problem by smartly applying flexible grids, fluid layouts and,

27 Prioritizing Devices: Testing And Responsive Web Design

My Android Galaxy smartphone is so sweet. It plays games, has a lovely screen and lets me check all of my favorite websites while I'm commuting to and from work. And my new iPad is even better; it's all I use at home when I'm relaxing in the living room, cooking in the kitchen or toileting on the toilet. As

28 Profit From Selling Digital Products (Part 2) - Smashing Magazine

This is the second and final article on how to sell and profit from digital products. In part 1, we covered many of the benefits of digital products over physical goods as well as the marketing philosophies to help you build an audience for your products. Today, we will be discussing more of the tactics required for a successful digital

29 How To Profit From Selling Digital Products (Part 1) - Smashing Magazine

At the end of 2012, I was talking with a good friend of mine who runs a small custom woodworking company. We were discussing business over the last year and a few things we learned. While his business did about double the revenue that mine did in 2012, I made considerably more profit. That's when it sank in how unusual

31 How Do You Design Interaction? - Smashing Magazine

If you have to design an interface it's almost obvious to think to begin the process by drawing. But is this the best way? I once casually started by writing an imagined human-computer conversation, and only afterwards I continued by drawing. This changed my way of thinking and I never went back to drawing first. This article will explain the

33 A Closer Look At Personas: What They Are And How They Work (Part 1) - Smashing Magazine

In my experience as an interaction designer, I have come across many strategies and approaches to increase the quality and consistency of my work, but none more effective than the persona. Personas have been in use since the mid-'90s and since then have gained widespread awareness within the design community. For every designer who uses personas, I have found even

34 Design Responsive Websites In The Browser With Webflow - Smashing Magazine

This article is the first part of a series of articles on emerging responsive design tools. Today, Richard Knight explores the advantages of Webflow and how you can use it today to build responsive websites - perhaps a bit faster than you would build them otherwise. - Ed.New tools have emerged to address the challenges of responsive web design -

35 Improve Your Email Workflow With Modular Design - Smashing Magazine

Complexity Meets AdaptationIn addition to the increasing number of emails, the need for personalization and high quality and the introduction of responsive design have turned what was once a simple process of writing HTML and CSS in your favorite text editor into something seemingly more complex. A number of customizable templates, editors, tools and even full-fledged email frameworks have popped

37 Dear Ticketmaster,

Imagine dragonsDear Ticketmaster,It is time to redesign the master of all tickets.I'm a huge concert goer; more than 20 concerts in this past year. I've taken up volunteer ushering at venues to see my favorite musicians. My job requires me to check tickets and usher people to their seats-a manageable task, but after checking hundreds of Ticketmaster tickets, it's very

38 A shorthand for designing UI flows

Flows are just as important to good interfaces as individual screens are. Customers don't land on screens from out of nowhere. Specific sequences of actions lead customers through your app as they try to accomplish their tasks. But as important as they are, flows are hard to communicate during the design process. Drawing out every state of a flow is

41 Some things can't be wireframed - Inside Intercom

Research and analysis help show you the workflows, usability principles ensure it's clear and intuitive, but how do you get to delightful? You're on your own there. What wireframes discourageThe grayscale box-and-line nature of wireframes discourages emotive design, eschewing it for hierarchy, structure, and logic. That's correct when your goal is deliver logical easy-to-follow experiences, but when you're trying to

43 How To Conduct Your Own Google Ventures Design Sprint

At Google Ventures, we do product design work with startups all the time. Since we want to move fast and they want to move fast, we've optimized a process that gets us predictably good results in five days or less. We call it a product design sprint, and it's great for getting unstuck or accelerating projects that are already in

45 5 design problems we solved building the new GoSquared

Our mission at GoSquared is to transform the way companies understand and connect with their customers. We don't believe tools like Google Analytics are solving enough real problems. We want to move beyond mere "web analytics" - graphs and charts and pageviews - and help online companies connect with their customers in a meaningful way.

46 How a password changed my life.

"How could she do something like this to me?" said a voice in my head. All the time. Every day. Back in 2011, when everything had gradients, iOS icons made sense, and people used deodorants, I was stuck in middle of a pretty bad depression due to my divorce. Thankfully, I think I was smart enough (and had great people

48 How Instagram Onboards New Users | User Onboarding

Instagram, now well over 150 million users strong, exploded on the scene as one of the most rapidly-adopted products in the history of the world. How are things looking these days, over two years after it was acquired by Facebook?

49 How my app got 455K users in the first week

In my free time, I enjoy working on cool small projects that help me, or others, in some way. I came up with the simple idea of a TV show time calculator that ended up being a smashing hit. The statsAfter just one week of releasing the app, it got 455,826 unique visitors, 522,091 visits, and 688,280 pageviews. Tiii.me stats

51 Flat Pixels: The Battle Between Flat Design And Skeuomorphism

If you're paying attention to what's going on in the design world, you've probably noticed the ongoing debate around skeuomorphism vs flat design. So here's a quick test. Which of these two calculators feature a skeuomorphic design? If you answered "skeuo what?" you obviously haven't read any of the approximately 5000 blog posts covering the topic that have come out

53 How to communicate in a #NoManager company

This is the fourth article in my series on why we removed all managers at Treehouse. Here are the other articles ... Part 1Why we removed our managers What managers actually do What really motivates people Part 2How people choose what to work on How priorities are determined How Projects work and what tools we use How budgeting works Part

55 The Two Ways of Building

The macro way of building looks at characteristics and trends in the broader market. The private messaging space is blowing up. Anonymous and/or ephemeral content is huge. The free-to-play model is far more effective for monetization than a pay-to-play model. The micro way of building looks at characteristics and trends of individuals. My little cousin and all her classmates are

56 How to go freelance

Between 2010 and 2013, I was a freelance web developer working with tech startups - generally companies of less than 10 people who needed someone to help them. I made a lot of mistakes and stumbled my way through those 3 years. Now a lot of my students at ask how to go freelance. I've put this guide together for

58 The designers guide to unsolicited redesigns

I'll put this out there right now, I don't actually mind looking at unsolicited redesigns of big sites. In fact, I quite enjoy the insight into the designers mind that they provide sans-brief and more importantly, sans-commercial restraints or goals. Unsolicited redesigns have been part of the design world for years with varying levels of write ups to accompany them

59 Redesigning IMDB

For the ones who are not aware of this amazing website, IMDB literally means Internet Movies Database. IMDB is "the world's most popular and authoritative source for movie, TV and celebrity content" and by "popular", we mean it: the website brings over 160 million visitors per month. IMDB visitors are mainly: Movies and TV shows enthusiasts. Passionates, hard-core movie lovers.

63 Building Clickthrough Prototypes To Support Participatory Design

As UX professionals, we often lead design exercises with our stakeholders, including immediate team members and external clients. In these brainstorming sessions, participants identify opportunities to improve the design, thereby aligning everyone's vision and expectations of the project. During such activities, teams will generate concepts as paper or whiteboard sketches. While these artifacts give a ten thousand-foot view of the

64 text-rendering

The text-rendering property in CSS allows you to choose quality of text over speed (or vice versa) allowing you to fine tune optimization by suggesting to the browser as to how it should render text on the screen. Said another way in MDN: The text-rendering CSS property provides information to the rendering engine about what to optimize for when rendering

65 Prototyping Interactions: Tools Overview

I've recently embarked on finding the right tool to animate interactions for Website and mobile designs. Just designing is not enough; defining interactions and animations is the other 50%. Sometimes you can get away with communicating your animation and interaction ideas using existing examples but if you really want to control the outcome of the experience you design, it's best

66 What UI really is (and how UX confuses matters) - (Ryan Singer)

What UI really is (and how UX confuses matters)by Ryan Singer (@rjs) This article was originally posted to Feltpresence.com in March 2013. People mix the terms UI and UX together. UX is tricky because it doesn't refer to any one thing. Interface design, visual styling, code performance, uptime, and feature set all contribute to the user's "experience." Books on UX

67 UI and Capability - (Ryan Singer)

It's easy to get overwhelmed with details when you're designing a UI. That's why I try to keep hold of which things "really matter" and continually come back to them. In a software tool, the important things are the capabilities you give your users. People use your product because they are trying to get somewhere.

68 An Introduction to Using Patterns in Web Design

The biggest challenge for web designers is the unthinkably huge number of possible ways to solve any given problem. We usually don't think of this because we have our habits and traditions to fall back on, but there are literally billions of possible pixel combinations for each page we make. There is a better way to manage this vast complexity

70 What UI really is (and how UX confuses matters) - (Ryan Singer)

What UI really is (and how UX confuses matters)by Ryan Singer (@rjs) This article was originally posted to Feltpresence.com in March 2013. People mix the terms UI and UX together. UX is tricky because it doesn't refer to any one thing. Interface design, visual styling, code performance, uptime, and feature set all contribute to the user's "experience." Books on UX

72 Simple Responsive Images With CSS Background Images

Editor's Note: This article features just one of the many, suboptimal solutions for responsive images. We suggest that you review different approaches before choosing a particular responsive image solution, including these two: How To Avoid Duplicate Downloads In Responsive Images and Choosing A Responsive Image Solution.With all the talk of new HTML5 standards such as the attribute and element, as

74 Designing For Digital Products

In digital culture, we are beginning to think of our output as products and of our clients as users. "Products" might be websites, apps or communities, and they might be created by startups, agencies or a couple of people at a hackathon. This shift mainly means that we have gotten serious about asking how to better serve users, which reflects

75 Quick and dirty usability testing

This is an edited excerpt from Chapter 8 of The User Experience Team of One - A Research and Design Survival Guide, published by Rosenfeld Media. Use the discount code NETMAGUXT to get 20 per cent off your purchase Can people use this product as intended? The essence of the quick-and-dirty usability test is that you do it quickly-like the

79 Clean Up Your Mess - A Guide to Visual Design for Everyone

PrefaceIf you're like most people, you feel like a baby when it comes to visual design. You sometimes have a vague sense of what you want, but can't articulate it or make it come about. All you can do is point and cry. This guide will help you communicate with conscious skill. It will show you how to create designs

80 How remote work changed my life

← Back to mainHow remote work changed my lifeWritten by Justin on October 28, 2013Remote work increases both the quality of work and job satisfaction. David Heinemeier Hansson (DHH on the internet) and Jason Fried have a new book: Remote: Office Not Required. This post is a hybrid: it's a book review, but it's also personal. I'm going to describe

83 A shorthand for designing UI flows

Flows are just as important to good interfaces as individual screens are. Customers don't land on screens from out of nowhere. Specific sequences of actions lead customers through your app as they try to accomplish their tasks. But as important as they are, flows are hard to communicate during the design process. Drawing out every state of a flow is

84 Techniques for Responsive Typography

When it comes to responsive type on the web, there's more to do than just resizing the text's container and having the text reflow inside of it. This in-depth article covers various techniques for making text responsive. One of the most important aspects of responsive web design is responsive typography. When it comes to responsive type on the web, there's

85 Dear Ticketmaster,

Imagine dragonsDear Ticketmaster,It is time to redesign the master of all tickets.I'm a huge concert goer; more than 20 concerts in this past year. I've taken up volunteer ushering at venues to see my favorite musicians. My job requires me to check tickets and usher people to their seats-a manageable task, but after checking hundreds of Ticketmaster tickets, it's very

86 UX Sketching

When I start my UX process every surface becomes a sketchpad to jot out quick ideas. Sometimes its on the back of a sushi menu, the floor to glass ceilings at the Digitaria office, or the pages of a moleskin notebook. In the beginning It's just about brainstorming.

87 Bulletproof Accessible Icon Fonts

Posted by Zach on 01/13/2014 Care must be taken when implementing icon fonts to ensure a great experience for all users. What happens when your font doesn't load? What happens when @font-face isn't supported in the browser? We'll show you how to implement bulletproof font icons. In our never-ending quest to build sites more efficiently and effectively for our clients,

88 UX Crash Course: 31 Fundamentals

My New Year’s Resolution for 2014 was to get more people started in User Experience (UX) Design. I posted one lesson every day in January, and thousands of people came to learn! Below you will find links to all 31 daily lessons.

90 Some things can't be wireframed - Inside Intercom

Research and analysis help show you the workflows, usability principles ensure it's clear and intuitive, but how do you get to delightful? You're on your own there. What wireframes discourageThe grayscale box-and-line nature of wireframes discourages emotive design, eschewing it for hierarchy, structure, and logic. That's correct when your goal is deliver logical easy-to-follow experiences, but when you're trying to

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