Developers, you should get better at design – Start with these 3 books

For many developers, good design is hard. We can recognize it, but creating it is a whole different story.

When working on something at the edge of our comfort zone, productivity slows to a crawl. Falling into the nit-picking trap mentioned in yesterday's essay becomes all too easy.

Luckily, there are core principles and techniques for refactoring into something objectively “good”. These are three of my favorite books to elevate your design game.

  1. Refactoring UI by Adam Wathan (tactical) From the creators of the first css framework to convince me not to hate css, @tailwindcss. Dedicated to actionable steps to improve your design without going down any rabbit holes. “Design with tactics, not talent”.

  2. Design for Hackers by David Kadavy (tactical) Introductory level. Excellent approach in teaching through the lens of reverse engineering designs.

  3. Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug (conceptual) All about UX, with principles that apply to everything from front-end interactions to backend API design. Contains brilliant real-world examples of design fails that will get you thinking.

Invest time in boosting your design skills. While I'm usually tagged as the (cloud, devops, golang, backend, etc) guy, being able to produce a polished-enough POC has sold many clients and managers on my proposals. Tangible financial and career benefits come from going that extra mile.

The above three books will get you well on your way to producing better designs, faster.

As a bonus to dive even deeper, check out Laura Elizabeth's course Design Fundamentals.

If you have a favorite design-for-devs resource, let me know. Would love to add to this list.

This #ship30for30 #atomicEssay was shipped with this twitter thread:

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