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We proudly craft affordable, practical books for pros like yourself who want to improve skills and make a difference. No fluff, no theory — just actionable insights applicable to your work right away. Here’s a quick overview of the last ones:
As the web continuously becomes more complex, designing static pages has become untenable, so that many of us have started to approach design in a modular way. In this book, Alla Kholmatova will identify what makes an effective design system that empowers teams to create great digital products. Get the book now →
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Many of us have started to approach design in a more modular way recently. It’s just more manageable this way. We experiment with pattern libraries and style guides and almighty design systems, yet while some of us succeed, most of us fail. Our systems get out-of-date too quickly or just don’t get enough traction in our companies. It’s about time to fix it.
Not all design systems are equally effective. Some can generate coherent user experiences, others produce confusing patchwork designs. Some inspire teams to contribute to them, while others are neglected. Some get better with time, more cohesive and better functioning; others get worse, becoming bloated and cumbersome.
Throughout this book, Alla Kholmatova, previously a lead designer at FutureLearn, will share an approach and the key qualities of effective, enduring design systems. It’s based on Alla’s experiences, case-studies from AirBnB, Atlassian, Eurostar, TED, and Sipgate, plus 18 months of research and interviews — all attempting to figure out what works and what doesn’t work in real-life products. It may not answer every question, but it will help you figure out just the right strategy for establishing and evolving a design system in your organization.
The book is aimed mainly at small and medium-sized product teams trying to integrate modular thinking into their organization’s culture. Everyone in the product team could benefit from reading this book, but particularly visual and interaction designers, UX practitioners, and front-end developers.
The result is now for you to judge. Printed hardcover, 280 pages. Reviewed by Karen McGrane and Jeremy Keith. Cover design by Espen Brunborg. Get the book now.
It has been our goal to make the book as practical and useful as possible. We’ve been honored to receive very positive reviews from people working on design systems on small and large scale.
“Alla’s book outlines a process not just for creating a design system, but sustaining it over time. If you work on today’s web, I’d strongly recommend reading this insightful, approachable book.”
— Ethan Marcotte, Designer
“Design Systems is essential reading for all designers and design teams. Like great design – and effective systems – this book is a complete, connected, compelling guide for crafting great digital product experiences. No single resource has been more integral to our thinking about design systems than Alla’s book.”
— Jon Bell, Design manager, MailChimp
“Alla’s thoughtful analysis of systems-oriented thinking is a fundamental primer for anyone looking to establish a universal language across their team or organization.”
— Bethany Sonefeld, Design lead, Carbon Design System, IBM
“The magic of this book is its recognition that building a design system is as much about forming human connections as it is about technical solutions. It embraces the hard problems, and clears a path to help teams work towards a shared, cohesive vision.”
— Amy Thibodeau, UX lead, Polaris Design System, Shopify
“Great designers make equally great writers because they are meticulous. This superb introduction to design systems is written with the meticulous care the subject deserves.”
— Heydon Pickering, Author of Inclusive Design Patterns
The book explores design systems from the perspective of an interaction and visual designer. You won’t find any code samples or in-depth analysis of development tools. The book looks both into the main building blocks of a system and the workflow that would support the integrity of the system — all applied to designing and building websites or products today.
“Design Systems” is about how to approach your design process more systematically, and ensure your design system helps to achieve the purpose of your product and fits with the culture of your team.
The book consists of two parts:
In the first part, we’ll talk about the foundations of a design system – patterns and practices. Design patterns are repeatable, reusable parts of the interface, from the concrete and functional (like buttons and text fields) to the more descriptive (like iconography styles, colors, and typography). Patterns interconnect, and together they form the language of your product’s interface.
Shared practices are how we choose to create, capture, share and use those patterns by following a set of principles, or by keeping a pattern library.
A design system cannot be built overnight – it evolves gradually with your product. But, there are certain principles and practices that we can follow to make sure the system develops in the right direction and provides us some degree of control over it. The second part of the book focuses on practical steps and techniques to establish and maintain a design system, including planning the work; conducting an interface inventory; setting up a pattern library; creating, documenting, evolving and maintaining design patterns.
Alla Kholmatova is a UX and interaction designer with a nine-year experience of working on the web, for a range of products and companies. Most recently she was a senior product designer at an open education platform, FutureLearn.
She’s particularly interested in design systems, language, and collaborative ways of working. In the last two years, she has been spending a huge amount of time working on and researching the subject. She’s been sharing her insights with people through articles, workshops, and projects. Alla contributes to design publications, such as A List Apart, and speaks at conferences around the world.
To give you a more detailed idea of what the book is like, feel free to download a free sample of the book — a chapter on solid principles which are the foundation for any well-functioning system. In this chapter, we’ll discuss the qualities of effective design principles and look at some of the ways of defining them.
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Most things in life come with a dark side. For years, the online space has acted as a playground for thieves, bandits and murky types who will use every trick in the book to make you do the opposite of what you set out to do. But there is hope. The next generation in user experience is coming.
Get the bookPrint Hardcover + eBook.Free shipping worldwide.
White Hat UX - The Next Generation in User Experience is the right book for you when you find yourself in one of the following situations:
White Hat UX starts by defining UX - done in a straightforward way that allows people with limited UX knowledge to gain a clear understanding of the field.
It shows and tells what many companies do wrong (either by intent or stupidity).
It describes how privacy is being violated, and what consequences it has for the businesses that will keep doing so because they think it’s good business (and because they don’t care about people).
And finally, it explains how you improve the user experience of your product, service and company to gain the most powerful competitive advantage in today’s consumer driven market: a White Hat, honest user experience. Also, you’ll sleep better at night knowing you are doing the right thing.
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Many companies try to create a great experience for customers. However, few are willing to make the changes required to deliver on that promise. In fact, most companies don’t even realize how bad their experience can be. This is why we made a new book called “User Experience Revolution,” a practical battle plan for placing the user at the heart of your company. (Image credit: Artem Pereverzev)
PDF, ePUB, Amazon Kindle.
What’s in it for you? Well, you’ll get an overview of practical techniques and strategies that will make your design workflow more efficient and future-proof. You’ll learn how to design an advanced multi-screen mobile app, a responsive article and a variety of icons, and dive deep into organizing the artboard and exporting your assets for iOS and Android. Icon and logo design and export are also covered — along with recommended plugins and some obscure but handy tips and tricks. Pretty much everything you wanted to learn about Sketch, in one place.
Christian Krammer is a web designer and Sketch app pro. He’s been running .
This book is for everybody who is designing for the web today. If you’ve used tools like Photoshop or Illustrator before and want to try out something that’s more geared towards interface design, take a close look at the book. Intermediate Sketch users will get valuable tips and tricks that they (probably!) didn’t know yet too, of course. Among other things, you will learn:
Accessibility has always been a slightly unsettling realm for web developers. Surrounded with myths, misunderstandings and contradicting best practices, it used to be a domain for a small group of experts who would “add” accessibility on top of the finished product. Today, in many simple and complex websites, it’s still unclear what makes up an accessible interface and what developers need to know to get there.
So let’s get to the bottom of it all: accessibility myths and rules of thumbs, WAI-ARIA roles, content accessibility guidelines, landmark roles, keyboard and touch accessibility, accessible markup and interaction patterns, accessible forms and widgets, multimedia accessibility and inclusive prototyping. Everything you need to know about accessibility gathered in one practical, smashing book, fully dedicated to building and designing accessible user interfaces.
Written by Heydon Pickering, the book comes with dozens of practical examples of accessible interface components and inclusive design workflow, applicable to your work right away. With this book, you’ll know exactly how to keep interfaces accessible from the very start, and how to design and build inclusive websites without hassle and unnecessary code.
We make inaccessible and unusable websites and apps all the time, but it’s not for lack of skill or talent. It’s just a case of doing things the wrong way. We try to build the best experiences we can, but we only make them for ourselves and people like us. We’ve got to fix this for good.
That’s why we set out with Heydon to work on a new accessibility book. The result, the Inclusive Design Patterns book looks at common accessible interface patterns from the perspective of an inclusive designer—someone trained in building experiences that cater to the huge diversity of abilities, preferences and circumstances out there.
There’s no such thing as an ‘average’ user, but there is such a thing as an average developer. This book will take you from average to expert in the area that matters the most: making things more readable and more usable to more people.
Many web design articles and books are all about improving your workflow and making your life easier as a developer. Should you wish to adopt a framework or employ a processor to speed up your development process, be our guest. However, this book is not about you; it’s about your audience.
What’s in it for you? You can take away Heydon’s lessons learned and apply them within any framework sufficiently flexible to allow you to write and organize good interfaces. One thing is certain: once you read the book, accessibility won’t appear difficult nor confusing any longer — you’ll know exactly what to do, and when.
You’ve probably guessed it — the book doesn’t deal with theoretical concepts or things that are supposed to work. The book deals with practical design patterns and common interface components, and provides ready-to-use code snippets for applying to your work right away.
Summary • We will look at an interactive element, a button, from the perspective of three types of designers. The purpose of this example is to show you how a little bit of knowledge about the medium can lead to a simpler and (therefore) more inclusive solution.
Summary • We will look into discrete interface patterns; modules, components, widgets, conventions, whatever-you-want-to-call-thems. It would be foolhardy not to first acknowledge that each will ultimately belong to a web document. HTML pages vary dramatically in shape and size and can include any combination of patterns, but there are a handful of ‘document level’ best practices to which we should adhere. The aim here is not to go in search of the ultimate ‘boilerplate’ but to configure a parent web page to support inclusive design. nhancement
Summary • We’ll be looking at typefaces, leading, measure, justification, contrast, focus indication and more, to help you design paragraphs suited for a hugely diverse audience. We’ll also tackle specific issues for folks with limited vision, dyslexia, Irlen syndrome, low literacy and limited technical knowledge.
Summary • We’ll show how to incorporate accessible landmarks and a sound section structure to make the content more navigable and interoperable to a diversity of users and parsers. This will be bolstered by giving well-written and context independent structural as well asand context independent structural and navigational cues.
Summary • In this chapter, we’ll ensure our menu button and the content it reveals are inclusive of differing user settings, circumstances, devices, and assistive technology software.
Summary • By going straight from paper to HTML, we lay the foundations for efficient code and inclusive experiences.
Summary • In this chapter, we’ll practice our inclusive design chops. As in previous patterns, the organization and structure of content is paramount. We’ll look deeply into image accessibility, from both the perspectives of alternative text composition and performance. In catering to blind consumers, to those who cannot afford generous data contracts, and anyone accessing your content from outside your interface, this is a chance to really push the limits of inclusive design.
Summary • We’ll explore the importance of giving users choice and control over how their content is arranged. We’ll also use some techniques to make sure our design was tolerant of dynamic and fluctuating content. Inclusive design also means a visual design which is not too strict about the nature of the content imparted to it.
Summary • This chapter will give you everything you need to develop inclusive forms. By using standard form elements, effective labeling and facilitating the correction of errors, users of all walks are able to access and contribute to your websites and apps. By keeping the form simple and avoiding irritating experiences like disappearing labels and passwords that you cannot check, we’ve made sure using the form isn’t just possible but pleasurable.
Summary • Test-driven development allows developers working with frequent iterations to move forward with confidence. By writing tests first, to prescribe outcomes, then creating the functionality to achieve them, you can ensure successful builds behave in a predictable and reliable fashion.
If you’re looking for smart accessible design patterns and strategies for building fast, flexible websites efficiently, this book is just for you. It’s a handbook with valuable, time-saving techniques that will help you avoid hacky workarounds and solve common issues effectively. You’ll learn how to:
“Cannot say enough good things about this book!!! Best thing I’ve read all year! Full of useful info! […]. Worth every penny! Honestly think it’s a must read for both designers and developers.”
— Tristan White
“Just got @heydonworks @smashingmag book on coding accessibility. Only 2 chapters in but it already has me rethinking my approach.”
— Jay Bellew
“I’m currently reading it. It’s a remarkable book. All points are well founded and applicable.”
“I’ve already used it at work!”
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Responsive design is a default these days, but we are all still figuring out just the right process and techniques to better craft responsive websites. That’s why we created a new book — to gather practical techniques and strategies from people who have learned how to get things done right, in actual projects with actual real-world challenges.
Printed, gorgeous hardcover.Free worldwide shipping. On planet Earth.
Neatly packaged in a gorgeous hardcover, the book features practical front-end techniques and patterns from well-respected designers and developers. The book isn’t concerned with trends or short-lived workarounds — it should stand the test of time and as such, it’s focused on actual techniques used today in real-life projects. The techniques that you could apply to your websites today, too.
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Book 5: Real-Life Responsive Web Design is our brand new, upcoming book with smart front-end techniques and design patterns derived from real-life responsive projects. With 13 chapters on responsive workflow, SVG, Flexbox, Web fonts, responsive images, responsive email, content strategy, debugging, performance and offline experience, this is just the book you need to master all the tricky facets and hurdles of responsive design.
Once again, the book is going to be quite thick, and both hardcover or digital editions (eBook in PDF, ePUB and Kindle) will be available. So if you want to get your hands on the book, you better don’t wait too long. We know it — you’ll love the book as much as we do. Free worldwide shipping.
We invited respected designers and developers who know a thing or two about responsive websites. The chapters have also been reviewed by active members of the community such as Jake Archibald, Dmitry Baranovsky—just to name a few.
As designers and developers, we solve problems for a living. Yet, these problems are often quite tricky and complex, and the context of these problems requires us to be creative and flexible in our workflows. With responsive design, we are prompted to create scalable design systems that work well in unpredictable environments. To do that, we need to be pragmatic and find solutions that work well within given constraints. That’s why we created this book: to find techniques that have actually worked in real-life projects with real-world challenges.
Keywords • design systems • scalability • bulletproof solutions • front-end techniques • real-world challenges
Summary • In practice, responsive projects usually require more time, more skills, more testing and hence more flexibility in budgets. Addings changes late delays projects immensely, and process involving designers, developers and clients is usually tiring to say the least.In this chapter, Daniel shares insights into his responsive design workflow from projects such as TechCrunch, Entertainment Weekly and Radio Liberty, with techniques and strategies that help him get things done well, within budget and on time (most of the time), while achieving the highest level of fidelity in shortest amount of time.
Keywords • responsive workflow • element collage • style tiles • tools • deliverables • performance budget • interface inventory • sketching • planning • manifestos • hypothesis • atomic design • designing in the browser • Photoshop
Summary • So, how do we deal with complex tables when building responsive websites? What about advanced interface components? Dashboards? What about the behaviour of web forms, navigation, mega-drop down menus, filters? Can we utilize vertical media queries and portrait/landscape orientation change? In this chapter, Vitaly will provide an overview of clever practical techniques for improving UX of responsive sites, with innovative approaches to designing "responsive modules" such as mega-drop downs, tables, calendars, accordions, maps, sliders, responsive PDF and responsive iconography — and a dash of anti-patterns to avoid as well.
Keywords • design patterns • navigation • smart front-end techniques • priority+ pattern • improved off-canvas • lazy loading • autocomplete • filters • responsive PDF • portrait/landscape mode • sliders • country selector • responsive iconography.
Summary • Content created by one department is never updated by the next. Services get renamed in the navigation, but are still referenced by the old name in the body text. Important information is buried in the murky depths of flowery prose.Sounds familiar? Many issues in responsive projects aren't related to technology, but to content: it's either ill-formatted or priorities get lost across screen resolutions. Let's fix it. In this chapter, Eileen shows how structured content can help refocus on what matters, and how we as designers can use the structure intelligently to provide users with information that they need, when they need it.
Keywords • structured content • content consistency • content models • structural audit • editorial content • content types • content relationships • data-driven gaps • feature-driven gaps • authors and editors • CMS • content maintenance
Summary • This chapter has hands down on everything you need to know in order to start designing and building flexible components and visual assets with SVG. Sara will take you on a journey through SVG syntax, SVG accessibility, SVG viewport and viewBox, creating and exporting SVGs, embedding SVGs, building SVG sprites, creating SVG icon systems, using SVG Data URIs, optimizing SVG for performance, SVG conditional processing, clever SVG tricks and techniques and making SVG cross-browser responsive with CSS. Yep, everything you need to know about SVG, as promised.
Keywords • SVG • syntax • accessibility • viewport • viewBox • exporting • embedding • sprites • icon systems • data URIs • performance • smart SVG techniques • responsive iconography • cross-browser fallbacks
Summary • In fact, Flexbox solves a lot of CSS shortcomings and makes building responsive layouts much easier than with floats or positioning. It gives you more control over the things you care about in a responsive layout (such as order, alignment, and proportional sizes of your boxes) and lets the browser figure out the rest; the math-y stuff that computers are good at, like the exact dimensions that are needed on the boxes to perfectly fill the available space.Zoe shares insights from her work at Booking.com, showing practical Flexbox-based techniques which make responsive sites much easier to build and maintain — even without media queries.
Keywords • syntax variants • flex container • orientation • wrapping • sizing boxes • flex property • forms with Flexbox • advanced alignment • magical margins • reordering boxes • order property • Flexbox as progressive enhancement
Summary • By default, web fonts block rendering, hiding content from the user. The only way to make content accessible as soon as possible is by treating web fonts as a progressive enhancement. This doesn’t mean web font performance is not an issue. You still need to load web fonts as quickly as possible so that users experience your site exactly how you designed and built it. Let's fix this.In this chapter, Bram shares insights that he has learned from working at Typekit, covering web fonts and formats, font loading and font rendering, CSS Font Loading API, fallback fonts, caching, compression, inlining, subsetting and font loading strategies.
Keywords • font formats • font loading • font-rendering • FOIT and FOUT • Font Loading API • fallback fonts • inlining fonts • simulating swapping • promises • asynchronous loading and caching • prioritized loading
Summary • So you want to serve different images to different screens. Perhaps a Retina image (only) to Retina screens, or an art-directed image to small screens, or a portrait image for portrait orientation, or perhaps .webp to browsers supporting the format — without performance hits. Since images are the heaviest assets on the web, dealing with them intelligently is both our responsibility and opportunity for more dynamic layouts. That's what native responsive images are for.In this chapter, Yoav discusses the different responsive images use cases and how we can use the native solution today to create performant responsive websites. We will also look at ways to make these solutions easier to deploy and maintain in real projects, with Picturefill and CMS plugins for Drupal and WordPress.
Keywords • CSS pixel and DPR • Retina displays • fixed-width images • variable-width images • srcset and sizes • art direction • <picture> element • separation of concerns • image format fallback • accessibility • background images • image optimization • WebP and JPEG-XR • compressive images • deployment • common pitfalls
Summary • Explaining responsive HTML email is always an uphill battle, because just about every single designer and developer hates it. But there’s a lot of great, forward-looking innovation going on in the email design world. In fact, melding of responsive design techniques is absolutely possible.In this chapter, Fabio, the technical email maestro from Mailchimp, explores what you can achieve with media queries in responsive HTML email to ensure that your emails look just fine on major email clients across different devices, and looks even better in clients that do not support media queries (such as Gmail).
Keywords • email landscape • CSS in email • market share • navigation and CTA buttons • foundational markup • reset and client-specific CSS • fluid containers • pattern-based development • layout techniques • Microsoft Outlook • Windows Live Mail • Apple Mail • Mozilla Thunderbird • Outlook.com • Yahoo! Mail • AOL • iOS Mail • Gmail
Summary • We talk a lot about designing and building responsive websites, but not so much about maintaining and testing them. Speaking from his experience at BBC, Tom has built up a way of working that minimizes the pain points that responsive web design has.The chapter shows how you can build future-friendly CSS that will scale up to support large responsive websites; get you to take testing seriously, but not overcomplicate your workflow; and finally, how to sanely prioritize and debug common problems (layout, images, complex UI components like tables) in all kinds of devices and browsers.
Keywords • "cutting the mustard" • predictable, simple CSS • naming conventions • BEM and class names • Sass organization • debugging media queries • lazy loading • content-out media queries • separation of concerns • exploratory testing • functional testing • visual regression testing • automated testing • dealing with false positives • common dependencies • troubleshooting bugs on mobile
Summary • Our responsive designs lack soul. You can think of many websites that are well presented, easy to use, triumphs of UX and technically competent, but few that might be remembered for years to come. Why do you think this is? Why are so few websites memorable? Could the design processes we’ve come to rely on, particularly in relation to responsive design, have hindered our creativity? Our modern web design magazines are full of advice about process, techniques and tools, but little about creativity, about humanity, or about ideas.In this chapter, Andrew takes a closer look at how we can combine creativity with predictable design systems to create unpredictable, dynamic and memorable responsive websites — with a framework and a mindset that will challenge you to think differently about crafting websites today.
Keywords • advertising • user experience design • creative hijinks • allergic to research • process and predictability • building blocks of creativity • intoxicated by process • platform for creativity • creative brief • line between control and chaos • buying creativity • copywriting • creative teams • creative direction
Summary • What if we told you that as a user, you don’t have to be online to use the web, and a website or a web application would respond to this accordingly? Think Offline First: "We can’t keep building apps with the desktop mindset of permanent, fast connectivity, where a temporary disconnection or slow service is regarded as a problem and communicated as an error."
John and Matt cover main technologies and practices that you’ll need to use to make your apps work as well offline, as they do online. We’ll discuss how to detect if we are online or not, HTML5 Application Cache, WebStorage and offline events, but most importantly Service Workers and how we can use them today to not only make content available offline, but also significantly improve performance and create snappy, fast experiences in (almost) no time.
Keywords • navigator.onLine • online and offline events • HTML5 Application Cache • cache manifest • fallbacks • AppCache gotchas • Web Storage • localStorage • Service Workers
Summary • Design deliverable is one thing, an efficient collaboration between teams and stakeholders is a different beast entirely. This chapter provides strategies for keeping this collaboration sane and focused.You'll learn how to build a good and efficient team, how to establish good pricing/time estimates for responsive projects, how to establish priorities with content priority guides and how to shift away from linear handoffs with multidisciplinary teams. A detailed chapter on getting things done, with clients, the proper way.
Keywords • collaboration • estimates • spiraling • "one-deliverable" workflow • efficiency • content priority guide • style comparisons • testing the aggregate • content prototype • wireframes • style prototypes • pattern libraries • happy teams
Summary • If somebody tells you that responsive websites are bloated, heavy and slow by default, and that it's very difficult to make them fast, don't believe them — they are liars. If you set the priorities right and build the website with progressive enhancement in mind, you can create extremely fast responsive websites that work well across devices: with one code base working everywhere.In this chapter, yours truly will be sharing what we’ve learned over the last year about the performance challenges of this very website and about the work we’ve done in-house in big and small companies. If you want to craft a fast responsive website, you might find a few interesting nuggets worth considering.
Please note that Ben Callahan’s chapter and Vitaly Friedman’s “Performance Optimization Roadmap” chapter are only included in the eBook edition of slots empire bonus codes
Book 5, not in the hardcover.
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