20+ Fresh Design and Development Books to Read this Summer

• 11 minutes READ

A few years ago when I first started learning computer science, paperback books were the primary source of information. I had to buy or rent them from libraries. The smell of fresh of typographic ink was priceless. It was a ritual of knowledge where the writer shared his experience.

Paragraph by paragraph and chapter by chapter, I was fascinated and at the same time, determined to challenge the author, to overcome my limits and become a pro.

Who needs books when we have video tutorials?

Then, the era of video tutorials came. I used to do my work with some video tutorials running in the background. As I’ve upgraded to a dual monitor set-up, it is easier than ever. However, somewhere along the line, I forgot to read books. And while I’ve felt that something was missing, it didn’t come to my mind that the paperback book was missing.

I would never read a book if it were possible for me to talk half an hour with the man who wrote it. Woodrow Wilson
Today, there are a lot of resources for anyone looking to get started with design or development. However, it’s even harder to find the right information. After all, not everybody is a born writer. Knowledge is nothing without expression.

Here is a short list of new books I’ve bought this year. I am sharing them with you, and I hope that you’ll find them useful.

Bottlenecks: Aligning UX Design with User Psychology

Cover Bottlenecks: Aligning UX Design with User Psychology by David C Evans

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“Bottlenecks brings together two very important aspects of user experience design: understanding users and translating this into business impact. A must-read for anyone who wants to learn both.” – Josh Lamar, Sr. UX Lead, Microsoft Outlook

David C. Evans is a renowned author. You may know him from his posts on Mashable, MediaPost or TechCrunch. He holds a doctorate in social pPsychology and during his career has into UX from inside some of the most successful companies around the world. In “Bottlenecks: Aligning UX Design with User,” the author combines usability with psychology, providing a one of a kind content. You’ll find real world strategies for marketing and product development backed up by tested theories for research to better meet user’s needs. The author showcases both good and bad design, and most importantly, the results after psychological alignments. After you’ll read this book, you’ll understand why the psychological constrictions social influence, mood, memory, cognition, inspiration are playing key roles in shaping people’s receptivity to digital innovations.

If I didn’t convince you, then have a look at the author’s presentation of his book.

Coding for Visual Learners: Learning JavaScript with p5.js

 Coding for Visual Learners: Learning JavaScript with p5.js Kindle Edition by Engin Arslan Book Cover

If you believe it’s just about the time to switch from a pure designer mindset to a coder designer, then “Coding for Visual Learners” by Engin Arslan will help you to do that. The book will teach you to code in JavaScript using the p5.js library in an engaging and visual manner.

The author makes use of visual cues to help you build a strong skill set to get you up and running with coding. The author aims to help you to acquire fundamental knowledge in a short amount of time. It’s the ideal book for artists or visual designers that want to understand what’s happening between lines of code that power their designs.

Designing with Data Improving the User Experience with A/B Testing

Designing with Data Improving the User Experience with A/B Testing by Rochelle King Book Cover

The power of data is frequently neglected by creatives. While design practices and data science may seem to appear separate disciplines, both can contribute to better designs and, subsequently, better products and digital experiences. According to the authors Rochelle King, Elizabeth F. Churchill and Caitlin Tan, data can enhance design and design can bring deeper meaning to data.

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The book is a practical guide that will help you understand the value data-driven A/B testing for design decisions starting from small usability tweaks to large-scale UX systems. To do so, the author provides  real-world examples of product design workflows shaped by data-driven design. You’ll understand the relationship between data, business, and design, different sets of data, data types and the components of A/B testing. While the subject is quite complicated, the author manages to deliver the content in a concise but accessible format.

Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace

Hamlet on the holodeck by Murray Book Cover

The first edition of this book was published in 2007. However, if you ask me, this book comes from the future. It’s a great read for anyone who enjoys digital storytelling. It was born from the fascination with the impact of emerging technologies. Written by Janet H. Murray, director of the Laboratory for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the controversial and influential book anticipated the new genres of media storytelling. In the dramatically updated 2017 edition, the author brings new examples of vivid digital storytelling and unveils new directions for narrative innovation.

Heart of the Machine: Our Future in a World of Artificial Emotional Intelligence

Heart of the Machine: Our Future in a World of Artificial Emotional Intelligence by Richard Yonck book Cover

Computers have been a part of our lives for a long time, and their role continues to grow. It’s no wonder that many expect artificial intelligence to surpass human intelligence in the near future. Richard Yonck, a futurist and award-winning author on developing trends and technologies, covers this fascinating subject. He describes all sides of our relationship with emotional machines, innovations to expect and speculates on the possible results of technology in different aspects of our life, and the legal, ethical and spiritual issues it implies. Overall this book is written in a highly readable way with great concepts and less of technical detail.

Hello Design World

Hello Design World: A visual web design guidebook for developers by Mason gentru Book Cover

“When you start learning a new programming language you write ‘hello world’. What you need is a resource that teaches design in the same way. Something that shows you what language to use, how to start and what to do when you get stuck.” — Daniel Schwarz

There are a lot of resources for designers looking to learn coding. However, if you are looking to switch from programming to design or simply looking to widen your area of expertise, you’ll find fewer resources on the topic. Mason Gentry offers a practical insight that will help you overcome the conceptual barrier between design and code in an all in one package. In his book, the author avoids abstract theories about typography, colors, and style. Instead, he offers practical insight in the wonderful world of design.

How to Write Great Website Content in 2017

How to Write Great Website Content in 2017 by Andy Williams Book Cover

Oh no, another SEO book! Well, this one is different. “How to Write Great Website Content in 2017,” previously called “Creating Fat Content,” has been renewed and completed with the most recent information on creating content that ranks. Despite changing the algorithms, Google’s intent is the same – to show the best websites to its users. The book is full of bits of advice on what content users want to see, and how to make your web page more attractive by thinking in terms of “share-bait” and “link bait,” Share bait is content visitors want to share; link bait is the type of content that other webmasters will want to link to. The author insists that once you create such content, the advantage you’ll have over other similar websites is immeasurable, and your content will rank better and will establish in the search engines.

HTML5 for Masterminds: How to Take advantage of HTML5 to Create Responsive Websites and Revolutionary Applications

HTML5 for Masterminds, Revised 3rd Edition: How to take advantage of HTML5 to create responsive websites and revolutionary applications by J.D. Gauchat Book Cover

J.D. Gauchat’s book is a complete course that takes you through the steps of building awesome applications and responsive websites. From newbies to pros, everyone will find this work useful and valuable. You will be able to structure documents with HTML, style with CSS and work with JavaScript APIs. Each chapter explores both basic and sophisticated concepts of the HTML, CSS and JavaScript trio, with functional examples on every single element, style and function included in these languages. Newbie, or pro, you’ll find a lot of useful information in this book.

HTML5 in Easy Steps, 2nd Edition

HTML5 in easy steps, 2nd Edition by Mike McGrath Book Cover

This book is great for those who want to learn HTML5 from the beginning, or for programmers who want to find out about latest HTML5 techniques in clearly explained manner. Mike McGrath’s second edition includes all the iteams that were missing in the first edition and features of the latest specifications are included in detail with examples and screenshots. The book is full of interesting tips you will not find in other books and the colored coded sections make it easy to read and to understand for everyone.

Elements of a Successful Website

Elements of a succesfull website by mat

Matthew Edgar’s “Elements of a Successful Website” offers an approachable way to improve your website. The author doesn’t claim to have a miracle solution. Instead, starting from the idea that the success is reachable only by continuously evolving, he explains five fairly simple and effective themes suitable for big or small businesses. The book promotes the idea that actions need to be done individually, in a distinct way that fits exactly your label, and the key to success is to be open to make changes, adjustments and tests all the way.

Jump Start Adobe XD

Jump Start Adobe XD (Kindle Edition) by Daniel Schwarz Book Cover

Experience Design CC is the newest design tool from Adobe. Designed from scratch Adobe XD comes with a clean, uncluttered UI. However, the main features of Adobe XD are under the hood, where the tool has some power user features such as live preview, artboards, Repeat Grids and collaboration tools. Designed to empower designer to create exceptional UX experiences, Adobe XD is the tool to use for anyone serious about prototyping.

And because it’s a new tool, have a look at David Schwarz’s “Jump Start Adobe XD” book, where he provides a rapid and consistent introduction to using Adobe XD for prototyping and designing UX. You’ll find about getting along the XD’s clean UI and efficient keyboard shortcuts, you’ll get to know XD’s powerful tools, create wireframes and prototypes and more.

 Machine Learning for Complete Beginners

 MACHINE LEARNING FOR BEGINNERS: A Visual Guide to Machine Learning with Python, Data Science, TensorFlow, Artificial Intelligence, Random Forests and Decision Trees by Robert Wilson Book Cover

With the rise of AI, it’s imperative that developers and designers get up to speed with the latest developments in the field. Machine learning is a subset of AI, that can be used to give a machine the ability to learn without being completely programmed. Based on iterative algorithms, machine learning allows computers to find data, independent of the programmer’s code.

If you are interested in machine learning and data science, supervised and unsupervised learning, reinforcement learning, clustering algorithms, data mining, etc. then this is the book for you. Robert Wilson talks about serious stuff in an understandable and comfortable manner.

Mastering TypeScript, Second Edition

Mastering Type Script by Nathan Rozentals Book Cover

Beginners and experienced developers alike will find this book useful in learning how to get the most out of JavaScript development with TypeScript. From entry-level to advanced, the author provides practical examples of real-life techniques to build JavaScript applications. Nathan Rozentals covers popular JavaScript frameworks and when you’ll finish the book, you’ll be able to confidently build TypeScript applications, whether you are targeting Angular, Aurelia, React, Backbone, Node or any other JavaScript framework.

Microcopy: Discover How Tiny Bits of Text Make Tasty Apps and Websites

Microcopy: Discover How Tiny Bits of Text Make Tasty Apps and Websites by Niaw de leon Book Cover

What would you say if I’d told you that a particular company’s monthly revenues increased by $25 million by changing one word?

Microcopy includes small pieces of text like headings, hints, summaries, placeholders or instructions throughout a website or app. These pieces of content often get overlooked and frequently misunderstood. Niaw de Leon points out at the importance and the value of text pieces. An interesting read for anyone building apps and websites, but a compulsory read for theme designers.

Neuro Design: Neuromarketing Insights to Boost Engagement and Profitability

 Neuro Design: Neuromarketing Insights to Boost Engagement and Profitability 1st Edition by Darren Bridger Book Cover

The most prominent companies around the world are using neuroscience research and theories to optimize their digital content. Darren Bridger, one of the original pioneers of the consumer neuroscience industry, shows designers and marketers how to use and analyze data that strike into consumer’s non-conscious thinking and motivations. Readers will find this book very helpful in boosting profitability and enhancing customer engagement with their websites by learning about neuromarketing design theories and neuroaesthetics.

Reactive Design Patterns

Reactive Design Patterns by Roland Kuhn Book Cover

“Reactive Design Patterns” is a must read if you are offers guidance in building responsive, elastic and resilient message-driven distributed systems. Design patterns and message-driven architecture makes a Reactive application remain responsive in ever-changing environment. The authors present the best practices and patterns of Reactive design and explain the concepts with practical examples using Scala, Java and Akka.

Research Methods in Human-Computer Interaction

Techniques in human-computer interaction research is growing dramatically as a result of perpetual technological evolution. This book is a great guide on HCI research methods, with a multi-disciplinary approach. It delivers complete directions on the research processes based on relevant examples. It targets industrial and academic researchers, stimulating them to change the perception of human-computer interaction by making their work different and outstanding.

SVG Animations: From Common UX Implementations to Complex Responsive Animation

 SVG Animations: From Common UX Implementations to Complex Responsive Animation 1st Edition by Sarah Drasner Book Cover

Learn SVG from one of the best in the field, Sarah Drasner. You’ll find the key to most problems one can encounter while animating with SVG. Some of the things covered by this book include how to make a complex animation responsive; plan and debug animation; profile each animation technique regarding performance; make SVG optimized, responsive, cross-browser compatible and backward compatible. The book also comes with some particularly insightful examples that will help you understand the fundamentals of SVG.

Tragic Design: The Impact of Bad Product Design and How to Fix It

Tragic Design The Impact of Bad Design and how to Fix It by Jonathan Shariat

What an inspiring title. Let’s face it, bad design is everywhere. In this book, the authors explain the cost of poorly designed products. Poorly design products can sadden, anger, exclude and even kill people who use them. Is the designer at fault? Yes? But was it on purpose?

The authors objectively examine real cases of bad design choices from both the end-user perspective and design perspective. The book is a manifesto of justice, ethics and inspiration.

White Hat UX: The Next Generation in User Experience

White Hat UX: The Next Generation in User Experience Book Cover

Good user experience is a term embedded in every designer’s workflow. “White Hat UX” shows how to focus on doing the right thing while creating unique user experiences. Designers have the duty not only to meet user’s necessities but to focus on ethics while doing their job. The online space has always been a place for cheating, and this book shows how to avoid going on the wrong path, using insights from the industry and helpful illustrations to make the content easy to read.

White Space Is Not Your Enemy: A Beginner’s Guide to Communicating Visually Through Graphic, Web & Multimedia Design, 3rd Edition

White Space is Not Your Enemy by Rebecca Hagen Book Cover

Graphic designers will love this book. It’s a graphic design and layout guide that brings new practices and concepts for better visual communication in all formats – from web to print. In the latest revision, the authors are covering new trends in web design: UI/UX design, mobile-first, typography and their influence in a designer’s approach to a project. Gestalt theory, color theory and WET layout are analyzed in depth in separated sections. Overall this edition has a lot of improvements over the previous version, and it’s a must-have for any graphic designer.


That’s it for now. I’ll be glad to update this list so drop a title in the comment section.

Doru Ciobanu

Doru is an old BMW lover with a big heart.

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