Product Design Insights: Seven Great Reads for March

A curated selection of our team's recommend digital product reads.

Photo: JP Holecka
Published by J.P. Holecka on 03.09.2020

We’re continuing our Great Reads series into March! This month features content about the disruption of 5G in product design, a new platform that is democratizing game development, a potentially impractical design trend, and more. Not only do we enjoy reading about the latest and greatest, but we pride ourselves on staying on top of industry trends so we can continue providing the best solutions for our clients. If you missed last month’s Great Reads, take a look through this post and then view February! So, without further ado, here is what our team has been reading this March.

Ship Outcomes, Not Just Features, with the Product Impact Framework

Recommended by: JP Holecka, CEO, Founder, Product Strategist

How do you know if the features you release are leading to positive business outcomes? Shift your team’s mindset to thinking more commercially. It is not enough to efficiently solve customer problems, we need to be thinking about how we are helping our, or in POWERSHiFTER’s case our clients, business’ to be more successful.

Just JavaScript

Recommended by: Cary Newfeldt, Director of Technology

Dan Abramov, a maintainer of React core, has launched a 'beta' of a new book he is writing as a newsletter. The book is aimed at those who are new to JavaScript. As someone who struggled with learning the framework, he has a lot of empathy on how overwhelming the programming language can be to new people. Readers can join the newsletter, and follow along, comment, and learn.

The “Thinking” in Systems Thinking: How Can We Make it Easier to Master?

Recommended by: Priscilla Ho, UX Lead

Mental models are a large part of our design work, whether it be to empathize with an operational/systems-thinking client in Product Design projects or to consider the broader consequences of an organization in Service Design projects. Here are some ways to stretch our minds to THINK in different ways than we are comfortable with.

Let’s Talk Neumorphism and Accessibility

Recommended by: Brett Duzita, UI Designer

Is neomorphism a practical design trend? That remains up for debate but it’s certainly sparking some controversy within the community. This inspirational style prioritizes aesthetics over practical solutions, creating accessibility caveats. For designers who consider testing it out, neomorphism presents a challenge and spotlights a demographic of users who may struggle with the primary affordance it has to offer. This article highlights how neomorphism needs to evolve to solve practical UX problems before it’s applied to real-world products.

The Video Game that Lets You Make Video Games

Recommended by: Colton Buchanan, Front End Developer

In the world of software development, we already use programming languages to create more programming languages, and use applications to create more applications. This pattern is now beginning to emerge in gaming. Dreams is lowering the barrier to entry for game creation. You no longer need to be a programmer or 3D rendering expert to create an interactive, immersive experience from your imagination. This democratization of game development represents a major change in the genre and may signal an upcoming trend for other technical industries to follow suit.

5G will Disrupt Product Design. Here’s What You Need to Know

Recommended by: JP Holecka, CEO, Founder, Product Strategist

We are always designing our mobile digital products to perform to the edge of hardware, software, and network constraints. Every generation brings incremental advancements in the evolution of mobile apps. With the advent of 5G and the combination of throughput and lack of latency, product designers will be able to produce apps that will tap into the power of remote hardware and software as if it’s part of the device that is 100’s of times more powerful. Your team or ours will have to think of exponential advancements before your competitors do.

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It

Recommended by: Ted Morgan, Director of Delivery & Process

This book is a practical (and fun) business read, but one that is not directly related to product design. The FBI’s former lead international kidnapping negotiator describes how the techniques he learned throughout his career apply just as effectively to negotiations in everyday business, inter-office dynamics, and even domestic life. Filled with fascinating anecdotes from numerous high drama scenarios, the lessons and tricks are elegantly simple and powerfully effective. Like anything, repeated application is needed for the techniques to take hold, so best to have a good array of negotiation happening in your life to apply them against—which means it's good for just about every adult human!