Articulating Design Decisions
Communicate with Stakeholders, Keep Your Sanity, and Deliver the Best User Experience
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: September 2015
Pages: 278

Talking to people about your designs might seem like a basic skill, but it can be difficult to do efficiently and well. And, in many cases, how you communicate about your work with stakeholders, clients, and other non-designers is more critical than the designs themselves—simply because the most articulate person usually wins.

This practical guide focuses on principles, tactics, and actionable methods for presenting your designs. Whether you design UX, websites, or products, you’ll learn how to win over anyone who has influence over the project—with the goal of creating the best experience for the end user.

  • Walk through the process of preparing for and presenting your designs
  • Understand stakeholder perspectives, and learn how to empathize with them
  • Cultivate both implicit and explicit listening skills
  • Learn tactics and formulas for expressing the most effective response to feedback
  • Discover why the way you follow through is just as crucial as the meeting itself
  • Educate your stakeholders by sharing the chapter from this book on how to work with designers
Table of Contents
Product Details
About the Author
Recommended for You
Customer Reviews

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oreillyArticulating Design Decisions
 
4.8

(based on 12 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (10)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (0)

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100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Helpful examples (11)
  • Easy to understand (9)
  • Well-written (8)
  • Accurate (7)
  • Concise (5)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Intermediate (10)
  • Novice (9)
  • Expert (8)
  • Student (7)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Designer (9), Developer (4), Educator (3)

Reviewed by 12 customers

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4.0

Great book on design culture; book print quality very poor

By Shawn Chittle

from New York, NY

Verified Buyer

Comments about oreilly Articulating Design Decisions:

Book itself is fantastic. But my copy has weak printing and poor quality. Looks like it was printed on an old 90's inkjet printer. Pages are so thin and transparent they should be runway models. Print isn't dead! Please fix this.

 
5.0

A must read for any design team

By Jon

from Nashville, TN

About Me Designer, Educator, Maker

Verified Reviewer

Pros

  • Easy to understand
  • Helpful examples
  • Well-written

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Intermediate
    • Novice

    Comments about oreilly Articulating Design Decisions:

    Articulating Design Decisions is a thorough, articulate and fun read about the subject of design meetings. The thoughtful way that Tom has approached this topic proves that he's an expert at communicating ideas in a way that others can understand! He's an obvious choice for writing an O'Reilly standard on this topic and the

    Design meetings can be a sloppy, opinionated, difficult event. Articulating Design Decisions helps designers remove bias, speak eloquently about their choices, and actually listen to stakeholders during the feedback process. I love the last chapters in the book, too: they give stakeholders a common language and tips on how to provide feedback in a helpful manner during design meetings.

    This book is a required read for anyone who works on a design team or has to communicate their ideas up the food chain. UX and interface design have become germane topics in coffeeshops and board rooms alike. We need to be able to speak competently, confidently, and humbly in all contexts. This book helps give us the visual and spoken language to ensure everyone sees a design solution from the right perspective.

    A little full disclosure… I met Tom at a UX Meetup where he spoke on this topic, and he ended up getting me a copy of this book to review.

     
    4.0

    Skills every designer needs

    By Christy of LTUX

    from Grand Rapids, MI

    About Me Designer, Educator

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

    • Accurate
    • Helpful examples

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Intermediate
      • Novice

      Comments about oreilly Articulating Design Decisions:

      I had someone in my past say they wouldn't trust any designer that couldn't articulate their ideas. I never want to be "that" designer, that's why this book directly appealed to me. As we each mature with new skills, we too can persuade others that we are the masters of our craft. We can share this confidently through articulation of our design decisions.

      This book makes a great read for entry level user experience designers or for even some senior level designers looking to take their skills for leading to the next level professionally. The tips are particularly focused on communication and social skills that would only otherwise be found in a great mentor or by learning from one's own mistakes.

      The content does cover challenging concepts that do require focus. Mr. Greever makes this more consumable by providing practical examples and stories that can be applied to your own work.

      Here is one great quote to reference often " Your ability to properly set, adjust, and communicate expectations is more important than your ability to crank out killer designs on a daily basis."

       
      5.0

      Learn and Grow! Great Read!!!

      By Atom Groom

      from 'Merica

      About Me Designer, Developer, Educator, Maker

      Pros

      • Accurate
      • Concise
      • Easy to understand
      • Helpful examples
      • Well-written

      Cons

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        • Student

        Comments about oreilly Articulating Design Decisions:

        I'll preface my review with the fact that I know Tom personally, as he is my manager and mentor. He hired me to work as a designer under him about a year or so ago. It's important for you to know that, because, I am not writing this for any other reason than to encourage other designers to read this, as it has helped me tremendously. In other words, I am not brown-nosing my boss, this is truly an authentic heart-felt review.

        When I first started working under Tom, I noticed that he had a special talent for really clear communication. Later, when I found out that he had the opportunity to publish a book I was really happy because I knew it would be good. Especially since this *not* a topic that you will learn well in school. So young talent, fresh out of school, take note of this! Tom even allowed me to review it in the earlier phases and provide feedback. Even at that stage, it was a great read so now that it's been highly scrutinized and reviewed by O'Reilly, it's even better.

        It's a great book. It's that simple. Here's the big take-away friends, as a Senior Designer with 10+ years of experience of presenting my work to clients and stakeholders - it has helped me to improve and get better at this very special trait. It has helped me to see some areas that I need to improve in. It has revealed pitfalls that have haunted me and allowed me quickly dig my way out and improve fast. It doesn't matter if you're a Jr. Designer or a Sr. Designer - you will absolutely learn and grow from this book. Developers, Project Managers, Product Managers, Art Directors -- all the same, you'll learn and grow.

         
        5.0

        The missing manual from design education

        By WAG

        from Wisconsin

        About Me Designer, Developer, Ux Ui

        Pros

        • Accurate
        • Easy to understand
        • Helpful examples
        • Well-written

        Cons

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          • Student

          Comments about oreilly Articulating Design Decisions:

          I saw Tom speak at GiantUX and got a free copy of the eBook. His talk was excellent so I was looking forward to reading the entire book. I have to say, I was blown away. It's even better than I expected and has changed the way I think about and talk about design on a daily basis. I never realized just how important communication was to my designs.

          The book is filled with a lot of examples from his own business, which makes it really easy to see the application. But he also provides real templates and methods for applying his suggestions in your own work. So it's simple to take his advice and use it right away.

          As a bonus, he's a good storyteller too. He shares stories from his background with funny elements that made me laugh. It's so refreshing to read a design book that is a page-turner like that. I've never read a design book that made me smile since Steve Krug's Don't Make Me Think.

          What I liked the most was the structure. The whole book is set in a linear fashion around the meeting with stakeholders so it's really easy to understand what you need to do from beginning to end. Whether it's listening (at the beginning of the meeting) or following up (after it's over), Tom gives real advice for every phase of the meeting.

          Personally, I've found his suggestions for taking notes and the template really useful on a daily basis. My notes are much better and it's so much easier to remember our design decisions with that history now.

          I have to share this story because after I read the book I had a meeting with one of our owners. We are a startup so I know the owners well and talk to him regularly, but I took Tom's advice to lead with a yes and it really worked! My boss had this crazy idea that seemed way out in left field, but I said, "Yes, that's such a great idea. Do you think we can work that in to this sprint by pushing back the table view?" and he realized that this wouldn't work and said, "No, we can hang on to it for another time." Usually, I would have just told him no and made him mad, but I feel like I really made an impression on him this time.

          Anyway, every designer should read this book in college. I don't know why schools aren't teaching this. It's great that we can make cool designs, but at the end of the day if we can't help other people agree that our designs are the right way, it's no use. I feel like I wasted a few years not knowing why my work wasn't respected. this book has been a game-changer for me. Thanks!

           
          5.0

          Essential (and entertaining) read for front-end developers

          By Ramblin' Jan

          from N/A

          About Me Developer

          Verified Reviewer

          Pros

          • Accurate
          • Concise
          • Easy to understand
          • Helpful examples
          • Well-written

          Cons

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            Comments about oreilly Articulating Design Decisions:

            Informative; clearly written; and entertaining, Articulating Design Decisions is a must-read for front-end developers. If you sit down at 9, start programming, and clock out at 5 without ever communicating with anyone, then you don't need to read it. If you talk to stakeholders, managers, or non-engineer team members at any time during the day, you'll learn something from this book.

            Developers increasingly need to become good communicators for the same reason designers do. The industry is changing, the scope of our responsibilities is changing, and frankly we just can't get away with using big words to scare away stakeholders anymore. In the first couple chapters of the book, you'll learn why it's so important for you to communicate clearly.

            Most people will still assume an engineer knows better than them. Designers don't have this luxury, so they are forced to articulate their thoughts and choices in the way anyone working on a front-end project should. Clear communication will not only save time and effort, it will help you think more clearly. Stakeholders will be happier the better you communicate.

            Articulating Design Decisions will improve your career and quite possibly your day-to-day happiness. It will help you understand the perspectives of everyone you work with, which will make working with them easier (and help you get what you want).

            Articulating Design Decisions contains essential lessons for designers. It's nearly impossible to be a good designer without being a good communicator. As a developer, you can get by without this skill set--but you shouldn't try. This book will help you develop a skill that many other developers are missing. This will improve your job prospects and open up additional opportunities. It might even improve your personal relationships (seriously).

            It's also an incredibly easy read. It's light, it's clear, and it's funny. Seriously, you'll chuckle a few times. If the book was half as informative as it is, the writing style alone would make it worth buying.

             
            5.0

            Practical, important book for designers

            By Heather

            from Minneapolis, MN

            About Me Designer

            Pros

            • Accurate
            • Concise
            • Easy to understand
            • Helpful examples
            • Well-written

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Expert
              • Intermediate
              • Novice
              • Student

              Comments about oreilly Articulating Design Decisions:

              This is a book that every designer should read! I reviewed an early version of this book, and I loved every bit of it. This book addresses a very important piece of being a designer that often gets overlooked. While many of us are great at designing, a lot of us are not so great at talking about and defending our designs. This book provides practical and applicable tips for designers to help them be better communicators about design. I was able to immediately apply several things to my current projects and have been able to encourage coworkers of mine to do the same. Tom uses personal experiences to enhance and support his points, which makes the material that much more relatable. I appreciated his focus on the human side of what we do as designers. He devotes chapters to building relationships with each other and with clients and to helping us understand that we are humans dealing with other humans. Reading this book has made me a better designer. Buy this book, read it, and share with other designers you know!

               
              5.0

              Insightful

              By rj

              from Portland, OR

              About Me Developer

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Accurate
              • Concise
              • Easy to understand
              • Helpful examples
              • Well-written

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Expert
                • Intermediate

                Comments about oreilly Articulating Design Decisions:

                Insightful book. This book creates a framework and fills it with practical advice about how to write an ecosystem of microservices and keep your sanity intact. The work the book guides us through is more similar to being a town planner than an architect. The zoning and connections between services are key to creating a system where programmers and users can thrive. It is the planner's job to break down monolithic programs and find the boundaries between services. The planner must decide how services will communicate with each other, how to test holistically, how to deploy one service without affecting the others, how to monitor for problems between services, how to isolate failure and encourage failure recovery, and make the whole thing observable to humans. Bravo!

                (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                A must addition to any designer's toolkit

                By A.D.

                from Austin, TX

                About Me Designer

                Verified Reviewer

                Pros

                • Accurate
                • Communication
                • Concise
                • Easy to understand
                • Helpful examples
                • Well-written

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Expert
                  • Intermediate
                  • Novice
                  • Student

                  Comments about oreilly Articulating Design Decisions:

                  As designers we know designing should be an iterative process and this book delves into teaching how to navigate this process by improving your communication skills. I specially liked the idea of keeping in mind the human side of the design practice: we are not only designing for human, we are also humans creating the designs. Therefore we need to truly connect with the people that will make possible those designs. This connection is what can enable us to work as a team and produce the best user experiences.

                  Plus the book is a joy to read as it combines great story telling and practical advice. Highly recommended!

                  (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  Amazing Book Every UX Designer Should Read

                  By UXDesigner

                  from San Francisco

                  About Me Designer

                  Verified Reviewer

                  Pros

                  • Easy to understand
                  • Helpful examples
                  • Well-written

                  Cons

                  • Waiting For The Rest Of

                  Best Uses

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                  • Intermediate
                  • Novice
                  • Student

                  Comments about oreilly Articulating Design Decisions:

                  If you are a UX Designer, this is must read.

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