Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bootstrapping Design eBook Review

I read a lot. I have read well over 10 books during the last 10 weeks. I am not going to list all of those books, but I want to tell you about the best of them. I think the books that will increase my changes of succeeding in my passive income project ought to be mentioned here.

I'm going to start with a review of Jarrod Drysdale's Bootstrapping DesignBootstrapping Design is a great read, but it is also inspirational in several ways.

Bootstrapping Design shows you the money

Jarrod was kind enough to reveal in his blog that Bootstrapping Design made $30.000 in two months. Seeing those figures is superbly motivating and highly inspiring. Especially when he has also shared his story about his previous online business that failed.

Even though I have not yet shared my previous failures, they are there. And Jarrod shows us an excellent example on how the past success does not determine the chances of succeeding in the future. If after reading his blog you still feel that you could not succeed like he did, you should read Steve's latest article about dissolving limiting beliefs.

Bootstrapping Design teaches you a lesson on pricing

Jarrod's guest post in A Smart Bear blog compares Bootstrapping Design to another eBook that was published on the same day, but with a completely different pricing strategy - Perfect Pricing Part Deux — More money from fewer sales. That post explains how concentrating on the problem that you are solving instead of the product you are selling is the correct way to price the product. The value is in the mind of the customer, not in the product itself. Add there the fact that how the product (and its sales material) looks like affects on how the customer sees it, and you are more than tempted to buy Bootstrapping Design.

I first read about Bootstrapping Design from that blog post. Why didn't I buy the other book that was on the same subject, but cheaper?

Bootstrapping Design solves a problem

I did compare Bootstrapping Design to Sasha's Step by Step UI Design. But I did not buy Step by Step UI Design because it did not promise it would solve my problem. It also looked long and detailed, and what I needed was a book that would tell me only what I need to know and what is important. I had the same attitude than Vic Johnson, when he bought a ten-page eBook for 100 dollars. I don't care if there are 40 pages or 300 (Bootstrapping Design has 156 pages), I just care that my problem gets solved. 

You see, I have designed user interfaces since 1999. I really did not want another book on just how to do that. But my problem was that even though I have long experience on UI design, I've only built desktop applications and I have worked on a large company with strict guidelines for look and feel. Web publishing and web applications are a completely different animal. I've never done commercial design starting from scratch. I've never picked fonts and colors all on my own. That was all forced on me by the strict company guidelines. However I know enough on the subject to know that I should learn (or at least refresh my skills) about design as I'm going to publish eBooks and applications on web. Another areas where I have a lot to learn is marketing and business in general. If I can get the design problems solved easily, that gives me more time to concentrate on those other topics.

When I read the sales page of Bootstrapping Design I got a feeling that it was an easy solution to my problem. It would give me a condensed set of rules that I could start with until I have more time to read about the subject.

Bootstrapping Design delivers what it promises

I feel Bootstrapping Design delivers just what it promises. It contains a set of rules that make it possible for anyone to design a web page that looks professional enough to deliver a message that you are selling quality content. Design is a horribly large subject, and if you try to learn it on your own you will be drowned in information, not knowing what is important. I think Jarrod has succeeded perfectly in picking the subjects that are worth concentrating.

Bootstrapping Design contains the most important design principles, but also some advanced concepts like negative space. I was never taught to use negative space while learning UI design, I later learned that from art studies. And it would not have occurred to me to pick it to a book like this. But that is essential, and I'm glad Jarrod has brought it up. 

I did expect Bootstrapping Design to mention about consistency between elements and language used, but I don't recall seeing that subject. But that was the only subject that I was expecting but did not find in this book. And omitting it might have been on purpose. I've noticed that web applications often are not so strict on consistency.

Overall Bootstrapping Design was just what I needed! I also think that this book will work for beginners too. You'll  save a lot of money being able to create the necessary designs by yourself.


  1. Thanks for sharing your review. I've just picked up the book and look forward to reading it.

    I've been meaning to tell you also, I'm glad you signed up for SBI. I went through the course two years ago. I ended up cancelling after probably 9 months, which is a somewhat convoluted story that I can share with you sometime, but the course was definitely valuable and worth it to me. The SBI principles are playing a big part in my current passive income project.


    1. Thanks for encouragement, Pierre!

      I'd love to hear your full SBI story when you are ready to tell it. I'll be polling your blog :)

    2. And one more thing! I'd love to hear how you like the book when you have finished reading it.

      It would be nice to get some feedback whether my review described it well or not.