Sacha Greif’s eBook “Step-by-Step UI Design” goes viral

Mar 23, 2012
Vote on Hacker News

Earlier this week I received an email from French freelance designer Sacha Greif – the subject of the email was entitled “I wrote an eBook.” I chuckled to myself as I looked at it on my phone: of course I knew he wrote an eBook. Even if I didn’t follow him on twitter, I undoubtedly would have spotted the tweet from Code Academy mentioning his new book. Even then, if I didn’t follow Code Academy, I would’ve undoubtedly spotted his name on Hackernews’ trending news section, where his post has received over 300 points by other readers (a Rude Baguette post is lucky to get 4 or 5, and that still sends us a nice level of traffic), along with 100s of comments from happy readers.

“My main goal with this eBook was to show how designers work, and let people see that design is 90% hard work and common sense. It has very little to do with “inspiration” or “being artistic”, and a lot to do with using the right patterns, iterating, and generally putting yourself in the user’s place.”

You see, a few months back, Sacha Greif posted a blog post detailing how, in one hour, he  designed the website CodeYear, a site which is helping 100,000+ users to learn how to code over a year. That blog post also trended through the interwebs for awhile, and Sacha says he “realized that people were very interested in getting a behind-the-scenes look at [a designer’s] work process.” So when another exciting project came up, working on Kandan,  a free open source chat app, he decided to detail his progress, taking progressive screenshots and noting the method behind his madness.

“What I intend to do is very simple: design a user
interface from scratch.”

Within thirty minutes of Code Academy tweeting about Sacha’s book, he had sold hundred’s of copies, and reading through the eBook, it’s clearly worth the $2.99. Sacha takes you from his interpretation of concept, step-by-step through his construction, re-working, and finalizing of the project, all with screenshots, references to guides he uses, and with easy-to-understand explanations.

French design: a troublesome topic

I’ve been working for a few months on asking Sacha to write an article for us on the problems with French design. Sacha is one of the best French UI designers I’ve met, having worked on SharyPic’s most recent iPhone app and website, among other great projects.

The eBook is available on Greif’s website, and well worth the read for anyone interesting in doing a tech startup.