by Heather O'Neill and Jen Kramer

Foreword by Sarah Doody


Your idea is going to be BIG. You just know it. But before you hire your favorite developer to go build it, take a step back. Creating a brand-new product is a risk; many of them fail within their first year. Is there a proven way to set yourself up for success?

Yes! All it takes is some preparation. By taking the time to do upfront validation, planning and iterating before you build, you can avoid ideas that flop and create a product that exceeds expectations.

Product success is part of the plan

Plan your product's success – from start to finish

Before You Code covers every area of planning you need to create a viable, profitable product every time.

Business & Project Strategy

Start with the basics – how will you achieve company and product goals?

Design & Content Creation

Design intentionally – what's the best flow, structure, and messaging for your product?

green outline of a computer monitor with a web browser breaking the computer monitor frame. Inside the web browser is a rectangle on the top left, a pencil angled down from top right and a horizontal line along the bottom.

Research & Personas

Get informed – who's in your space now and what do your customers expect and need?

Test & Measure

Iterate – what problems can you solve before coding to improve your product?

green outline bar chart with 4 bars of alternating low high low high heights with a line graph above, following the same pattern.
green outline target with two legs
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Book preview

Take a sneak peek into the introduction to our book right here, right now!

1. Understand Your Business

2. Plan Your Projects

3. Conduct Your Research

4. Define Your Audience

5. Establish Your Brand

6. Craft Your Content

7. Organize Your Information

8. Create Your Wireframes

9. Test Your Interactions

10. Measure Your Impact

11. Analyze Your Results

Table of contents

To determine whether your product is going to succeed, you need to understand what the business is trying to do, and then use that to inform decisions about your product.

Organizing your projects will save you from distractions and keep you focused on the end goal.

The best way to succeed is to understand your different audiences through research.

Put that data into a useful, helpful format to keep your team honest and help you make smart product, design, and workflow decisions.

Branding is all about perception, so it’s important to build your brand intentionally rather than letting it happen by chance

The words, images, icons, videos, language, and graphics you use need just as much consideration as the workflows and design of your product.

How do you structure a new product or website? What flows make sense? How should you organize your navigation? What should you include (or exclude)?

Put it all together by sketching out some wireframes. No design knowledge needed – just grab a Sharpie and some blank paper.

How do you know if your decisions are the right ones? Test them with real or potential users.

Track patterns and measure your results with the hard numbers of your business.

The jury is in; you have feedback and data! Now it’s time to analyze, prioritize, and make some changes.

Here's what's inside the book

Execute each lesson using the accompanying workbook

Upon purchase you'll receive a confirmation email with instructions on how to download your workbook, as well as a notice when your physical copy has shipped. 

The workbook is essential; its full of activities and guidance for implementing at every step.

Workbook available as an editable PDF

What people are saying:

"Before you Code gives you a comprehensive view of what needs to happen before you write and ship your code. Whether you're creating a brand new product or evolving an established one, you'll gain insight from following what O'Neill and Kramer preach!"

C. Todd Lombardo

VP Product & Experience at Vempathy 

Co-author Design Sprint and Roadmaps Relaunched

Reading Before You Code has changed the way I work with clients entirely! I've seen an instant shift in the way they view the work I'm doing.

If you are a freelancer, start-up or a larger company and you need a better understanding of how to build a great digital product and the value of planning first, then you need this book!!!

Ehi Aimiuwu

Founder and CEO at Geek Empowered

Host, Code Burnout and GeekEmpowered On Air

Heather O'Neill is a product strategist and tech consultant with over a decade of experience creating meaningful products for the people who use them. As the CEO of Pixels for Humans, Heather helps tech start-ups solve their toughest challenges and grow into mature, community-focused businesses, that center people over profits.

A problem solver at heart, Heather also works with design teams to define problems, hypothesize solutions, and track success in their work. Heather is the recipient of the 2018 Women in Tech, Tech 10 award in Rhode Island and has taught workshops at Harvard Extension School, O’Reilly, UXPA International, and more. 

Heather is also an adjunct professor at Lesley University in Boston, where she teaches Design Leadership, UX and HTML as part of the Interactive Design program.

Heather earned a dual BA in mathematics and music at Northeastern University in Boston, graduating Cum Laude in 2006.


Heather O'Neill, 

Strategic Partner

Jen Kramer, 

Technology Instructor

For nearly twenty years, Jen Kramer has been educating clients, colleagues, friends and graduate students about the meaning of a "quality website." Since 2000, she has built websites that are supportive of business and marketing goals in a freelance capacity and as part of an agency.

Jen is a Lecturer at Harvard University Extension School in the Master's of Liberal Arts in Digital Media Design, teaching at least five courses per year, advising students, and assisting in curriculum design. She is a 2018 Shattuck Award winner, presented for excellence in teaching.

Jen is also a prolific video author, creating over 35 training courses for (a division of LinkedIn Learning), O'Reilly Media, Aquent Gymnasium, osTraining, and Frontend Masters.

She is also available for individual private tutoring, customized classroom training, and occasional freelance web design work.

Jen earned a BS in biology at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MS in Internet Strategy Management at the Marlboro College Graduate School.


Product success is part of the plan

By Heather O'Neill & Jen Kramer

Foreword by Sarah Doody

© 2018 - 2020 Pixels for Humans | All Rights Reserved