On March 8th, 2016—just eight days from the day I’m writing this—Design for Real Life will be available from A Book Apart. My co-author Sara Wachter-Boettcher and I are really looking forward to getting it into people’s hands.
The usual fashion is to say something like “getting it into people’s hands at long last”, but in this case, that’s not really how it went down. Just over a year ago now, Sara published “Personal Histories”, and it was a revelation. In her post, I could see the other half of the book that was developing in my head, a book that was growing out of “Designing for Crisis” and “Inadvertent Algorithmic Cruelty”. So I emailed Sara and opened with:
Your post was like a bolt of lightning for me. In the same way the Year in Review thing opened my eyes to what lay beyond “Designing for Crisis”, your post opened my eyes to how far that land beyond reaches.
After research and some intense discussions, we started writing in the spring of 2015, and finished before summer was over. Fall of 2015 was devoted to rewrites, revisions, additions, and editing. Winter 2015-2016 was spent in collaborative editorial and production work by the amazing team at A Book Apart. And now…here we are. The book is just a week away from being in people’s hands.
To celebrate, Sara and I will be hosting, with incredibly generous support from A Book Apart and PhillyCHI, a launch party at Frankford Hall in Philadelphia. We’ll be providing some munchies, some tasty adult beverages, and there will be giveaways of both paper and digital copies of the book. We’d love to see you there! If you can make it, please do RSVP at that link, so we know how much food to order.
We chose Philadelphia as the site for our launch party for a few reasons. For one, Sara lives there, so only one of us had to travel. But to me, it brings some very personal histories full circle, because Philadelphia is where this really all got started. It’s where Rebecca first went to be treated, where she was given the best possible shot at life, and where I started to notice the failures and successes of user experience design when it collided with the stresses of real life.
In a number of ways, this book has been a labor of love. The most important, I think, is the love Sara and I have for our field, and how we would love to see it become more humane—really, more human. That’s why we packed the book not just with examples of good and bad design choices, but of how we can do better. The whole second part of the book is about how to take the principles we explore in the first part and put them to work right now—not by throwing out your current process and replacing it with a whole new, but by bringing them into your existing practice. It’s very much about enhancing what you already do.
It’s been an intense process, both emotionally and work-wise. We pushed as hard as we could to get this to you as soon as we could. Now the time is almost here. We’re really looking forward to hearing what you think of it.