Update—November 29, 2017: thanks to you, we sold 77 books on Giving Tuesday—and raised US$385 for the Electronic Frontier Foundation! Thank you very much!
Back in the late 1980s, when I was a student in library school, we debated what the dawning “information superhighway” should be. Some classmates saw it as a huge boon to the global economy. Others argued that “information wants to be free,” and money shouldn’t taint public access to the Internet’s information bounty.
I’ve worked at both ends of the spectrum—as a librarian and as a publisher—and have always taken the middle road: “Information doesn’t want to be free–it just wants to be used.” Although the pendulum has swung back and forth, we’ve managed to find a middle road that works well enough for most of us.
It all may change in the US if the FCC’s proposed changes to Net Neutrality are approved.
Companies like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T would likely transform their policies from customer-unfriendly to completely hostile to the free and open exchange of information. It could jeopardize your career, your kids’ education, free speech, independent journalism, and just about every aspect of contemporary life.
I’ll leave you with links to learn about Net Neutrality and the FCC’s proposed order from two of our great nation’s most trusted and respected sources: the American Library Association and The Oatmeal. Please read them and spread the word. Thank you.
It’s hard for me to believe that Rosenfeld Media turns 12 today. To celebrate, I thought about ordering brownies from Zingerman’s (my favorite bakery in the world). But hey, it’s more fun to share your birthday with friends.
Here are two sweet ways to celebrate the day from wherever you are…
Enter to win a free library pack. Yup, that’s literally the complete set of Rosenfeld Media ebooks (over 30 books) for your personal or team library. Here’s how:
Tweet your answer to this question: What one book do you wish someone would write for you, right now?
Tag @RosenfeldMedia and add hashtag #Happy12thRM
Tweet it out before midnight PST today, October 31st
We’ll announce the results on hashtag #Happy12thRM
Get 12% off all books in our stores today. Use the Happy12thRM code to stock up on classic design and UX titles, learn how to select the right technologies for your team, or boost your business and leadership skills.
We’re so thankful for your support over the years. And hope our books, trainings, conferences continue to help you grow and succeed.
The upcoming DesignOps Summit isn’t just a conference—we’re looking at it as a way to help define what design operations means. Read all about it (Lou Rosenfeld in Medium). And learn more with this lovely resource list compiled by Melissa McGrath.
If you work in Enterprise UX, would you take our 3-minute user research survey below? We’re gathering an industry look into what pressing topics and trends impact your UX work in the enterprise.
Your Input Will Shape the Next EUX Conference. Literally.
If you check out the programs for past Enterprise UX conferences (here’s 2017’s, 2016’s, and 2015’s), you’ll see that we invest a hell of lot of effort in designing it. Dave Malouf, Uday Gajendar, Lada Gorlenko, and I will use the survey results to tailor the 2018 conference to the topics that you want most.
One out of every ten respondents will be randomly selected to receive a free Rosenfeld Media ebook. To enter, please respond below by September 29.
We’ll share the results in a later post so that you can see what top topics are trending right now. Thanks in advance for helping!
Fill out my online form.
I quit my career as a IA consultant because I got tired. It wore me out to hear clients gripe about their technology. How, say, SharePoint made it impossible for them to improve the customer experience. I felt bad for them. And even worse for their customers. Because once company picks its software, good bloody luck changing it.
That’s why I’m so happy to get our newest book—The Right Way To Select Technology—out into the world. Organizations must stop falling for marketing pitches and buying the wrong technology. And stop wasting time and money. And I can’t think of better authors to tackle this than Tony Byrne and Jarrod Gingras. Their firm, Real Story Group, has been evaluating software for 16 years. They’re renowned for being technology-agnostic and fiercely independent.
If you’re helping to choose technology for your organization, Tony and Jarrod’s book will help you make good choices. You’ll also negotiate better deals and make your users happy. It’s short, witty, and available today here at Rosenfeld Media or via Amazon. I hope you enjoy it!
Lou Rosenfeld tackles the differences between producing books and conferences, and how to make conferences a little deeper—like books! Read on in Medium.
Those who know me well will laugh, but I actually started out as a project manager. It was the late 80’s. I was in grad school when group projects first became the rage. But professors didn’t bother to teach us how to manage the projects they assigned us. So my teammates and I would scramble around like ants without a trail to follow. We’d duplicate each other’s work, fall behind schedule, point fingers at each other. Eventually I’d volunteer for the dreaded responsibility of tracking our projects. Except I wasn’t equipped for the role so things turned from bad to worse. I could’ve used some guidance back then. Like Brett Harned’s project management book, Project Management for Humans–that just came out today!
Maybe like me, you fell by accident into project management. Or you work with project managers and yet, things feel close to coming unglued. Project Management for Humans teaches you how to recoup your time, resources and sanity. It’s a short, practical and enjoyable playbook you’ll want to read and keep handy to help you resolve problems before they mushroom into crises.
Even if you’re a professional project manager, Brett’s project management book can help you too. It goes beyond teaching traditional systems. You’ll learn how to tackle the interpersonal challenges that can often derail a project in unexpected ways.
The timing for our newest book Designing Agentive Technology couldn’t be better. AI has moved from being the “next big thing” to being the thing for designers to grapple with. I’ve even done some research that demonstrates how important AI and machine learning are to UX people.Technology has been getting smarter for years, and many of us have already been integrating AI into designed experiences. Think Siri, Alexa, wearables, automatic pet feeders, self-driving cars.
If you’re venturing into the world of AI this year (or just thinking about it), there are two reasons you should consider picking up a copy:
You can read a free excerpt from Designing Agentive Technology from Designing Agentive Technology in today’s A List Apart. The book—like all of our titles—is available in just about every format you might need: a lovely color paperback, and PDF, MOBI, EPUB, and DAISY digital formats. You can purchase your copy from us directly, or make Jeff Bezos even richer. Let us know what you think of Designing Agentive Technology.
- It’s practical. When it comes to AI, there simply aren’t a lot of books—yet—that provide such practical guidance to designers. Kudos to Chris for making designing agents clear and concrete.
- It’s necessary. Technology always races ahead, forcing us slow-moving humans to catch up with its impacts. Those impacts can be troubling and even destructive. We need to work harder to humanize the technologies we create, and no single group will be more important to those efforts than designers. See this book as preparation for rehumanizing AI.
We’ve cued up our next virtual conference for Tuesday, April 25 and it’s called To Be Designed. If you’ve been wondering how to keep pace with new trends in design, don’t miss this one.
To Be Designed will give you a taste of the “near future” of design—the stuff that’s far out enough to be fascinating, but not so far out that you can’t imagine ever working on it in your career.
What kinds of topics will we cover? Well, like always, we asked YOU. 331 of you responded, and here’s what you suggested:
By popular demand, the presenters will cover aspects of how AI intersects with design, wearables, conversational UI, smart objects, and—perhaps most importantly—the ethics required to navigate the near future.
And you’ll hear from six speakers we know you’re going to love—because you suggested them! We’ll announce them soon! In the meantime, you can register today at the early bird rate and take it on faith that like our previous conferences, we’ll deliver a well curated program for you.
Or wait until March 24, when the speaker lineup goes public––and when the regular ticket rate will apply).
Looking forward to having you join us on April 25!
The other day I hopped the subway to the Soho Apple Store’s Genius Bar to get my dead iPhone fixed. Being suddenly phoneless is quite disorienting. Rather than folding myself over my little master as I normally would, I looked up and suddenly noticed… people! The sea of diversity you’d expect to see on a New York City subway. And as an old UXer, I was drawn to observe them, exercising dormant field research muscles.
That’s when I realized that I had a book with me: an advance copy of Steve Portigal’s new book, Doorbells, Danger, and Dead Batteries: User Research War Stories.
I couldn’t have had a better companion for the rest of that ride. I dipped into about a dozen of the 60+ field research war stories that make up the bulk of the book. The stories do what stories are supposed to do: engage. And the contributors have been through some experiences that will make you laugh, sweat with fear and discomfort, and—let’s face it—enjoy a bit of schadenfreude.
But it’s wrong to see Steve’s new book simply as a compilation of user research war stories. Let me explain why with a bit of my own publishing war story.
When Steve came to me with the idea for his new book a year or so ago, he was concerned that I wouldn’t want to publish it. After he explained the idea, I wasn’t sure either. I generally hate compilations, as they tend to drown out the main author or editor’s voice. And how useful could a book of user research war stories really be?
Then I thought some more. And I realized that some people have a knack for combing through ideas to arrive at a greater truth. Steve is one of those master synthesizers. I began to believe that if he dedicated the time to really digging into these stories, his sum would be greater than the parts.
In Doorbells, Danger, and Dead Batteries, Steve comes through: he delivers a broader framework that’s useful for making sense of user research—or, actually, situations with people. Eleven chapters deliver eleven principles that you must know if you’re doing any kind of research:
- Chapter 1: The Best Laid Plans
Expect your plan to never to go according to plan.
- Chapter 2: Those Exasperating Participants
Be prepared for people to surprise (and sometimes frustrate) you.
- Chapter 3: Control is an Illusion
Be prepared for research contexts to surprise (and sometimes frustrate) you.
- Chapter 4: Cracking The Code
Be prepared to be challenged by differences in language and culture.
- Chapter 5: Gross, Yet Strangely Compelling
If you feel disgust when observing people, counter it with empathy.
- Chapter 6: Not Safe For Work
Be prepared for research contexts that are unpleasant and occasionally morally challenging.
- Chapter 7: To Live Outside the Law You Must Be Honest
Know your ethics and your obligations before you begin.
- Chapter 8: The Perils of Fieldwork
Be prepared for the discomfort and even danger you may face in the field.
- Chapter 9: People Taking Care of People
Be prepared for people’s lives and situations to pull you from observation to participation.
- Chapter 10: Can’t Stop The Feeling
Like it or not, your emotions will impact your research.
- Chapter 11: The Myth of Objectivity
And, like it or not, observing and learning from people will inevitably change you.
So I’m glad to have my assumptions questioned about what books merit publication. Thanks for that, Steve—and, more importantly, for writing Doorbells, Danger, and Dead Batteries and opening up a greater truth about field research.