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Why We Fail

Learning from Experience Design Failures 

Published: July 30, 2013 Paperback: 248 pages, ISBN 1-933820-17-9 Digital: ISBN 1-933820-59-4

by Victor Lombardi

Why We Fail

Success feels great. But beyond the fleeting sensation of good will, what does it tell you? Failure, on the other hand, provides a gold mine of insights that can help you do better in the future—if you're willing to do the hard work required to evaluate why things went wrong. Victor's book provides a useful guide, with lots of examples that make it clear that you're not alone in screwing up."

—Karen McGrane, author of Content Strategy for Mobile

Just as pilots and doctors improve by studying crash reports and postmortems, experience designers can improve by learning how customer experience failures cause products to fail in the marketplace. Rather than proselytizing a particular approach to design, Why We Fail holistically explores what teams actually built, why the products failed, and how we can learn from the past to avoid failure ourselves.

Why We Fail will help you:

  1. Understand the key mistakes other teams have made so you don't repeat them
  2. Turn unavoidable failures into building blocks to be successful
  3. Create a team environment where failures are controlled and valuable

“Why We Fail” Blog

When Password Recovery is a Matter of Life and Death

A friend of a friend recently needed surgery but the procedure had to be delayed because no one had the password to a required machine in the operating theater. Luckily it wasn’t a matter of life and death for her, but you have to wonder if that could happen (or already has).

RealNetworks and The Trap of Binary Thinking

While I was researching my book Why We Fail: Learning from Experience Design Failures I spent some time reading about people’s experience with RealNetworks, particularly the RealPlayer, and wondering if they were worthy of inclusion in the book, particularly the don’t be evil chapter. At that point there was no smoking gun, no hard evidence …

Pushing Through Failure (Quickly)

Pushing Through Failure (Quickly) from Jeremy Johnson

Google Glass is So Wrong it’s Right

Yes, Google Glass is “ugly and clunky and ridiculously expensive for what it does” and yes, it’s worrisome that Google employees rarely wear glass anymore. And that’s why Google is rocking this project. For my book I researched why Google Wave failed (you can read the full case study on UXMag). Underneath the interaction design …

John Gall’s Best Book Cover of 2013

Congratulations to John Gall on having his cover for “My Last Sigh” by Luis Buñuel selected by The New York Times as a best cover of 2013. I was lucky to have him as the cover designer of “Why We Fail” this year: