Design For Real Life


  • You’ll find this phrase everywhere at ThinkUp, a service that sends its users daily updates about their interactions on social media. By all accounts, ThinkUp cares deeply about its members. It doesn’t sell data. It doesn’t run advertising. And it has worked hard to develop more meaningful features than simply tracking faves and follower counts.
  • One such feature is “BFF,” which sends users an email alert about the social profile they’ve been interacting with most, accompanied by one of five or six programmed headlines: “Peas in a pod,” “Best buds,” “Get a room!”.
  • That last one gave cofounder Anil Dash pause. “I dunno…” he remembers saying to the writer. But the team did a quick straw poll, and everyone decided it would be fine.

What you will learn:

  • Incorporate a wider, more realistic range of people in your work.
  • Lead a design process that vets new features, content, or interaction against less-than-ideal user scenarios.
  • Look at your decisions through a lens of kindness, and strengthen them as a result.
  • Convince others to invest in and support compassionate design processes.

Who should read this book:

Developers who want to make sure the technology they create is as kind and humane as their intentions.