Tragic Design

Book description

Bad design is everywhere, and its cost is much higher than we think. In this thought-provoking book, authors Jonathan Shariat and Cynthia Savard Saucier explain how poorly designed products can anger, sadden, exclude, and even kill people who use them. The designers responsible certainly didn’t intend harm, so what can you do to avoid making similar mistakes?

Tragic Design examines real case studies that show how certain design choices adversely affected users, and includes in-depth interviews with authorities in the design industry. Pick up this book and learn how you can be an agent of change in the design community and at your company.

You’ll explore:

  • Designs that can kill, including the bad interface that doomed a young cancer patient
  • Designs that anger, through impolite technology and dark patterns
  • How design can inadvertently cause emotional pain
  • Designs that exclude people through lack of accessibility, diversity, and justice
  • How to advocate for ethical design when it isn’t easy to do so
  • Tools and techniques that can help you avoid harmful design decisions
  • Inspiring professionals who use design to improve our world

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Table of contents

  1. Foreword
  2. Preface
    1. About This Book
    2. O’Reilly Safari
    3. Comments and Questions
    4. Acknowledgments
      1. Jonathan
      2. Cynthia
  3. 1. Introduction
    1. The Interface that Killed Jenny
    2. The Role and Responsibilities of Designers
      1. The Client Paradox
      2. Understanding and Identifying Hidden Costs
    3. Conclusion
    4. Key Takeaways
  4. 2. Design Can Kill
    1. Stupid Errors Versus Stupid Users
    2. Case Study 1: Therac-25
      1. Interface Diagnosis
        1. First issue
        2. Second issue
        3. Third issue
      2. Testing Is Not Optional
    3. Case Study 2: Ferry Crash in New York City
      1. Use Appropriate Visual Feedback
    4. Case Study 3: Ford Pinto
      1. Diverging from the Original Question
    5. Case Study 4: Flight 148
    6. Alternatives to Modes
    7. Fault Tree Analysis
    8. Conclusion
    9. Key Takeaways
  5. 3. Design Can Anger
    1. Why Should You Care About Emotions?
    2. Characteristics of Impolite Technologies
      1. Impolite Technologies Are Selfish
        1. Xbox’s frequent updates
        2. Google Calendar event reminders
      2. Impolite Technologies Are Lazy
        1. Self-checkout
      3. Impolite Technologies Are Gluttons
        1. iTunes’s silent downloads
      4. Impolite Technologies Are Attention Freaks
      5. Case Study: Microsoft Office Assistant
      6. Polite Technologies
    3. Dark Patterns
      1. Bait and Switch
      2. Fake Content
      3. Forced Continuity
      4. Friend Spam
      5. Misdirection
      6. Roach Motels
      7. Bonus: Trick Question
      8. The Drawbacks
        1. It can cost your company money
        2. It will hurt other metrics
      9. Winning the Argument
      10. Persuasion Is Not Deception
    4. Conclusion
    5. Key Takeaways
  6. 4. Design Can Sadden
    1. The “Dribbblelisation” of Our Users
    2. Inadvertent Cruelty
    3. Self-Blame and Humiliation
    4. “Power User” Features
      1. Shortcuts
      2. Make the Settings are Understandable
    5. Allowing for Abuse
    6. How to Prevent Causing Sadness
      1. Avoid Confusing a Change of Emotion with a Change of State in a Database
      2. Don’t Underestimate the Power of Symbols
      3. Remember that Every User Will Die
      4. Use the Sad Sheriff
      5. Reprioritize Feature Development
      6. Organize Catastrophic Brainstorms
      7. Change Your Usual Testing Scenarios
        1. Raising the stress level
        2. Performing usability testing in context
      8. Design for Failure
    7. Conclusion
    8. Key Takeaways
  7. 5. Design Can Exclude
    1. Accessibility
      1. A Case for Accessible Design
        1. It affects a lot of people
        2. It is good for business
        3. It benefits everyone
        4. It’s required by law
        5. It’s simply the right thing to do
      2. Making Your Service Accessible
        1. Don’t rely on color to convey information
        2. Pick high-contrast text colors
        3. Use alt text
        4. Avoid text embedded in images
        5. Provide context for hyperlinks
        6. Simplify your textual content
        7. Avoid automatic image sliders (or carousels)
        8. Design accessible forms
        9. Consider accessibility outside of the browser
        10. Treat internet access as a human right
      3. Inspiring Change Within Your Organization
    2. Diversity, Inclusive Design, Design for All
      1. Words, Powerful Words
      2. Diversity-Conscious Design: Challenging the Status Quo
    3. Injustice
      1. Food Stamps
      2. Parking Tickets
      3. Prison Visiting
      4. The Fate of a Nation
    4. Conclusion
    5. Key Takeaways
  8. 6. Tools and Techniques
    1. Gather as Much Data as You Can
      1. Search for People Who Hate Your Product
      2. Quantitative Versus Qualitative: Going Above and Beyond Likert Scales
    2. Learn to Recognize Emotions
      1. Decoding Expressions of Emotion and Body Language
      2. Presenting These Observations
      3. Mapping Emotional Data
        1. Plutchik’s wheel
        2. Customer journeys
    3. Conclusion
    4. Key Takeaways
  9. 7. What We Can Do
    1. What We All Can Do
      1. Vote
      2. Speak Up
      3. Support Others
      4. Share Good Examples
      5. Start Your Own Company
      6. Practice Empathy
      7. Everyone Is a Designer
    2. What Designers Can Do
      1. Work Where You Are Needed
      2. Learn to Raise Your Voice
      3. Take a Stand
      4. Be a Great Designer
        1. Be a world-class communicator.
        2. Use the user-centered design methodology.
        3. Use data as ammunition.
        4. Keep a student’s mindset.
        5. Teach and mentor others.
        6. Polish your process.
        7. Take your time.
        8. Be engaged.
        9. Take a step back.
        10. Branch out.
        11. Contribute.
        12. Ask who is losing and who is winning.
      5. Stop Reading This Book... (Soon!)
        1. What are you passionate about?
        2. Allocate your time.
        3. Find an outlet.
        4. Tell a friend.
  10. 8. They Are Doing Good
    1. Physical Good
    2. Emotional Good
    3. Inclusion
    4. Justice
    5. What Will You Do?
  11. A. Companies, Products, and Links
  12. About the Authors
  13. Colophon
  14. Index
  15. Copyright

Product information

  • Title: Tragic Design
  • Author(s): Jonathan Shariat, Cynthia Savard Saucier
  • Release date: April 2017
  • Publisher(s): O'Reilly Media, Inc.
  • ISBN: 9781491923566