Design for Real Life

Last week I got all salty about being told I’m too sensitive for caring about what real people’s lives are like when they use our digital products, and I guess I made some men sad.

Always good to see SJWs branching out into new areas.
You and your supporters operate in the world as if it’s your mission in life to find anything to be offended by.
What’s with all the microagressive jabs at white men?

My cis white dudes, I don’t hate you! Some of you are quite swell! One of you is even married to me! But what he knows, and what all the delightful and kind men who’ve reached out to me over the past week know, is this: they live in a world where they are the default. They define what’s considered “normal.” Their needs almost always get met first, because their needs are considered average.

Everyone else’s get considered fringe.

That doesn’t just hurt marginalized groups — though, let’s be clear, it hurts them the most. It also hurts those same cis white guys, as soon as something about their life doesn’t fit the picture created and reinforced by dominant culture — like becoming disabled, or experiencing grief, or losing a job, or any of the countless experiences people have.

The narrower our perceptions of “normal” are, the more people we leave out.

That’s why I’m so excited about the book I wrote with Eric Meyer, Design for Real Life. It’s about how we can do a better job recognizing the biases in our thinking and narrowness of our products. You can buy it as of today.

#663399becca forever.

The more I talk about this topic, the more I realize something: there are a lot more people out there who don’t fit the cis-white-guy category than those who do. And our time is coming.

I know it because a publisher thought it was worth writing a book about. I know it because people way smarter than I keep writing about it. But most of all, I know it because for every dude who grumbled about how I was hurting the feelings of white men, or I was just “pointing blame,” there were literally hundreds who reached out and said, “FINALLY.”

Finally, people are talking about this.

Finally, someone has given voice to this thing that’s been bothering me for years.

Finally, someone’s telling me that there’s nothing wrong with me. There’s something wrong with a tech industry that never learned to think beyond what’s comfortable to the people who run it.

Like I said last week, I’m not particularly worried about the white dudes out there complaining about feminists.

I’m reserving the few fucks I have left to give for the people who need them most: the people who are excluded and alienated and hurt by a world that just doesn’t think about them much.

If you’d like to join me, I hope you’ll read Design for Real Life. It won’t insure you’ll always get it right. Being human is some weird shit. But it will help us look at our decisions differently.