Tragic Design — a book about design ethics

over 4 years ago from Jonathan Shariat, Designer @ Google | Author @ O'Reilly | Podcaster @ DesignReview

  • Josiah TullisJosiah Tullis, over 4 years ago

    What has your experience working with O'Reilly publishing been so far? Can you speak to how you went about pitching the book and negotiating the deal?

    2 points
    • Jonathan ShariatJonathan Shariat, over 4 years ago


      It all started with this tweet

      After that someone from O'Reilly reached out and over a few weeks I wrote a few pitches. They have a template for this so its making sure you cover all the bases: 1. The basic idea of the book 2. Who will be the audience 3. Will this still be relevant in 1 or 2 years 4. Are there books that already do a good job of this topic

      I had pitched two ideas when I wrote the article How bad UX killed jenny

      I saw that there was a topic that I was passionate about and others were too. We wanted better for Jenny and so many others. I looked and saw some great books on design ethics but I felt people needed to see practical examples to understand the breadth of how design can harm. Death is a clear example but dark patterns and exclusion are much more subtle. So I set out to write a book that would help designers, engineer, and other product people to decide for themselves what their ethical red lines are and what they can do about it.

      Cynthia joined in when early editing began. She was adding so much content!

      As for royalties and such, you're not going to get rich of a book. The amount of time we have spent on the book would be worse than minimum wage I think. If there is a topic you care about though, its a great way to get that knowledge out into the world

      2 points
      • Josiah TullisJosiah Tullis, over 4 years ago

        Thanks for sharing.! It's great to hear how passionate you are on this topic and how O'Reilly helped you get these ideas out.

        0 points
    • Cynthia Savard Saucier, over 4 years ago

      I was brought in as the first technical reviewer and ended up writing a lot of feedback. I was impressed with how Jonathan listened to my comments without being defensive. He just really wanted to make the book better! When I joined officially the project we negotiated between Jonathan and I for a % share of the royalties that would represent our total input in the project. As Jonathan mentioned, you don't write a book to make money!

      O'Reilly is very supportive and our editor was great at giving us enough information to do things the proper way... even if it was our first writing experience. We were assigned an editor, a copyeditor/corrector, a technical reviewer, a production manager and an illustrator. They were all incredible!

      1 point