I’m writing a book.
About User Experience Design.
For Peachpit Press.
With my long-time friend Carolyn Chandler.
(I had started this blog post with the background first, but let’s face it, the news is better than the back story!)
Ever since the IA Summit back in March, my life has been an absolute whirlwind. No single event has energized me more and excited me more about the career that I am in. There are so many kind, talented people in this field–there’s never a loss for someone willing to offer input and/or advice–and only out of the interest in helping a colleague succeed.
It makes me feel lucky even to be in this field.
If I had a nickel for every time I sent out a private message to someone on twitter, shot an email off to someone I’ve never met but have bonded with through the various social, etc. tools out there or sent an IM or text message to all the other folks, I’d be more than willing to buy us all our very own chumby.
The good news–for me–is that I’ve not had to pay those nickels. The bad news–for you–is that I’ve never gotten paid those nickels. So, you know… No chumby for you.
It was a couple of months back that I sat down and started to put together some of the thoughts that were banging through my head. I had been mentoring a few people through the IA Institute and there were some common themes bubbling up and they seemed to be in line with some of my own experiences. As a mentor, I hope to guide my mentees through some of the challenges as best as I can, hopefully avoiding some of unfortunate situations that I’ve been through.
Frankly, I’ve made a lot of mistakes. Some embarassing. Some financially unpleasant. Some caused bridges to be burned. Some bridges did a fine enough job burning themselves without any real help from me. Some were filled with a lot of disappointment.
In all cases, I made sure that I learned with every failure, no matter how microscopic and no matter how much it banged up and bruised my ego. There were a lot of times where I questioned whether or not I had what it takes to be in the business of business at all.
Like most things in life, however, tomorrow is always a new day, and all of those heartbreaking challenges led me to new lessons and new opportunities, and eventually, those painful situations started to be a thing of the past. Don’t get me wrong, there are always going to be bumps in the roads, but the bumps are a lot more managable these days and I’ve got an arsenal of all those experiences to help me out.
I thought that, much like some of the mentees I’ve worked with, many other people might share a lot of the challenges that I have had. I thought that, perhaps, I could spare them some of that pain, embarassment, bridge burning and even some of that financial discomfort.
I’m a nice guy, right?
(Yeah, well, take that with the humor it was intended with, please!)
I started putting together the outline for a book based upon those experiences and lessons learned. My thoughts were pretty simple–put this all into a nice little tidy package where someone could open it up and jump to any section and get the right information that they would need to appropriately arm themselves to handle the UX task at hand.
As I was writing the outline, I sent a networking email to Carolyn and we got into the “What’s up?” game with each other. I ended up sharing my outline with her and she had some fantastic feedback. Frankly, she also added a couple of ideas that were beyond my comfort zone and experience, but that also fit perfectly between the covers of the book that I was thinking of.
Carolyn is kind, brilliant, and generous to a fault. She offered to step-up and take on authoring challenges of some of the chapters for me–out of the kindness of her heart, and out of interest in being involved in such a cool project.
I would be foolish to turn down such a generous offer, so I didn’t. I didn’t stop there; we had been brilliantly playing off of each other in the back-and-forth of the outline, we had a built-in respect and sort of a nurturing and guiding toward each other’s content.
It was pretty cool and pretty exciting to process to be a part of.
So I asked her to simply be the co-author of the book.
We started putting together an outline and started going back and forth between some peers, asking questions, doing the research, making connections and, as of right now, we have officially signed with Peachpit Press to write a book that was tentatively titled:
User Experience Design for Small Teams with Large Responsibilities
We’re pretty sure that’s going to change (try saying it 10x fast!), but the book itself is underway. We’re going to cover a lot of a UXD process and a couple of other fun things that will help guide individuals who are new to the field, new to freelancing or who need some guidance through a project.
I am very excited about this opportunity and very lucky to have such an awesome co-author. I would also be remiss if I didn’t thank a bunch of people (who are not Carolyn), in no particular order: Bill DeRouchey, Christina Wodtke, Dan Brown, Lou Rosenfeld, Steve Baty, Donna Spencer, Wil Wheaton, Xian Crumlish, Mario Bourque, David Armano, Troy Lucht, Tom Napper, Brad Simpson, Kevin Cheng, Chris Miller and Kurt Karlenzig. All of these folks (and I hope I haven’t forgotten anyone; apologies if I have!) happily offered advices, reviewed notes, kicked me in the seat of my pants and/or criticized and praised where it was needed just to get this to point.
I can’t imagine what they’re on the hook for next, but when you’ve got even a moment of time to bend the ear of folks of this caliber, you should consider yourself pretty blessed.
I know I do.