A Book Apart

Eric Meyer & Sara Wachter-Boettcher Design for Real Life

You can’t know every user, but you can develop inclusive practices to create experiences that support a wider range of people, more of the time.

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You can’t always predict who will use your products, or what emotional state they’ll be in when they do. But by identifying stress cases and designing with compassion, you’ll create experiences that support more of your users, more of the time.

Join Sara Wachter-Boettcher and Eric Meyer as they turn examples from more than a dozen sites and services into a set of principles you can apply right now. Whether you’re a designer, developer, content strategist, or anyone who creates user experiences, you’ll gain the practical knowledge to test where your designs might fail (before you ship!), vet new features or interactions against more realistic scenarios, and build a business case for making decisions through a lens of kindness. You can’t know every user, but you can develop inclusive practices that support a wider range of people. This book will show you how.


  1. Challenge Your Vision
  2. Make Space for Real People
  3. Incorporate Stress Cases
  4. Communicate Context and Intent
  5. Cultivate Compassion
  6. Learn from Users
  7. Humanize Your Process (Read an excerpt online)
  8. Make the Case

Recommended with…

Designing for Emotion

Practical strategies to help you evoke a real connection with your users, and design experiences through a lens of kindness.

Buy both and save up to 15%

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What People Are Saying

  • The only user scenarios that matter are our users’ real lives. In this courageous and compassionate book, full of wisdom and methods not collected anywhere else, Eric and Sara guide us through scenarios previously in the dark.

  • Kurt Vonnegut said that there was only one rule: ‘You’ve got to be kind.’ This book is what happens when two people apply that rule to building great digital products. It’s about building interfaces that are truly, genuinely human. Anyone who aspires to build global products that people love should read this book now.

  • This book is so needed. The methods and techniques Sara and Eric share will improve your design and writing processes—and more important, will change the way you think about your users. Other books tell you how to design for idealized personas, but this one shows you how to design and write for actual humans. It will be required reading on my team.

About the Authors

  • Eric A. Meyer started working on the web in late 1993. Since then, he’s been a college webmaster, one of the original CSS Samurai, a standards evangelist at Netscape, the author of many books and online resources, an occasional code artist, the technical lead at Rebecca’s Gift, and a cofounder of An Event Apart. He lives with his family in Cleveland.

  • Sara Wachter-Boettcher runs a content strategy consultancy based in Philadelphia, where she works with clients like Trek Bicycles, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Associated Press, and Harvard. She is also the author of Content Everywhere, a book about creating flexible, mobile-ready content, and a past editor-in-chief of A List Apart.

Additional Info

  • ISBN: 978-1-937557-40-9
  • Paperback: 132 pages
  • Published: Mar 8, 2016

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