Contributions by Sara Wachter-Boettcher
Good intentions can easily blind us to bad ideas—accidentally awful outcomes that alienate and distress our users. It’s time to take a hard look at our processes, to recognize and work through our biases toward idealized users in ideal situations. In this interview with managing editor Mica McPheeters, Sara Wachter-Boettcher talks about what she learned while writing Design for Real Life.
We say we’re crafting personas to fit the needs of “real” people—yet we easily revert to abstractions when raw emotions enter the picture. Common human experiences aren’t “edge” cases; we don’t get to dismiss what seems uncomfortable or different to us. In this excerpt from Design for Real Life, Eric Meyer and Sara Wachter-Boettcher take on the elephant in the room—the tendency to look the other way.
One year ago today, we wrote “we have work to do,” and we said we were making the web industry’s diversity problem our problem. We’re far from fixing everything at ALA, but from our editing processes to our recruitment to our messaging, we’ve been pushing ourselves to prioritize inclusivity. Editor-in-chief Sara Wachter-Boettcher discusses what we’ve been working on, where we can do better, and why it’s important to share our challenges.
To preprocess or not to preprocess? ALA: On Air will cover just that—live on May 6. Featuring Rachel Andrew, Lyza Danger Gardner, Jeff Lembeck, and Susan Robertson, “Sass Talk” will discuss when, how, and whether to use Sass, taskrunners, and other tools.
A new edition of Responsive Web Design is here. To celebrate, A List Apart’s editor-in-chief, Sara Wachter-Boettcher, sat down with author Ethan Marcotte to talk about what’s new—and what’s next.
Jeffrey Zeldman has been sharing, educating, and inspiring web designers for 20 years. A new documentary from Lynda.com tells the story.
Why does #yesallwomen matter for the web—and for A List Apart? Editor-in-chief Sara Wachter-Boettcher explains why making our industry a welcoming place for people of all kinds of backgrounds is the only way we’ll build the web we need.
Public speaking is tough. You’re trying not to say “um” too much or speak too fast or crash your presentation or poop your pants or do any of the million horrible things that, in those first few minutes you’re up on stage, feel way too possible. Now there’s a guide that makes it a little easier.
The IA Summit is one of the longest-running and most welcoming web conferences out there, and it’s one of our favorites for user experience professionals and information architects. This year’s event takes place April 5-7 in Baltimore, Maryland. If you happen to be in the area or can travel there, we’re even giving away a free pass—just for commenting on this post.
The ability to track changes, compare versions, and get feedback—all without the soul-crushing feature bloat and nasty web-unfriendly code of Microsoft Word? Dare an editor dream such a dream?
For fifteen years, A List Apart has published long-form magazine articles written by the whip-smart web community (AKA you). But we don’t always have grand, 2,000-word arguments to make. Sometimes we just want to tell you about a new technique, share an article, or post a quick note.
We talk a lot about building a web that’s accessible to anyone—a web that serves more of us, more fully. But are our own events and conferences as inclusive as the web we’re all working toward? Sara Wachter-Boettcher explores how we can improve the design of our own community.
The future is flexible, and we’re bending with it. From responsive web design to futurefriend.ly thinking, we’re moving quickly toward a web that’s more fluid, less fixed, and more easily accessed on a multitude of devices. As we embrace this shift, we need to relinquish control of our content as well, setting it free from the boundaries of a traditional web page to flow as needed through varied displays and contexts. Most conversations about structured content dive headfirst into the technical bits: XML, DITA, microdata, RDF. But structure isn’t just about metadata and markup; it’s what that metadata and markup mean. Sara Wachter-Boettcher shares a framework for making smart decisions about our content’s structure.