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Subject to Change--New from O'Reilly: Adaptive Path on Creating Great Products & Services for an Uncertain World

February 20, 2008

In a world of instant gratification, 24-hour breaking news cycles, and an uncertain and constantly changing marketplace, creating successful new products and services presents new and formidable challenges. An upcoming book from O'Reilly Media--Subject to Change ($24.99)--is written by four experts from Adaptive Path, a leading experience strategy and design company, offers clear guidelines and a breakthrough toolset for designing and testing new products and services that will succeed in today's fickle, continuously fluctuating economy.

"Businesses and customers alike are demanding more, so managers and leaders need approaches that focus on truly differentiated customer experiences," says Peter Merholz, the president of Adaptive Path, who collaborated with Brandon Schauer, Todd Wilkens, and David Verba to write the book.

Adaptive Path’s clients represent some of the most prominent brands in the world, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to small, innovative startups, including NPR, Blogger, and Six Apart; the authors draw on their experience, sharing the global and targeted user experience and product strategy solutions they developed for their clients.

Throughout this insightful title due to be released in April 2008, the Adaptive Path authors share their passion for finding and solving problems in design and product development. They demonstrate a new way of thinking and working, and show how their proven methods can transform companies needing to adapt to today and tomorrow’s environment into innovative, agile, and commercially successful organizations. Indeed, rather than bemoaning change, these authors urge readers to "embrace the uncertainty around us."

The authors also share their breakthrough approach: designing a prototype of a new product quickly, paying close attention to how consumers use the product, and letting users' feedback and experiences re-inform and improve the design along the way.

The book covers eight breakthrough insights for companies eager to succeed in today’s unpredictable business environment including:

  • Experience as strategy. Details how companies can plan for the experiences they will offer in order to develop a plan strong enough to guide decisions on how the experiences are marketed, maintained, and managed.
  • New ways of understanding people. Offers a new model for understanding customers--the basis of an experience strategy.
  • The design competency. Discusses how to design a prototype that can embody strategy, showcase and entire system, and immediately reveal the shortfalls in a business plan.

"Expressing our ideas to others invites others to help test them out," says Merholz. "We hope that these ideas help others improve the work they do designing products and services that provide great experiences."

Advance Praise:
"Subject to Change presents complex, challenging ideas in simple, compelling language, with illuminating examples and no shortage of memorable phrases. At once authoritative and nimble, the book itself is an example of the kind of experience the authors admire. No matter who you are, it will change the way you think about design."
--Michael Bierut, partner, Pentagram, author, 79 Short Essays on Design

"The principles set out in Subject to Change are essential for the design of any product, but especially relevant for the fast-moving world of web software. It used to be the case that a software product was designed once, and refreshed every couple of years. Software is no longer a product. It is a process, a dynamic service that evolves as it responds to constant interaction with its users. The essence of Web 2.0 design is to create a dynamic framework that harnesses the collective intelligence of customers in such a way that the software becomes almost alive. This terrific book teaches the mindset required for this new kind of design."
-- Tim O'Reilly, founder and CEO of O'Reilly Media

"Customers don’t care about how innovative you are. They just want to be happy and satisfied. Learn from Adaptive Path a passion for finding and solving the problems that will matter to customers no matter what the future brings.”
-- Scott Berkun, Author, The Myths of Innovation

For a review copy or more information please email press@oreilly.com. Please include your delivery address and contact information.

Peter Merholz is President and one of the founders of Adaptive Path. For more than six years, Peter has been instrumental in developing Adaptive Path's ability to provide world-class consulting, training, and public events.

Brandon Schauer is an experience design director for Adaptive Path. He speaks on, writes about, and practices design as a means to create value. He has a decade of experience developing new user experiences on the Web, desktops, and products.

David Verba is Director of Technology for Adaptive Path, a leading user experience company. David brings 15 years of development experience with both open source and more traditional technologies to Adaptive Path. In addition to the typical mix including Sun, Java, and Oracle he has many years of involvement with a variety of open source approaches including linux, perl, apache, mysql, postgres and now ruby and ruby on rails.

Todd Wilkens is the design researcher for Adaptive Path. Thanks to over a decade of experience in research and design he holds a passionate belief that focusing on and truly understanding people allows us to create products and services that provide compelling experiences and real value.

Additional Resources:
For more information about the book, including table of contents, index, author bios, and cover graphic, see: http://www.oreilly/catalog/9780596516833

Subject To Change: Creating Great Products & Services for an Uncertain World
Peter Merholz, Todd Wilkens, Brandon Schauer, David Verba
ISBN: 0-596-51683-5, 198 pages, $29.99 USD, £18.50 GBP

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