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This description has been posted to the IA Institute members list; and will go out to the IxDA list later day. But for those who aren't subscribed to either...
I'm thinking of starting up a UX Book Club in Sydney. The group would meet once a month (1 - see below), and would come together to discuss a particular UX book. The club would operate as follows:
- Everyone who attends needs to read the nominated book (you won't be barred from entry, but it helps everyone get more out of the night);
- Everyone needs to jot down and bring along: 2 things in the book that really struck a chord; and 1 thing they either hated, disagreed with; or don't understand.
- The book would be within the practice of user experience, which might include books like Indi Young's Mental Models; Dan Saffer's Design Gestural Interfaces; Todd Zakiwarfel's Prototyping; and classics such as Don't Make Me Think; the Inmates Are Running the Asylum; etc.
- The book should not be arduous to read!
- Next Month's book will be announced at the current meeting.
- Communication via twitter & through mailing lists like IAI-members, IxDA and some of the LinkedIn groups dealing with UX and/or IA.
As an added twist, each book might - where appropriate - include a film reference to watch along with reading the book. So, for example, Todd's book on prototyping - or Buxton's book on sketching - might be read in conjunction with a viewing of IronMan. Dan Saffer's book on gestural interfaces might be read in conjunction with a viewing of Minority Report or Quantum of Solace. People would be instructed to watch the film with the topic of the book in mind. An alternative - if a venue could be found - would be to show parts of the movie at the book club meeting, but I think it's more managable if people watch it themselves.
I know some of the authors who's books we'll be reading/critiquing follow this list: in principle, would you be willing to provide a signed copy of your book as a prize for the group? Would it get to be too much of a burden if this sort of thing sprang up in a bunch of different places and each one was asking for a freebie!?
Such a meeting would provide experienced folks with a chance to revisit some classics in a critical light; as well as getting an incentive to read some more current materials. And for less experienced folks it would provide them with a forum to ask those 'I don't get it' questions that they might otherwise never understand.
I haven't sorted out a location for the get-together; and it will probably not start meeting until after Christmas.
Do you think that would work? Do you know if anything similar has been tried (and failed) previously?
Note 1: There has been some discussion as to whether monthly would be too frequent. Thoughts on this point would be welcome.