Tuesday, November 25, 2008

UX Book Club Sydney

UX Book Club has a new home at uxbookclub.org. Check out the site for details and add your name if you're interested. (If you've already sent your details via twitter or email, there's no need to add it again.)

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.
In keeping with the book-club theme the location would be somewhere like a wine bar (or a bookstore), although the noise level has to be low, and be able to accommodate a group of 15-30 people.

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.


cafedave said...

Depends on the book, really: maybe every 2 months...?

Sounds like a workable format, though. When do we start?

Steve 'Doc' Baty said...

The first meeting is likely to be in early February, with the book announced in January. There's still a lot to do to get organised - particularly choosing a location!!

Holding it every two months might be the most practical way to go, but I'll be concentrating on getting the first meeting happening first.

At this stage I'm thinking Feb, April, Jun, Aug, Oct, Dec; but I'd be really interested in hearing what others think.

Unknown said...

I'm thinking once every two months is far more realistic for me.

Anonymous said...

Yes! Brilliant idea. Count me in. Every 2 months sounds good.

James Breeze said...

Yep 2 months for me too!

Anonymous said...

Once in two months sounds good as it will give us enough time to source and read the selected book.

Once again, a very good initiative ;-)

juergen said...

great idea. i think every 2 month would be perfect.
i very much like the idea with the referencing movie.

LindaG said...

I think it's a great idea! I would definitely be interested. As much as I'm keen to sink my teeth into the subject matter, though, I think every 2 months is a more practical model than every month.