I’m sure quite of few of you are already in book clubs, but I wanted to recommend one you might want to consider. In your current book club, you probably get together with your friends every so often as an excuse to drink wine while chatting about the plot and characters. But what if you had that same experience except you discussed professional books? Check out a new site the organizes book clubs for user experience professionals.
I work in online user experience for Barnes & Noble, so this is right up my alley. Plus, I’m always hesitant to join book clubs with friends because I can be a little particular about which fiction books I read. This is why the idea of a professional book club appeals to me so much. I have an ever growing list of fiction books I want to one day get to, but I wouldn’t mind a little help from my peers in choosing which books on user experience are the most relevant at this very moment. And I’d be thrilled if a group of peers wanted to read it at the same time and then link up to discuss—especially if it’s done leisurely over a glass of wine.
It looks like I’m not the only one excited about this idea. UX Book Clubs have sprouted in Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, the Middle East, and all over North and South America.
Boxes and Arrows, which features articles on information architecture and design, recently had an article profiling UX Book Clubs. In the article, the founder, Steve Baty writes, “In early Nov 2008, I started to talk to a few people about the idea of a book club in Sydney to discuss User Experience (UX) books….And then something surprising happened, people liked the idea so much that they started doing things to make it happen.”
Even if you don’t have one in your area, or if you can’t attend, you can still benefit. Each group gets an individual page on the site to post its mission and the list of books the group has read. Not every group has a robust page up yet, but still the rest of us can get ideas by digging through the various lists. It’s also interesting to see what the hot UX topic is in different parts of the world.
Here’s how the group describes itself on the website:
The UX Book Club seeks to enhance the abilities and knowledge of user experience professionals from information architects and interaction designers to visual designers and usability specialists to augment their understanding for excellence in UX practice, ixd design theory while building a passionate local community. Subjects of interest to this club span design theory, design research and user experience research practices and processes. The books include the strategy and business of design, UX design theory and history, methodology, usability research, and the ethics of UX professionals, while networking and having some fun….
And if you don’t see your city on the list, go to the UX Book Club site to start your own!