UX Book Club

Happy summer Twin Cities UX’ers –(even though it feels like October outside!)

We met June 8, 6-8pm at Wilde Roast to discuss the book Communicating Design: Developing Web Site Documentation for Design and Planning by Dan Brown.

img_2087smallThe conversation was facilitated by Stephanie Hammes-Betti. Stephanie manages a User Experience team at U.S. Bank. She told us a story about how she found the book and how it helped her team. It was so inspirational for them they started a book club just to discuss the concepts in the book. For the team Stephanie manages, it gave them a way to catalog what they were doing and present it back to the other people in their organization. It allowed them to have the language to work more effectively with the rest of the organization and with each other.

There were a few people in the group that were working in roles where they didn’t ‘officially’ have titles that involved the words ‘user experience’ but they recognized and enjoyed this work very much. The book also gave them a language to speak with people inside of the field of User Experience and co-workers who had no idea such a thing existed. In addition to providing a simple and common language, it filled in gaps for individuals who had not been through large web design projects.

One criticism that was shared by someone who felt as though they were more of a beginner was that it was a bit more advanced than beginner, but she still found it really useful.

“It brings a community and a language to the team.” Overall people agreed it provided a common vocabulary to use with each other as practitioners and with (internal/external) clients.

The deliverables are the communication tools that allow us to get work realized. It is important that they are effective and easy to use, after all we are in the UX business. 😉

Some conversations that are still happening even after all these years:

  • put the print design on the web
  • the visual design is the only attribute that matters-as long as it looks good
  • usability is still absent from the process of many organizations

The main thing that drew people to the book was that they were seeking more knowledge. This book held a complete view for people who were not practicing with larger teams. It has a strong appeal for people that identify they are doing user experience work, it’s just not called that.

We had several librarians at the table tonight. It made me feel like there is a resurgence of interest in the work happening. With the economy adjusting and honestly a need for people doing this work, I was excited to see it. Smart managers will see the potential in this future User Experience workforce. People that really care about making better experiences.

Our event was sponsored by Harvest, simple online time tracking, time sheet and reporting software. Harvest created a special MNteractive Meetup coupon code for anyone who’d like to upgrade to a paying Harvest account: MNTERACTIVE09 will get the recipient $10 off their first month.

img_2089small2Thanks to Harvest for sponsoring the event. Christine Anameier was the winner of the $50 gift card from Wilde Roast.

Your Twin Cities UX Meetup organizers:

Kristi Olson
Stephanie Hammes-Betti
Jennifer Bohmbach
Garrick Van Buren

P.S. Please note we are taking a summer break.

The next UX Book Club will be September 14th, 2009. The second Monday of the month.

However, we are going to try and pull together a resume workshop with managers and UX people who would like to talk with others about how to build a better UX resume.

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