Wednesday, March 24, 2010

UX Book Club - Sketching User Experiences by Bill Buxton

Last month we had our first UX Book Club meeting. Apparently, as I'm told, it was the first ever professional book club meeting in Maine. Really? - I thought.

After having read the book and listened to other people's thoughts about the book, it actually improved the experience of the book itself. It wasn't just me reflecting (in my head) upon what was written, and that was a fresh change. Now I'm finding that the book and the thoughts by everyone else who had attended the meeting, is starting to reform my thinking, burning new neural paths and creating new behaviors. In that respect, the UX Book Club did the job as much as the book itself.

And now, after having seen Bill Buxton in a great video at MIX'10, I understand him more and where he comes from, beginning to model how he thinks.

One of the biggest takeaways from the book (hence Bill) is the fact that:

"Design is a compromise."

I had known that for quite some time but really couldn't articulate that feeling about what Design was about in that aspect, until now. It also occurred to me that "design not being a compromise" might have been the old artisan-based way of thinking. There is no longer the
genius designer that we used to think existed and much of that came from Industrial Design even though I'm certain some people don't want to admit it.

So where does this leave the UX professional? Since design is a compromise because the designer is working with all different kinds of people in different disciplines (from marketing, to engineering to sales, etc.) it requires someone who is especially empathetic to not just the users/humans using the product/application/building but also to people he is working with.

I'd like to continue on with the discussion we had from the book club. But for now, I'm going to send you to the Maine IxDA thread where there's a list of topics covered in the book.

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