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Nov 14, 2008: Resolution for 2009: UX Book Salon tour

Even though the Christmas decorations are just starting to appear here in Brooklyn, it's not too soon to make a New Year's Resolution.

When I started Rosenfeld Media, I set up a few brown bag lunches with groups of designers and researchers from a few local UX firms. I was looking to learn more about what our target audience liked and didn't like about the design of the books they used for their work. I asked them to bring their own books to the discussion. The resulting show and tell discussions were fantastically useful, and had a significant impact on the designs of both our digital and paperback editions. (Notes on these discussions here.)

Just as important, these discussions provided an outlet for some intense, passionate discussions about UX books, their designs, and their topics. UX pros' pent-up feelings clearly needed to be expressed, and it was enlightening for everyone involved.

Unfortunately, once Rosenfeld Media started actually producing books, I got side-tracked by details of promoting, selling, and distributing them. Bad, Lou, bad. A publisher should always be meeting with and talking with his community. And a UX publisher? Only more so, obviously.

So, starting next year, I resolve to organize informal UX Book Salons on a monthly basis. The goal of these meetings will be to raise consciousness about the books we use as UX professionals. Books are products—information systems, really—that we rarely look at critically. We shouldn't take their design—or their topics—for granted. So this will be your opportunity to sound off about what works for you and what doesn't, what topics you'd like to know more about, and what authors really matter. I'll even give away some Rosenfeld Media books at each salon to sweeten the deal.

These salons will take place in two venues: the conferences I'll be attending (see the "Where I'll Be" list on my blog's main page) and, during the months I get to stay home, at various New York City UX firms. For the latter, I'll plan these in advance and if they're open to the public, I'll announce them here on Bloug and on the Rosenfeld Media site.

At conferences, I'll be organizing the salons in a somewhat impromptu way, using guerrilla techniques like Twitter to get the word out. (This worked extremely well earlier this year when we wanted to get a conversation going about Kevin Cheng's book topic.) Follow me in Twitter (louisrosenfeld) to find out when and where.

I really think that this is the right thing to do. It'll certainly help me as a publisher, but more importantly, it might help make us all better, more critical consumers of the books that help us do our work.

I hope you'll join me in one of these discussions next year if you're in the neighborhood. Happy new year!

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