First Book Club Meet-Up

17 Jul 2012 4:50 PM | Jacob Geib-Rosch

The Durham Meetup @ Viget Labs

Mobile First by Luke Wroblewski was the chosen inaugural book for the Triangle UXPA Book Club. Several Triangle UXPA members met to discuss what they'd like to read and agreed that even though the work we all did focused primarily on desktop and web applications, mobile is the future. Having read a few of the A Book Apart series previously, we  decided to see what they had to say about mobile.

To organize all this, I thought I'd try to keep things simple and run the group at, which would give us the ability to run simple, informal events and online discussions in case people had questions in between sessions.

What I didn’t expect was such a strong response from so many people who weren’t already in Triangle UXPA but were on Meetup. 53 people joined before the first meet-up, with 11 attending the Durham session and another 6 attending in Raleigh. No-one really used the discussion forums prior to the sessions, but Meetup allowed us to reach a new group and run polls on books.

The Durham discussion was held at Viget Labs on Thursday, June 21st and hosted by the ever-gracious Todd Moy. The Raleigh group met a week later at the Main Library at NCSU and was hosted by Triangle UXPA's own Adam Rogers. Both discussions brought an interesting discussion of mobile and our experiences with it. In general though, the book itself was a higher-level overview of the whole topic of mobile rather than a discussion of why mobile should indeed be first. It combined a few intro chapters about the importance of mobile, then launched into some of the particulars of general mobile usability. While it did touch on the benefits of beginning from a pared-down mobile starting point, it lacked concrete examples of how sites benefited from this approach. We pretty much agreed that it left us ready to read the Responsive Web Design book from the Book Apart series.

The good news was that what we lacked from the reading was more than made up for by the discussions. Both discussions were lively and insightful. At the Durham meet-up, one of the members brought in an impressive paper prototype of a mobile UI with various icons and buttons cut out and he explained how having the physical representation of just how small a mobile surface is really helpful when he meets with clients. In Raleigh, Adam discussed how NCSU is using mobile to run a scavenger hunt that helps introduce students to the main library during orientation. The result is a much more engaging experience than simply walking around as a librarian takes you on a tour.

Both sessions discussed options for the next book, and 17 members contributed to the poll. The winner, with 11 votes, was Designing for Emotion by Aarron Walter. Seems like the club has decided to give the A Book Apart series another shot. Having already started it myself, I am fairly certain both the book and discussion will be well worth it. Keep your eyes peeled for more details to come.

- Jake Geib-Rosch

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