Jared M. Spool

Jared SpoolJared is Founding Principal of User Interface Engineering. He's been working in the field of usability and design since 1978, before the term "usability" was ever associated with computers. Jared has guided the research agenda and built UIE into the largest research organization of its kind in the world.

Jared is a top-rated speaker at more than 20 conferences every year. He is also the conference chair and keynote speaker at the annual User Interface Conference, and is on the faculty of the Tufts University Gordon Institute.

Jared's posts:

UIEtips: Un-Sucking the Touchpoint

November 18th, 2014 by Jared Spool

In this week’s UIEtips article, Chris Risdon defines and establishes criteria for touchpoints, in effect, unsucking the touchpoint.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

It became clear that a touchpoint is a moment in time. I want to design to support that moment in time. More specifically, a touchpoint is meeting that need through delivering on the company’s value proposition in that time and place.

Read the article: Un-Sucking the Touchpoint.

How does Chris’ definition relate to your understanding of the touchpoint? Leave us a note below.

UIEtips: Beyond the UX Tipping Point

November 12th, 2014 by Jared Spool

In this week’s UIEtips, we offer an original article. In it, I reveal the past, present, and future of the UX Tipping Point.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

For an organization to move beyond the UX Tipping Point, it must first become literate in user experience, then fluent in how to produce great experiences. This doesn’t happen all at once, it can take years.

Read the article: Beyond the UX Tipping Point.

Where is your company on the journey to the UX Tipping Point? Leave us a note below.

UIEtips: Smart Watches, Wearables, and That Nasty Data Rash - Part 2

November 5th, 2014 by Jared Spool

In this week’s UIEtips, we’re reprinting part two of an article from Josh Clark, Smart Watches, Wearables, and That Nasty Data Rash. You can read part 1 here. In the article, Josh takes his insight on mobile design to the world of wearables. He makes an argument that through design, we can avoid information poisoning and prevent the risk of the data wearing us rather than us wearing the data.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

These fears—the staples of every dystopian sci-fi movie—are about loss of control. They rail against a data environment so polluted that we no longer know how our personal information will be used or how machines might impose themselves on us..

What concerns do you have about the future of wearable technology? Leave us a note below.

UIEtips: Smart Watches, Wearables, and That Nasty Data Rash - Part 1

October 29th, 2014 by Jared Spool

In this week’s UIEtips, we’re reprinting part one of an article from Josh Clark, Smart Watches, Wearables, and That Nasty Data Rash. In the article, Josh takes his insight on mobile design to the world of wearables. He makes an argument that through design, we can avoid information poisoning and prevent the risk of the data wearing us rather than us wearing the data.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

The real luxury of wearing information is not in exposing ourselves to every passing data point but in filtering that data in ways that alert us gently, even subconsciously, to changes in our environment.

Read part one of the two part article: Smart Watches, Wearables, and That Nasty Data Rash.

What techniques have you used to reduce data rash? Leave us a note below.

UIEtips: Hiring a UX Pro – 4 Techniques from Smart Teams

October 22nd, 2014 by Jared Spool

In this week’s UIEtips, we reprint an article. In it, I share ideas on how to hire the best UX professional. I also make the case that hiring the right person is the most important factor to a UX team’s success.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Hiring is not a natural process. It needs to be designed, just like any experience. In our research, we learned that most teams amble into the hiring process by copying actions from others or by inventing wacky steps.

Read the article: Hiring a UX Pro – 4 Techniques from Smart Teams.

How do you get the most out of your UX hiring process? Leave us a note below.

UIEtips: Embracing the Medium

October 16th, 2014 by Jared Spool

In this week’s UIEtips, we reprint an article. In it, Richard Rutter discusses the web and its role as a medium. Richard argues that we should consider the fact that a user can shape their experience as a strength rather than a weakness.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

The wonderful thing about the web is that it takes many forms and those forms can be shaped by the reader to his or her benefit. That is a strength not a weakness; a feature not a bug. The control which print designers have – and so often desire when they transition to the web – is a limitation of the printed medium.

Read the article: Embracing the Medium.

How do you shape your design with potential readers in mind? Leave us a note below.

UIEtips: Conducting Usability Research for Mobile

October 8th, 2014 by Jared Spool

In this week’s UIEtips, we reprint an article. In it, I speak with Cyd Harrell on conducting user research on mobile devices. I also make the case that mobile can be used as a research tool for things other than just the phone itself.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Jared: It feels almost like the lab is not necessarily the first choice for doing the research in a lot of these projects. Doing them in context is not that much more difficult. We should be strongly considering that as we’re doing the studies.

Cyd: I think we should. I strongly encourage people to do it. Again, live broadcast is a complexity, but if you’re not doing live broadcast, you have a lot of ways that you can be with someone.

Read the article: Conducting Usability Research for Mobile.

What else have you researched using mobile methods? Leave us a note below.

UIEtips: Promise, Vision, Scenario, and User Stories

October 1st, 2014 by Jared Spool

Creating delightful experiences doesn’t happen by chance. To do it right, you have to think about the promise you offer and how you’re delivering it. To do this you need scenarios to provide the context. In this article, I show you how the promise, vision and scenario work together.

Scenarios are used throughout so much of the design process. Creating and using scenarios is really a design fundamental. At the User Interface 19 Conference, Kim Goodwin will show you how to create scenarios that identify and resolve design issues. Learn more about Kim’s daylong workshop, Using Scenarios to Solve Design Problems.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Giving the stories a constant presence throughout the project is essential to ensuring the promise stays top of mind. Drawing the connections between the work being done today and the promise story the team wants their users to tell will help keep the work relevant.

Read the article: Promise, Vision, Scenario, and User Stories.

What stories are your users telling? Leave us a note below.

UIEtips: Execution is Everything

September 24th, 2014 by Jared Spool

There are thousands of good ideas thrown about daily, but to execute just one good idea takes considerable effort. It requires that a team stays focused and in tune with the goal. It requires a system for execution – OKRs. That’s what Christina Wodtke brings in this week’s article.

After we first heard Christina talk about OKRs for goal setting, we started to take action using her ideas. Now you too can get in on a great way to outline your goal setting. Our next UIE Virtual Seminar features Christina on Mapping Your Success with Objectives and Key Results, Tuesday October 7.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

I almost never hear a new idea. In fact, it’s rare I hear an idea I haven’t thought of myself, unless it’s in an industry I’m unfamiliar with. It’s not because I’m a genius (I’m not). It’s that ideas are easier to come up with than you think. What’s hard — really hard— is moving from an idea to a reality. It’s hard to find the right form of an idea, a form that will let consumers see its value, understand how to interact with it, and feel excited enough to pay for it.

Read the article: Execution is Everything.

Have you taken any ideas from concept to reality? Leave us a note below.

UIEtips: Selecting Typefaces for Body Text

September 17th, 2014 by Jared Spool

Choosing the body content font type for your web site is no easy task. With so many choices, how do you know if what you have is the most eye catching, aesthetically pleasing, and meets accessibility standards? Tim Brown to the rescue with today’s UIEtips article, Selecting Typefaces for Body Text.

If you’ve ever wished you could confidently stand behind your typeface choices, critique designs, and fix existing typography problems, Tim’s workshop, Designing with Type is calling for you at the User Interface Conference in Boston October 27-29.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Reevaluate your decisions about shape sturdiness, color evenness, and texture activity in every context you care about, wherever your typeset text may live. Sturdy shapes that look fine at low resolution may look clunky at high resolution. Color and texture that seem even and active on a Mac may not feel the same on an Android tablet.

Read the article: Selecting Typefaces for Body Text.

What are the traits of some of your favorite typefaces? Leave us a note below.