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:

UIE Newsletter: Preparing Organizations to Become Design-Infused

August 26th, 2015 by Jared Spool

In this week’s UIE newsletter, I define a design-infused organization as one where every decision is made with design at the forefront.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

It takes a long time to become a design-infused organization. Many have yet to make the transition. Some organizations are approaching it. These organizations value design enough to hire and embed designers in every project. They see how design is a competitive advantage.

Getting a UX designer embedded on every team is a fantastic achievement for most organizations. It shows commitment to producing great experiences and is very difficult to accomplish. However, there’s still room for the organization to grow.

Read the article: Preparing Organizations to Become Design-Infused.

How could your company improve to become more design-infused? Share your thoughts with us below.

UIE Newsletter: Effective Remote Design

August 19th, 2015 by Jared Spool

In this week’s UIE newsletter, Jim Kalbach outlines his four key recommendations for successful remote design teams.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

There are numerous benefits to remote work: flexibility and better work-life balance for employees, and wider talent pools and reduced costs for employers, to name a few.

But what about remote design? Surely, designers won’t be required to work in distributed contexts. After all, our work is highly visual in nature. We need to be able to draw and point and gesture. We’re meant to work shoulder-to-shoulder.

…With a little forethought, remote design can be as productive as working in person.

Read the article: Effective Remote Design.

How has your company taken steps to improve its remote design implementation and collaboration? Share your thoughts with us below.

UIE Newsletter: Perspectives over Power: Habits of Collaborative Team Meetings

August 12th, 2015 by Jared Spool

We’ve all been in productive, energetic meetings and we’ve been in dragged out, nothing accomplished, pull your hair out meetings. The difference between the two types of meetings comes down to planning and facilitating. In our research, we’ve found teams that have the most effective meetings create a particular type of experience and they follow a specific set of characteristics to ensure a successful meeting.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

As we were studying the different teams, we realized the outcomes in the more effective meetings didn’t happen by chance. They were quite intentional.

These teams had built up a toolbox of tricks and techniques that they regularly employed to get the most out of their meetings. The less effective teams tended to walk into the room and improvise how they were going to get their results. “How do we want to do this?” was a familiar starting refrain in many of these meetings.

We noticed the more effective teams spent more time preparing for the meeting than the less effective teams. In setting up the meeting, they’d discuss the approach they’d use and exactly what they wanted to get out.

Read the article: Perspectives over Power: Habits of Collaborative Team Meetings

What methods do you use for successful and productive meetings? Tell us about it below.

You Are the Inspiration for UI20

August 11th, 2015 by Jared Spool

There’s no rest for the weary when it comes to keeping your UX design skills up to date. Constant changes are often overwhelming and at times frustrating.

That’s why I designed this year’s UI20 workshop topics and speakers with you in mind. You deserve to learn from the very best on the most critical challenges you face when it comes to user experience.

Don’t miss the opportunity to come to Boston, November 2–4, to gain skills and soak up knowledge from these full-day workshop leaders:

  • Kim Goodwin: Drive design decisions from scenarios of what your users will do with the design.
  • Marc Stickdorn: Move beyond digital design, delivering delightful cross-channel experiences.
  • Nathan Curtis: Build a cohesive cross-product experience with defined standards and workflows.
  • Bruce McCarthy: Become part of the product strategy conversation by contributing UX perspectives.
  • Erika Hall: Cost-effective techniques to bring user-focused decision-making all through your project.
  • Steph Hay: A design process that starts with the conversation you want your customers to have.
  • Jenn Lukas: Communicate your design’s intent with the same language your developers use.
  • Jeff Gothelf: Move to Lean UX and discover and build what customers really want and need.

Explore all the workshops and sign up early. Year over year, this conference sells out and to guarantee the workshops of your choice, it’s best to register now.

And do make sure you track me down at the conference and tell me about the cool user experience designs you’re working on.

UIE Newsletter: Content-First Design

August 5th, 2015 by Jared Spool

In this week’s UIE newsletter, we reprint an article from Steph Hay. In it she investigates the art of interactive storytelling in the video game industry.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Game designers start with the story. What they add to the experience complements and builds on the core story; it doesn’t distract from the priority of “accomplish goal,” even when that takes a year longer than expected, as was the case with Journey, Sony’s award-winning game from thatgamecompany.

They design for discovery—learning in the moment not only increases retention and engagement, but it’s delightful and emotionally empowering.

Read the article: Content-First Design.

How could your company benefit from designing for discovery? Share your thoughts with us below.

UIE Newsletter: The New Design Leader Emphasizes Leadership

July 29th, 2015 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article, I discuss the changing roles of a design leader, whose focus should be more on leadership than on design.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

As we learn more about the current cohort of design leaders—the ones who are making their organizations more competitive through design—we find they are nothing like this mythical ideal super-designer. Their superpowers aren’t turning everything they touch into beautiful works to be idolized.

Instead, they focus more on leadership than on design. That isn’t to say they ignore design, rather that great design is the touchstone by which they bring everyone together.

Read the article: The New Design Leader Emphasizes Leadership.

How do you define a successful design leader? Share your thoughts with us below.

UIEtips: Designing with Scenarios – Putting Personas to Work

July 22nd, 2015 by Jared Spool

Storytelling is a natural form of expression. We’ve all been telling stories from a very young age. In the design process, personas become the tool we use to tell our users’ stories. And with good personas in place, usage scenarios can become the micro-stories that drive your design decisions.

Kim Goodwin tells us that scenarios put the design into the context of how and why the user will interact with it. In 2011 Kim presented a UIE Virtual Seminar, Designing with Scenarios: Putting Your Personas to Work.

Today’s UIEtips article is based on a discussion UIE’s Adam Churchill had with Kim. It’s based on two questions from the seminar: Do you need data to effectively do scenarios, and what’s the difference between scenarios and storyboarding?

Read the article: Designing with Scenarios: Putting Personas to Work.

What’s your experience with scenarios? Are you using data when developing them? Share your thoughts with us below.

UIEtips: Why Lean UX?

July 15th, 2015 by Jared Spool

In this week’s UIEtips, we reprint an article from Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden. They show us why Lean UX is important.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Lean UX is deeply collaborative and cross-functional, because we no longer have the luxury of working in isolation from the rest of the product team. We can’t continue to ask our teams to wait for us to figure it all out.

Read the article: Why Lean UX?

How do you implement Lean UX? Tell us about it below.

UIETips: Making Companies Competitive by Expanding Design’s Role

July 8th, 2015 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article, I explore the positive effects of expanding design awareness in organizations.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

In the last few years, companies like GE, Fidelity, Marriott, MasterCard, IBM, Paypal, Nasdaq, and Capital One have realized they can gain a competitive advantage by producing better downstream user experiences. They’re driving change in their industry by helping their customers’ organizations deliver better experiences in their own products and services. It’s not good enough to delight your direct customers. You have to delight all the customers and employees down the supply chain.

Read the article: Making Companies Competitive by Expanding Design’s Role.

How are you using design to become more competitive? Let us know below.

UIETips: Incorporating Content Strategy into Your Information Architecture

June 30th, 2015 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article, Margot Bloomstein shares examples of how organizations are successfully incorporating content strategy into their information architecture.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

What’s in, and what’s out? “In my experience, it is very easy for brilliant information architects (or UX people who do information architecture) to underestimate the importance of editorial planning, voice and tone, and detailed guidelines for content creation. And conversely, it’s very easy for highly skilled content people to underestimate how much information architecture has to do with things other than content: the finicky details of application behavior and interaction design, in particular. I’m a huge fan of collaborations between information architects who care about editorial concerns and content strategists who love structure and talking about data. But whatever your situation, it’s important to know your way around structural design, if only so that you can provide useful feedback and support.”

Read the article: Incorporating Content Strategy into Your Information Architecture.

Are you incorporating content strategy into your company’s information architecture? Let us know below.