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: 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.

UIEtips: How Agile UX Can Be a Cost Effective Approach

September 9th, 2014 by Jared Spool

In this week’s UIEtips, we reprint an article from Jared Spool. In it, he shares ideas on getting low-cost iterations into your Agile development process. Jared also makes the case that UX-focused design is a team sport.

If you’re looking for more on tying UX design and your Agile process together, then you’re going to want to join us on September 18, when Aviva Rosenstein presents our next virtual seminar, Making UX Work with Agile Scrum Teams.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

It’s tempting to let those UX-focused design team members do this early work while the rest of the team goes off and does other activities. However, the biggest value from these early iterations comes from the discussions and insights that emerge. The most successful teams involve everyone who will influence the eventual design—including developers and stakeholders—in their design studios and paper prototyping activities.

Read the article: Cost Effective Approaches to Iteration in Agile UX.

What techniques are you using to reduce the costs of iteration for your team? Leave us a note below.

UIEtips: Mobile as Medium — an Interview with Luke Wroblewski

September 3rd, 2014 by Jared Spool

Life would be so simple if all you had to do was reuse your existing website design for mobile devices. Well if you are doing that, you’re making a serious mistake. Today’s article is an excerpt from an interview that Jared Spool had with Luke Wroblewski back in June where they discuss the dangers of not designing for mobile.

We’re excited to have Luke Wroblewski do a daylong workshop on Mobile Design Essentials at this year’s UI19 Conference on October 27. Discover how this workshop will change your thinking.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

You start with the mobile experience. You make sure everything is great for that form factor, entering phone numbers and the like. What you’ll also find is, if you make it work well in the more constrained mobile environment, then it’s actually going to be a benefit on the bigger screen as well.

Read the article: Mobile as Medium–an Interview with Luke Wroblewski.

What considerations do you make when designing for mobile? Leave us a note below.

UIEtips: Service Design – Pushing Us Beyond the Familiar

August 26th, 2014 by Jared Spool

In a conventional UX approach, we’d focus on the bits. With service design, we go beyond and think about the cross-channel experience. Today’s article discusses the intricacies of service design and why you need to pay attention to it.

If you find yourself stumbling into the service design world with little direction, then Marc Stickdorn’s workshop at the UI19 conference is perfect for you. Marc will show you how to create a cohesive customer experience by expanding beyond digital and designing for every customer touch point. Explore his workshop, Service Design: Creating Delightful Cross-Channel Experiences.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

User research isn’t the only aspect of digital UX practice that we need to change when we start doing service design work. We need to look at how we prototype services, how we think about the information organized in the service delivery, how the service looks, and what behaviors we want each party to have when interacting in our designed experience.

Read the article: Service Design-Pushing Us Beyond the Familiar.

How have you blended your digital and non-digital channels to create better user experiences? Leave us a note below.

UIEtips: UX Strategy Blueprint

August 20th, 2014 by Jared Spool

In this week’s UIEtips, Jim Kalbach defines and discusses how to consistently create a UX strategy. Here he shares a tool with you for doing so at your organization—the UX Strategy Blueprint.

If your strategy discussions feel more like political battles than progressive team-building, pay attention to Jim Kalbach. His virtual seminar on Thursday, August 28 is all about Defining a UX Design Strategy.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Analysis and planning, while necessary inputs and outputs in the strategy creation process, are not the core of strategy. You can’t analyze your way to strategy: the answers don’t magically emerge from data. And detailed roadmaps don’t provide the rationale for the activity they organize. Strategy does. It connects analysis and planning with an intentional logic that guides decision making.

Read the article: UX Strategy Blueprint.

Do you have a UX Strategy Blueprint to define your UX strategy? Leave us a note below.

UIEtips: Principles Over Process – Four Core Tenets for How to Work as a Team of One

August 13th, 2014 by Jared Spool

As a solo UX design practitioner, you may think setting up a specific process is best to get others within your organization on board. But that’s not necessarily the case. In today’s UIEtips, we offer an excerpt from Leah Buley’s book UX Team of One. Leah covers four principles to follow to achieve success as a the sole UX designer within an organization.

Are you a lone UX designer at your company trying to figure out how to get others on board with the UX process? At the UI19 Conference in Boston, October 27-29 Leah’s workshop UX as a Team Sport will show you how to involve peers, bosses, and users in the design process. Learn more about her workshop.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Principles are deceptively simple; they’re just statements, really. They are a way for you to articulate a vision for what your user-centered approach should ultimately entail. Principles can apply to not just what you make, but also how you work. Think of the following principles as core tenets for how to work as a team of one. With startling consistency, the most happy and successful teams of one explain that it’s their mindset, not just their methods, that keep them going.

Read the article: Principles Over Process – Four Core Tenets for How to Work as a Team of One.

How have design principles improved the end result of your UX project? Leave us a note below.

UIEtips: Introduction to Design Studio Methodology

August 5th, 2014 by Jared Spool

In this week’s UIEtips, Will Evans outlines how a Design Studio works and why it’s a critical component to collaborative design.

If your team has been practicing some form of Agile or Scrum, it likely has a very loose definition of an MVP, a Minimal Viable Product. Fortunately, Will is also presenting a seminar on this Thursday, August 14. Learn more about his seminar, Minimizing Design Risk with The Minimal Viable Product.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Design Studio is conducted in a highly interactive, fast-paced team setting following a methodology commonly used in architecture and industrial design, but with some important twists. It has been called the “Iron Chef,” of ideation. It can be intense, focused, and chaotic at times, but those lucky enough to have participated understand the power and effectiveness of this tool.

Read the article: Introduction to Design Studio Methodology.

How has collaborative design helped you and your team accomplish your goals? Leave us a note below.

UIEtips: Developing a Right Feeling for Designing with Type

July 30th, 2014 by Jared Spool

You know that feeling when you look at a web site and think everything looks just right? It flows well, there’s a nice balance of white space, and it’s pleasing on the eyes. Perhaps you may not realize it but it’s likely that the type plays the dominant role in this. Today’s article looks at three steps to make you more comfortable when designing with type.

If you struggle with determining the right type to design with, then Tim Brown’s UI19 workshop Designing with Type is perfect for you.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

There are lots of creative activities that are refined using feel as the guide. Master chefs combine ingredients, not in exact amounts, but because they have a feel for what will taste great together. Seasoned musicians can play the right notes at the right time for the right length, because they know what will sound right.

Interestingly, anyone can develop these feelings. It takes study and practice because it’s a learned skill. The experienced designers we talked to didn’t always know how to design with type. But how do you learn it?

Read the article: Developing a Right Feeling for Designing with Type.

How did you learn typography? Leave us a note below.

9 Glowing Remarks You’d Like Your Boss to Say About You

July 28th, 2014 by Jared Spool

Wow! You just significantly enhanced the user experience of our site. You did an amazing job facilitating discussions around our goals, roles, and responsibilities. Creating those scenarios helped identify and resolve many of our design issues. And mapping out the conversation we want with our customers and designing around that was brilliant.

The way the site now shows data is very impressive. It is clear, concise, and easy to understand. You really captured the nuances of the microinteractions with our users.

Some how you conveyed the right importance and hierarchies for the site through typography. You really nailed it.

As you know, mobile design was critical for us. I’m impressed with the layouts and navigation you implemented to make the mobile experience exceptional.

The User Interface 19 Conference was an amazing learning opportunity. I’m so glad we sent the entire team!

Want to make this type of impression?

It is no easy task to achieve the skills that lead you to these types of rave reviews. That’s why the format of the User Interface 19 Conference is built around hands-on, full day workshops so you become proficient at that topic.

Make yourself the most valuable UX person possible by attending UI19 in Boston October 27-29. Use the promotion code BLOGUI19 and get $300 off the current price. Send a team of four or more and get $500 off each person (make sure you use the code BLOGUI19 for the full discount).

Now go figure out which amazing workshops is right for you.

UIEtips: Designing Microinteractions

July 24th, 2014 by Jared Spool

Microinteractions can truly delight the user or go completely unnoticed and be void of an actual interaction. In today’s article, we look back on an interview with Jared Spool and Dan Saffer on what microinteractions are and how they can completely change the user experience.

Last year’s Designing for Microinteractions workshop from Dan was the highest rated workshop. We’re excited to have him back again October 29 in Boston at UI19. Learn what it takes to make effective microinteractions.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Jared: In this day and age, anybody who’s doing any sort of app, whether it’s desktop or mobile or even just building some content-related stuff, there are microinteractions involved in that.

Dan: There are microinteractions involved in every product. The question is whether you’re actually going to spend the time and care to make them the best that they can be. In my opinion, you’re only as good as your worst microinteraction. There’s a lot of things that are completely undifferentiated, but if you have some really nice microinteractions around it, that makes all the difference in the world. An obvious example is your operating system. Most operating systems are doing the exact same things. How all those things work is all about people focusing on the microinteractions inside the operating system and that really differentiates one from the other.

Read the article: Designing Microinteractions.

How have you created microinteractions in your designs and products? Leave us a note below.