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: ‘View Full Site’ Must Die

March 11th, 2015 by Jared Spool

In this week’s UIEtips, I offer my latest original article. In it I explain why responsive design should take over M dot sites.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

We provide the escape hatch because the M Dot’s experience isn’t complete. The M Dot site can’t have what the user needs, because we’ve intentionally crippled it.

Read the article: ‘View Full Site’ Must Die

What impact did moving from M dot to a responsive design have on your site? Tell us about it below.

UIETips: Better Accessibility Needs User Research

March 4th, 2015 by Jared Spool

In this week’s UIEtips, we offer an article from Whitney Quesenbery. She teaches us how user research can move the accessibility of your designs from good enough to great.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

If you don’t include people who access technology in different ways in your user research and usability testing, you will never know whether you have created a site that works for them.

Read the article: Better Accessibility Needs User Research

How has your user research improved accessibility? Tell us about it below.

UIETips: Atomic Design

February 25th, 2015 by Jared Spool

In this week’s UIEtips, we reprint an article from Brad Frost. He explains a methodology for creating design systems called Atomic Design.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

In searching for inspiration and parallels, I kept coming back to chemistry. The thought is that all matter (whether solid, liquid, gas, simple, complex, etc) is comprised of atoms. Those atomic units bond together to form molecules, which in turn combine into more complex organisms to ultimately create all matter in our universe.

Read the article: Atomic Design

How do you use atomic design in your projects? Tell us about it below.

UIETips: Rethinking Mobile Tutorials: Which Patterns Really Work?

February 17th, 2015 by Jared Spool

In this week’s UIEtips, we offer an article from Theresa Neil and Rich Malley. In it they look at what mobile tutorial patterns work the best.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

So, why don’t these patterns work? I turned to the field of game design for answers. Game designers have always known that you can’t drop new players into the middle of a firefight and expect them to enjoy the experience. Most players would be dead before figuring out how to fire their weapons and fight back.

Read the article: Rethinking Mobile Tutorials: Which Patterns Really Work?

What mobile tutorial patterns, do your users find most effective? Tell us about it below.

UIETips:The Curse of a Mobile Strategy

February 11th, 2015 by Jared Spool

In this week’s UIEtips, we offer an original article from me, Jared Spool. In it I look at the reasons to go with either a mobile–friendly web site or a native app. 

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

However the idea of a mobile strategy has always struck me as a bit odd. After all, an airline doesn’t usually have a kiosk strategy or a customer service desk strategy. The kiosk and customer service desk are also places where customers want to get boarding passes, change flight arrangements, learn the status of flights, and all the other things a mobile experience would provide. Yet there’s no “strategy” around those options for the customer.

Read the article: The Curse of a Mobile Strategy

What are you building to provide the best experience for your customer? Tell us about it below.

UIEtips: Why Lean UX

February 4th, 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: Some Thoughts on “Designing in the Browser”

January 28th, 2015 by Jared Spool

In this week’s UIEtips, we print an article from Stephen Hay. He shows what “designing in the browser” really means and how he implements it.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

When I speak of designing in the browser, I mean creating browser-based design mockups/comps (I use the terms interchangeably), as opposed to static comps (like the PSDs we’re all used to). So it’s not the design. It’s the visualization of the design—the one you present to stakeholders. It’s not the only deliverable, but it’s the one that’s most important to show in the browser. Before that, I sketch. On paper. Other people I know who “design in the browser” actually use Photoshop. For sketching. But when we say “designing in the browser”, we mean the comp is in the browser.

Read the article: Some Thoughts on “Designing in the Browser

Do you design in the browser? Tell us about it below

UIEtips: Components Versus Patterns

January 21st, 2015 by Jared Spool

In this week’s UIEtips, we reprint an article from Nathan Curtis. He shows us how patterns and components are different and what you should be building for your library.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

For example, consider countless video players proliferating needlessly throughout the sections and contexts of a website: embedded in a product spotlight, a different player in a different spotlight, unique players in lightboxes & popups, new players for content from the training group, etc. Built by different teams at different times, the designs all play video amid UI controls with inconsistent behavior and appearance.

Read the article: Components Versus Patterns

How do you ensure that your critiques are constructive? Tell us about it below.

UIEtips: Design Decision Style

January 14th, 2015 by Jared Spool

In this week’s UIEtips, we offer an original article from me, Jared Spool. In it I explore how to choose the best design style for your team.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

In our research, we’ve seen the most effective design teams are very deliberate about how they make decisions. They pick a decision-making approach early on, get everyone on board (including senior management), and then stick with it throughout the project.

The team’s Director of User Experience had seen me give a presentation about our research. (This one, in fact.) He now wanted his team to choose the right decision style for their future work. He invited me to help work through their choices.

Read the article: Figuring Out Your Design Decision Style

What design style works best for your team? Tell us about it below.

UIEtips: Setting the Foundation for Meaningful Critiques—Goals, Principles, Personas and Scenarios

January 7th, 2015 by Jared Spool

In this week’s UIEtips, we reprint an article from Adam Connor. According to Adam, doing critiques well and constructively is no easy task. Often designers feel picked on or that the feedback doesn’t give enough direction. A key concept to remember is that “critique is a form of analysis”. It’s a discussion on what is working well and what areas need improvement. To do this right you need goals. You need to ask if what you’re critiquing is reaching the objectives of the goals you and your team created. Adam discusses how to set the foundation of a meaningful critique by using goals, principles, personas, and scenarios.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

And this is where goals, principles, personas and scenarios come into play. Don’t look at them as just deliverables in a statement of work, I know many people often do. Look at them as a level of understanding. By providing your teammates or critics with this information you can set a foundation on which good dialogue can be built.

Read the article: Setting the Foundation for Meaningful Critiques – Goals, Principles, Personas and Scenarios

How do you ensure that your critiques are constructive? Tell us about it below.