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: Hire UX Experts or Give Your Team Their Own UX Skills?

June 24th, 2015 by Jared Spool

In this week’s UIEtips, we reprint the article Hiring UX experts versus giving your team their own UX skills. In the article, I explain why you should be transitioning from a single UX expert to a UX-aware team.

Here’s an excerpt:

UX is a complex field because there are lots of complexities: accessibility, mobile design, working in government agencies, working in an agile development process, and dealing with cross-cultural needs, to name a few. Yet, these are edge cases. 80% of UX work is quite routine and when learned by everyone on the team, creates consistently good designs.

Read the article: Hiring UX experts versus giving your team their own UX skills.

Have you begun the shift to a UX-aware team rather than just one expert?

UIETips: Help! Is There a Cardiothoracic Surgeon in the Room?

June 17th, 2015 by Jared Spool

In this week’s UIEtips, we reprint the article “Help! Is There a Cardiothoracic Surgeon in the Room?”. In the article I explore UX roles, skills, and which is more important.

Here’s an excerpt:

Teams with the right skills are more likely to produce great user experiences. Teams missing the right skills are very unlikely to produce anything exciting or delightful. (Of course, we can’t say ‘never’. Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn every so often. But, if I’m staffing a team, I want to do so in a way that will have the best odds, no?)

Read the article: “Help! Is There a Cardiothoracic Surgeon in the Room?”.

What skills do you look for in your team?

UIETips: Enabling Design Influence at Scale

June 10th, 2015 by Jared Spool

In this week’s UIEtips, we publish an article from Chris Avore on Design Influence. In the article Chris  explores design driven success.

Here’s an excerpt:

Just showing the rest of the organization what your team is doing isn’t enough to scale design—it’s just giving you the credibility and visibility you’ll need when other leaders ask who to turn to when their own businesses or teams want to begin an engagement. To truly scale design, you have to put the methods of designers into the toolkit of the people who don’t report to you—product managers, to development teams, business analysts, marketers, account executives, and management, and maybe even the customers themselves.

Read the article: Enabling Design Influence at Scale.

How does your team create a common understanding of design responsibilities?

UIEtips: Beyond the UX Tipping Point

June 2nd, 2015 by Jared Spool

In this week’s UIEtips, we reprint one of my original articles. 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: Riding the Magic Escalator of Acquired Knowledge

May 27th, 2015 by Jared Spool

In today’s UIEtips, we’re reprinting an article from me. In it I explore a simple visualization tool we invented to help teams and stakeholders see where their designs are too complex for their users and what they can do about it. I call this tool the Magic Escalator of Acquired Knowledge and, as you’ll see, it can be quite effective for getting the entire team working on making an easier-to-use design.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Mapping what we know about our users and their tasks on to the Magic Escalator of Acquired Knowledge can help us predict where those users are likely to encounter complexity issues. Looking at the top tasks and listing out what we think users know and don’t know can help us develop a strategy for creating simpler interfaces.

Read the article Riding the Magic Escalator of Acquired Knowledge.

How have you dealt with the complexity in your designs? Tell us about it below.

Your UX Package is Waiting

May 26th, 2015 by Jared Spool

Tackling your UX to do list can be overwhelming. Maybe there’s a missing skill set or your team could benefit from a consulting call with me. Well, we’re here to help.

Here are three unique packages of UX resources for you to choose from, all guaranteed to improve the UX happening at your organization. But get yours soon because they are only available until June 11.

The Pixel Package

  • 2 passes to any UIE conferences
  • 4 subscriptions to the All You Can Learn Library

View the Pixel Package

The Landing Page Package

  • 2 passes to any UIE conferences
  • 4 subscriptions to the All You Can Learn Library
  • 6 months of live virtual seminars
  • 3 x 1hr consulting calls with Jared Spool

View the Landing Page Package

The Web Site Package

  • 2 passes to any UIE conferences
  • 4 subscriptions to the All You Can Learn Library
  • 6 months of live virtual seminars
  • 3 x 1hr consulting calls with Jared Spool
  • 1 on-site presentation from Jared Spool
  • 1 hour in-person consulting session

View the Web Site Package

UIETips: Designing without a Designer

May 20th, 2015 by Jared Spool

In today’s UIEtips, we’re happy to offer my latest original article. In it I discuss how designers can benefit your team in more ways than just delivering a design.

Design must be infused within an entire organization to get the competitive advantage. It’s so critical that we created a conference all around this – UX Advantage Conference in Baltimore August 18,19. You’ll hear interviews from leaders at PayPal, Capital One, Marriott, and others on how they pushed the competitive advantage of design in their organization.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Those folks who learn how to do a good enough job have become consciously competent. They can make good results happen most of the time, though they often don’t know the underlying theory as to why. (Think of someone who can follow a baking recipe and create great cupcakes, but doesn’t understand the chemistry of baking.)

Read the article Designing without a Designer.

What challenges has your team faced in reaching conscious competence with their design skills? Tell us about it below.

UIETips: Style Guide Best Practices

May 14th, 2015 by Jared Spool

In today’s UIEtips, we’re happy to publish an article on Style Guides from Brad Frost.

If you want to hear more from Brad on this topic, join us on June 4, when he presents our next virtual seminar, The Why & How of Successful Style Guides. Brad’s presentation will challenge you to think differently and to employ a more deliberate design system.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Pattern-based design and development requires you to blur your eyes a little bit. When creating a design system built for reuse, it’s essential to take a step back from the current context and name things in an agnostic way. “Carousel”, not “Homepage Carousel”. “Filters” not “Product Grid Filters”. “Radio Button Group” not “Gender Select”. And so on.

Read the article Style Guide Best Practices.

How do you leverage style guides in your projects? Tell us about it below.

Be part of a UX roundtable call when you register for UI20

May 8th, 2015 by Jared Spool

Register for the User Interface 20 Conference by May 22 and you’ll participate in an hour long UX roundtable call with me. Don’t miss this chance to ask me your most burning UX questions (or even your non-burning non UX questions).

Come to Boston November 2-4, 2015 for intensive workshops and talks focusing on what it takes to make your designs work on all mobile devices.

Workshop Leaders and Topics to Date:

  • Kim Goodwin – Personas and Scenarios
  • Jeff Gothelf – Lean UX
  • Steph Hay – Content Strategy
  • Nathan Curtis – Design Systems
  • Marc Stickdorn – Service Design
  • Keynote with Jared Spool

 

Save your spot at UI20 for $1,475

Plus you’ll partake in a 60-minute UX discussion call with Jared Spool if you register by May 22, 2015

UIETips: Ultra-Contextual Design

May 6th, 2015 by Jared Spool

In today’s UIEtips, we’re happy to publish an article on Contextual Design from Abi Jones.

If you’re trying to figure out whether sensor-informed context is right for you and your users, join Abi on May 14, when she presents the next virtual seminar, Explore the Possibilities of Ultra-Contextual Design. During Abi’s seminar she’ll cover how journey maps help make the London Underground accessible to visually impaired people, the UX of mountain rescues, methods for optimizing sensor permission requests, and a taxonomy for designing context-­aware systems.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

The first step in creating a context­-aware system is understanding the context for use. There are two levels for contextual understanding, the broad context for the user journey and the ultra­-contextual aspects of each touchpoint within the journey.

Read the article Ultra-Contextual Design.

How do you implement contextually-aware designs? Tell us about it below.