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: Becoming a Design-Infused Organization

April 9th, 2015 by Jared Spool

In today’s UIEtips, I offer an original article on two UX mutations that will give your company a competitive edge.

Using UX as a competitive edge is what our new conference, UX Advantage is all about. Karen McGrane and I interview design leaders on what they do to instill UX within their corporate DNA. Explore the conference’s ten key interview topics.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Intrinsically motivated organizations are more innovative. Apple innovated an entire new store concept, with commission-less retail staff, a massive investment in in-store customer training, and a cashier-less purchasing system. The New York Times applied innovative thinking to smarter ad placements, integrated interactive designers into the editorial team, and clever ways to leak high-profile articles through the pay-wall to increase exposure from social media.

Finding intrinsic motivation and using that to drive the massive change within the organization seems to be the successful pattern. It’s a more difficult path, because it requires looking beyond today’s competitive pressures and researching opportunities that nobody else has spotted yet. However, the payoff is big when you pull it off.

Read the article Becoming Design-Infused: 2 Necessary Mutations to Organizational DNA.

How is UX used to your company’s advantage? Tell us about it below.

UIETips: Devising a Strategy for Responsive Design

April 1st, 2015 by Jared Spool

In today’s UIEtips, we reprint an article on the importance of organizations nailing down a strategy for making their sites responsive. I make the point that saying yes to responsive design will require changes to your editorial process, the ways you approach visual and interaction design, and how you think about your users and their goals.

If your team struggles with how to design responsively, then you’ll want join Stephen Hay’s day long workshop at UXIM Wednesday, April 15 on Optimizing Responsive Workflows with Structured Content. Stephen Hay has a practical approach to improving your responsive web design workflow.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

A responsive design can have multiple breakpoints, say for a small-screen phone, then a large-screen phone, then a tablet, then a laptop/desktop. Many teams try to decide on breakpoints using average screen sizes.

However, it’s better to look at what the content and navigation wants to be. By letting the content and navigation drive the breakpoints, teams find they can often get away with fewer screen configurations. For example, a high-resolution Retina iPad might easily share the same configuration as a well-constructed laptop display, while lower resolution tablets might just need a little adjustment to that same configuration.

Read the article Devising a Strategy for Responsive Design.

What are your strategies for preparing a responsive design? Tell us about it below.

UIETips: Five Ways to Animate Responsibly

March 25th, 2015 by Jared Spool

In today’s UIEtips, we’re reprinting and article from Rachel Nabors, originally published in 24 Ways. Want to know more about how to put animation to work for your interface and its users? Join us April 2, when Rachel presents Improve UX With Animation.

“Here’s an excerpt from the article:”

Sadly, animation is considered decorative by the bulk of the web development community. UI designers and interaction developers know better, of course. But when I’m teaching a workshop on animation for interaction, I know that my students face an uphill battle against decision makers who consider it nice to have, and tack it on at the end of a project, if at all.

This stigma is hard to shake. But it starts with us using animation deliberately or not at all. Poorly considered, tacked-on animation will often cause more harm than good. Users may complain that it’s too slow or too fast, or that they have no idea what just happened.

Read the article Five Ways to Animate Responsibly.

How do you use animations to improve user experience? Tell us about it below.

20% off UXIM Plus 5 Other Reasons to Attend

March 24th, 2015 by Jared Spool

Conquer your mobile design challenges

Attending the UX Immersion Mobile Conference in Salt Lake City, UT April 13–15 will be one of the best mobile UX training events you have ever attended. Here are 5 reasons why.

  1. Register by March 26 to Save 20%. Use Promotion Code 20OFF

    This code works whether you sign up for 1, 2 or three days. The more days you attend, the more you save.

  2. Full Day Workshops That Give You Concrete Skills to Use Immediately

    Responsive web design, native apps, experiencing mapping, adaptive design, atomic design, and responsive workflows are all topics necessary to create delightful mobile user experiences.

  3. The Workshop Leaders Spend Some Time Listening to You

    Attendees tell us things like, “The accessibility of the different speakers. I can literally walk up, get a handshake, say hi, and talk.” “The workshops and speeches are extremely useful and inspiring.”

  4. Meet with Your Peers to Discuss Your Successes and Challenges

    UXIM attendees have said, “It was an environment where one could actually have real conversations with experts and meet people in the field.” And “Casual, very welcoming, very professional.”

  5. Leave the Conference with Practical, Actionable “Stuff”

    With your new found learning, you’ll empower your coworkers and clients by sharing great advice, direction, and new skills.

  6. Your Learning Starts the Moment You Register

    With your registration, you’ll have a year of access to All You Can Learn by UIE. Get at more than 200 virtual seminar recordings and conference recordings now.

UIETips: Progressive Enhancement and the Content-out Approach

March 19th, 2015 by Jared Spool

In today’s UIEtips, we’re pleased to publish an excerpt from Aaron’s book which discusses how progressive enhancement can serve your users by giving them access to content without technological restrictions.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Fundamentally, progressive enhancement is about accessibility, but not in the limited sense the term is most often used. The term “accessibility” is traditionally used to denote making content available to individuals with “special needs” (people with limited motility, cognitive disabilities, or visual impairments); progressive enhancement takes this one step further by recognizing that we all have special needs. Our special needs may also change over time and within different contexts. When I load up a website on my phone, for example, I am visually limited by my screen resolution (especially if I am using a browser that encourages zooming) and I am limited in my ability to interact with buttons and links because I am browsing with my fingertips, which are far larger and less precise than a mouse cursor.

Join Aaron Gustafson and Jenn Lukas at a full–day workshop at the UX Immersion Mobile Conference and learn how to create a solid core and build out to craft amazing user experiences that work regardless of devices capabilities or deficiencies.

Read the article Progressive Enhancement and the Content-out Approach.

Do you use progressive enhancement in your designs? Tell us about it below.

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.