Jared 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.
I believe many people in our industry struggle with “design in the browser” simply because they aren’t fluent with the tools needed for working that way. I’ve heard many people say, “Happy accidents don’t happen in code like they do in PhotoShop.” I can testify that this is absolutely not true. Instead, I believe it’s about where you are the most fluent.
As we evaluate the best tools for the monumental task of problem solving in design, I keep coming back to the ideal of fluency as a solid principle on which to base the decision. You can’t write poetry in a language you don’t speak. Similarly, you can’t craft design using tools you’re not fluent with.
In the past few years, we’ve recognized the danger in jumping headfirst into full-comp design before we really understand the design direction. Other disciplines have recognized this for a long time-think mood boards in branding-and taken steps to ramp up their design effort. The goal here is to establish the basic building blocks we’ll use in the rest of the design process: things like color, type, texture, illustration style, photography treatment, iconography. Once these are established, the success rate for the rest of the process is greatly increased. There are a number of ways to do this on the web; let’s look at a few.
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The UXIM recording topics and speakers:
Building Dynamic Systems from Atomic Elements
Doing Pocket Research to Learn About Your Users’ Lives
I remember seeing an architect who talked about his best projects. When he walked through the finished building for the first time, he said it felt completely familiar because it matched exactly what he’d imagined years before. His intention had made it all the way through the implementation process.
Seeing our designs rendered exactly as we imagined them is exciting. Yet it’s frustrating when our designs aren’t implemented the way we were thinking.
As we study what makes design teams successful, shared understanding keeps bubbling up to the top of our list. Teams that attain a shared understanding are far more likely to get a great design than those teams who fail to develop a common perception of the project’s goals and outcome.
In today’s UIEtips, Jared Spool explains how storytelling is the core of design communication. Here’s an excerpt from the article:
Knowing how to change the users’ behaviors is one thing. Knowing which behaviors to change is another.
There are often many approaches to improving a design. Everyone can think they are working towards a better overall experience, but if each team member chooses a different approach, the design becomes confusing and complex.
When we’re working on a team, getting the entire team to work together from the same approach becomes job one. Smaller teams (such as those with six or less folks) have always had an easier time of this than larger ones. This is because it’s more likely the smaller teams are checking in and talking to each other.
Fortunately, there’s help for larger teams. It comes in a technique that is as old as humanity – storytelling.
In today’s UIEtips, Dan Brown of EightShapes discusses the three ways in which people misunderstand collaboration. You’ll be much more successful encouraging collaboration with an understanding of these misconceptions.
Sometimes, people think of collaboration in very simple terms, ignoring the planning, structure, and organization it requires. There are three common misconceptions that oversimplify collaboration, as discussed next:
Throw smart people together. Suffice it to say that working with smart people is satisfying and challenging. But collaboration isn’t just about smarts. It’s about providing a framework for working together. Just as important as intelligence is a willingness to work within the framework.
We can measure a design on a scale from frustration to delight. The middle of this scale is a neutral point, where the design is neither frustrating nor delightful. It doesn’t suck, but it’s not remarkable either. It’s just a neutral experience.
When improving a bad design, we first must remove the frustrating bits to get to that neutral point. Observation of the users’ experience, followed by careful rethinking of the design can remove everything that’s introducing frustration.
Improving the design from the neutral point, to introduce delight is a different process. It’s additive, whereas getting to the neutral point is reductive. We have to know what to add to make the experience become delightful.
Lately there’s all this talk of UX unicorns. Have you found them? Are you trying to nurture them? Are you hoping to be one? Research shows there’s a strong correlation between UX Unicorns and the UX skills they acquire and hone. Read about the five ways you can become a UX unicorn.
Here’s an excerpt from the article:
We call them unicorns because they are supposed to be mythical creatures-something that doesn’t exist in the real world. That’s how the nickname came about.
Yet, over the past couple of years, we’ve started meeting people who fit the description of a UX unicorn. They are very real and they are amongst us. We know because we’ve met and studied several dozen of these multi-skilled designers over the past two years.
Where do you begin to develop these skills? Well, one resource is UIE’s All You Can Learn, a library of all things UX. Just create your account, and over 160 seminars will be at your fingertips.
In today’s UIEtips, we reprint an article on the debate and discussion surrounding Lean UX. Some have seen it as a condemnation of extensive documentation while others have said it’s a rebranding of techniques they’ve been practicing for years. In this excerpt from Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience, authors Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden lay out their rationale for why Lean UX is something new and why it’s important now.
Here’s an excerpt from the article:
Working in software, designers faced new challenges. We had to figure out the grammar of this new medium, and as we did, we saw new specialties such as interaction design and information architecture emerge. But the process by which designers practiced remained largely unchanged. We still designed products in great detail in advance, because we still had to deal with a “manufacturing” process: our work had to be duplicated onto floppy disks and CDs, which were then distributed to market in exactly the same way that physical goods were distributed. The cost of getting it wrong remained high.
If you want a learning-focused process that rallies your entire team around continuous research-and more effective design outcomes-then join us for Josh Seiden’s April 3 virtual seminar, Lean UX: Forming & Testing Hypotheses.
How have you implemented Lean UX in your organization? Tell us about it below.