Jared M. Spool

Jared SpoolJared M. Spool is the founder of User Interface Engineering and a co-founder of Center Centre.

If you’ve ever seen Jared speak about user experience design, you know that he’s probably the most effective and knowledgeable communicator on the subject today. He’s been working in the field of usability and experience design since 1978, before the term “usability” was ever associated with computers.

He is also the conference chair and keynote speaker at the annual UI Conference and UX Immersion Conference, and manages to squeeze in a fair amount of writing time. He is author of the book Web Usability: A Designer’s Guide and co-author of Web Anatomy: Interaction Design Frameworks that Work. You can find his writing at uie.com and follow his adventures on the twitters at @jmspool.

Jared's posts:

Transform What You Build and How You’ll Build It

February 23rd, 2018 by Jared Spool

Hello,

This is your chance to save $400 when you register for the UX Immersion: Interactions Conference in Newport Beach, CA, March 5-7. Here’s what you’ll get when you register today:

What are you waiting for? You only have through tomorrow to save $400 on your UX Immersion: Interactions ticket. This amazing event happens March 5-7 and you don’t want to miss it.

See you in Newport Beach.

Jared

Five Ways To Animate Responsibly

February 23rd, 2018 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article Rachel Nabors talks about animating responsibly.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

If an animation doesn’t help the user in some way, by showing them where they are or how two elements on a page relate to each other, then it’s using up battery juice and processing cycles solely for the purpose of delight. Hardly the best use of resources.

Rather than animating solely for the sake of delight, we should first be able to articulate two things the animation does for the user.

Read the article: Five Ways To Animate Responsibly

What interface or design elements do you find benefits from animation? Share them with us below.

Measure what matters

February 21st, 2018 by Jared Spool

We gather data to determine the direction and assess the value of what we create. Every business, and client, has a specific approach to the way they define success. How many subscribers do you have? What is the customer retention rate? How many unique visits, and downloads? What is the time on site, the bounce rate? How are your WAUs, DAUs, and MAUs? (Weekly, Daily, and Monthly Average Users.) How do you define engagement?

We make critical decisions around content, design, and product development that are informed in part by metrics. But what do metrics tell us about the success or failure of a product, the user experience, or design? What metrics should we rely on?

Unfortunately, user experience designers rarely hold sway over determining what metrics matter, but they may be able to shift the conversation around how teams determine metrics for success to evaluate product designs and usage.

The quantitative data that we collect often drives important product decisions, but numbers garnered from out-of-the-box solutions like Google Analytics often generate arbitrary data points that don’t really tell us much. Metrics paint only part of the picture: the what, and not the why. For the why to happen, we need qualitative measures. We need the narrative behind the numbers to establish and track metrics that provide true insight into the user experience, the value, and the outcome of what we create.

You need to start making measurement part of your design practice. To do that you’ll want to spend a day in the amazing UX Immersion: Interactions workshop with Kate Rutter. Kate is a master at the intersection of business performance and great design, which is exactly why you want to learn about UX Metrics from her. Register this week and save $400 off of your full conference registration with code NEWPORT18.

The Next Step in Eliminating Bad Design: Hiring Great UX Designers

February 16th, 2018 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article I talk about hiring UX Designers.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

We have an audacious 100-year mission: Eliminate all the bad design from the world. It started 30 years ago with what was then User Interface Engineering (which became UIE and is now Center Centre/UIE). Back then, we saw the immense frustration caused by poor design practices. We wanted to make the world a better place through great design.

We figured it would take us a long time. In that time, we’ve come a long way.

Organizations get it. Many are now building out their own internal design organizations. They want to stop shipping products and services that deliver poor experiences.

Read the article: The Next Step in Eliminating Bad Design: Hiring Great UX Designers

Are you looking to improve your hiring process? Share your experience with us below.

Guide your users to informed decisions

February 13th, 2018 by Jared Spool

We use visual models all the time to make sense of information, scribbled on napkins and in notebooks, spread out across charts and graphics, and in the mapping of user experiences. Some templates for this kind of modeling are effective, while others seem to breed more confusion and complexity than they intend. How do we get it right?

Templates for these models might be an easy bet for the designer to use, but they all have their quirks and limitations. Stephen Anderson challenges us to create the right model for the data and information we have by understanding the elements we use to create them.

When we understand the elements of visual language, we can explore and communicate data more deeply by creating and customizing our own maps and models. We can also identify more easily why some model templates miss the mark.

You need to start communicating complex ideas and concepts with compelling visualizations. To do that you’ll want to spend a day in this amazing UX Immersion: Interactions workshop with Stephen Anderson. Stephen is a world renowned speaker and author of the books, “Seductive Interaction Design” and “Design for Understanding,” which is exactly why you want to learn about visualization from him. And register by this Saturday to save hundreds of your dollars.

Get A Better UX Metric From Your NPS Survey Data

February 9th, 2018 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article I expand on my analysis of the Net Promoter Score.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

A few weeks ago, I wrote a somewhat controversial analysis of Net Promoter Score, a business metric employed in many organizations. Many who were critical of my article stated they thought I should’ve provided a replacement for their beloved instrument, if I was going to tell them they can’t use it any more. While there is no replacement for the numeric score, there is a way to get value out of the survey used to collect the Net Promoter Score data.

Keep in mind that this method for getting value from an NPS survey isn’t easy. As you’ll read, it involves a series of difficult steps.

However, it’s not rocket science either. (NASA has been a client of ours and they’ve confirmed, it’s not rocket science. They have very strict definitions and this does not match that.)

Read the article: Get A Better UX Metric From Your NPS Survey Data.

How much value are you placing on your Net Promoter Score? Share your experience with us below.

Communicating With Design

February 8th, 2018 by Jared Spool

Design influences behavior by guiding and motivating people to do something, to take an action, or, by contrast, slowing them down. Some design choices create unintended negative experiences by creating a type of friction for the user: a complicated checkout process, an even more complicated password retrieval workflow.

Alternatively, we create a more positive brand of friction when we slow customers down with details for securing passwords, or reminders that educate them about the consequences of a decision, such as deleting information from a system.

Understanding this balance, the flow of the customer experience, the relationship between the design and content, informs the choices we make.

When we spot moments in our design that encourage flow in areas, and less friction, we can improve the experience, as well as the comprehension of the content and information our designs convey.

We uncover opportunities in testing, in customer journeys, and service blueprints. By understanding the behaviors that our designs encourage, we design better experiences, create trust, and successfully convey information.

Join Stephen at the 2018 UXI Conference in his Visually Making Sense of Complex Information workshop and explore how you can communicate complex ideas through design.

Designing for Cognition

February 5th, 2018 by Jared Spool

How we perceive information, absorb and make sense out of it, is influenced by a myriad of factors, from typeface and size to iconography, presentation, and context. Our brains seek out patterns and narratives. We make visual associations that are based on our experiences, and that influence how we understand what we see. In 2018, it should come as no surprise that our attention and awareness is hackable.

So, how do we design interactions and display complex visual information in ways that help people make sense out of what they are seeing? Stephen Andersonrecommends that we begin by understanding how people experience design. Explore the space between the lines of your designs, and consider the associations both intended and unintended that your choices create.

Content, data and information, and design are mutually dependent upon each other to convey meaning and message successfully. Content might be king, but design and presentation share its reign. Even when we look to old school media, how we interact and absorb a book, for example, is influenced by the typeface and layout.

Join Stephen at the 2018 UXI Conference in his Visually Making Sense of Complex Information workshop and explore how you can communicate complex ideas through design.

UIE Article – Pushback is a Poison. Alignment is the Antidote.

February 2nd, 2018 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article I talk about organizing tasks.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Alignment maps are a critical tool during the alignment process. They are representations of the current goals and direction of the project, encompassing the current thinking and recently uncovered details.

These maps become mainstay features of meetings and discussions. Comments are attached with sticky notes. New revisions integrate the latest thinking. They are simultaneously an overview of the strategic approach and a sounding board for the tactical efforts.

Read the article: Pushback is a Poison. Alignment is the Antidote.

How does your team utilize alignment maps? Share your experience with us below.

Embrace good ideas from every part of your team

February 1st, 2018 by Jared Spool

The search for the right solution to a problem evolves out of the way we think about it: How decisions are made to meet specific goals and objectives, and why we made them. With critique, designers are able to explain the thinking behind the choices they’ve made and get feedback on those choices. It can help them refocus their work in areas that fall short, and bring to light those areas that shine (and why).

When we begin by focusing on the goals, and whether the design has met them, we move the conversation away from personal opinion. Critique is a balance between reviewing what works and what doesn’t in the context of the design.

Good critique, explains designers Adam Connor and Aaron Irizarry, draws from the strengths of a given design decision to shed light on solutions for the weaker parts.

Over time, critique creates a more collaborative work environment, where teams feel comfortable discussing their designs in spontaneous and casual conversations, with less reliance on formal reviews. The practice helps teams relax into the process of giving and receiving feedback, and reaching a shared understanding of design problems to be solved.

Adam and Aaron break down the difference between critique and criticism a bit further.

When using critique, we try to:

  • Identify the objectives we think the creator is trying to reach
  • Understand those goals and objectives
  • Discuss the choices made to achieve goals and objectives
  • Review how effective design choices are in meeting their objectives
  • Identify strengths, potential challenges that arise from the choices made, and possibly missed opportunities

How can you integrate critique into your design practice? Both Adam and Aaron agree that starting small and casual is the best approach. Critique can be used in standalone reviews, design reviews, and collaborative activities. They suggest that teams consider the following:

  • Introduce critique into your process by starting small and informal, talking about designs in an analytical way
  • The more you communicate, the more natural critique will become a part of your language

Choose whom you critique with carefully and look for people who communicate well. (You’ll recognize who is less inclined toward the practice, such as some managers and executives who are generally part of larger design reviews.)

You need to start improving the conversations you have around design. To do that you’ll want to spend a day in this amazing UX Immersion: Interactions workshop with Adam Connor and Aaron Irizarry. Adam and Aaron have been discussing design critique for many years and are authors of the book Discussing Design, which is exactly why you want to learn about Consensus and Critique from them.