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:

The Salesforce Team Model for Scaling a Design System

December 9th, 2016 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article Jina Bolton tells us about the model Salesforce uses for creating design systems.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

I believe that even the best systems need human guidance to succeed and survive. For us, that means helping and empowering designers to produce high-quality, brand-aligned, system-minded work. Part of my job is to work with other product designers to ensure their designs are aligned with our system. We do this through working closely with designers to use our Internal Tools.

Read the article: The Salesforce Team Model for Scaling a Design System

You’ll want to hear more from Jina for sure. She’s presenting a live All You Can Learn Library seminar for subscribers—just $23/month—on December 15. It’s called Design Tokens: Scaling Design with a Single Source of Truth.

How do you create design systems? Let us know below.

Who Is on the UX Team?

December 2nd, 2016 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article I revisit the various types of UX teams and who they’re made of.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

The first big distinction between the struggling and successful teams was who they considered as part of their team. When we asked folks who was on their team, the members of the struggling teams limited their list to the other designers they worked with directly.

The successful team members, however, went beyond their immediate circle of designers. They included people we wouldn’t normally associate with design work—the developers, product managers, QA folks, support personnel, and even executives.

Read the article: Who Is on the UX Team?

How do you identify a successful UX team? Let us know below.

The Dirty Dozen Roadmap Roadblocks

November 18th, 2016 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article, Bruce McCarthy discusses 12 roadblocks to avoid when creating product roadmaps and ways to overcome them.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

A good product roadmap is one of the most important and influential documents an organization can develop, publish and continuously update. It’s the one document that steers the entire organization in delivering on the company strategy.

It’s key to success, and yet many organizations struggle to produce effective roadmaps. In fact, many organizations don’t create one, even to publish internally. Or they do, but it is simply a collection of unrelated features and dates.

Read the article: The Dirty Dozen Roadmap Roadblocks

How do you identify and overcome roadblocks when creating a product roadmap? Let us know below.

Differentiating with Design

November 11th, 2016 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article we reprint an excerpt from Poornima Vijayashanker’s book “How to Transform Ideas into Software Products” on using design to create product differentiation.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

We know the impact design has on a user’s experience and a product’s adoption. But many product designers don’t realize that design can also be used as an effective strategy when it comes to positioning a new product.

Positioning is the process of creating an image or identity in the customer’s mind. You can position based on a number of factors: price, packaging, promotion, distribution, and competition. We’re of course focused on positioning based on packaging, a.k.a. design.

Read the article: Differentiating with Design

How do you use design to differentiate your products? Let us know below.

The KJ-Technique: A Group Process for Establishing Priorities

October 19th, 2016 by Jared Spool

This week, we revisit my article on using the KJ Method to help groups establish priorities.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

In design, our resources are limited. Priorities become a necessity. We need to ensure we are working on the most important parts of the problem. How do we assess what is most important?

For this, we’ve turned to a group consensus technique we’ve been using for years, called a KJ-Method (also sometimes referred to as an “affinity diagram”). The KJ-Method, named for its inventor, Jiro Kawakita (the Japanese put their last names first), allows groups to quickly reach a consensus on priorities of subjective, qualitative data.

Read the article: The KJ-Technique: A Group Process for Establishing Priorities

How do you reach consensus with your teams? Let us know below.

Getting The Most Out Of Subject Matter Experts

October 12th, 2016 by Jared Spool

This week I discuss ways to more effectively utilize Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) in design teams.

Here’s an excerpt from the  article:

Subject Matter Experts (also known as SMEs) can deliver great insight into how users work and what designs would be best for them. Unfortunately, we often don’t use them to their fullest.

While we bring SMEs into our project team because of their expertise, it’s that expertise that creates a problem. Though they have deep knowledge and expertise, they don’t know everything there is to know about every user and all of their needs. Their expertise only covers the experience they had when they did that job.

Get the most out of your user research. Learn the latest techniques from Cyd Harrell in her full-day UI21 workshop, Low Cost Guerilla User Research, in Boston on October 31. See more details here.

Read the article: Getting The Most Out Of Subject Matter Experts

How do you use SMEs on your teams? Tell us about it below.

Come to Boston and Change the Way You Design Forever. ​

October 11th, 2016 by Jared Spool

Experience New UX Practices, Backed up by the Latest Theories in Effective Design

A conference tailored to raise your design practice to new heights. Gain the super powers to tackle today’s most challenging design problems. Full-day workshops reveal the nuance and insight necessary to deliver great designs.

Choose from these full-day workshops:

Hear their wisdom and transform what you build and how you’ll build it. The presentations will push you beyond your old practices, propelling you down the road to mastering your design craft.

Explore the Conference

UIE Article: Testing in the Wild, Seizing Opportunity

October 5th, 2016 by Jared Spool

This week, we revisit Dana Chisnell’s article on the benefits of conducting quick and informal usability testing.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

When I say “usability test,” you might think of something that looks like a psych experiment, without the electrodes (although I’m sure those are coming as teams think that measuring biometrics will help them understand users’ experiences). Anyway, you probably visualize a lab of some kind, with a user in one room and a researcher in another, watching either through a glass or a monitor.

It can be like that, but it doesn’t have to. In fact, I’d argue that for early designs it shouldn’t be like that at all. Instead, usability testing should be done wherever and whenever users normally do the tasks they’re trying to do with a design.

Read the article: Testing in the Wild, Seizing Opportunity

How do you incorporate quick and informal usability testing? Let us know below.

Your Tribe Awaits at UI21 in Boston

September 29th, 2016 by Jared Spool

 At the UI21 Conference October 31 – November 2 in Boston, you get intensive, game-changing material that will challenge how you think about and practice design.

Use coupon code UICONF to save $300 off your full conference registration which includes:

  • Your choice of two daylong workshops and/or a day of featured talks
  • One month of complimentary access to UIE’s All You Can Learn that starts right when you register
  • All the workshop materials and presentations
  • Video recordings of all the featured talks
  • Time with the UI21 speakers to ask your questions
  • New skills to move your UX Design initiatives forward

Get More Details

A Typical UX Team of One Job Description

September 21st, 2016 by Jared Spool

This week, we revisit Leah Buley’s book, The User Experience Team of One – A Research and Design Survival Guide.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

If you happen to be in the job market, it can be helpful to know how to spot a UX team-of-one situation. Few UX jobs are advertised as a team-of-one gig, but there are usually telltale signs that give them away. This job description shows an employer who is looking for someone who can drastically improve the quality of the user experience. The product will be “elegant,” reduced to the “bare essentials,” and “beautiful.” People may not say it directly, but there’s usually an expectation that having someone who will focus on UX will result in changes to the product that will immediately wow everyone. This can be a tricky expectation to manage, since design improvements often happen gradually, over time. The design methods in Chapter 7 show you how you can improve the quality of the product and bring people along with you in the process.

Read the article: A Typical UX Team of One Job Description

Leah presents Strategic Storytelling at the September 22 UX Virtual Symposium: Storytelling in Design.

How have you identified Team of One jobs? Let us know below.