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:

Content-First Design

November 16th, 2017 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article Steph Hay discusses how content can help to positively influence design.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

I never dreamed practicing content-first design and talking about it at a couple conferences would lead me to work for a bank. Especially one I knew nothing about. But the idea of creating jobs for people who get that content is product design, well that was too dang good to pass up. So now we’re growing a niche team of UX content strategists, sort of like our equivalent of the video game industry’s story designer.

Part of our process is working directly with designers and product managers to design conversations in plain text. We call them content prototypes, and they take many forms depending on the team and project.

Read the article: Content-First Design

How does content affect design on your team?  Share your thoughts with us below.

The Power of Experience Mapping

November 11th, 2017 by Jared Spool

In this week’s I discuss how experience mapping can help provide useful feedback about your users problems.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Since the earliest times, humankind has used maps to communicate. Maps show where we are and where we want to be. They communicate the relationships between the elements they contain.

In design, we map experiences. These maps take different forms. Customer journey maps show how our users progress through our design, often highlighting the frustrating moments alongside the delightful ones. Service blueprints describe how the organization interfaces with the customer, often revealing the invisible steps that happen for every action a customer takes. Empathy maps explore what our customers see, think, say, and feel, as they interact with our designs. And system relationship maps describe how the underlying parts of the system interact with each other to produce the users’ total experience.

Read the article: The Power of Experience Mapping

Do you use a different method to diagnose your users issues?  Share your thoughts with us below.

Level Up At UI22 Starting Next Monday

November 9th, 2017 by Jared Spool

Register for one, two, or all three days of UI22​ and save hundreds on ​the skills needed to deliver delightful designs.

UI22 is happening next week and you should be a part of it. The agenda is pretty awesome. The food is incredible. There are abundant chances to meet new and interesting people. I will grab your attention on Tuesday with a captivating keynote. And let’s not forget the amazing full day workshops that will challenge you to change the way you practice design:

There’s never been a better time to be a designer so don’t miss your chance to save a bunch of money on one, two, or all three days of UI22. Come and improve the UX design skills you need to succeed.

Use code UI500 and save $500 when you register for the full conference.

Use code UI650 and save $650 when you register for any two days.

Use code UI325 and save $325 when you register for a single day.

Lead Your Organization Into The Age of Experience

The Back Up Question: Defining a Project’s ‘Good Enough’

November 3rd, 2017 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article, I discuss the challenges stakeholder’s users face and how to find answers to those issues.

Here’s an excerpt from the  article:

It would be great if we didn’t have to ask the question. If our stakeholders and clients showed up at our door with a clear description of the problem, we could go from there. Collaboratively, we could work up possible solutions and whittle them down until we know exactly what project we needed to execute. But that doesn’t happen.

I think we can blame the service workers of the world—plumbers, mechanics, restaurants—for training our colleagues to find a solution before knocking on our door. You tell a plumber what you think needs fixing. You tell the waiter what you want for dinner. If they understood the problem we wanted addressed, they might have a better solution than what we’re asking for.

 

Read the article: The Back Up Question: Defining a Project’s ‘Good Enough’

Uncovering a deep understanding of the benefits of our designs is just the first step of a smart design process. We need an efficient process to take our team from a shared understanding to a successful delivery.

You don’t want to miss Dan Mall’s fantastic UI22 workshop, Design Workflow for a Multi-Device World on November 15 in Boston, MA. Dan will share his toolbox of design activities, and guide your team to craft an effective workflow that encourages collaboration and delivery. Read his workshop description for more details.

How do you assess what problems need to be solved for your users? Tell us about it below.

 

Build scalable design systems

November 2nd, 2017 by Jared Spool

Design Systems are critical tools for organizations to use to create a cohesive brand experience across products, devices, and platforms. They also allow teams to work more efficiently and quickly. However, the structure and maintenance of the Design System you create will determine its ultimate success.

Your Design System should be a living system that is relevant, flexible, and allows growth over time, and for that to happen, you need to have busy teams across the organization invested in its success. How do you do that?

As a starting point, Design Systems need to have a champion in management who gets it. Who understands the long-term value of creating a design system, and what it takes to support and sustain it. More companies, like Google and Airbnb, are releasing their design systems and pushing their business further in innovating ways.

A centralized team to manage your design system is a useful first step, but will fall short of success because of a lack of connection to other teams working independently. If teams aren’t invested in the success of the system, it will fail.

In addition to a centralized approach to maintaining a system, design leaders across product teams need to be identified and empowered to maintain the integrity and relevancy of the system. This federated approach in combination with a centralized group who maintains the systems creates a foundation for lasting success.

Speed up your product development process in this workshop.

Save $200 on Being Delighted at UI22

October 31st, 2017 by Jared Spool

Hello,

Here’s your chance to save some money when you register at the lowest rate for the User Interface 22 Conference in Boston, MA, November 13 – 15. Aside from saving $200, here are six other reasons to register through Saturday, November 4:

  • Two Day-long Workshops: Choose two fantastic interactive workshops to help you tackle the complex problems around service design, storytelling, and building design systems to name a few.
  • One Day of Featured Talks: Hear the latest ideas and techniques around UX from our team of experts plus a new keynote from me.
  • Complete Conference Materials: You’ll get PDFs for every session and workshop.
  • Exclusive Slack Team: You’ll get an invitation to join the Slack team dedicated to UI22, to connect with speakers and other attendees.
  • 30 Days of Premium Access to UIE’s All You Can Learn Library: Start your UX learning before you even get to UI22. You’ll have access to over 315 virtual seminars and conference recordings.
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Groups, and Receptions with your peers: Plenty to eat and drink, including breakfast every day. While you eat, meet UX practitioners who, just like yourself, face the same challenges and are discovering new solutions.

What are you waiting for? Register now to save $200.

I’m excited to see you in Boston.

Jared

The Power of “See One, Do One, Teach One” with Design Sprints – Part 2: Adapting The Sprint Model

October 27th, 2017 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article Kathleen Barrett continues to examine the ACT, inc. team and how to overcome doubts regarding design sprints using planning and communication.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Design sprints were a revelatory experience for the team at ACT. They opened up the business to tools and a process for understanding their audience better, and exploring and brainstorming new ideas. They could think big and fail safely in a low-risk environment, and every member of the team had a voice and a hand in the process.

Preparing for sprints is in many ways as critical as running them. Sprint leaders should spend time designing a process that fits their culture. They also need to communicate the process to teams before they begin to alleviate any fears or misunderstanding. Sprints often gather people in a room who don’t have a history or experience talking to one another, or sharing their opinions, and it can make teams uncomfortable.

Read the article: The Power of “See One, Do One, Teach One” with Design Sprints – Part 2: Adapting The Sprint Model

Ready to learn even more about design sprints? In Richard Banfield’s UI22 workshop, Leading Design Sprints to Jumpstart Team Collaboration, this November in Boston you’ll get that and much more. Use code TEAMS22 for $200 off your full UI22 conference registration.

Do you have concerns about implementing design sprints?  Share your thoughts with us below.

Use Scenarios to Support Design Decisions at the Pixel Level

October 26th, 2017 by Jared Spool

What are user scenarios and why are the useful? To begin, they are based on real data, a firm understanding of your customers and their habits. With a scenario, we take that data and inject it with life. We can imagine, given a specific set of criteria that is based on what we know about our customers, how they might behave in a situation with our products.

Scenarios can help teams reach the brass ring of team alignment. Teams visualize potential problems better by using them. And more importantly, scenarios help product managers understand product requirements, designers to influence those requirements, and engineers to get a very clear sense of what the requirements are aiming to do.

Scenarios minimize gray areas where teams can fall into confusion about what the product is, how the customer may respond, and what the product goals are.

These days alignment doesn’t extend to just teams, but to all departments, offline and online, across an organizational that touches upon the user’s experience. With scenarios, we can use the power of story to imagine our customer’s future experience with our products, illuminate our intentions, and brings groups together on a shared vision.

Only you can stop feature creep and design debates.

The Power of “See One, Do One, Teach One” With Design Sprints – Part 1

October 20th, 2017 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article Kathleen Barrett examines the ACT, inc. team, and discusses how to use design sprints to explore innovative concepts and diversify products.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Consensus, says Richard Banfield, CEO of Fresh Tilled Soil, is often conflated with democratic vote. “The funny thing is consensus doesn’t improve the quality of the decisions. It allows you to improve the quality of the inputs but not the outputs. We are good at asking for opinions to the point where it stymies our ability to make decisions.” Richard’s company worked with ACT early on to demonstrate how design sprints could help the organization explore new product ideas and solve problems.

Adrienne and her team trained with Fresh Tilled Soil, but before they began, they had to develop a process, a common language, for internal teams to use. Product managers had been using different criteria for evaluating ideas.

The product innovation team at ACT chose a “see one, do one, teach one” approach to design sprints. The team wanted to understand how the model worked first before they could apply it to a problem they wanted to solve. The first step for ACT was a training exercise with Fresh Tilled Soil, before they eventually moved toward adopting sprints on their own.

Read the article: The Power of “See One, Do One, Teach One” With Design Sprints – Part 1

Ready to learn even more about design sprints? In Richard Banfield’s UI22 workshop, Leading Design Sprints to Jumpstart Team Collaboration, this November in Boston you’ll get that and much more. Use code TEAMS22 for $200 off your full UI22 conference registration.

Does your team use design sprints to promote innovation?  Share your thoughts with us below.

Design Sprints: An Ignition System for Teams

October 13th, 2017 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article I talk about the importance of design sprints.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

In many projects, people ramp up slowly, finishing up their old obligations before starting. Without having everyone in the same room and focused, the project takes forever to get to speed.

With a design sprint, everyone starts at the same time with this focused activity on the new project. Even if, the following week, they have to return to their previous project to tie up loose ends, the sprint has given the team this focused burst to start with.

Read the article: Design Sprints: An Ignition System for Innovation Project Teams

Ready to learn even more about design sprints? In Richard Banfield’s UI22 workshop, Leading Design Sprints to Jumpstart Team Collaboration, this November in Boston you’ll get that and much more. Use code TEAMS22 for $200 off your full UI22 conference registration.

Does your team have a method for jump starting design sprints?  Share your thoughts with us below.