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:

Becoming a UX Unicorn in 5 Easy Steps

June 1st, 2018 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article I talk about how to 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.

Guess what we learned? You too can become a UX unicorn.

Read the article: Becoming a UX Unicorn in 5 Easy Steps

What skills do you think make someone a UX Unicorn? Share with us below.

The KJ-Technique: A Group Process for Establishing Priorities

May 25th, 2018 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article I talk about the KJ-Method.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

The KJ-Method is simple and easy to do. It focuses the group on the task at hand and is excellent at eliminating unnecessary discussion and distractions from the goal. It’s a tool that everyone should have in their designer’s toolbox.

We’ve got it down to an eight-step process that we can do with any size group in less than an hour. Here’s how we do it: We use two colors of removable sticky notes, such as yellow and blue. We like the standard 3×5 size or the 4×6 size, if we can get it. We need a room with a lot of wall space. Typically, a large conference room will work well. We also need a facilitator. This is a person who will move the group from one step to the next. (While a facilitator can also contribute as a group member, politics may make this less than desirable. The safe road is to have the facilitator play a neutral role.)

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

Which methods does your company use for group consensus building? Share with us below.

Content and Design Are Inseparable Work Partners

April 27th, 2018 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article I talk about the relationship between content and design.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

The new thinking is that content creation and management cannot be a separate endeavor from design creation and management. That we need to inseparably integrate the two, structurally and organizationally, to create great experiences.

For a few years now, we’ve been working to identify the skills found in great UX designers. Through a lot of research, we’ve narrowed the list to eight key skills: user research, interaction design, information architecture, visual design, copywriting/content strategy, design process management, information design,and editing/curation.

Read the article: Content and Design Are Inseparable Work Partners

How do you make design choices which support your content? Share with us below.

Users Don’t Hate Change. They Hate Our Design Choices.

April 20th, 2018 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article I talk about UX design choices.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

For years, we studied teams rolling out new designs, to see if we could mitigate negative reaction to new releases and design changes. We studied hundreds of product and service rollouts. We watched and learned from the reactions of thousands of users.

When we dug into what those users’ reactions, patterns emerged. The users told us the changes inconvenienced them. They had no idea the change was coming and suddenly it was in their face. Users were upset because they were surprised.

They also told us the old version worked fine. Even when it took a while to get comfortable, they learned it. Many users mastered difficult-to-use designs.

Designing for embraceable change is a UX strategy that smart design leaders employ when they want to enhance their products and services without disrupting their users. This is one of the 130 strategies we cover in our Creating Your Own UX Strategy Playbook workshop.

Create your own custom UX Strategy Playbook at our next workshop, June 20-21 at Center Centre in Chattanooga, TN. Bring your team to identify which plays will most help your organization become more design mature. See the workshop’s agenda and learn how it will benefit your leadership team at playbook.UIE.com.

Read the article: Users don’t hate change. They hate our design choices.

How do you reassure and support users when making design changes? Share with us below.

Increasing an Organization’s UX Design Maturity: Our Not-So-Secret Sauce

April 9th, 2018 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article I talk about UX Design and Leadership.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

UX design leaders have known for years about the power of watching users and how those users experience our products and services. There are a few things that motivate change more than watching a user struggle to accomplish a goal we thought would be easy because of our design.

Yet, guided by some wacky notion of efficiency and job protection, many organizations have put their UX research team between the people who truly need the motivation and the users who will motivate them. Isolating the executives and stakeholders from users works against us.

This not-so-secret sauce has worked well for us, so we’ve made it the organizing framework behind our two-day Creating a UX Strategy Playbook workshop.

The morning of the workshop’s first day, we dive deep into 28 strategies that help organizations create and understand a shared vision. That afternoon, we delve into 62 strategies for exposing the customers’ and users’ current experiences. We then start the second day diving into 40 strategies for creating a culture of continual learning in the organization.

Attend the workshop and identify the key strategic plays for your playbook, and take advantage of our not-so-secret sauce. Increase the UX design maturity of your organization. Here are the details how.

Read the article: Increasing an Organization’s UX Design Maturity: Our Not-So-Secret Sauce

 

How does your company empower its UX design leaders? Share with us below.

Usability Testing Delivers More Value Before You’ve Changed Your Design

April 6th, 2018 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article I talk about Usability Testing.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Your research should be open ended. You should not assume the team understands how users are really using the design today. Instead, your research should explore what’s happening in the real world. Ideally, you’ll look at both new and existing users. Inherent Value Tests are a great way to do this.

By researching early, your team learns what to change. You’ll learn what to keep (because users love it). And you’ll learn how to structure the work.

Read the article: Usability Testing Delivers More Value Before You’ve Changed Your Design

How does your team handle usability testing? Share with us below.

The Best Interview Question for Hiring UX Designers

March 30th, 2018 by Jared Spool

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

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

A popular strategy we’ve seen many teams employ is getting everyone talking about a future for the product or service where the user’s experience is much more delightful than it is today. The team creates what we call an experience vision, which describes what it would be like to use the design five or so years in the future.

Teams work to get key stakeholders to discuss the vision frequently. If executives see the vision as strategic important for the entire organization, it makes it easier for the design team to sway important decisions to move in the direction of this imagined future.

Read the article: The Best Interview Question for Hiring UX Designers

Do you have a go-to interview question for UX Designers? Share with us below.

UX Design Leaders Have Many Strategies To Choose From

March 23rd, 2018 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article I talk about UX design strategies.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

A popular strategy we’ve seen many teams employ is getting everyone talking about a future for the product or service where the user’s experience is much more delightful than it is today. The team creates what we call an experience vision, which describes what it would be like to use the design five or so years in the future.

Teams work to get key stakeholders to discuss the vision frequently. If executives see the vision as strategic important for the entire organization, it makes it easier for the design team to sway important decisions to move in the direction of this imagined future.

Read the article: UX Design Leaders Have Many Strategies To Choose From

What are some of the UX design strategies your team employs? Share with us below.

Beans and Noses

March 16th, 2018 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article I talk about dealing with difficult clients.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

I’m sure you run into them all the time. You’re in a room and someone with power has decided to do something that just doesn’t make sense. You’ve tried logic. You’ve tried rational discourse. Yet, they are intent.

Beans and noses. We have beans. We have a nose. They must be united.

Time and time again, I come across situations where I think, “OMG! They are trying to stick beans up their nose!” It explains what’s happening and what I should do next.

Read the article: Beans and Noses

Have you had to deal with your own beans up the nose situation? Share with us below.

Companies Are Pushing Highly-Qualified Candidates Away

March 9th, 2018 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article I talk about creating a better process for hiring UX Designers.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Teams are often anxious about getting into the interview process. They forget an important step: They need to take the time up front to define the position.

We addressed this problem directly, as we evolved our Center Centre UX Designer Hiring Method, by adapting a technique from Lou Adler’s Performance-based Hiring. Before we schedule the very first interview—even before we write the job description—the entire team sits down and describes the job.

Read the article: Companies Are Pushing Highly-Qualified Candidates Away

Are you looking to hire designers and researchers? How many Tanyas are you pushing away? You can avoid this and many other common mistakes. We’ve got a new online, interactive MasterClass that shows you exactly what you need to build the best design team. Over 7 weeks, we cover all the steps: how to attract the best candidates, assess that they have the skills you need, and get to an offer quickly and easily. Our first class starts Monday, March 12. We have a few spots left. Find out more and reserve your spot today: HiringMasterClass.com.

In what ways could you improve your hiring process? Share with us below.