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:

Ultra-Contextual Design

July 21st, 2017 by Jared Spool

In today’s post, we’re happy to share an article on Contextual Design from Abi Jones.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

The first step in creating a context­-aware system is understanding the context for use. There are two levels for contextual understanding, the broad context for the user journey and the ultra­-contextual aspects of each touchpoint within the journey.

Read the article Ultra-Contextual Design.

How do you implement contextually-aware designs? Tell us about it below.

Get Your Users What They Need to Solve Their Problems

July 18th, 2017 by Jared Spool

Come to UI22 for the most effective ways to solve users’ problems and achieve business goals through design.

A price increase for this incredible conference is coming soon. A ton of folks have already registered at the lowest price and this event will sell out.

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:

Don’t miss your chance to improve the UX design skills you need to succeed.

Come And Own The Experience

Despicable Design – When “Going Evil” is the Perfect Technique

July 14th, 2017 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article, I discuss how “Going Evil” can break creative log jams and encourage collaboration.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

In many other exercises where you ask a group to talk about user experience, the designers often take over. They have the experience and generate ideas faster than their peers, so they dominate the discussion. This has the effect of pushing the non-designers aside.

Yet, in this exercise, making a design worse goes against every bit of training those designers have. It slows them down.

The people who believe they’re not designers can jump right in. A bonus is there’s no wrong answer. You can’t make something “not bad enough.” There’s always room for more badness.

Plus, it’s fun. Giggling. Laughing. Snickering. The room is alive and vibrant. This is a creative exercise with no downside. Everyone gets involved.

Read the article: Despicable Design – When “Going Evil” is the Perfect Technique

Have you had to “Go Evil” to foster a creative breakthrough? Tell us about it below.

Don’t assume you’re designing for people just like you.

July 10th, 2017 by Jared Spool

Don’t assume you’re designing for people just like you.

Registration for UI22 is in full swing. A ton of folks have already registered and this event will sell out. Maybe it’s because I’m the keynote speaker. Maybe it’s because the agenda is pretty awesome. Maybe people just love the incredible food and abundant chances to meet new and interesting people. Or it could be one of the amazing full day workshops that will change the way you think about and practice design:

Don’t miss your chance to improve the UX design skills you need to succeed.

Come To Understand What Your Users Want

Effective Remote Design

July 7th, 2017 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article, Jim Kalbach outlines four key recommendations for successful remote design teams.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

There are numerous benefits to remote work: flexibility and better work-life balance for employees, and wider talent pools and reduced costs for employers, to name a few.

But what about remote design? Surely, designers won’t be required to work in distributed contexts. After all, our work is highly visual in nature. We need to be able to draw and point and gesture. We’re meant to work shoulder-to-shoulder.

…With a little forethought, remote design can be as productive as working in person.

Read the article: Effective Remote Design.

How has your company taken steps to improve its remote design implementation and collaboration? Share your thoughts with us below.

Execution is Everything

June 30th, 2017 by Jared Spool

There are thousands of good ideas thrown about daily, but to execute just one good idea takes considerable effort. It requires that a team stays focused and in tune with the goal. It requires a system for execution – OKRs. That’s what Christina Wodtke brings in this week’s article.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

I almost never hear a new idea. In fact, it’s rare I hear an idea I haven’t thought of myself, unless it’s in an industry I’m unfamiliar with. It’s not because I’m a genius (I’m not). It’s that ideas are easier to come up with than you think. What’s hard — really hard— is moving from an idea to a reality. It’s hard to find the right form of an idea, a form that will let consumers see its value, understand how to interact with it, and feel excited enough to pay for it.

Read the article: Execution is Everything.

Have you taken any ideas from concept to reality? Leave us a note below.

Ideas Are Worthless Without Action

June 27th, 2017 by Jared Spool

Deliver scalable, cohesive, and elegant designs that delight your users

At the UI22 Conference November 13 – 15 in Boston, you get exposed to intensive material that will challenge how you think about and practice design.

Regardless of how many days you come, your registration gets you:

  • 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 UI22 workshop leaders and featured talk speakers to ask your UX questions
  • New skills to move your UX design initiatives forward

Set Your Design Direction With Confidence

Replacing “Requirements Gathering” with Something That Works

June 16th, 2017 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article, I discuss the process of gathering requirements to inform the project’s design.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

You’ve seen the box on the project schedule a hundred times. It always has the same label: “Gather Requirements”. And it’s always remarkably short — scheduled for just a day or two (or sometimes less!).

When I ask the project manager what this step involves, they inevitably tell me they’ll interview the major stakeholders and gather up the requirements that emerge. It’s going into the fields and picking berries needed for the project.

How do these major stakeholders know these requirements? Well, they just do. They’ve been thinking about it for a while (except for the ones who haven’t). They’ve talked to customers (except for most of them, who never talk to customers). They’ve talked to the sales people and the technical folks and the business modeling folks, who told them exactly what’s needed to make this product successful (but how do those folks know?).

Read the article: Replacing “Requirements Gathering” with Something That Works

How have you dealt with requirements gathering? Let us know below.

Lead Your Organization Into The Age of Experience

June 7th, 2017 by Jared Spool

Lead Your Organization Into The Age of Experience

UI22 is 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:

Marc StickdornMarc Stickdorn

Service Design: Creating Delightful Cross-Channel Experiences

Abby CovertAbby Covert

Heavy-Duty Information Organization Techniques for Seriously Messy Designs

Whitney QuesenberyWhitney Quesenbery

Storytelling for User Experience

Kim GoodwinKim Goodwin

Using Scenarios to Solve Problems

Nathan CurtisNathan Curtis

Building Scalable Design Systems

Steph HaySteph Hay

Content-First UX Design: A Lean Approach

Dan MallDan Mall

Design Workflow for a Multi-Device World

Richard BanfieldRichard Banfield

Leading Design Sprints to Jumpstart Team Collaboration

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

Change The Way You Design

What is Good Product Strategy?

June 2nd, 2017 by Jared Spool

This week’s article is on the topic of product strategy by Melissa Perri, where she discusses how product initiatives can solve your customer’s problems and reach your business objectives.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Most companies fall into the trap of thinking about Product Strategy as a plan to build certain features and capabilities. We often say our Product Strategy are things like:

  • “To create a platform that allows music producers to upload and share their music.”
  • “To create a backend system that will allow the sales team to manage their leads.”
  • “To create a front of the funnel website that markets to our target users and converts them.”

This isn’t a strategy, this is a plan. The problem is that when we treat a product strategy like a plan, it will almost always fail. Plans do not account for uncertainty or change. They give us a false sense of security. “If we just follow the plan, we’ll succeed!” Unfortunately, there is no guarantee of success here. (I wish there was, our jobs would be SO much easier!)

Read the article: What is Good Product Strategy?

What is good product strategy to you? Please comment below.