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:

UIE Article: What is Good Product Strategy?

July 27th, 2016 by Jared Spool

This week, we present an article written by Melissa Perri on the topic of product strategy, and what you can do as a product manager to increase adoption.

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 in your mind? Tell us about it below.

UIE Article: Embracing the Medium

July 21st, 2016 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article, we revisit the challenge of designing for web vs print.  Richard Rutter thinks we should embrace the fluidity of the medium.

Here’s an excerpt from the article

Where a print designer is all powerful, dictating every aspect of the reading experience, the web designer must know to relinquish control into the hands of the reader. In one of the most important writings on web design, John Allsop in A Dao of Web Design makes this point beautifully, using an extract from Tao Te Ching:

“The sage… accepts the ebb and flow of things, Nurtures them, but does not own them”

Read the article: Embracing the Medium

Have you made the transition from print to the web? Tell us about it below.

UIE Article: Pleasure, Flow, and Meaning – The 3 Approaches to Designing for Delight

July 13th, 2016 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article, I revisit the three tenants of building delight into designs: pleasure, flow, and meaning.

Here’s an excerpt from the article

Your points expire two years after they are earned so be sure to spend all your points before then. After two years are up, the expiring points will automatically be removed from your balance by our Rewards Points Overlord (RPO). The RPO is extremely cranky and insists that once the points are gone, they are gone. Sorry for being so mean about it.

If you agree that design is the rendering of intent, it’s easy to see how the thoughtfully humorous copy at Moosejaw is intentionally designed. It’s a great example of how we, as designers, can integrate delight into what might be an otherwise plain experience.

Read the article: Pleasure, Flow, and Meaning – The 3 Approaches to Designing for Delight

Where have you put delight into your designs? Tell us about it below.

UIE Article: Service Design Thinking

July 6th, 2016 by Jared Spool

This week, we present an article written by Marc Stickdorn on Service Design Thinking, and what it means to design physical products and services using the process.

Here’s an excerpt from the article

Service Design became more and more popular over the last years. Service Design refers to innovating both tangible products and services and is nowadays used, to connect people and technologies across multiple channels. The boundaries between physical products and services are blurring and mostly one doesn’t exist without the other anyway. We need to think in systems and understand the ecosystem in which services and physical products operate.

Read the article: Service Design Thinking

Have you engaged in Service Design Thinking? Tell us about it below.

UIE Article: Preparing Organizations to Become Design-Infused

June 29th, 2016 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article, I recount what is takes to become a design-infused organization.

Here’s an excerpt from the article

Becoming a design-infused organization is the next level of maturity. These organizations realize that everything affects the users’ experience. If the technology is chosen poorly, the user will be frustrated by poor performance or limited capabilities. If the wrong functions are implemented, or too many are shoved into the design, the user will become frustrated by the complexity of completing their objectives. Everyone on the team needs to think about how they affect the experience.

A design-infused organization is one where every decision is made with design at the forefront. When choices are available to the team, they’ll all choose the one that provides the best experience.

Read the article: Preparing Organizations to Become Design-Infused

Made the transition to a design-infused organization? Tell us about it below.

UIE Article: Design’s Fully-Baked Deliverables and Half-Baked Artifacts

June 22nd, 2016 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article, I revisit the topic of artifacts and deliverables within the design process.

Here’s an excerpt from the article

Deliverables are how we tell the story of what the design will be. Of course, the classic deliverable is the finished product itself. Nothing tells the story of the design better than the product.

In the days of old, the finished product was the only deliverable. There were no plans or blueprints, just what the craftsman completed.

Collaboration across the organization changed all that. Others needed to know our intention—what we wanted the design to be. Thus, intermediate deliverables were born.

Read the article: Design’s Fully-Baked Deliverables and Half-Baked Artifacts

How have deliverables changed since you started designing? Tell us about it below.

UIE Article: Becoming a UX Unicorn in 5 Easy Steps

June 15th, 2016 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article, I revisit what is takes to become a UX Unicorn.

Here’s an excerpt from the article

We first heard the unicorn moniker bandied about when job ads started showing up asking for designers who could do interaction design, information architecture, visual design, and even a little coding. The hiring managers seemed to want someone who could do everything. “Who could that possibly be?”, exclaimed the seasoned designers. “Nobody could do all that and be any good,” they’d say.

Since nobody could do all of these things, the jobs would be dismissed as a unicorn hunt. The expectation is the company would come to their senses and hire a team of folks to get the collection of skills they need.

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

What do you expect from a UX Unicorn? Tell us about it below.

UIE Article: Group Improvisation

June 8th, 2016 by Jared Spool

This week we reprint an article from Ben Callahan who shares his thoughts on what makes a great team.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

If you read through the Kind of Blue liner notes [by Miles Davis] written by pianist Bill Evans, you’ll come across this quote:

“Group improvisation is a challenge. Aside from the weighty technical problem of collective coherent thinking, there is the very human, even social need for sympathy from all members to bend for the common result.”

Bill is highlighting two distinct challenges they faced in making this recording. The first is the challenge of the group, which he describes as “the weighty technical problem of collective coherent thinking.” The second is the challenge of the individual, which he explains as “need for sympathy from all members to bend for the common result.” These two challenges are part of every team that’s ever existed, including yours and mine as we build the web. So, how do we build a process within which our teams can fully collaborate and a team that’s willing to do so?

Read the article: Group Improvisation

What makes a great team? Tell us about it below.

UIE Article: A Definition of Content Strategy

June 1st, 2016 by Jared Spool

This week we reprint an article from Jonathon Colman where he shared his thoughts on content strategy.

Here’s an excerpt from the article

Remember: useful and usable. This is why content strategists aren’t content marketers. This is why content strategy isn’t the same as (nor anything like) content marketing.

Furthermore, content strategists aren’t just “weak information architects” or “weak designers” as we’re referred to in some communities. Rather, content strategists often take care of the elements of infrastructure and experience that those disciplines tend to shrug off.

Read the article: A Definition of Content Strategy

What is your definition of a content strategist? Tell us about it below.

UIE Article: ‘View Full Site’ Must Die

May 25th, 2016 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article, I advocate for the death of the ‘View Full Site’ link at the bottom of mobile (M Dot) pages.

Here’s an excerpt from the article

We provide the escape hatch because the M Dot’s experience isn’t complete. The M Dot site can’t have what the users need, because we’ve intentionally crippled it.

Yet when the user takes the leap through the escape hatch by clicking on the “View Full Site” link, they are brought back into the world of unusable desktop sites. Pinch and zoom are the only ways to survive.

“View Full Site” is a promise of a better world that can’t be met. What the user hopes for is an easy way to access the functionality missing from the M Dot. But returning them to the world of pinch and zoom isn’t the solution. What is the better solution? Responsive design.

Read the article: ‘View Full Site’ Must Die

Should ‘View Full Site’ be allowed to live? Tell us about it below.