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:

Jumpstart Your Design Projects With An Effective Discovery Process

August 25th, 2016 by Jared Spool

Before your team can identify innovative solutions, they need to truly understand the problems they’re solving. The discovery process—gathering information, processing information, exploring ideas, and focusing on a plan—will get your team ready.

You’ll want to spend the day with Dan in his workshop to see how to do these critical skills and more:

  • Frame the design with problem statements and project objectives
  • Explore opportunities through collaborative sketching
  • Focus your insights and ideas with a solid project plan

Image of Dan Brown: UI21 Workshop Leader

Dan Brown

When companies need to ensure their design process will handle the big challenges, they call on Dan Brown. Through his work at EightShapes, he’s become a leading expert on how teams can repeatedly produce delightfully fantastic products. He’s stepped back from formulaic approaches to create a foundational understanding of what happens in successful and unsuccessful projects.

Get More on Dan’s workshop

UIE Article: Signaling a Process Change with a Discovery Phase

August 24th, 2016 by Jared Spool

This week, I address the benefits of using a Discovery Phase to drive process change within an organization.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

It’s easy to find people frustrated with their current product design and delivery process. They’ll list any number of maladies, from missing their customers’ true needs to forcing a buildout of unwanted features. Much of the time, many of their co–workers share that frustration.

A thoughtfully–crafted, well–executed discovery phase can set an organization on a completely different path. More importantly, the discovery phase signals to the organization that, this time, the process truly will be different. And it does it with little fanfare and pomp. In fact, it’s often most effective when done in a bit of stealth mode, when only the direct participants are seeing the process.

Read the article: Signaling a Process Change with a Discovery Phase

How will you incorporate a Discovery Phase in your next project? Tell us about it below.

UIE Article: Mapping Experiences: Five Key Questions to Get Started

August 17th, 2016 by Jared Spool

This week, we have an article from Jim Kalbach on mapping experiences and how your product or service looks at each phase in its lifecycle.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Kicking off a mapping project and don’t know where to begin? You’re not alone. I’m often asked how to get started.

Here’s the problem: “experience” defies precise definition. It’s a broad and fuzzy concept. You need to first untangle it and figure out what’s most appropriate.

Ultimately it’s a matter of selection. Maps are purposefully created. As the mapmaker, it’s up to you to decide which aspects to include and which to leave out.

Read the article: Mapping Experiences: Five Key Questions to Get Started

How will you use map making with your next project? Tell us about it below.

Don’t Blow It – Register Now at the Lowest Rate for UI21

August 10th, 2016 by Jared Spool

Register for UI21 before the 8/12 Rate Increase and Save Your Money

Save money and guarantee a spot in the workshops of your choice. Register today for the User Interface 21 Conference, October 31 – November 2, 2016, in Boston. Don’t wait because the lowest rate of $1,675 disappears on Friday, August 12.

Choose from these full-day workshops:

Save your spot, guarantee your workshops, and get the lowest price when you sign up by August 12.

Register Now

UIE Article: Content Marketing Sustains the Conversation

August 10th, 2016 by Jared Spool

This week, we reprint an article written by Ahava Leibtag that examines the importance of content marketing when competing for the audience’s attention.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Content marketing centers on the idea of having a conversation—the natural give and take that happens when people communicate. It is the difference between saying, “Buy a Toyota,” and “Hey, it looks like you are interested in buying a new mid-sized car—this particular model of Corolla might be perfect for you, but I’d like to hear more about what your car needs.” The first is forceful, the latter more of give and take, which gives the customer a chance to make up his mind based on the information you will provide.

Read the article: Content Marketing Sustains the Conversation

How do you use content marketing?  Tell us about it below.

UIE Article: A Design System isn’t a Project. It’s a Product, Serving Products.

August 3rd, 2016 by Jared Spool

This week, we present an article written by Nathan Curtis encouraging designers and product managers to think of their design systems as the first step to delivering actual business value.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Focusing on style guide delivery as the climax is the wrong story to tell. A system isn’t a project with an end, it’s the origin story of a living and evolving product that’ll serve other products.

Thinking as a product changes perspective: it’s now not about us, it’s about serving our customers. How do we do that? Applying well-established approaches for product management and product marketing is a great start. Once recognized, a system team can adopt familiar and predictable tools and terminology to help them succeed.

Read the article: A Design System isn’t a Project. It’s a Product, Serving Products.

How important is design system management?  Tell us about it below.

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.