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: 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.

UIE Article: In Defense of Lorem Ipsum

May 18th, 2016 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article, we reprint an article by Karen McGrane where she argues you should use Lorem Ispum despite descent from some prominent figures in the UX community.

Here’s an excerpt from the article

I’m a word person, okay? I start with the content, and design around it. I often show draft copy in design reviews. And yet, I still use Lorem Ipsum. I believe wholeheartedly that greek text has a place in the interaction designer’s toolkit. Even content strategists can find a place in their hearts for it.

Now, look. if you’re running a project where you mock up designs, get them approved, code them up, build a CMS, hook it all together, and then everyone looks around and says “Who’s got the content? Wait, this content doesn’t match the designs and it won’t fit in the CMS!” then you have a problem. A big problem.

Read the article: In Defense of Lorem Ipsum

How do you feel about filler text? Tell us about it below.

The Three Reasons Why Your Visitors Don’t Convert

May 11th, 2016 by Jared Spool

This week, we reprint an article from Laura Klein that addresses three reasons why your visitors don’t become your customers.

Here’s an excerpt,

Visitors fail to convert for one of three reasons:

  • They don’t understand what you’re offering them.
  • They don’t want what you’re offering them.
  • They’re not willing to pay what you’re asking for what you’re offering them.

These are otherwise known as:

  • They Don’t Get It
  • They Don’t Want It
  • They Don’t Need It Enough

Luckily, those are all fixable problems

Read the article: The Three Reasons Why Your Visitors Don’t Convert

How do you identify conversion road blocks? Tell us about it below.

Get Real-World UX Strategies in This New Activity-Filled 1½-Day Workshop

May 10th, 2016 by Jared Spool

Is your organization serious enough about design? Do your products and services need great user experiences to stay competitive? What’s your plan to counter the inevitable resistance to becoming a design-infused organization?

Every minute of this 1½-day workshop is about you, your team, and your organization. You’ll evaluate dozens of UX strategy plays to identify the perfect combination for your organization, such as:

  • Using journey maps, critiques, and design studios to bring out everybody’s inherent design skills.
  • Increasing the skills of your non-designer influencers, focusing decisions on what’s best for the customers.
  • Instituting novel “cross pollination” programs to propagate design skills and resources across the entire organization.

Return to your office ready to implement the smartest plays in your UX strategy playbook and drive your organization to becoming competitive through great design.

 

UIE Article: One Step at a Time

May 4th, 2016 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article, we reprint an article by Derek Featherstone where he recalls a conversation with a designer looking to integrate accessibility into her current projects.

Here’s an excerpt from the article

We weren’t talking about getting started with the concepts and principles of accessibility. That’s pretty straightforward and from our conversation she had a decent grasp of those concepts and the need for accessibility. We’re talking about integrating accessibility into your own work, no matter what it is that you do.

As web craftspeople, we touch almost all aspects of a project. It can easily become overwhelming to think of everything that we need to take into account for accessibility. So much so, that it can become a complete bottleneck to actually making any progress with accessibility.

Read the article: One Step at a Time

 

How do you begin your process of integrating accessibility? Tell us about it below.