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: Testing in the Wild, Seizing Opportunity

October 5th, 2016 by Jared Spool

This week, we revisit Dana Chisnell’s article on the benefits of conducting quick and informal usability testing.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

When I say “usability test,” you might think of something that looks like a psych experiment, without the electrodes (although I’m sure those are coming as teams think that measuring biometrics will help them understand users’ experiences). Anyway, you probably visualize a lab of some kind, with a user in one room and a researcher in another, watching either through a glass or a monitor.

It can be like that, but it doesn’t have to. In fact, I’d argue that for early designs it shouldn’t be like that at all. Instead, usability testing should be done wherever and whenever users normally do the tasks they’re trying to do with a design.

Read the article: Testing in the Wild, Seizing Opportunity

How do you incorporate quick and informal usability testing? Let us know below.

Your Tribe Awaits at UI21 in Boston

September 29th, 2016 by Jared Spool

 At the UI21 Conference October 31 – November 2 in Boston, you get intensive, game-changing material that will challenge how you think about and practice design.

Use coupon code UICONF to save $300 off your full conference registration which includes:

  • 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 UI21 speakers to ask your questions
  • New skills to move your UX Design initiatives forward

Get More Details

A Typical UX Team of One Job Description

September 21st, 2016 by Jared Spool

This week, we revisit Leah Buley’s book, The User Experience Team of One – A Research and Design Survival Guide.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

If you happen to be in the job market, it can be helpful to know how to spot a UX team-of-one situation. Few UX jobs are advertised as a team-of-one gig, but there are usually telltale signs that give them away. This job description shows an employer who is looking for someone who can drastically improve the quality of the user experience. The product will be “elegant,” reduced to the “bare essentials,” and “beautiful.” People may not say it directly, but there’s usually an expectation that having someone who will focus on UX will result in changes to the product that will immediately wow everyone. This can be a tricky expectation to manage, since design improvements often happen gradually, over time. The design methods in Chapter 7 show you how you can improve the quality of the product and bring people along with you in the process.

Read the article: A Typical UX Team of One Job Description

Leah presents Strategic Storytelling at the September 22 UX Virtual Symposium: Storytelling in Design.

How have you identified Team of One jobs? Let us know below.

UIE Article: Building Products with Story

September 14th, 2016 by Jared Spool

This week, we present an excerpt from Donna Lichaw’s book, The User’s Journey, published by Rosenfeld Media on using story as a framework to create heroes for your product.

Here’s an taste of what we serve up this week:

Story is not only a tool your brain uses to understand what you see, it’s a tool your brain uses to understand what you experience. In other words, the same brain function that you use to understand what you see in a photograph is the same brain function you would use if you were one of those grandparents using FaceTime. Life is a story. And in that story, you are the hero.

What’s great about story and its underlying structure is that it provides you with a framework—a formula, if you will—for turning your customers into heroes. Plot points, high points, and all. Story is one of the oldest and most powerful tools you have to create heroes. And as I’ve seen and will show you in this book, what works for books and movies will work for your customers, too.

Read the article: Building Products with Story

How do you use storytelling as a tool? Tell us about it below.

Keep Some Cash When You Register Now

September 12th, 2016 by Jared Spool

The 9/16 Rate Increase is Coming Fast. Register Today and Save Your Money

Register today for the User Interface 21 Conference, October 31 – November 2, 2016, in Boston. Don’t wait because the lowest rate of $1,975 disappears on Friday, September 16.

Choose from these full-day workshops:

Save your spot, guarantee your workshops, and get the lowest price when you sign up before September 16.

Register Now

UIE Article: Measure Customer Experience Design And Make It Accountable

September 7th, 2016 by Jared Spool

This week, we have an article from Jeffrey Eisenberg on making buyer legends measurable and accountable.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Buyer Legends are measurable and accountable by design. That is one of the important elements that distinguish Buyer Legends from any other business-storytelling and customer experience methodologies. A Buyer Legend is not a feel good story; it’s about business, and if your story doesn’t improve on your business goals, then what is the point?

Your Buyer Legend should describe in significant detail what actions you expect your customer to take, many of which are measurable. Pages viewed, transactions, subscriptions, store visits, phone calls, conversions to lead, and even social media engagement are all measurable.

Read the article: Measure Customer Experience Design And Make It Accountable

How do you measure customer experience design? Tell us about it below.

UIE Article: Teaching UX Designers to Always Be Learning

September 1st, 2016 by Jared Spool

This week, I examine the ways UX designers develop their craft and the importance of self-learning.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Conventional educational programs use a Sage on the Stage approach, where a smart person stands in front of a classroom pouring facts and raw knowledge into students’ brains. Despite considerable evidence that this approach rarely works, schools still try to teach new skills this way. This is part of the reason why fresh graduates we hire aren’t prepared for the work ahead of them.

People learn best when they take charge of their education. Some people learn well by reading a comprehensive book. For others, books don’t work at all, but they learn when they hear someone explain the concepts and techniques. Everyone has their own way of learning. A good school needs to adapt its learning options for each individual student.

Read the article: Teaching UX Designers to Always Be Learning

How do you learn best? Tell us about it below.

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.