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:

What Really Matters: Focusing on Top Tasks

May 5th, 2017 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article I revisit Gerry McGovern’s discussion on Top Tasks.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Digital is a space of endless replication. It has never been easier to create—and create, and create. People love to publish, but they hate to remove, which leads to overloaded websites and constant, inevitable redesigns. The top layers get a shiny new coat of graphics and meaningless “we really care” content—but underneath, a teeming mass of out-of-date, badly organized information still swirls about.

The solution is to make hard choices using Top Tasks Management. Top tasks are the small set of tasks (usually less than 10, often less than five) that matter most to your customers. Make these tasks work well, and you’ll be on the right track. Get them wrong, and chances are you’ll lose the customer.

Read the article: What Really Matters: Focusing on Top Tasks

Have you incorporated top task management in your organization? Comment below, we’d love to hear your answers.

Service Design Thinking

April 21st, 2017 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article I revisit Marc Stickdorn’s discussion on Service Design Thinking.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Service Design or Design Thinking is often linked with terms, such as innovation (process), change, and improvement. How can Service Design Thinking be integrated in an organization as a mean of change?

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 incorporated service design thinking in your organization? Comment below, we’d love to hear your answers.

A Proven Method For Showing The Value Of Good UX

April 13th, 2017 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article I share a four step process for how organizations can translate costs from a poor UX design into a vision for making a great product or service.

Here are excerpts from the article:

Organizations that aren’t fixated on creating great user experiences are usually saddled with poor user experiences. A great user experience only comes about through constant diligence and attention. If the organization isn’t paying attention, it’s unlikely they stumbled on one by chance.

Calculating the cost of the frustration, wherever it’s coming from, is an ideal metric to drive the project and create a measurable approach to valuing design efforts. By finding a high-ranking champion outside the design team, we get exposure at a key part of the organization. And without wasting a minute in a brown-bag lunch lecturing on the importance of good user experience, we’ve shown the organization how good design can make us more profitable.

Read the article: A Proven Method For Showing The Value Of Good UX

How do you convert frustrating user experience into measurable product improvements? Share with us know below.

The Power of Experience Mapping

April 5th, 2017 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article I tell you about how experience maps can help you understand customer problems.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

When someone influences the experience of the user, they, in that moment, become a user experience designer. Their influence may not be positive. Their knowledge of UX design principles may be small, even non-existent. Yet, because they affect the experience of the user, they are a designer, albeit an unofficial one.

Design is hard to define. We know it when we see it. (We certainly know poor design when we experience it.) Yet, describing it has been elusive.

Read the article: The Power of Experience Mapping

Does your team have a shared understanding of your customers’ problems? Comment below, tell us what you think.

We’ve invited Jim Kalbach, author of the fantastic book Mapping Experiences, to teach a full-day workshop on creating different kinds of maps to engage stakeholders and unofficial designers. Join us at the UX Immersion: Interaction Conference on May 3 in Portland, where you’ll learn the techniques for effective experience mapping. See exactly what you’ll learn.

Save $200 on Breakthrough​ UX​ Methods You’ll Apply Immediately.

April 3rd, 2017 by Jared Spool

Hello,

This is your last chance to save some money when you register at the lowest rate for the 
UX Immersion: Interactions in Portland, OR, MAY 1 – 3. 

Aside from saving hundreds of your dollars here​ are a few more reasons to register for the best UX event of 2017:

  • Two Day-long Workshops: Choose two fantastic interactive workshops to practice new techniques and strengthen your design skills.
  • One Day of Featured Talks: Hear the latest ideas and techniques around UX from our team of experts plus a new keynote from me.
  • Complete Conference Materials: You’ll get PDFs for every session and workshop.
  • Exclusive Slack Team: You’ll get an invitation to join the Slack team dedicated to UX Immersion: Interactions, to connect with speakers and other attendees.
  • 30 Days of Premium Access to UIE’s All You Can Learn Library: Start your UX learning before you even get to UX Immersion: Interactions. You’ll have access to over 290 virtual seminars and conference recordings.
  • Recordings of the Featured Talks:  Post conference you’ll have access to all the Featured Talks for you and your team as part of your All You Can Learn Library access.
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Groups, and Receptions with your peers: Plenty to eat and drink, including breakfast every day. While you eat, meet UX practitioners who, just like yourself, face the same challenges and are discovering new solutions.

What are you waiting for? Register now before the April 7 price increase and save hundreds of dollars.​

See you in Portland.

Jared

 

Setting the Foundation for Meaningful Critiques: Goals, Principles, Personas and Scenarios

March 31st, 2017 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article I revisit Adam Connor’s discussion on how to set the foundation of a meaningful critique by using goals, principles, personas, and scenarios.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Personas and scenarios provide the “setting” for the analysis? How are we going to look at the design? Through whose eyes? With what behaviors or expectations? In what contexts?

In UX design, it’s common to say phrases like “I/You are not the user.” This can be hard for people to remember; clients and professionals with other areas of expertise, hell, sometimes even UX designers, forget it for a moment or two. By setting up solid personas and scenarios at the beginning of your project (hopefully based on research), you give yourself and your team a starting point to help guide your critique and analysis

Read the article: Setting the Foundation for Meaningful Critiques: Goals, Principles, Personas and Scenarios

Have you incorporated meaningful critiques into your design process? Comment below, we’d love to hear your answers.

Transform What You Build And How You Build It.

March 27th, 2017 by Jared Spool

Move beyond inspiration and immerse yourself at the UX Immersion: Interactions conference. Here are just two of the six industry leaders teaching master-grade workshops on groundbreaking interaction design skills you won’t find anywhere else.

Measure What Matters: Crafting UX Success Metrics

Kate Rutter

  • Explore the world of measures, metrics, and key performance indicators.
  • Create actionable, UX-centered metrics to gain insights into your product’s progress.
  • Move beyond the typical analytics packages to track the most important user behavior.
  • Communicate your design wins to the people who matter the most.
Jeff Gothelf

Lean UX: Agility Through Cross-functional Collaboration

Jeff Gothelf

  • Discover and build what your customers really want and need.
  • Validate your product ideas and hypotheses early in the process to ensure you’re on the right track.
  • Bake user needs into your process from the start through product launch (and beyond).
  • Gain team-wide consensus using proto-personas and assumption mapping.

UX Metrics: Identify Trackable Footprints and Avoid the Woozles

March 22nd, 2017 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article I tell you about Woozle Hunting, the ongoing pursuit to find key UX metrics.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

As I watch teams struggling to identify key UX metrics, I sometimes think they are behaving like Pooh and Piglet as they stroll through the 100-Acre Woods. The teams are hunting for a measure (or two or three) they can use to show that the investment their organization is making into improving the user experience is paying off. Finding key UX metrics is hard and, like the elusive Woozle, difficult to capture.

Teams often start with the metrics that come out of the box. Tools like Google Analytics come with metrics that have important sounding names, like Unique Visitors, Bounce Rate, and Time on Page. However, most teams quickly realize these metrics don’t actually track anything that’s meaningful to the users’ experience.

Read the article: UX Metrics: Identify Trackable Footprints and Avoid the Woozles

How does your team identify key UX metrics? Comment below, we’d love to hear your answers.

Interested in identifying UX metrics that will help you assess how your design is performing? Kate Rutter has a fantastic full-day workshop at this year’s UX Immersion: Interactions Conference in Portland, May 1-3. See what she’s covering here.

3, 2, 1 – How Many Days Will You Come?

March 21st, 2017 by Jared Spool

Register for one, two, or three great days

At UX Immersion: Interactions you’ll move beyond inspiration and immerse yourself. Join us May, 1-3 in Portland, OR and get new techniques for designing the right things and new methods for designing the things right.

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

  • Your choice of two daylong workshops and/or a day of featured talks
  • 30 days of complimentary access to UIE’s All You Can Learn library
  • All the workshop materials and presentations
  • Video recordings of all the featured talks
  • Time with the UX Immersion: Interactions speakers to ask your questions
  • New skills to move your UX Design initiatives forward

Register for $825/day or get the best value when you register for the full conference at $1,975 before the April, 7 rate change.

 

Design Cop-out #2: Breadcrumbs

March 10th, 2017 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article I revisit the topic of breadcrumbs as a treatment for a symptom, instead of a way to address the root of a problem.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Most sites that provide breadcrumbs show the location variety. In this case, each page displays the optimal path the user could’ve clicked on to get it. For example, the Energy.gov page, “A Brief History of Coal Use” displays the breadcrumb trail of “Educational Activities > Energy Lessons > Coal-Introduction > Coal History” even though the user could get there without clicking on any links in that trail.

Even though path breadcrumbs are most like their fairytale ancestors, they are infrequently used on sites. It’s rarely useful to display the oft circuitous route the user takes. Attribute breadcrumbs are more common now that guided navigational techniques have come into vogue. And, designers use application breadcrumbs to denote the completed steps in a multi-step workflow, such as checkout.

Read the article: Design Cop-out #2: Breadcrumbs

What are your thoughts about breadcrumbs as a design cop out? We’d love to hear your thoughts about them below.