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 – Five Ways To Animate Responsibly

February 24th, 2016 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article Rachel Nabors discusses how to appropriately use animation.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Sadly, animation is considered decorative by the bulk of the web development community. UI designers and interaction developers know better, of course. But when I’m teaching a workshop on animation for interaction, I know that my students face an uphill battle against decision makers who consider it nice to have, and tack it on at the end of a project, if at all.

This stigma is hard to shake. But it starts with us using animation deliberately or not at all. Poorly considered, tacked-on animation will often cause more harm than good. Users may complain that it’s too slow or too fast, or that they have no idea what just happened.

Read the article: Five Ways To Animate Responsibly

How do you animate responsibly? Share your thoughts with us below.

UIE Article – Four Approaches to Share and Reflect on Our Work

February 17th, 2016 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article I discuss how to talk about design.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

For each of the four techniques, there are variations that modify what they accomplish. For example, one team we recently worked with took a walkthrough and modified it to compare the user stories they’d created to the prototype they’d implemented.

As one designer walked through a piece of the prototype’s flow, another designer pasted screen shots on the wall. The business analysts who created the user stories pasted the relevant stories underneath the screen shots they referred to. When it was done, the team could clearly see which parts of the flows were missing comparable stories, and if there were stories that didn’t deal with the prototype. It was the first time the two groups had a chance to ensure their work was synchronized.

Read the article: Four Approaches to Share and Reflect on Our Work

How does your team discuss design? Share your thoughts with us below.

UIE Article – Designing Embraceable Change

February 10th, 2016 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article we reprint an article where I talk about changing your sites at an adaptable rate.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

The employees had become accustomed to the intranet and knew how to find the things they needed. Even when an employee couldn’t find something, there was always someone within earshot who could. New employees found complete support amongst the existing staff, making orientation quick and easy.

One day, last September, the employees came into work expecting things to be just like they’d been for 9 years, only to find that a brand new design had been launched. Not only were they not consulted on the radical changes, they weren’t even warned.

Read the article: Designing Embraceable Change

How have you eased your users into change? Share with us below.

UIE Article – Hunkering: Putting Disorientation into the Design Process

February 3rd, 2016 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article we reprint an article where I talk about “hunkering” as a design process.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Hunkering, and its subsequent visual disorientation, can be a crucial tool for the designer. Used properly, it can prevent downstream errors and give new insights into the final results.

One common trap we see designers fall into, is they don’t hunker often enough. By waiting too long to see what they are building, the resulting product gets further and further away from their concept. When the design is finally ready, it’s so far away that reconciliation becomes difficult. A common trait that all the master craftspeople we studied had was that they hunkered frequently. In some cases, multiple times per day.

Read the article: Hunkering: Putting Disorientation into the Design Process

How does hunkering help your design process? Share with us below.

UIE Article: Deconstructing the Poor Design of a Well-Intentioned Microinteraction

January 27th, 2016 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article I talk about how to evaluate microinteractions.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Session timeouts are commonplace, an artifact of how poorly our digital world integrates with our real world. If our laptops could accurately tell that someone else has sat in front of it, we could better protect our users from evildoers.

It’s a good intention. We’re protecting the needs of the business.

Design is what we do when we render our intentions in the world. The American Airlines session timeout frustrates its users, something which is likely not the intention of American Airlines’ site designers. How could they have improved that?

Read the article: Deconstructing the Poor Design of a Well-Intentioned Microinteraction

What are some of your experiences with microinteractions? Share them with us below.

Convince Your Boss

January 20th, 2016 by Jared Spool

You know it’s worth coming to UX Immersion: Interactions, but does your boss? Use this information and cost summary to help you get the green light.

Five Overall Benefits:

  1. Conquer chaos and confusion with simpler designs.
  2. Lead the team and stakeholders to dynamic collaboration.
  3. Overcome daunting requirements and functionality by tackling scale.
  4. Identify opportunities and inspire growth by driving strategy.
  5. Eliminate the need to hire outside UX personnel.

Proven Techniques and Best Practices for UX Designers

Go beyond inspiration and immerse yourself in groundbreaking interaction design skills you won’t find anywhere else. Get your team on the same page with proven UX methods, tools and clear-cut direction on specific actions and skills. Attend two full-day workshops and a day of talks to learn the latest strategies and techniques for building great products.

Tackle Critical UX Topics and Move Projects Forward

Summary of Costs

Use promo code UXIBen to save $200 on your full conference registration.

Item Expense
Conference fee $1,775 (through February 25)
Hotel costs $775 (for three nights)
Flight $300-600
Transportation to and from airport $15
Food $100
Total $2,965 – $3,265

Download This as a PDF

UIE Article – What Really Matters: Focusing on Top Tasks

January 20th, 2016 by Jared Spool

In this week’s article Gerry McGovern talks about organizing tasks.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Top Tasks Management is a model that says: “Focus on what really matters (the top tasks) and defocus on what matters less (the tiny tasks).”

Tiny tasks are a nightmare for web teams. On their own, these tasks seem innocent enough. It’s just one more page, one more link, one more graphic. But gather them up, and many a web professional has found themselves nibbled to death.

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

How could your company benefit from Top Tasks Management? Share them with us below.

UIE Article: Designing Intuitive Microinteractions

January 13th, 2016 by Jared Spool

This week we reprint an article where I talk about designing better microinteractions.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“Wait! What did you just do there?” In this case, I had just unlocked my iPhone by sliding over a notification’s icon.

The person I was standing next to had never seen anyone unlock their phone that way. They’d had an iPhone since the very first days and had no idea you could do this.

Of course, why would they? There are no visual clues to tell you the notification icon is slideable. If you were told when you first got your phone, you probably wouldn’t remember now, unless you used it all the time.

Read the article: Designing Intuitive Microinteractions

Have you designed intuitive microinteractions? Share them with us below.

Last Chance to Keep $300 in Your Pocket

January 12th, 2016 by Jared Spool

This is your last chance to save some money when you register for the UX Immersion: Interactions Conference in San Diego, April 18–20. Here’s what you’ll get when you register through Friday, January 15:

  • A coveted seat to the UX Immersion: Interactions Conference
  • Your choice of two full-day workshops
  • Your own Amazon Echo
  • Access to all the Featured Talks for you and your team for three months
  • Three months of premium access to UIE’s All You Can Learn Library

What are you waiting for? Register now to save $300. Price increases after Friday, January 15.

See you in San Diego.

UIE Article: Preventing the Executive Swoop and Poop with Design Sprints

January 6th, 2016 by Jared Spool

In today’s article, I discuss how to circumvent an unnecessary executive redesign.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Teams who have regular opportunities to meet with, talk to, and most importantly, observe their users turn out better designs. We’ve found if team members spend two hours every six weeks watching their users, they bring that knowledge to their design decisions.

In our experience, the first exposure is the hardest for the team. Design sprints help tremendously, because usability tests are built into the process. Once a team has that initial influx of data, subsequent sessions become easier to execute. When the executive shows up to review the design, the team will have the data from their repeated exposures to bring to the table.

Read the article: Preventing the Executive Swoop and Poop with Design Sprints

What is the process in your design sprints? Tell us about it below.