Best of Jared Spool at UXPA Israel

Was privileged to hear user experience expert Jared Spool. Here’s the best of what he said:Jared Spool

Best lessons

Compared best and worst UX companies. The best had three characteristics:

  • Shared vision of what the experience would be like in 5 years
  • Everybody had spent at least 2 hours watching people use the product during the last 6 weeks
  • Celebrated failure

Pattern of new tech: Focus on Technology (Wang word processor: $14,000) -> Features (Word Perfect: 1,700 features) -> Experience (Word: 70 features).

Shifting from features to experience is the hardest thing an organization can do. Most fail.

There were 135 music players on the market when the iPhone was launched. It had inferior technology and fewer features. You couldn’t even manage the songs from the device. But it was simple. And it revolutionalized the industry.

When somebody has a new iPhone his friends say, ooh, can I see it. If you ask your friends if they want to see your new SanDisk or Zune they’ll say no, and don’t ever ask me that again.

Mobile first: Start with the mobile experience. Then add features for the desktop. But only if you absolutely have to. Each feature or option is a lot more expensive than you think.

Most important thing a UX designer can do is remove the filters separating the decision makers from their users.

Everybody who influences the product should watch users interact with the product. So the lawyer can understand the cost of forcing the user lie about having read the terms of service.

A design principle helps you say NO to things. The difference between good companies and great companies are all the things a great company says no to.

Best lines

Self-design works under some conditions. Worked for iPhone. Most UX pros hate it because it undermines our value. [Conditions are: There have to be enough people like you, and you need to use the product many times a day].

Outsourcing your usability testing is like outsourcing your vacation. Gets the job done, but doesn’t deliver the benefits.

User experience is not rocket science. We know, because NASA is one of our clients. We asked them and they said it isn’t. They think it’s brain surgery.

The Disney breakfast is your 6-year-old’s chance to get close to a creepy guy in a suit and make the most expensive breakfast ever.

Best interaction

“You’ll tell me when to panic, right?” After a scary siren went off and the Israelis all ignored it.

Blast from the past

Last time I heard Jared he delivered this gem: “We compared successful companies with unsuccessful ones [at Web design]. The unsuccessful ones all told us “our problem is that we don’t have a good process.” But none of the successful companies used a process. The biggest problem for the unsuccessful companies was that they thought the right way to do this was through a formal process.”