Pioneering Design – Jared Spool

Jared Spool, founder of User Interface Engineering (UIE) gave his talk titled “The Evolution of a New UX Resolution” to UX Speakeasy members at Qualcomm in San Diego Tuesday night.

His talk gives us all a better understanding of the growing field of Experience Design (XD) and its practices.

Jared organizes User Experience (UX) design problems and solutions into the following four levels of resolution:  Screen, Application, Organization and Ecosystem.

Jared used his forensic analysis of last year’s Hawaiian false missile alert to illustrate levels of design resolution.


Screen, Application and Organization Levels

Each level of resolution has it’s own focus and tools, including our earths ecosystem.


Seeing pollution at different resolutions. Photos from Eames Powers of Ten™ (1977) .

With technology, the screen level resolution focuses the User Interface (UI).  At the application level, we focus on information architecture and UX design and use tools such as wireframes and card sorts.


Focus and Tools at Application and Site level.

The Organization level focuses on Service and Experience Design. Some tools at this level of resolution are User Journeys, Ethnographic Research and Design Thinking.

Hawaii was given the horrible false alarm that day mostly because there was no clear authority. Each organization had it’s own procedures and designs in place, but there was no plan or design for the organizations to work together to alert the public.


Many large capable organizations and valid designs were involved in this case.


The tools to coordinate these organizations were not in place.

For systems that require organizations, or even countries, to coordinate with each other we need design and governance.

NewResolution (2).JPG

UX and Design for all levels.

Now that we see these huge, ecosystem level, design problems and recognize the need for organizations to design together, we will have pioneers, settlers and planners ala Simon Wordley.

Jared introduced a few amazing Pioneers in ecosystem design today:

To quote Jared: “We’re going to have to solve problems at every resolution. We need the skills to be able to do that. Ecosystem wide design is the next frontier.”


Researching Your Customer Base

Trello, a versatile, easy to use,  tool for collaboration, sold to Atlassian for $425 Million, rather than becoming the next $1 Billion+ SAAS application.


Hiten Shah explains Why Trello Failed to Build a $1 Billion+ Business in

Researching your customer base and understanding who your customers are early on, will allow your company to know what to implement into your product and where to take it next.

Shah says “Instead of focusing on building a wide product for everyone, Trello should have dug deeper into its use cases in the beginning to figure out why people were signing up, what they were using the product for, and what people found so valuable that they’d be willing to pay to use Trello.

If you have a broad product with a lot of applications, dive into all of the different use cases first:

  • Is there a competitor that’s able to do this — or is already doing it today?
  • What’s the revenue potential for people using this use case?

By doing research around your customer base and your competitor’s customers, you can segment out the use cases with the highest lifetime value.”

Don’t build a single feature, like the kanban board, that the competition can simply copy. Make sure your software integrates into everyone else’s products so much that copying it would be pointless.

Understanding Industrial Design

The lines between physical and digital world are blurring. Everyday items such as a clocks, maps and books are available to people in both a physical and digital form.

As the digital and physical worlds of products combine, UX designers and Industrial Designers benefit from collaboration. Designers of digital and physical must understand aspects of both to create a product that embodies the best of both worlds.

Understanding Industrial Design: Principals for UX and Interaction Design by Simon and Kuen Chang is a helpful introduction to industrial design. This book discusses factors such as material selection, sustainability, weight and sense of touch. Just about every page on this book has super cool example of industrial design. Each product is accompanied with a color photo and an explanation for why the product was built that way.

OP-1 Synthesizer

OP-1 Synthesizer – with 3D Printable Replaceable Parts

The book covers industrial design fundamentals such as endurance, clarity of purpose and sustainability. It also illustrates the importance of aesthetic beauty, playfulness and thoughtfulness in design. The authors advocate for creating beautiful designed products for people who need assistance with daily activities and medical devices.

Lilly Insulin Pen

Lilly Savvio Huma Pen for Insulin

Researchers found that diabetes patients view their insulin pens as “a tangible expression of their medical condition and therapy”. When dining out, people prefer using an insulin pen that blends in like other accessories. A pleasing design, like this, conveys different social and emotional messages to the patient and those around them. Providing patients with beautiful, thoughtful devices that they appreciate and enjoy is a sign of respect.