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Landmark Conference : Jared Spool – It’s a Great Time to be a UX Designer

March 24, 2015.

During Jared Spool’s Web presentation in Quebec City, he argued that there has never been a better time to be a designer. After years of non-recognition, more and more companies such as Apple and Cirque du Soleil are recruiting talented designers. Why do they do it? If you’re still not convinced, here are a few examples given during Jared Spool’s exciting lecture on user experience design.

Le cas Apple : comment le Apple Store a contribué à faire de cette société la plus grande capitalisation boursière


Apple Store de Tokyo

The retail trade is going badly, very badly. Retail profitability is calculated in $/p2. On average, a retail business sells approximately $300/p2. However, Apple Stores generate more than $6,000 per square foot. On the surface, the customer experience at the Apple Retail Store is only a few things different from an electronics superstore: iPhone payment, Genius appointments, flat and bare surfaces. All of these details are the design of the user experience: the idea of looking at every element of the customer experience to make it better, to make it more compelling.


Le voyage d'un consommateur avec un produit défectueux

Like all products, Apple products are sometimes missing. This is part of an unpleasant experience. Apple has looked at the customer's experience to realize that the most unpleasant moment for the consumer is at a time that can be surprising: when they find themselves in line at the store to exchange or get a diagnosis on their product.

As a result, Apple has implemented a system that requires an appointment with a Genius. This simple innovation, which only requires the development of a mobile appointment scheduling application, makes it possible to transform this unproductive and stressful moment into a possible source of additional sales: the customer usually stores in the Apple Store while waiting, in addition to being calmer. In this context, it can be said that this is not innovation: a mobile appointment scheduling application is not new. Rather, it's about innovation through context: this mobile app is the first to be used in this context of returning to retail, turning something banal into an innovation.


Genius Bar de l’Apple Store de Tokyo

Not only does the Apple Store provide more complete control over the customer experience, but it also enables a higher profit margin by distributing directly to customers. That margin can then be reinvested... in design:


Division des marges Samsung vs. Apple

The case of Cirque du Soleil

Cirque du Soleil appeared at a time when the circus was in a bad way. Most circuses were similar: shows mainly focused on animals, which appealed to children and therefore attracted families. Cirque du Soleil came up with an idea that seemed crazy at the time: to do a show with no animals, only acrobats and performers. Keeping animals is the most expensive thing in a circus. By doing so, Cirque du Soleil frees itself from immense costs that can be reinvested in performance. Not only do they become of better quality, but they also make it possible to attract an older audience, thus more "affordable". Rather than paying $35 per ticket for a family, tickets can be sold for $120.

Today, Cirque du Soleil makes more money than all Broadway shows. This is probably a case that could make students from the biggest business schools salivate. Yet all of this is the result of a change in the user experience that seems quite simple: making sure that the circus is not devoted to animals.

The Case for Children's Computed Tomography (CT) - Doug Deitz's GE Adventure Series


Le TDM de GE

Cancer is a traumatic experience: chemotherapy, radiotherapy, stress, questioning. Not to mention death. Imagine in the case of a child: in addition to being exposed to all these stressful factors, add to this the incomprehension of an entourage gone mad. In this context, the CT scan experience where a child has to remain motionless for 7 minutes in order for the scanner to do its job becomes extremely difficult. This is why nearly 80% of children are under sedation when they are subjected to CT scan.

The problem is that if a child's brain is affected by a tumor, the child may never wake up. The creator of this machine was horrified when he saw the use that was being made of the CT scan. So we looked at the child's user experience.

The child's TACO recreates a pirate ship. The child, the nurses, the parents are all dressed as pirates and the TACO was disguised as a board. While this may sound crazy to an adult, to the child it is much more normal to have to stand still on a pirate ship board than it is to stand still on a CT scan.

Result: the sedation rate went from 80% to 0.01%.

UX design: transforming an intention into an experience

User experience can be mapped, measured, modified. The user experience is the transfer of intention into an experience. It is the shaping of that experience. Ugly design does not mean bad design. For example, Craig List is an excellent example of a good user experience: it works well. However, other competitors, by pushing the user experience even further, manage to take full categories from Craig List. For example, AirBnB managed to take a portion of the rental category with a better user experience. All this shows is that the cycle is constant and that innovation requires a constant focus on the user experience.

If you are still not convinced of the relevance of the design and the value of shaping the user experience, I invite you to take a look at this author's Slideshare :