Jared Spool dishes: A good user experience designer is...
Chattanooga Startup Week kicks off next week, with dozens of lectures and seminars aimed at young companies and the people who create them, as well as the presentation of the city’s first CHA Startup Awards.
Jared Spool is one of those speakers. As cofounder of Center Centre, the one-of-a-kind school for user experience (UX) designers that’s aiming for a January 2015 opening in Chattanooga, Spool has dual credentials for Startup Week. He’s helping create one himself, and his startup is all about cultivating a key resource for startups: UX design.
“It used to be you could start a business and worry about the design of your products later, once you got established, but now your competitive angle for many of these things is to be able to produce something that’s better designed than the established leaders,” he says.
The first iPhone, for example, was so successful in 2007 because the rest of the phone industry wasn’t paying attention to what made phones frustrating.
“Apple, who was not in the phone industry, was able to introduce a product that changed the world,” he says. “They came out with something that had a better experience, a better design. That’s where the bigger opportunities are for innovation for startups today: going in and talking something with lot of friction and frustration and pretty much providing the same service without that friction or frustration.”
Spool and co-founder Leslie Jensen-Inman have gotten Tennessee Higher Education Commission approval for their school, hired their staff, and set up their space. The final design item is creating more financial opportunities for students to attend. They have already received $100,000 from the Benwood Foundation for scholarships. Now they are working with Chattanooga banks to be sure loans are available. Their goal is to admit 36 students to the two-year program in January 2015, and they are already interviewing candidates.
“Design is a messy business,” says Spool, who compares it to making a cake. During the cooking, the kitchen gets messy, but when it’s time to serve the cake, the kitchen needs to be clean.
“We need people who are comfortable in both environments,” he says. “If you can’t deal with disorder and chaos for periods of time, it’s going to be a really difficult thing. On the other hand, if you always live a world of disorder and chaos and can’t clean it up to make it neat and orderly, that’s going to be difficult, too. We’re looking for people who understand the distinction between those things, and have a history of switching between them like a good baker does.”
* * * *
Jared Spool speaks on “Why It’s a Great Time to be a UX Designer” at 4 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 8, at Center Centre, 811 Broad St., Suite 400.
Other national speakers include David Weinberger, author of Too Big To Know; Chris Guillebeau, author of The $100 Startup; UX designer Aaron Irizarry; and Victor Saad, founder of the Experience Institute.
For a full schedule of events, visit startupweekcha.com.