Mr. Spool, a Massachusetts-based software developer by trade, founded User Interface Engineering in 1988 and will be the keynote speaker at a usability conference in Ottawa, UXCamp 2012, on Oct. 13.
“You measure great experience design on a scale of frustration to delight,” Mr. Spool said in an OBJ interview.
“Any place where you can be more delightful than your competitors is going to be key. One of the things that separates the great businesses from the businesses that struggle, is they think about the whole experience and not just the individual amount of activity. They anticipate where frustration might happen.”
Taking the example of a restaurant, Mr. Spool said typical frequently asked questions to that kind of venue not only include queries about hours and location, but also questions about if allergies or specific diets can be accommodated, or when the busiest hours are.
While most restaurants answer the first set of questions on the website, the other set of questions usually requires a phone call to the venue.
Solving this problem, he said, is as simple as making sure the person who designs the website has access to the key decision-makers in an organization that directly deal with customers. Restaurant chefs, for example, should speak directly to the website designers.
Serving the customers is key to generating buzz in any business, he added.
“Think about your favourite restaurant. How did you learn about that restaurant? For most people, they learned about it from somebody else. It’s rare that some jingle got you into it, or some magazine ad.”
He added, “Word-of-mouth is interestingly, the cheapest form of advertising. The way you get really good word-of-mouth is through providing great experiences.”