A few weeks ago I spoke at the WebApp Summit in San Diego. This was a UIE (User Interface Engineering) event. It was the first one I’ve spoken at, and the first time I met the folks in charge of UIE, but they made me feel as if I’ve known them for years.

Jared Spool, the guy in charge, and Christine Perfetti, the VP & Managing Director, are solid people. Engaged, interesting, kind, friendly, down-to-earth, and curious. They took great care of the speakers, put on a nice show, and Jared broke the ice with his magic (literally — he’s an aspiring magician and did tricks on stage between presenters).

But the one thing that really sold me on these folks is why they invited me to speak in the first place.

UIE professes a user testing and research driven methodology. We have a different point of view on how to build usable and useful products. Most folks who make their living on testing and research would not invite someone with a significantly different approach to speak directly to their customers. But UIE knows that different perspectives are ultimately good things for their customers.

Just like how Amazon lets their competitors sell against them on Amazon’s product pages, or how Progressive Insurance gives you the quotes for their competitors, UIE is a purveyor of valuable information, not just their information. I think that shows the mark of confidence and a genuine interest in helping people make good decisions. Shielding people from opinion because it’s not your opinion is petty and shallow. UIE is smart to avoid that tack. They know well rounded customers, a.k.a. informed shoppers, are ultimately better customers.

So big thanks to Jared and Christine for being good people. We wish you continued success.