Designers and data analysts come from two different worlds.
A designer is defined as someone who plans the form, look, or workings of something, before it is made or built. Conversely, a data analyst is described as a person who takes large volumes of data and numbers, and has the ability to transform that data into something valuable that supports decision-making and helps to provide information, context, and direction.
Although these two professions are profoundly different, there is an area where they have the ability to work beautifully together - and that space is called user experience (UX).
Designers have an intuitive knack for developing and designing apps and websites that provide a phenomenal UX. They know what people want, and how to give it to them. Some of it is learned over time through experience, but some of it comes naturally to talented people. But, that innate sense can only take a product so far.
How can we continue to improve on already great products? How can we take an existing app and make it better? The answer is in the data.
Data & User Experience Working Together
User experience is all about creating the most engaging and immersive experience possible. It’s about sucking people in, and ensuring they want to come back again and again. But when you want to reach this heightened level of UX, how do you get there? You can test theories and hypotheses, and adjust accordingly. You can run different A/B tests every week, and then make changes based on your results.
But the problem with this approach is that when you’re the one creating the alternatives and the variables, you’re only testing against things you already know. Because you don’t know what you don’t know, it’s impossible to truly be open to all possibilities when you’re relying on your team’s ability to come up with new variables and scenarios to test.
This is where the data comes in. Instead of making up your own theories to test, you want to collect user data and allow that to tell you what needs to happen.
Think about how much more accurate and powerful the data is, when it’s originated by the users themselves. Every click your users take can be captured, tracked and analyzed. Where do they spend most of their time? What pages do they return to, over and over? What is their purchasing history?
When you start collecting, tracking, and analyzing every aspect of your user’s activity within your app, you have officially entered the realm of the big data world.
Recent studies have shown that an individual’s time spent in mobile apps versus mobile web browsers is now 7:1, and that gap will likely continue to grow. If you want people to choose to spend their precious time and energy in your app, you’ve got to do the work to keep them there.
But, the reality is that no one knows better what the consumers want than the actual consumers. We can create buyer personas and run focus groups until we’re blue in the face, but that data will never be as accurate as what consumer behaviour tells us. Let your consumers lead the way, and they’ll show you how to provide them with the UX they want.
So rather than relying on your team’s instincts, rely on the data your consumers are sending you. Don’t guess what they want - let them tell you through their own actions.