Without user research how can we as designers know we are making the right decisions on behalf of the users? Investing in user research early on in a project can save a company time and money and the ability to produce a higher-quality product with user experience satisfaction grounded in proven metrics.
What is Data-Driven Design?
Data-driven design in UX is about designing with the user in mind, backed by data from the research process to provide the optimal user experience. Using data such as social media analytics, engagement, conversion rates, and so on. There are two large sections within data collection known as quantitative and qualitative data. Quantitative is the calculations, the numerical based analytics such as how many visitors to your website, and other numbers. While qualitative is more about the reason why this number is what it is, or how we get this calculation.
The Importance of Data-Driven Design and User Research
Data-driven design and user research are critical parts of understanding what users want and need from their user experience. In UX, designers can utilize this data to support the direction of their designs and ensure users' opinions are accounted for in regards to usability, and overall interactions with a product.
When conducting user research it’s important to create empathy with your users and understand their pain points. This research not only identifies the changes that need to be implemented but also lets companies see the product from their users’ perspectives. User research also provides context for these problems that need solutions. A lack of user research can leave a company/team making assumptions about their users or what can be referred to as “guesswork”. When designers are doing guesswork it’s easy to get lost in trying to meet all the goals and solving all the issues. Investing in a small amount of user research is better than none. Any data collected from user research provides insight into how a product will perform in the real market resulting in saved time and money.
How is UX Evolving?
Technology is always evolving and at an accelerated pace. Just look at how we interact with technology on a daily basis. This means that UX also needs to evolve along with technology, from offering more inclusive designs to voice recognition in cars and applications. Voice recognition in car user experience is a great example of evolving UX. The issue designers are trying to solve is ridding drivers of distractions such as large flashy screens and manual controls. Voice recognition software allows the driver to solely focus on the road. Gestural functionality is another UX evolution we could see more of in the future; physically signaling that evokes action from a product with specific actions for complex results. When we really think about where technology could be headed in the next decade, it sounds like it came out of a sci-fi film.
A new generation of designers will have to come up with solutions for these new technologies and grow with each trending design staple. An example in the past was the invention of the touch screen more specifically the first generation iPhone, featured a pinch and zoom interaction which has now become an instinctive behavioral mannerism that a majority of the population assume is the function of all touch screens. There’s always a possibility for new and innovative ways to make technology accessible to all, where the next gen designers can develop standards of the future.
In the beginning any project in UX design it is beneficial to thoroughly understand how your user base will interact and respond to a product. The importance of data-driven design and user research can make the difference between a successful product from all aspects as opposed to a product that just misses the mark with users. Taking into consideration users’ perspectives, allows companies to address pain points head-on, with evidence to support major decisions, in order to create an optimal user experience.
Check out our Podcast Episode #2: Data-Driven and User Research
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