January 25, 2018 | Bruce Shields

Understanding ‘Data Driven Design’ and how it extends to CX

Data driven design. We’ve all heard it, and heard plenty about it. In fact, it’s become quite a catchphrase in UX circles. But what does it mean, and how do you do it?

At ForeSee, we swim in an ocean of customer experience data and have helped hundreds of clients navigate change in the digital space. This is the first of seven posts in a series that will go from problem definition to final output. We know data, and we can help you put it to use to make a great customer experience.

The first thing we need to define is what we mean by design. Many people think about a pleasing look-and-feel and pretty pictures when they think of design. While important, those things are not what defines a great design. At the heart of every great UX design is a relentless focus on the user. Think of some of the great designs in the past. The iPhone didn’t succeed because the graphics on the screen were attractive. Apple created a new paradigm by focusing on the user and finding a way to put several devices into one. Their designers understood that users didn’t want to carry separate music players, cameras, and phones.

Design is all about connecting people to technology in ways that impact their lives. Does it meet a need? Is it easy to use? Do people want it? These are the questions that designers need to grapple with. And if we are going to use data for design, quite simply, it means using every single piece of information you can get your hands on. (Clickstream data: of course; user interviews: yes please.)

One key type of data that most designers don’t have in abundance is attitudinal data. Behavioral data can tell you what users do, but it can’t tell you why they do it. The reality is that knowing why is often far more important than knowing what.

Take two people who are on your site looking at FAQs in your support section. Is it a good thing or a bad thing that they are there? Well, one of them has a satisfaction score of 89 (on the 100-point scale used in ForeSee’s methodology) and is looking for the answer to one question that wasn’t covered in the owner’s manual. The other has a satisfaction of 0 and received a product that is defective and they are trying to find a way to get their money back. You get the point.

If you use data effectively, you can have a lot more of the former and many fewer dissatisfied customers.

This is the first in a 7-part blog series about data-driven design from the ForeSee Usability Team…

Part 1 – Understanding Data-driven Design
Part 2 – Discovery
Part 3 – Pre-Design Analysis
Part 4 – Predictive User Testing
Part 5 – Post-Design Validation
Part 6 – A/B Testing
Part 7 – Iteration

Categories: Research & CX Data
ForeSee Blogger Bruce Shields

About the Author

Bruce Shields is a Usability Manager at ForeSee. He holds a master’s degree in Human Computer Interaction from the University of Michigan, and has led an internal research task force focusing on responsive design. Prior to joining Foresee, Bruce was a career journalist and helped lead web and multimedia efforts for several publications.

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