Does data have a place in the design process? There is a very strong constituency in the design community that thinks not.
‘Design is magic’ the story goes. Analytical thinking stifles creativity, and constrains thinking. Data closes things down rather opening them up.
The reality is that good design stems from the right reason for creativity. Being clear on the questions that need to be resolved, and the pain points the customer experiences, helps to define the problem-space and build a platform for truly creative thinking.
User experience researchers know the power of a well worded question when it comes to unlocking vital insight from an end user. Analytics data present another place to ask intelligent questions. Identifying and extracting useful data from an analytics platform can be every bit as powerful as writing an astute discussion guide.
Design decisions present themselves in different places, shapes and sizes, from big decisions about product and service propositions through to small decisions about type and layout. The very best designers make evidence-based calls wherever they can because it increases the likelihood that users will try and treasure the experiences they create. Which means, in our experience, that the very best designers are comfortable using data to help them make design decisions: it is all part of the craft.
Author: Steve Abbis