Using Data To Make Better Design Decisions

By Shelley Babij on 24 November 2016

Designers have powerful tools at their disposal for solving complex problems and analyzing their efforts with real data. How to zero in on what’s important and start making informed decisions.

By embracing the metrics your business cares about and contextualizing why good UX design matters to those metrics, you not only make it easier for business leaders to justify putting more resources into UX, you also start prioritizing what initiatives make the most sense.

– Roger Huang for InVision Blog

As a designer you’ve been tasked with redesigning a landing page for a specific user segment. Your project manager comes to you with a problem and asks you to Fix It. The current page isn’t seeing the conversions he would like – so a redesign is in order.

As product designers we know this scenario all too well. Something isn’t working – rework the UI and content, remove distractions, funnel your user’s through to click that button to convert.

Where do you start?

By making design decisions based on user data (both quantitative and qualitative) you set yourself up for success. Designing on instincts and aesthetics alone leaves you open to scrutiny from other stakeholders by not having a concrete reason why you made a specific UI change.

Metrics can help you align closer with business goals and showcase the return on investment your company or client gets from your efforts.

– Roger Huang for InVision Blog

Data-driven design can incorporate a variety of data collection practices such as A/B testing, Google Analytics data, user-testing sessions to name a few. The purpose is to measure specific metrics to make design decisions and then test to see if you’ve achieved your goals.

Start by zeroing-in

Always start by finding out what kind of metrics matter to the company’s stakeholders for the specific part of the product or site. What are the goals that a certain landing page is trying to achieve? Page views? Exit rates? Bounce Rates? Be very specific. Outlining which metrics you will be measuring is key, and keep you from falling down the analytics rabbit hole.

When data is specific, taking action on it becomes easier.

– Ashley Morenzon for Smashing Magazine

Once you know what you’re going to measure – determine what success looks like. Get a team consensus of what you’re testing, and what constitutes a win. Now you can proceed.

Projected outcomes

Kick-off the project by declaring what problems your design will be solving and include a desired improvement measurement. Then get to work designing a prototype – the earlier and more often you can test your designs the better.

A/B testing and analyzing specific agreed upon metrics will help see if you’ve met your page redesign goals. Add in qualitative data to help answer the why – having both types of data is invaluable.

Remember that qualitative data is still data! It has great applications in discovering the why behind user behavior, and even in mitigating internal apprehensions about testing.

– Ashley Morenzon for Smashing Magazine

Conclusion

Use all the tools at your disposal to help define your problem, test your designs and know when you’ve achieved your goal. It will convince business stakeholders of the value of investing in user research and ultimately deliver a better end-product.

Designing with data has to go beyond algorithms, automation, A/B testing, and analytics. Rather, the goal is to use all the data to develop a better understanding of everyday experience.

– Pamela Pavliscak for UX Magazine

Sources UX Mag, Smashing Magazine, InVision Blog
Image Sources Joanna Paczkowska, Shawn Sprockett & Christophe Zidler