What is data-informed design?

A large volume of data is generated daily with different tools and methods. It doesn’t matter in what field and where, the important thing is that today, it is the data that speaks first. You may ask why data has become so important these days. Why is there talk of data everywhere?

In answer to this question, it should be said that the analysis of this data helps large and small businesses, organizations, and companies to make the right decisions, to better identify their strengths and weaknesses, to have more appropriate targeting, and in short, in an In other words, reach an awareness to achieve high profits with more speed and less cost. The knowledge is the result of examining quantitative and qualitative data and every effective factor in design.

What is discussed in this article is data-informed design.

An Overview of the UX design process

At first glance, the role of data in design may seem weak. But it is not like that at all.

In general, the product design process is a cycle of different processes:

  • Goal setting
  • Research
  • analyze
  • Designing
  • Design testing

When the product is designed, it should be evaluated from different aspects. The purpose of this step is to find out whether the product we have designed correctly responds to the user’s need or not. And if there is a problem, fix it.

Product evaluation is not only in the manufacturing process. Sometimes a product has been designed for a long time, but suddenly something happens that the design team decides to change a part of it or even recognizes that a redesign should happen.

The question that arises is where and how does the design team recognize that the product has a problem? How do you know the type of problem? What methods does he use to fix it?

The importance of data in UX design

The product design and user experience team achieves this important information with the help of data. UX problems are not something that can be solved by observation and guesswork.

When you go to the doctor to treat a problem, the doctor does not prescribe medicine and treatment methods just by hearing the symptoms of the disease. Rather, he will first ask you to perform tests so that he can prescribe the best treatment method and medicine based on the data obtained from the test results.

It is the same in UX design. Product designers must design a product that the user can work with easily and ultimately have a pleasant experience. Unfortunately, many designers think they know the behavior of users and no longer see the need to make an effort to know users and analyze the data related to them.

This makes the design path full of wrong decisions and ultimately a product is designed that not only does not reach the business’s goals but also creates an unpleasant experience for the user. This is where the importance of data in product design and user experience becomes prominent.

Undoubtedly, data is a key element in design and it cannot be denied.

Where does the data needed in UX design come from?

In user experience design, data is the result of two different research methods: quantitative and qualitative research.

What is quantitative research in UX?

Quantitative research in UX refers to research that shows its results with numbers. The purpose of quantitative research is to measure the effective components of user experience. Finally, the analysis of these data shows the real view of the current state of the product and its strengths and weaknesses.

What is qualitative research in UX?

Unlike quantitative research, which is entirely based on numbers, qualitative research examines the product from another perspective. Data from qualitative research is the result of examining human behavior, observations, and feelings of users.

Types of data-driven design Methods

Usually, there are two general concepts in data-driven design: Data-driven Design and Data-informed Design.

What is data-driven design?

In this design approach, all actions are performed based on data. All decisions, research, and, in short, everything that is done is based on data. The data used in the Data-Driven Design approach are mostly data obtained from quantitative research rather than qualitative research. In other words, this method is more based on numbers than observing user behavior.

Usually, this approach is used to optimize or change a specific part of the product.

What is data-informed design?

The data-informed design also relies on data. But unlike the previous method, in addition to quantitative data, it also pays special attention to the data obtained from qualitative research. The designer uses quantitative and qualitative data as a reference but ultimately makes his own decision. This method is usually used to solve the major problems of users in a product.

Sometimes UX designers want to know why users act in a certain way. To understand this, it is better to use qualitative research and data-informed design.

However, no matter how much you rely on numerical data, in UX design we are dealing with human-machine interaction, and paying attention to human behavior and emotions is something that whether you want it or not, you have to include in the process of product design and improving the experience. Consider a user.

The difference between data-driven design and data-informed design

While in both data-driven design and data-informed design, the basis of work is based on data, the main difference between the two is in the research method and the importance given to the obtained data.

As mentioned in data-driven design, although both quantitative and qualitative research methods are used, the burden of quantitative and numerical research is heavier than the qualitative method. In this method, UX designers and researchers focus their main attention on data, numbers, and charts and less on qualitative data.

In the data-informed design method, the goal is to pay equal attention to different types of data, both quantitative and qualitative. Proponents of this method believe that although real and numerical data gives a very good view of the product, one should not forget that the designed product is ultimately going to reach the hands of the end user, a human being. And the ultimate goal is to satisfy the user. So it gives more importance to qualitative data and anything that helps the designer to know the user better.

Qualitative research methods in Data-Informed Design

As mentioned, qualitative research plays a key role in data-informed design. Usually, in the qualitative research method, methods such as textual research and user inquiry, and user flow analysis are used.

Field studies

In this method, as its name suggests, inquiry and research are done in a specific field of users. The UX researcher examines the product using the information obtained from this research method as well as his observations. Some of the interactions that the user has with the product may not be meaningful to the UX researcher, so the researcher asks the user to explain the reason for these interactions.

For example, the UX researcher, while examining the method of user interaction with a product such as a website, observes that users click on a certain button. In this case, it should ask users the question “Why did you click on that button?” Or observe the behavior of users in the face of errors and errors on the site and ask them the question, “What is your opinion about this error on the site?”

User flow analysis

User flow is the user’s movement path in a website or application from the moment of entry to exit. Usually, UX designers define a specific user flow for themselves. But what happens, in reality, may not match what the designers think.

For example, UX designers expect the user to follow a path after entering a landing page on the website that will eventually lead to purchasing a product, registering on a page, or filling out a specific form. But in practice, this is not what is observed. After entering that page (landing), the user may not move in the direction expected by the UX designers for any reason and end up on a completely unrelated page or leave the site.

The easiest way for UX designers to identify the reason for this is to analyze the user flow. For this, UX researchers usually ask a group of people to perform a specific task on that product (website or application). They should carefully observe how the user does this and ask specific questions to better understand the user’s behavior and feelings towards the product.

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