Available, accessible, and real data is necessary for making informed design decisions. They serve as the backbone for good decisions, and they should be utilized to their maximum potential. To use data to make better design decisions, you should learn to gather researched and relevant data, differentiate several types of data, analyze using proper tools, interpret the findings of the data analysis, and use them to make an informed design decision.
Data is the backbone of every decision you make. Whether it's a personal or professional decision, data should be your guiding force in arriving at a logical and informed choice. Data will aid in the framing and delivery of the problem, which will lead you closer to the right solution. Without data, you're just shooting in the dark — and odds are, you're going to miss.
Especially when you are a web designer, it is important to use data that can help you become a better designer. If you use data to make good design decisions and improve your design, you'll be a better designer. But let me ask you this—do you know how to use that data well? Are you familiar with the different types of data available out there? And do you know how to access real data sources easily? These are just some of the questions that will be answered in the following sections.
1) Gather researched and relevant data
When you're faced with a design problem, your first instinct may be to start brainstorming. You might make a list of all the things about the design that are bothering you and try to come up with solutions for them. But if you start by gathering research and relevant data on the subject, you'll be able to make smarter decisions from the get-go.
There are many ways to improve your process for gathering information and researching ideas before beginning any project. You can talk with people who have experience in the field or whose input you would value, such as other designers, friends, or coworkers. You can review popular resources like books or tutorials online. At the end of the day, just make sure to look for data that is relevant to your design and the decisions you want to make about it.
2) Differentiate several types of data.
The key to using data effectively is understanding which type of data is most useful for your case. For starters, you can learn to differentiate between qualitative and quantitative data.
Quantitative data is numbers that are collected via counting or measuring. Examples might include the number of website visitors per day or the number of users who click on a certain button. Quantitative data provides an objective look at past performance and can be used effectively to measure progress. However, it is important to remember that while this type of data is helpful for making decisions about the design and how to improve it, it's not helpful for understanding why something happens.
This is where you use your qualitative data. In terms of design, qualitative data (the kind that describes how people feel about something) is great for figuring out what exactly went wrong if something has gone wrong. It's also useful in determining why people feel the way they do about a given product or service. Qualitative data is also great for getting feedback on changes you're considering making before rolling them out more widely; some businesses send surveys out before any changes go live in order to see if their users have any strong opinions one way or another.
3) Analyze the data using the appropriate tools
As data can exist in a variety of different formats and have many different definitions, it becomes hard to understand. And data is only useful if you understand it; looking at a graph or table of numbers doesn't mean it will automatically make sense. If you want your data to be useful for making design decisions, you need to take a deeper dive into the numbers and interpret them correctly.
But how do you know which tool is right for the job? You could start by looking at your data itself: If it is quantitative, then statistical analysis would be appropriate—you can use statistics to analyze relationships between variables and make predictions based on probability. If it's descriptive, then more qualitative methods should be used—you might try cluster analysis to group similar items together or usability testing to get a better understanding of what others think about your design.
4) Interpret the findings of the data analysis
When you're making a design decision, you're putting a lot of thought and work into it, and your work does not stop at analyzing the data. This section explains where you can look for solutions. Ask yourself how your results affect the design. You'll use these insights to make sure you're providing a solution that truly addresses your problem with the design. Going back to your findings, can you see where any of them have affected—or are affecting—the way you would have designed something? What are the patterns or trends in your data? Will they have a positive or negative impact on your design?
If your findings are what you expected or not in line with what other people might expect, it is now time for the last part, which is to use the findings to make an informed design decision.
5) Use the findings to make an informed design decision.
The last step in using data to make better design decisions is to include the findings of your analysis as you go on with your decision-making process. Incorporating an analysis into your informed design decisions is basically where you start putting things together into a cohesive plan of action. It's also important to go back over your initial goals and make sure that you're making the change or keeping the current decision-whatever will be best for the project as a whole. Just keep in mind that your informed design decision is essentially trying to figure out what needs to happen so that you get the results you want.
It is also important to remember that data doesn't change what you're doing right now, nor can it force you in any direction. It simply gives you more information so you have a fuller picture of what you're doing and why—a picture that may inform your next steps or confirm that what you're doing is right after all. Remember, data is meant to support your decision-making process, not take over it.
Data is a serious matter that should be treated with the utmost respect. The more accessible and real data is, the more information it offers to help you make an informed design decision. When you design something, you need to consider all the factors involved, not just the ones that are easy to notice. Not only does this approach allow for better decisions, but it also helps mitigate unfortunate consequences later on due to poor decisions.
As designers and developers, you need to know how to utilize data in your quest to create great experiences and make informed design decisions. You can't afford to be swayed by your own personal biases or subjective opinions. If you're going to better yourself, you have to incorporate some evidence into your decision-making, along with a healthy dose of creativity and imagination.