Why I like using data to drive design
A large proportion of companies are working without any data insights and hoping the next biggest campaign or funnel reaches more prospects than ever before. It might be successful BUT, what if it could have been even better?
I wouldn't say I like designing in the dark. The importance of analytics shouldn't get undervalued. Data can highlight what is performing well and can inform future UX decisions.
Over the years, I have tried and tested numerous strategies when it comes to design in business. I work to add value and seek results rather than focusing just on aesthetics. After an initial website review or project brief, I take an 'analytics first' approach to help lay the foundations for solid, measurable improvements. I like to understand what's going on behind the scenes before taking the project any further.
Following on, I would try to understand why certain behaviours are occurring at particular points of the website.
However, this article is to chat through the advantages of using analytical data in a UX process. Below I have written a list of 3 reasons why analytics can shape your UX recommendations.
Analytics provides evidence that is hard to argue with
Data from analytics is not subjective, like other research methods — the data provides 'what' is happening. The definitive insights are beneficial when presenting work as its not open to interpretation like user testing can be.
Data should also be your best friend when it comes to implementing a change. What impact has the new design had? With data, you can analyse the user behaviours before and after the changes. The variation of your design, old vs new, makes it much easier to prove your point and show the value of your work.
Analytics go hand-in-hand with other UX methods
The data can help you pinpoint the problematic areas on your website, which will then become a focus for usability testing. By using data, we can also understand the demographic. Who is using your website? This is beneficial when recruiting the right participants for user testing.
In a short explanation, you can start to see that the data gives you the 'what' and the user testing will provide you with the 'why'. This kind of information sets you up to design an impactful solution.
Helps you present your findings to key stakeholders
Presenting UX findings isn't always easy. Sharing all the user research and video playbacks can be a long process even when the clips get cut back. In my experience, people lose focus quickly! Start with the analytical insights (it's harder for them to argue the point) and back this up with the user research.
The nature of analytics gives you the back up of 'hard' data which is very useful with demonstrating the impact your work could or has had. Tip: put it in a graph, the stakeholders love them.
Let's wrap it up
Analytical data is instrumental when you want to understand how the users are engaging with your website and measuring the impact of your designs. Data alone is not enough to base your designs on, but it should help to focus your research.