Data & Design: A Match Made in Heaven

March 13, 2017

“I doubt Batman and Superman will ever get married, but it would make for a pretty awesome story!”

On March 9th, Molly and Jan took to the Dx3 stage to discuss an equally unlikely marriage; that of data and design.

You might say that this union marries the rational and the intuitive, the right and the left brain, the factual and the creative. And, you’d be right. These disciplines come from two very different worlds – it’s almost as if data was born in Krypton and design hails from Gotham.

All jokes aside, at their core, data and design may use different lenses to examine and integrate information, but their goal is one and the same: to understand the user. While data looks at the numbers and what they mean, design accounts for usable interfaces. Together, data and design enable our team to work with our clients to build better products for their end-users.

Let’s take a look at how integrating data and design can elevate a brand, boost business results, and guide future developments.

An Integrated Approach

User Experience (UX) designers know that qualitative and quantitative research, like user interviews and surveys, is essential to designing the right solution for end-users. So, the question is, how do we use "big data" analysis (everyone's favourite buzz word) to craft more effective design experiences? The answer? Look to your customers. If you know where to look and what questions to ask, they will tell you everything you need to know about their preferences, what resonates with them, and what they want from the purchasing journey. Simply put, your customers will show you, through their behavior, which touchpoints (or micro moments) are most critical to their user experience.

The exciting part is we can actually use data to inform these critical moments and consumer touchpoints. Pragmatically, a customer represents a certain value to a company that, ideally, is realized over a certain period (sales cycle). However, it becomes difficult to encourage specific buying behaviour when a customer makes a one-time purchase, only. This is where predictive data comes in.

With the right kind of data and analytics, we can start to model and predict your customer's behaviour and internal decision-making processes. For example, we can use it to estimate the effectiveness of various promotion strategies -- drill down to determine the most effective techniques by customer segment.

The point is, we are swimming in a sea of data that we have only just started to use to inform consumer touchpoints. Email, online browsing, cookies, online purchases, mobile apps, contact history, coupon redemption, point of sales data, location data, and more. Modern companies collect a vast array of information that they hope will enable them to better understand their customers’ brains and predict their decisions.

But, merely collecting this information is not enough.

The insights derived from the information collected must be effectively fed back into the user-experience cycle in order to inform the next touchpoint with the customer, and motivate purchasing.

In here lies the intersection of data and design. We understand that when used together, these two lenses guide personalization for your customer journey AND provide tangible business results.

The key, is the continuous integration of new data to help us refine. And, catching the user at the right moment. In fact, picture this intersection as a cycle – while it may seem obvious, frequently, the simplest answer is the right one.

Customer creates data >> insight is pulled from the data >> designer uses insight to inform UX >> customer interacts with UX >> new data allows us to refine.

Curious how data and design can help you better connect with your customers and users? We’d love to chat. Reach out to Dan to start the conversation.

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On March 9th, Architech will be hosting a session at Dx3 2017, Canada’s Leading Technology, Digital Marketi...

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