Why Every UX Designer Should Be a Data Analyst
Don’t worry: It’s not as scary as it sounds
Now before you have a Statistics 101–induced myocardial infarction, we should get a few things out of the way.
Math and I haven’t always gotten along.
Who am I kidding? Math and I still don’t really get along. When it comes right down to it, I even went as far as choosing my university based on where I could take the least number of math classes and still graduate. Turns out, at the right university, zero math classes are required to get a degree. All of this is to say that I haven’t taken a math class since I was junior in high school.
The reason I started with this confession is that I don’t want to scare anyone away from the incredible power that data provides to a designer. With the right tools and the right context, being able to access data insights can fundamentally change a company’s success with product releases. We do, however, need to be realistic about our data and analysis maturity. Being a product designer for Adobe Analytics, I’ll be the first to say that I’m about the furthest thing you can get from being an actual analyst. I know just enough to be dangerous. But I also know that there are some very small changes that designers can make in our use of quantitative data that will make all the difference.
A quant in a qual world
Any digital product designer worth their salt should be making data-driven decisions. In my experience, however, that data is almost exclusively qualitative. Qualitative data is information about qualities or any other attribute that cannot be numerically measured. For example, users may say, “This feature was easier to use, because I found the big blue button.” That’s great qualitative feedback about my design work.
Digital product designers are — or rather should be — great about finding users to talk to, facilitating these conversations, recording and synthesizing feedback, and delivering that feedback as data points to the stakeholders, to inform product direction. I’m not going to delve into all the specifics of the qualitative workflow because a quick Google search can get you tons of information on how to accomplish that piece of your digital product design…