Creating Better Experiences via Data-Driven Designs

Author: Sachin Datta | Categories: Website Design & User Experience, Websites, Design & Ux, Digital Marketing

Design is changing, and it’s no longer enough to rely on ‘best practices’ or ‘personal experiences’ to create relevant designs. Today’s is the age of experience marketing – collating customer data and delivering on the expectations is what every business is gearing up towards. Needless to say, your designs too should be able to create positive customer experiences so that your business smoothly moves to the next level. While designing, you ought to consider the available data and analytics relevant to your business structure and industry.

Will achieving this be as simple as it sounds? We shall soon find out!

Understanding website experiences

A customer’s experience on a website is of utmost importance. From simplicity in design to easy navigational facilities – everything counts while offering a positive experience to a customer. While creativity is important, data and analytics too play a significant part in a website’s design. Without considering data, you may make a ‘half-baked’ design replete with a number of mistakes. Data driven designs on the other hand can help reduce these errors substantially.

“Designers sometimes combat their own assumptions and go beyond the best practices. The idea is to make sure that user insights or data points are used to create user experiences for their users.”

Data: Definition and classification

Before we find out the benefits of data-driven designs, let’s first understand what data points are and how they may impact the designs you are creating. Data points refer to the information/ value that provide you the ability to understand your user’s mental model. They provide you inputs into how your users operate and what they want to do and know. Data points are thus valuable as they add insight to your understanding of your customer’s journey.

Data points can be categorized into the below:

  • Quantitative data – data that can be measured and calculated in zeros and ones.

  • Qualitative data – data that is more around non-numerical values like opinions, preferences, etc.

Each has its own understanding and should be used in conjunction to each other rather than individually.

Most of our analytics could be termed as quantitative data. Analytics tell you about the areas where your website’s pages are used the most and also the ones from where users typically exited your website. However, if you were to find out the reasons why they arrived at your website or why they exited, analytics will seldom be of help.

This is where you need qualitative data inputs! To find out the ‘why’s’ and ‘why not’s, you would have to take into account customer preferences and feedback. And, by blending the two – quantitative and qualitative data – you can get set in the right direction and create robust designs for your customers.

Data collection best practices

The most effective websites put user needs first.

Many organizations struggle to balance their users’ needs with their business objectives. Pop-up email capture forms are a great example. While it’s not in the user’s best interests to have their browsing experience interrupted by an email capture form, many sites still opt to do so.

So, before we start to design the experience for our end-users, we should first do the following:

  • Define business objectives for creating the website/ application

  • Identify the target audience of the website

    • Recognize their profile & personas

    • Find out the trigger points of the audience

    • Identify the different interaction scenarios between your website and the users
  • Gather the complete customer lifecycle

Having the above in place can offer you the required design perspective. For instance, if you are designing for an insurance website, which mainly sells health insurance, you would need to have crystal clear understanding of:

  1. The visitors of your website

  2. The website features that they will need the most

  3. The scenarios around which they will access your website

  4. The devices that they may typically use to view your website contents

The answers to these questions will help you appropriately design for your audience. While simple design with less text would be perfect for mobile users, an elaborate website would best cater to desktop users.

What benefits do data-driven designs provide?

Using the same data points we can personalize the design experience for different target audiences.

The idea here is to make use of the gathered data points to personalize the experience for the users. This is vital for an experience and can help you stand out among your competitors.

Data points help us trace the customer journey and capture its impact on the product design being created.

A customer’s journey begins much before she actually purchased a product. It began right at the time when she identified her needs and will end when she will recommend your product to others. Surely, there are a number of steps in between; and data points will provide the context in building the different stages of her journey. In this sense, customer journey gives a holistic picture of the user and helps you identify the potential gaps in your sales journey in comparison to user’s buying journey.

Data points help customers understand the design decisions and make the entire process clear to them.

A design should not only justify the designer’s creative instincts or the stakeholders’ idea of displaying the contents; it should also be able to do justice to a user’s perception of viewing and using a website. Data-driven designs help both the groups achieve this. Besides, such designs also help stakeholders recognize the gaps and misses.

In the end…

Design decisions can be complex. Although data-based decisions may not be foolproof, they can nonetheless provide you enough understanding to take the risks in a more calculated fashion. So, before you start with the design, make sure that you understand the entire user journey and have enough data points to refer to in order to make appropriate designs. More than anything else, data-driven decisions can help you create meaningful and better experiences that go a long way.