Human-Centered Design for Data Science and Analytics
Does your data science solution or data product make customers go like this when they see it?
Do you wish they viewed it as invaluable decision support that made them feel like:
Analytics, AI, ML, cloud, IOT, data lakes–the buzz words are endless.
Users don't care about your tech.
Design determines whether your technology is valuable enough to:
Shorten sales cycles.
Transform the biz.
Designing good decision support software requires more than data viz & dashboards.
My name is Brian O'Neill, and I am on a mission to help enterprise companies turn data into indispensable information products and services. While analytics and data technology evolves rapidly—yesterday it was "big data," and now it's machine learning, neural nets, and AI—poor design and user experience makes this technology useless, lowering user engagement, hindering sales, and impeding digital transformation. Good design can address problems across the "entire stack:" customers, users, employees, and the business itself.
I've helped tons of companies design useful, usable, beautiful software including:
In early 2015, Apptopia.com–a marketplace for mobile companies to buy and sell their apps–was looking for a second business opportunity to monetize the mounds of mobile app data they had collected: the actual download and revenue data from thousands of real apps across Google Play and iTunes. Apptopia knew that this data could be turned into a useful competitive intelligence analytics product for app publishers, advertisers, SDK companies, and investors that would provide a less expensive and better offering than the leading competitor, App Annie. However, they needed help turning all this data into a useful, usable, well-designed analytics product capable of becoming a successful subscription-based SAAS platform.
Instead of just showing users random tables and charts of time series data and “data visualizations” that don’t actually solve customer problems, Apptopia hired me to help them design a service that would allow app publishers and investors to answer real business questions prevalent in the app publishing world. Using my discovery process and a lot of dry-erase markers, we sketched out a product roadmap, including an MVP, and several follow-on features that would best satisfy the set of user goals, tasks, and business problems that we had uncovered.
And then I designed and helped them launch the MVP reflecting their new pivot to app intelligence.
When the new product launched in June 2015, it had no revenue. However, according to Apptopia CEO Eliran Sapir in a recent TechCrunch article, “within 60 days [of launch], we were at $30,000 MRR. Within 120 days, we were at $70,000 MRR.” By 2018, they made the Inc. 5000 with three-year growth of 363% and 2017 revenue of $2.8M.
Apptopia's customers include Facebook, Localytics, Verizon, Google, Pinterest, NBC Universal, Philips, Deloitte, Chartboost, and SendGrid and its data has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNN and Barrons.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect not having worked with a product designer before, but when Brian came on board, he helped us significantly accelerate our design efforts and meet our major enterprise clients’ expectations and deadlines. We have gotten a lot of mileage out of his work, and we've received good responses from our customers. I can’t recommend him enough.
“I wondered at first whether Brian’s relative lack of experience in the patent/IP space would work with our team in the creation of a product like Legion, especially given the conservative, security-oriented corporate culture of Elysium. By the end, I realized just how much we needed Brian's approach, influence, and outside presence/energy to design a successful patent analysis tool. Brian made us think through the entire Legion product experience, and through this process, we learned to improve our own design skills. Today, our litigation consultants continue to use Legion regularly with clients. It has probably reduced collaboration overhead by 50% (which our clients love!) and allows consultants and clients to come together, using Legion’s data and analytics, to build shared understandings of patented inventions quickly.
“When you’re bringing on a consultant, there is always a level of uncertainty about results, and there’s nothing worse than ending up with solutions that aren’t feasible, workable, or usable at the end of the process. While Brian’s processes differed from what I was used to, and I didn’t always want to get into the level of requirements detail that he felt was necessary, the bottom line is that Brian brings a very high floor in terms of end results. Given how many different responsibilities I am juggling at any given time, it was extremely comforting to know that my goals for the [new Apptopia analytics] product would always be met, and that my bottom line was so high. I’ve recommended Brian to my peers because the worst possible end result they will get from him is so much higher than what most designers can provide at their best.
“Brian’s questioning of our business and user objectives for a new video analytics SAAS–prior to any discussion of design solutions–was a bit unusual for me. In fact, I’ve rarely met anyone with a process like his. That said, by the time we started negotiating with Brian, we had already decided to work with him. One of the key capabilities Brian brought to the table was the ability to help us distinguish between "vanity" analytics and "actionable” analytics, so that our service’s data was always presented in a way to help users actually make better business decisions. In the end, the prospects to whom we showed Brian’s designs were wowed by the extremely clean and elegant presentation of our video analytics, and we got excellent feedback that this design was much better than the existing, highly established players in this space. At that point, we knew our main business challenge would be sales access, and not product quality. If I needed to develop a design strategy for another analytics product or service in the future, I wouldn’t hesitate to call Brian first.
“Until Brian came in to help us, nobody could see a strategic direction, or if they did they lacked the ability to articulate it in an actionable way. This discovery and planning absolutely needed to happen and it's been great. It's nice to have a plan we can get behind and finally feel like we're on the same train as the leadership team. Execution will be more satisfying because we're going to have a better sense of what stakeholders need to see and how that relates to what we get to work on.
“Initially, the FMC had no prior exposure to Brian’s design work, but in the end, the design strategy that he formulated with us enabled us to design a stunning data portal that exceeded our expectations. Timely delivery and transparent communication also helped us to manage expectations and plan well. Brian really felt like a thought partner for what we were trying to do, and I recommend his design services without reservation.
MinneBos Conference (Minneanalytics)
You Built It, But They Didn't Come: How Human-Centered Design Increases the Value of Decision Support Tools
August 22, 2019 - 1030am
Questrom School of Business
Register to Attend