“Post-truth,” data analytics, and omissions–are these design considerations?

Post-truth. The 2016 word of the year. Yikes for some of us. This got me thinking about UX around data, analytics, and information, and what it means when we present conclusions or advice based on quantitative data. Are those “facts”? If your product generates actionable information for customers, then during your design phase, your team … Read more“Post-truth,” data analytics, and omissions–are these design considerations?

Does your data answer real customer questions, or the ones your data model supports?

I worked on a project with two sociologists from the Future of Music Coalition a couple years ago. They conducted the first large-scale formal survey on musicians’ revenue streams to help answer the question “how do working musicians make a living?” It was a really fantastic project funded in part by the Doris Duke Charitable … Read moreDoes your data answer real customer questions, or the ones your data model supports?

How can good design help you raise investment capital and increase monthly SAAS revenue?

At some point, you probably visited designingforanalytics.com if you’re on my mailing list, and you might have read a cast study about one of my startup clients, Apptopia.com. Apptopia hired me to help them turn a suffering marketplace business into a thriving mobile app intelligence platform based on analytics. If you aren’t familiar with this company, Apptopia … Read moreHow can good design help you raise investment capital and increase monthly SAAS revenue?

Want a Silver-quality analytics product? Use Agile. Want Gold? Read on.

Agile software development is everywhere. You’re probably using some form of it yourself. And, that’s probably good, assuming you’re actually delivering value with agility. These days, I constantly hear about how “shipping working code” sooner trumps everything else. When it comes to designing for analytics though, I don’t always agree. It’s hard to build and ship … Read moreWant a Silver-quality analytics product? Use Agile. Want Gold? Read on.

The #1 problem I see with clients trying to design good analytics products

When it comes to analytics products that need to show data to customers, one of the biggest misconceptions I see with clients is the believe that their trove of data is actually ​information, by default. Your data is not informative until it has been presented–i.e. designed–in a way that customers can inform their future decisions or actions. … Read moreThe #1 problem I see with clients trying to design good analytics products

What’s wrong with the analytics in the NEST thermostat’s monthly report?

It’s homework time! Let’s talk about NEST (Thermostat) for a minute. In particular, their monthly report. I have a thermostat and hot water radiators in my house (no central air). Each month, the NEST device sends me a report of how I did in terms of energy use etc. How good is this report? Hmmm. … Read moreWhat’s wrong with the analytics in the NEST thermostat’s monthly report?

Is your product producing automated insights/recommendations based on…fluff?

Ah, fluff. It’s a great word, and it was actually born in its marshmallow form just a mile away in Somerville, MA. There’s even a fluff festival. A few weeks ago, we talked about the various levels of maturity that an analytics-driven product can go through, with the Holy Grail being one that delivers actionable, useful … Read moreIs your product producing automated insights/recommendations based on…fluff?

What happens when you use templates for dashboards and analytics products?

I hear it all the time on Quora, in real life, and from clients: “What BI tool should we use to visualize our data? Is there a good dashboard template you know of?” When it comes to designing analytics products and dashboards, templates and libraries aren’t necessarily bad, if you have spent the time to … Read moreWhat happens when you use templates for dashboards and analytics products?

Do you have a metrics toilet on your hand?

When I work on products that primarily exist to display analytics information, I find most of them fall into roughly four different levels of design maturity: The best analytics-driven products give actionable recommendations or predictions written in prose telling a user what to do based on data.  They are careful about the quantity and design of the … Read moreDo you have a metrics toilet on your hand?