What can my teapot teach you about designing for analytics?

My teapot, or rather the water heater, helps me make great tea, based on the type of tea I want to drink. It also was a reminder for me about how good design means translating quantitative values into qualitative values people can relate to: As a tea drinker, my goal isn’t to heat the water … Read moreWhat can my teapot teach you about designing for analytics?

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?

Here’s one of the simplest ways to simplify complex analytics

This design “no-no” appears almost every time a new client [with a product that displays analytics] asks me to review their UI/UX. More often than not, I’m not provided with any relevant user tasks/usage contexts by which I can do my evaluation, but clients still want my opinion on what could be better, or what they’re … Read moreHere’s one of the simplest ways to simplify complex analytics

Maybe your product’s problem is information *underload*

We’ve all heard about information overload, and the paradox of choice. Don’t you love those thai menus with every type of sauce, noodle, and protein, all written out as separate dishes? “I’ll have item D132 with no water chestnuts….no, I mean the one with chicken on page 12….yeah, that one.” There’s a ton of data … Read moreMaybe your product’s problem is information *underload*

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?