Does your data product enable surgery, or healing?

Scalpels for surgery

I recently started playing percussion in a new Celtic ensemble in Boston called Ishna, and we were recently invited to be a guest artist with Symphony NH (New Hampshire). After our concerts concluded, the executive director invited Ishna to a dinner with some of the symphony staff and  board members. This is pretty typical: board members … Read moreDoes your data product enable surgery, or healing?

Video Sample: 2018 O’Reilly Strata Conference (NYC)

This is recording of my presentation at the O’Reilly Strata Data Conference in New York City in 2018. Gartner says 85%+ of big data projects will fail, despite the fact your company may have invested millions on engineering implementation. Why are customers and employees not engaging with these products and services? Brian O’Neill explains why a … Read moreVideo Sample: 2018 O’Reilly Strata Conference (NYC)

Reasons your next sprint, product, or project might fail

Good design happens at the intersection of discovering real user needs/wants and business goals that are ACTIONABLE (by design and engineering). Yes, there’s a little magic/instinct that creeps into good design too, but you can get far without a lot of this magic. It’s really more about nailing the problem set, and having really clear … Read moreReasons your next sprint, product, or project might fail

The difference between design and Design

I am guessing if you’re reading this, it’s because there’s room for your analytics service or data product to get better, and maybe you know that simply adding more data sources, algorithms, bug fixes, or [insert today’s hype cycle tech], isn’t necessarily all there is to making it better. Like some of my clients, you … Read moreThe difference between design and Design

Design KPIs – what improvement did you celebrate in your last analytics software release?

I know to a lot of software teams, getting features/fixes/releases out the door feels like improvement. However, did you actually create or improve the value of your service? To to that, you have to understand what your users actually value, so you can align your efforts accordingly. Most of the time, these nuggets of useful … Read moreDesign KPIs – what improvement did you celebrate in your last analytics software release?

Dashboard Design: Is Maximum Simplicity the Goal?

Should maximum simplicity dictate success? We all love usability these days right? “User experience is important.” Of course it is! But, it doesn’t mean that every user you show the design to is going to, or should immediately be able to, understand fully what you’re showing them. Why? Most valuable things in life take a … Read moreDashboard Design: Is Maximum Simplicity the Goal?

How to solicit *real* needs from users via UX research interviews

Readers of DFA know that I’m big on not immediately giving customers what they asked for, and instead asking the question “why” to learn what the real latent customer needs are. And for you internal analytics folks, remember your employees, vendors, etc. are your “customers” whether you think of them that way or not! Anyhow, … Read moreHow to solicit *real* needs from users via UX research interviews

The Easiest Way to Simplify Your Product or Solution’s Design

Ok, you probably know this one, but let’s dig in a little farther. I recently started to explore using the TORBrowser when surfing on public wi-fi for more security (later finding out that using a VPN, and not TOR, is what will enable safer surfing). However, in the process of downloading and trying the TORBrowser … Read moreThe Easiest Way to Simplify Your Product or Solution’s Design

(8) invisible design problems that are business problems

Today’s insight was originally inspired by a newsletter I read from Stephen Anderson on designing for comprehension, and I felt like this could be expanded on for analytics practitioners and people working on data products. One of the recurring themes I hear from my clients is around the topic of general engagement (or lack thereof) … Read more(8) invisible design problems that are business problems

What internal analytics practitioners can learn from analytics “products” (like SAAS)

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 moreWhat internal analytics practitioners can learn from analytics “products” (like SAAS)