Tips to help focus your analytics design/engineering efforts on results

If you are starting out on a new feature design, or analytics effort, can you clearly state what the value will be in quantifiable terms at the end of the sprint? Are you building an “exploratory” UI, or one that is supposed to drive home conclusions for the customer? When clients come to me about … Read more

Think it’s hard building an analytics product or service? Try cutting features out.

Try cutting features out of it. Apparently, that whole quote from Michaelangelo about “I just carve away the part of the statue that doesn’t look like David” is a myth. But, it’s a good myth for design thinkers. It helps me remember that you can add customer value by removing materials from a design. We talk a … Read more

A Venture Capitalist’s Take on Designing Useful Big Data Products

I loved this quote: ”Identify 2-3 need-to-know insights, and make that the focus of the product. Rather than thinking about competing products, think about competing processes. The goal of the product is to be consistently used by all users, not just power users, and the only way to accomplish this is to make it as simple as possible to discover the … Read more

How can good design help you avoid product bloat and drift?

Let’s talk about your product’s drift and keeping it in check. As your product evolves, it will likely grow in size, and get more complex over time. You’ll listen to customers, adapt to their needs, and over time will begin to encounter situations where different segments’ needs are in conflict, and you either dissatisfy one … Read more

What’s the #1 way you can simplify your service?

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 more

(4) Reasons reverse-engineering data into use cases for data products is costly and risky

Toilet bowl with cash money in it

On a lot of analytics-driven projects, I am told by my clients that there are many possible use cases or user stories that the design needs to support. Why so many? I think it stems from the fact that products and companies are collecting more and more data, and so the logical assumption is that there … Read more

Beware the dreaded “reporting section” in your analytics service

“That stuff probably belongs in the reporting section.” I’ve heard that one before. There’s probably a better approach. Remember: it’s not really about “analytics” — it’s about providing information to help your customers make better decisions. Shoveling your analytics into the “reporting section” can easily become a dumping ground for “stuff that might be useful” … Read more

What’s my #1 engineering bias to overcome when designing good analytics products?

I’ve worked with a lot of talented engineers in my 20+ years of designing websites and software. One of the things about analytics that can trip up some engineers: imperfect data, conclusions, and evidence. Analytics tools rarely provide exact answers, but this doesn’t mean there isn’t value to your customers. If your data, analytics, or … Read more

“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

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

At some point, you probably visited if you’re on my mailing list, and you might have read a cast study about one of my startup clients, 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 more