All Articles by Date

Why the “V” in your MVP product/service may be totally wrong

By Brian O'Neill | May 22, 2017

I didn’t come up with this, but it is *so* spot-on.  There are (2) MVPs out there you can build for analytics services, IOT, SAAS data products, and the like:  Minimal Viable Products or Minimum Valuable Products. Which one do customers care about? Take a guess. This doesn’t mean you can’t launch quickly and get … Read moreWhy the “V” in your MVP product/service may be totally wrong

Designing an Effective Honeymoon Phase in Your Product (Part 1)

By Brian O'Neill | May 21, 2017

Let’s talk about honeymoons for a second. I don’t mean that trip to Cancun, but instead, those first couple weeks of product use where people are evaluating your service, and hoping to realize some of the values that drove them to become your customer in the first place. Some people call this “onboarding,” but I … Read moreDesigning an Effective Honeymoon Phase in Your Product (Part 1)

Designing an Effective Honeymoon Phase in Your Product (Part 2)

By Brian O'Neill | April 21, 2017

Let’s jump to part 2! Last week I mentioned that the free DFA Self-Assessment Guide introduces ideas for designing a honeymoon user experience and how to audit your own product’s success in this phase of the customer lifecycle. Here in part 2, I want to share some specific actionable steps you can take to improve the honeymoon … Read moreDesigning an Effective Honeymoon Phase in Your Product (Part 2)

Here are (5) dashboard design suggestions you can start to apply today

By Brian O'Neill | April 21, 2017

If you’re in the analytics space, then you almost certainly have at least one “dashboard” customers use.  I generally define dashboards as the landing page for your product when people log in, and so keep that in mind as you browse today’s design suggestions: Your dashboard is probably too low on information density.  Dashboards with … Read moreHere are (5) dashboard design suggestions you can start to apply today

A Visual Introduction to Probability and Statistics

By Brian O'Neill | March 21, 2017

If you’re working on data or analytics products, then you’ll want to check this out whether it’s a refresher, or something to share with your team: Seeing Theory is a great visual introduction to probability and statistics from Brown University created specifically by Daniel Kunin. Enjoy! Visit http://students.brown.edu/seeing-theory/index.html

Here’s a fast way to evaluate the utility of your dashboard design

By Brian O'Neill | February 21, 2017

Here’s a super easy thing you can do today to evaluate your data product’s dashboard. If you’re displaying quantitative data of any sort, especially trends, then this will probably help you come up with opportunities to improve your design. Of course, testing the design with real users is always the best way to evaluate your … Read moreHere’s a fast way to evaluate the utility of your dashboard design

Stop giving customers what they ask for. Yup, you heard me right!

By Brian O'Neill | January 21, 2017

Yup, I said it. Just say, “no” to customer requests for features. Or rather, say, “why do you need that?” Today’s design tip is simple: build the word “why” into your vocabulary when talking to your customers. Be incessant until you “ladder up” and get to the meat of the matter. Asking “why” is critical designing great … Read moreStop giving customers what they ask for. Yup, you heard me right!

Do you need an “analytics translator” or just better design?

By Brian O'Neill | December 21, 2016

“Marketing analytics can have substantial impact on a company’s growth. But if companies cannot figure out how to make the best use of it, in the end, it’s just another expense.”–McKinsey As most of you know by now, I’m particularly interested in helping companies create indispensable data and analytics products–you know, the kind that actually … Read moreDo you need an “analytics translator” or just better design?

What can McDonald’s teach you about prototyping?

By Brian O'Neill | October 21, 2016

As both a musician, and a product designer, I loved a scene in the recent movie, The Founder.  This film discusses the rise of McDonalds restaurants, and how the restaurant focused on its design and operations to enable speedy service to customers. In this scene, the restauranteurs chalked (designed) a speed-optimized layout for a kitchen on a tennis … Read moreWhat can McDonald’s teach you about prototyping?

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

By Brian O'Neill | September 21, 2016

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

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

By Brian O'Neill | August 21, 2016

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

(3) ways to use your analytics to simplify form field entry

By Brian O'Neill | June 21, 2016

Do you have some good analytics that could be helping customers out….if they gave you the right inputs up front? Today’s lesson is about using your analytics to facilitate the process of completing a form that requires users to type in specific values to complete a task. I work on technical and analytics-driven products frequently, … Read more(3) ways to use your analytics to simplify form field entry

Toilet bowl with cash money in it

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

By Brian O'Neill | May 21, 2016

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

Beware the dreaded “reporting section” in your analytics service

By Brian O'Neill | April 21, 2016

“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 moreBeware the dreaded “reporting section” in your analytics service

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

By Brian O'Neill | March 21, 2016

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

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

By Brian O'Neill | February 21, 2016

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?

By Brian O'Neill | January 21, 2016

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?

By Brian O'Neill | December 21, 2015

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?

What can my teapot teach you about designing for analytics?

By Brian O'Neill | November 21, 2015

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?

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

By Brian O'Neill | October 21, 2015

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.