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Recent Articles by Brian

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

By Brian O'Neill

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, … 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

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”? … 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

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 … 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

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 … 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

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 … 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

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 … 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

By Brian O'Neill

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 … 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?

By Brian O'Neill

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 … Read moreWhat’s wrong with the analytics in the NEST thermostat’s monthly report?

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

By Brian O'Neill

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