My Services (Work With Me)
My name is Brian T. O'Neill. I am a consulting product designer who helps companies creative innovative machine learning and analytics solutions.
The clients I most often help fall into two main buckets:
- Product management, engineering, or business leaders at enterprise tech companies, particularly those selling technical data products or insights that leverage ML/AI, or traditional analytics. Your UX challenges are likely in how to design a compelling MVP for a brand product or feature, how to simplify an existing product so it is easier to sell, how to improve your data visualizations and UI so they don't look your engineering team built them, and how to make your AI human-centered and trustworthy—so customers will rave about your service and find it indispensable. You may also be looking to upskill your UX/design team around AI/ML, analytics or data visualization—because engineering the wrong product is expensive.
- Executive leaders of applied data science, analytics, and BI departments. While you may share many of the challenges above, you may also be looking to train your team so they can begin producing more customer-centered, useful, and usable data-driven tools, applications, and dashboards. You probably realize that the industry's consistent 80%-plus failure rate isn't sustainable, and that simply presenting mountains of data isn't making your business sponsors happy. To innovate and drive adoption, you know a customer-centric approach is needed, but you're not sure how to bring the innovation of product-thinking and human-centered design into your team.
Look: Making traditional analytics easy to use is already hard enough. With AI and ML propagating quickly, you might also be dealing with user trust, model interpretability, and ethics considerations—and you don't want these human factors to prevent the great data science and engineering work you spent months on from producing value. On top of usability, utility and look-and-feel, it's a lot to get right.
However, you have to get the user experience right.
Because bad design is expensive.
If people can't or won't use your data-driven technology, then it can't produce value. It could even cause harm. Nobody needs or wants a "technically right, effectively wrong" data-driven solution. Your 98%-accurate model is meaningless if nobody will use it.
However, there's a fix for all of this.
It's called design, although some call it design thinking.
Together with a product mindset and a lot of customer empathy, human-centered design can help you produce valuable, useful, trustworthy data products that customers love. The best part? You don't have to be a trained designer to deliver innovation. Creativity is a skill that can be recaptured from our youth and developed.
Still not sure where to begin?
Schedule a free Discovery Call, and I'll help point you in the right direction.
Companies I've Helped:
Custom UX/UI/Product Design Projects
Enterprise Software • AI, ML, and Analytics Applications • Intelligent Products
My premium offering for software leaders
Customer tolerance for poor software design continues to dwindle. Even within enterprises, users expect simple, trustworthy, engaging sofware that is as easy to use and intuitive as the mobile apps they are accustomed to using every day. I help companies design indispensbale data-driven software applications, dashboards, and products so that your investments in analytics, machine learning, and engineering actually produce tangible value.
Data products require special design attention. Most customers don't want analytics. They want actionable decision support. Furthermore, not every design problem is a data visualization problem. Machine learning models introduce new UX concerns that must also be dealt with if AI is to deliver value. From data privacy and model transparency to the probabilistic nature of predictive analytics, it's even more critical to ensure these data-driven applications are human-centered.
If you're looking to improve the look and feel, utility, or usability of your data product, app, dashboard or algorithm, book a free Discovery Call with me and I'll help you explore what it might take to get things on track.
Pricing for these types of design engagements varies, however I usually recommend we begin with a fixed-price Strategy Engagement.
Brian's designs and recommendations significantly shifted people’s excitement and expectations about our technology. He understands data.
A big concern when you’re introducing new technology to your staff and clients is making sure they will want to use it. We were concerned about the ease of use and appeal of a new survey data platform we were introducing, but Brian was really able to understand our challenges quickly. His design and recommendations significantly shifted people’s excitement and expectations around it. A big reason why we hired Brian is because he understands data, and the new design he created will only help reinforce GSG’s brand as being innovative and ahead of the curve. My team has been really impressed with Brian's ideas and the simplicity of the designs he created. I definitely recommend him!
Design Strategy Roadmap
You wouldn't build a house without a blueprint. Data-driven software works the same way.
There is no reason to spend a ton of time and money designing or implementing AI, ML or analytics software without knowing exactly what the design is supposed to enable, who it should serve, and what value looks like to you and your users.
Before you can effectively design anything involving humans-in-the-loop, you need a strategy.
Brian’s questioning of our business and user objectives for a new video analytics SAAS–prior to any discussion of design solutions–was a bit unusual for me. In fact, I’ve rarely met anyone with a process like his. That said, by the time we started negotiating with Brian, we had already decided to work with him. One of the key capabilities Brian brought to the table was the ability to help us distinguish between "vanity" analytics and "actionable” analytics, so that our service’s data was always presented in a way to help users actually make better business decisions. In the end, the prospects to whom we showed Brian’s designs were wowed by the extremely clean and elegant presentation of our video analytics, and we got excellent feedback that this design was much better than the existing, highly established players in this space. At that point, we knew our main business challenge would be sales access, and not product quality. If I needed to develop a design strategy for another analytics product or service in the future, I wouldn’t hesitate to call Brian first.
Get an actionable strategy in ~1 week
In addition to the strategy, you'll also get (4) weeks of retainer access to me.
Get 24-7 Access to Me
Design and data product strategy advice—on demand when you need it.
Participation is extremely limited.
UI / UX Design Audit
For Software Data Products, AI Applications, BI Dashboards & Analytics Solutions
Do customers or business stakeholders struggle to perceive the value of your data product or model, despite significant data science and technical investment?
Are you seeing low user engagement with a SAAS analytics product, internal analytics service, custom data product, or other AI / decision support tool?
When Brian came on board, he helped us significantly accelerate our design efforts and meet our major enterprise clients’ expectations and deadlines. We have gotten a lot of mileage out of his work, and we've received good responses from our customers. I can’t recommend him enough.
Get an actionable remediation plan in ~1 week:
Plus, you'll receive retainer access to me to ask questions about the audit.
Designing Human-Centered Data Products
If you're making a data product, service, or solution that is going to involve human users making decisions and taking actions with the information, then you're already doing design—even if you don't see it that way today. While it's getting easier to technically build AI solutions, predictive models, and data products, what eludes many technical people is how to get these solutions into production, make the product resonate with customers and delight the executive stakeholders who want to see an ROI on their data investments.
Available publicly twice a year, or privately for your team on your schedule. Learn more:
Price: $2,995/person for public seminar (private and public team-based pricing available)
"I never had fully appreciated the level of integration and the number of different disciplines required to arrive at a thoughtful piece of analysis that properly communicates the evidentiary support for my argument…What I like about Brian's seven step process is that it is holistic and internally consistent. Each piece builds off of the previous pieces…and Brian presents it as a repeatable process…There are a lot of things about designing UI things I just never would have thought of.
I think the people who will probably get the most benefit out of Brian's seminar will be people who are more senior level people. Junior people are just not being asked to deal with the entire lifecycle, which is what the seminar is about."
“Brian's more practical, targeted approach in this seminar has been very beneficial as it was focused specifically on designing data products with UX in mind. It’s not every time you can meet someone, ask questions and get useful responses, and I was able to do that in Brian’s seminar. In addition to realizing some of the common mistakes I had been making, I also had a big aha moment: understanding outcomes versus outputs. This is more valuable than some of the tactical things because you shift your frame of mind and it’s a total game changer. The way you interact with your users and develop and deliver a solution completely changes. That’s the power of that wisdom. I’ll be referring back to the content and videos from the seminar now and again, and I’d definitely recommend this seminar to other technical product managers.”
Next Session Starts March 15, 2021
Check availability, curriculum, pricing and more for the next session in March. Special early-bird registration begins March 1.
90-Minute Strategy Call
Maybe your application or product looks "like an engineer built it." Worse, nobody is using it. They feel it's too complicated, and you know you need to simplify. The data is great, but you don't want to overwhelm the user with too much information too. The possible UI design and data viz choices are endless, and UX is such a gray area. What should you do next?
Brian brings a very high floor in terms of end results. The worst possible end result they will get from him is so much higher than what most designers can provide at their best.
When you’re bringing on a consultant, there is always a level of uncertainty about results, and there’s nothing worse than ending up with solutions that aren’t feasible, workable, or usable at the end of the process. While Brian’s processes differed from what I was used to, and I didn’t always want to get into the level of requirements detail that he felt was necessary, the bottom line is that Brian brings a very high floor in terms of end results. Given how many different responsibilities I am juggling at any given time, it was extremely comforting to know that my goals for the [new Apptopia analytics] product would always be met, and that my bottom line was so high. I’ve recommended Brian to my peers because the worst possible end result they will get from him is so much higher than what most designers can provide at their best.
Actionable Advice, Right Now
Purchase access, and get a link to schedule a call with me immediately.
Self-Guided Video Course
Designing Human-Centered Data Products
My video course is a self-guided version of my instructor-led Seminar that includes all of the same curriculum without a cohort of other students or a live instructor. If you are good with self-directed learning, do not need other students to help motivate you, and are looking to work at your own pace, this course is the best option to learn a collection of step-by-step design methods you can apply immediately to produce useful, usable, engaging data products that deliver practical decision support. You can also download and keep the videos (via Vimeo) and the written module content (Word Docs).
Browse the curriculum and details of the course
My (8) video modules will give you practical design advice you can apply today. Access the course any time.
Enroll in my private community for proponents of human-centered AI/ML, analytics, & data products.
You're not the only one thinking that user experience is central to successful analytics, data science and data products.
Maybe you are curious what other firms are doing to put users at the center of data projects and products. Furthermore, you might be wondering if your challenges are unique, or if somebody has already solved the problems you face trying to drive adoption of analytics and data products.
There are others just like you–so why not join them?
WaveRider Tier: $2k/year
WaveMaker Tier: $6k/year
Design Strategy Talk & Team Discussion
How can design help data-driven organizations and leaders produce outcomes instead of outputs? Find out from a professional performer—without your audience falling asleep.
Change sometimes begins with inspiration. If you believe your data science, analytics, or BI team needs a dose of inspiration about customer-centricity, human-centered design and UX that looks beyond data visualization, considering hiring me for a 45-minute private talk (online) with your org, followed by a 60-minute Q/A discussion.
In my talk, we'll look at the mistakes I see data-driven software teams making, how design helps produce actionable insight and decision support, and what aspects of intentional design a team can be practicing right away. Immediately following the talk, we'll open it up for Q/A and a lively discussion—so your team's culture can take the first step towards changing how it builds data products. These talks also work well as a precursor to my private training Seminar.
And why would I be a good speaker for your organization?
I'm consistently rated highly as a speaker (view testimonials), probably in part due to my professional background in music as a drummer/percussionist. I've performed in front of audiences of over 100,000 people, and spoken to groups both large and small. My inspiring style mixes fun, sarcasm, passion, and the occasional tambourine solo. Why? Because the data alone won't convince anyone!
Brian created real awareness…well-attended talk with solid interaction and attendance…I am certain we delivered value to our IIA clients and community members.
Brian has spoken several times for IIA, most recently as the key guest on a webinar we hosted on "AI Product Management". The topic is hyper relevant, so naturally it was a well-attended talk with solid interaction and excellent retention. Despite the challenges of Covid-19, "Zoom fatigue," and the summer time slot, over 80% of our registrants stayed until the end. Brian created a real awareness around the importance of product design and management as critical functions in the deployment of human-centered data products, AI solutions, and analytics. I also appreciated how he made the talk more engaging by allowing one of our clients from Steelcase to reflect on his own experience applying several of the strategies for which Brian advocated. In the end, I am certain we delivered value to our IIA clients and community members.
Use the form on my speaking page to inquire about me speaking.
Design Thinking Workshops for Data Teams
Together with a cross-functional team from your company, we'll explore the possibilities of a new project or product offering using a customer-driven approach.
Design is a team sport and one key to unlocking innovation at your company is having the right people in the room and the customer's voice at the center of the work. My workshops help data science, analytics, and product/business leaders learn how to imagine customer-driven solutions that focus on creating a business outcome and change, instead of just outputs. In 1-2 (days), we'll take off your team's implementation and technical hats and explore the "how might we?" of your next project using a design-driven approach that's been adapted for the world of data science and analytics. At the end, you'll likely have a new trajectory to explore that the team is excited about, a wealth of new ideas, possibly a eureka moment, and a different way of seeing what's possible for your customers (internal or external).
Best conducted in person, but online workshops are also available. Pricing varies; inquire below.
Inquire about a workshop
In your email to me, let me know which options you're interested in, where you are located, and when you're looking to do the workshop.
Executive Sessions on Product and Design Thinking for CDO/CAOs
Discover the value and process of integrating a customer-driven design and product-oriented approach to creating innovative data products.
Are you beginning to realize that success with data isn't just about having the right cloud technology and data scientists in the room? That a vague promise of ML/AI and engineering alone doesn't guarantee you will deliver useful, usable solutions to customers and users?
My Executive Sessions are centered around helping executives and managers figure out how human-centered design and a "product" mentality helps data science, AI, and analytics initiatives to succeed. In private briefings and working sessions, I will share some of the common reasons data products fail, how to integrate human-centered design into your teams, and help you imagine new data products your company is working on (or should be!) These sessions are customized to the organization’s specific needs and dilemmas and can be "hours to days" in length.
Contact me about an executive session:
In your email to me, tell me what you're trying to accomplish, what dates you're looking at, and who the participants will likely be.