Data Drives Design..into a deep, dark hole.

blue_dataI saw this NYTimes article today and thought you all might find it interesting…A designer from Goggle left recently, frustrated that every design decision was driven (or hobbled) by the intense need for data-driven decisions. In his blog he says:

Yes, it’s true that a team at Google couldn’t decide between two blues, so they’re testing 41 shades between each blue to see which one performs better. I had a recent debate over whether a border should be 3, 4 or 5 pixels wide, and was asked to prove my case. I can’t operate in an environment like that.

Data is great. We love data and we NEED data. But what do we do with it? What story does it tell?

Plus, you only get answers as good as your questions. Obviously this underlines the need for qualitative feedback and nuance.

In our business, if you ask about what people know about, what they like and dislike, what their pain points are, how they choose products…you learn a lot. You can make a difference and make better products. But you won’t change the game. You won’t get three steps ahead of the competition. Maybe just a half-step ahead…and they will still be right behind you.

Real Design Research gets users to focus on their dreams, to talk about things that don’t exist and may not even be possible. Our job is then to translate those dreams into design reality.


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