Why Designers Should Care About Analytics

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With the myriad of layers that function together in web design and development, an integral process in that creation is the way analytics can inform design. However, many designers may see these two forces as separate parts of development. Why should a designer care about data and analytics if their focus is on how a webpage or application will look?

To create a strong, stable, and innovative design, separating the two does a huge disservice to functionality, as different working components become limited. Design and development need to function as a collective body to achieve the ultimate goal of a seamless user-experience, thus UI designers should view analytics as another tool in the design process.

Data Informs Design

Analytics and data can be interpreted as measurable language that allows a UI developer to make their design decisions much more purposeful, cohesive, and functional. By understanding the analytic components of data, there is a multitudinous amount of information and details it can offer, but zoning in on what it is exactly a designer wants to look for, is key for a purposeful design strategy.

Rather than focusing design elements and components with a broad idea, when UI/UX designers begin to understand the patterns of their users within an analytical perspective, human behavior can be measured. Moreover, attaining a better grasp on the metrics of a website or application does not mean creativity goes out the window. Rather, it merely informs developers and UI designers on new ways to implement their creativity for an overall functional approach that works in tandem with data for a positive user experience.

Metrics Improve Design Decisions

Although design can be subjective based on a collection of different factors such as aesthetic decisions, preferences, and brand identity, metrics and analytics can track the elements and design choices. With data driven design in mind, designers can track the way users are interacting with those design elements to better understand, user journeys, conversion rates, and functionality.

By correlating the relationship between design and user behavior, there is a better comprehension on what trends entice their users, or which design components steer them away. To see the full picture, it is key to study quantitative and qualitative evidence in conjunction as well. Understanding what actions your users are taking with quantitative evidence conducted by A/B testing, studying web analytics, and task metrics, along with qualitative evidence for a clearer picture on the why of user behavior, sets the groundwork for design curation.

With analytic tools that measure user behaviors, the demonstration of what brings in more users into a web interface or what is increasing bounce rates, becomes backed up with evidence to further guide future design decisions.

Leveraging Data Can Strengthen Design Instinct

One could then argue, developers and data strategists can dissect this information for their designers on a team. However, it benefits designers to know how to implement this crucial information to strengthen their knowledge on design instinct as well on the impact of how a strategy will perform.

By falling into the habit of studying analytics with usability testing, designers can build on their instincts to determine what choices create an effective and innovative user experience. When curating new IU elements, a designer may not know right off the bat what design decisions will automatically work from the start. However, based on previous knowledge and evidence collected for other designs and how users interacted with them in the past, a pattern begins to form. This allows the strong suits and weak points remain uncovered. If design elements were clear and purposeful to create that engaging user experience feel as previously curated and studied, designers can then use best practices for intentional design based on unbiased data.

Yet, the caveat here, is that users’ interests and opinions can shift and change over time. What UI approaches worked previously may not work presently or for a certain project, therefore relying too much on instinct from previous analysis can be risky. Therefore, staying updated with much more recent analysis of user interactions is important be informed on new trends.

Design and data are fundamental to the innerworkings of any user experience, and when they are functioning together, it opens the door for a cohesive, functional outcome.

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