I'm a data scientist working at the intersection of technology and design. Reformed astrophysicist & former e-Research/data consultant.
What is data-led design?

What is data-led design?

Recently I participated in a community workshop and discussion around ‘data-driven’ service design. These are my notes and thoughts from the evening.

Event DETAILS (from eventbrite):

Within our human-centred design practices the notion of deeply understanding people through interviews, observation, journey maps and other ethnographic approaches to research dominate, but we increasingly see the use of quantitative data alongside or in place of ethnographic methods. What are the implications of adopting a data-driven process? What is ‘data’? As designers, how are we equipped to perform and interpret different types of data? Is the future of design driven by data, as recently declared by Portable? What does it look like to use quantitative data within an often qualitative process? How might human-centred design approaches amplify quantitative data methods? How might we make the most of data in our work? How might we integrate quantitative and qualitative information?

Rather than providing answers about how to use or not use a data-driven approach to design work, the evening will be an opportunity to discuss, explore and experiment with how we use data to define the services and people for whom and with we are designing. If you are someone who is interested in designing with data, whether you are a pro or questioning it every step of the way, please join us.

What is data-driven design?

“A ‘data-driven approach’ to design: a human-centered design process that brings quantitative data to the forefront of every decision and pushes design teams to think less on their feet and instead more in a way that constantly responds to data.”
— Principles of data-driven design (Portable)
“My most recent definition of data-driven design is that it means digitalisation and automation of design research... data-driven design means using more data, particularly quantitative, in the design process.... quantitative data must complement, challenge and give a foundation for qualitative data”
— Nordcloud

Working at the intersection of data science & design:

“Petteri has personally transformed from a quantitative data specialist to a designer that sees value in bothe types of data. The best uses of quantitative data like in proofing new ideas and verifying a business case around it.”
— Nordcloud
User researchers and data scientists are natural partners. Data scientists look at the large-scale, overarching trends in user behaviour through methods such as A/B tests and statistical modelling. User researchers apply methods such as interviews and surveys, to explore the self-reported listener experience to understand the mental models and perceptions of Spotify
— Spotify

Questions for discussion (From a design perspective):

  • How do we define data?

  • What’s our experience working with data and design?

  • What does it mean to be data-driven?

    • Data can validate intuition and qualitative insights.

    • Data can be a compass, direction not distance.

    • Data can be a foundation for products and services.

  • What do we value about quantitative and qualitative approaches?

  • What’s the relationship between quantitative data, digital data, and big data? How in our work are they treated the same and differently?

  • What purpose would we like to see big, digital, and quantitative data serve?

  • How do we choose methods for our research tasks? What informs these decisions? How do we combine different methods in productive ways

    • Quantitative / Behavioural: A/B testing, data tracking, statistical modelling

    • Quantitative / Attitudinal: Surveys

    • Qualitative / Behavioural: Usability testing

    • Qualitative / Attitudinal: User interviews, diary study

Dean Malmgren on How He Sees Data as a Rich Design Medium

Dean Malmgren on How He Sees Data as a Rich Design Medium

Designing the world's most deathable city with Portable

Designing the world's most deathable city with Portable