It’s easy to fall into the trap of designing for beauty, or for what is aesthetically pleasing. And that usually results in a product that is finished, but what may be functionally inappropriate for users. Data can be used as a tool to help design a great experience for your users. This means taking a look at usage and behavior and then allowing those insights to inform design. As you’ll read below, it’s how some of today’s best-performing products rise to greatness.
Here are five ways to make data-driven product design decisions:
- Use heatmaps to see how users browse your product. Heatmaps are a data visualization tool that explicitly shows how users browse and scroll through a page. The heatmap collects data from multiple users and splits the output from hot to cold, showing insights on where users are spending time and where they aren’t spending so much time. Once you have this data, you can optimize even further to increase engagement.
- Pretend you’re a user. Whether it’s by using the product yourself in real-life situations or watching users themselves, it helps to understand what moments matter. When you know this information, you can either add or remove features based on this insight. Consider YouTube’s dark mode or even Uber’s Spotlight feature. These particular features answer a pain, not in the original product. This means that the product team took time to better understand how to meet the demands of its users. This is a great way to make a data-driven design decision.
- Run an A/B test. An A/B test allows product managers to show different things to different people to see how it tests. You could test for a piece of copywriting, an image, or even a set of buttons. Netflix famously did this when trying to better match users with the stories they were searching for. In this example, Netflix identified artwork that helped users to quickly identify a story they wanted to see. You’ll notice if you ever use Netflix across several devices, that sometimes the artwork is different. They use this data to help make the user experience a delightful one.
- Survey your users. Why not go straight to the source? The answers you receive from users will tell you almost everything you need to know. You’ll ask questions about why they chose your product, how they use it and what they gain by using it. Of course, there are many questions you can ask depending on your needs. But most of all, it’s best to listen to your users and then make an insight from their responses. It’s just as important to listen to what they don’t say and even match that up with what you know.
- Investigate drop off rates. There is a moment during every user experience where the user has to make a decision — stay or go. If you can discover these moments, usually ones of frustration or confusion, then you’ve found something special. If you start to notice that users dip after a certain funnel, there may be something more to it. Say, for example, your user cannot find what they are looking for. Click after click after click, they still haven’t achieved their intent, and now they’re frustrated. If you collect this data, you can remove a few barriers and make it easy to users to access the content. This is a great way to use data to inform your product design decisions.
Data is a great resource, especially when you use it right. If you put these five points to work, you’ll be delighting your users in no time.