There’s no denying that data is a great thing. The accumulation and analyzation of it has become the next great frontier in technology, leading to a new world of startups, as well as more efficient ways to do things. It gives us insight into our applications and user engagements that we can in turn use to make more informed decisions as web designers, project managers and app developers. Data undoubtedly helps us to improve business processes and boost user engagement. But that doesn’t mean it’s the end-all to building killer user experiences. In fact, too much data—or the over-consumption of analytics-based information—can actually end up getting in the way of us doing our jobs most effectively. At times, data collection can even contribute to the stagnation of new design trends and may actually end up stifling innovation in more ways than one.
“You’re not suggesting that all this information we’ve been collecting in vast troves can’t be used, though, right?”
Of course not!
In order to be the best at what we do, though, we must be able to admit our own faults. And right now, our fault as web designers and developers is that we tend to rely too heavily on data collection to make design decisions. Of course, data is one of the most important things to consider when creating and designing user experiences. But if we’re not careful, data collection can have a tendency to get in the way of our professional expertise and lead to our making of somewhat less exceptional design decisions.
Think about it like this: The web is a vast, wondrous universe, ever-expanding in nature just like the very universe we occupy as humans. Evolution, therefore, is key to innovation and is what drives us forward as a collective—that being the Greater Design Collective. However, without adaptation and iteration, innovation cannot—and will never—exist.
In December of 2014, Gil Press, an author and contributor at Forbes Magazine, predicted that Big Data would reach $125 Billion by the end of 2015. I’d be ignorant to suggest that the data we’re collecting on such massive scales isn’t beyond useful to say the least. Nor would it be beneficial to anyone for me to suggest that data isn’t extremely helpful in the curation and execution of better user experiences, and in making better design decisions. The point I am trying to make, however, is that it’s okay to mix a bit of that data collection with your own intuition in order to build unique user experiences and help push design forward.
So, as we approach this holiday season, why not give yourself the gift of using more of your own expertise and less of that stuff called data. Help yourself to a healthy serving of experimentation and don’t feel bad about it. Discover new things and build new experiences without boundaries. You may be surprised to discover that when you do, more forward-thinking processes are created.