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2016 reportData in UX Design

In conjunction with my master thesis, »Data and the Influence on User Centred Design«, I asked 150 Designers about their relation with (personal) data in their working life. 

Thomas Otto, UX Designer - thomas-otto.net

1/6 Participants

Designers working in diverse roles and places

People who took the survey are working in different fields of the UX Design Process, lead by Interaction Design (77%), Research (59%) and Strategy (54%).

Agencies and companies are represented almost equally (50 to 43%), startups are an exception (13%). Employee rates from agencies are more diverse. They range from small (1-4, 21%) to larger ones (51-100, 25%). The focus of most companies lies in the information industry (23%), the internet industry (23%) and the software industry (12%).

2/6 Data colleagues

The team landscape is changing, but slowly.

Even though more and more designers are working with personal data in their projects (56%), and companies are aggregating data through their digital products (74%), the awareness of the need for (quantitative) Data Experts seems to be growing only slowly.

The survey recorded individual experts (34%) as well as Data Teams (22%). But a large number of designers have no colleagues working in the data analytics field (44%).

3/6 Teamwork

Despite the prejudices, design teams keep track of their success

To create new ideas or solutions, design teams use a full set of sources for inspiration: From ideation with their team (83%), user interviews (81%), customer support insights (59%) to the product backlog (53%) and data analytics (53%).

For validation of design decisions, qualitative methods are the top choice. Nearly all designers (87%) iterate their decisions within the team, with clients and stakeholders (66%) and through moderated user tests (78%). A/B Testing and online surveys are less popular (30 and 33%).

Keeping track of the success of their decisions is a long term to-do for teams. Teams mostly analyze data analytics reports (60%), customer support insights (49%), observe the conversion rate (56%) and interview users (56%) to keep track of their work.

4/6 Dealing with Data

Data - more than numbers

Design teams are used to working in diverse roles and communicating with different people. This is visible in their handling of data as well. Most of the teams receiving quantitative and qualitative data to validate it in their teams (64%).

The range of data is quite diverse: From results of interviews (82%), online surveys (52%) and workshops (57%) to trends from data analytics (54%) and business strategy requests (56%). The teams are validating the received data through discussion within the team (86%) and analyzing the data sets in detail for value (57%).

5/6 Data-Handling

Designers are involved in the decision process of data

The roles of designers are changing and becoming ever more diverse. Bit by bit, designers gain more impact in strategic processes like decision-making regarding handling of (personal) data (65%). But there is still a long way to go. Despite their impact, designers are dealing with frustrations in the process when it comes to (personal) data (40%): From decision makers who do not understand privacy (laws), to the hard process of receiving data from clients or data sets which are contradictory.

6/6 The Future is now

Designers are neither afraid of complexity nor numbers

The results of the survey show impressively that a »data informed design« approach is on the rise. Thus, it becomes more important for designers to make trustworthy decisions when dealing with human data. With my master thesis, I want to support designers in making these decisions by giving them a vocabulary and a basic toolset to work, discuss and reflect their new challenges in the age of »data informed design«.