It’s indisputable that companies which deliver exceptional user experiences win in the realm of competition. Not only do those companies offer a seamless buyer’s journey but every step in the journey is calculated to ensure just that. These informed design decisions never start from a blank slate, in fact, that may be the greatest enemy for a designer under pressure of a deadline and ambiguous requests from non-creative minds, who equally have no direction.
Designers work to solve problems creatively, they consider human activity to improve function. Unfortunately, the creative process isn't always linear nor concrete as numbers, therefore, to avoid push back, the designer typically turns to data to validate design decisions, which ultimately improve human centered design. In other words, analytics highlights a problem, and creativity works to solve it.
Build a Hypothesis:
The first step of processes in a web redesign project should start from an analytical standpoint. Create a hypothesis by identifying the problem, then make an educated guess based on the problem indicated by the analytics. An example of a hypothesis would be: “The shopping cart abandonment is high because the checkout button is in a discrete location and blends in with other shopping buttons.”
Making an informed creative decision should come from quantitative and qualitative data, as designers can capture the tension between what people say or do from both survey data and behavioral data. Quantitative data can come from user feedback, ideally using extreme users- users who have strong, usually negative opinions, about the product or service they are using. This is essential to research because they have identified a problem about a specific issue, and would like to see it change. In theory, this user would say “I am dissatisfied with this UX because one time I spent more than 3 minutes looking for the checkout button, so I decided to shop with the competitor.”
Next, use qualitative data by installing something like Lucky Orange to track and analyze how users interact with the website as a whole. This, for example, would show where the user clicked, how they scrolled through the website and how much they spent on each page. The merging analysis of qualitative and quantitative data is vital to a designer, because the user may not always be aware of their actions, or they may not be descriptive enough when asked for their feedback. Qualitative data, on the other hand, speaks for the user, as it lets the designer be a fly on the wall by analyzing the subconscious actions of the user. From there, the designer improves the website based on the motion and time spent on the page.
These numbers begin to tell a story and paint the once blank canvas the designer has started with. It validates design decisions the client will undoubtedly ask, like: "Why these colors?" "Doesn't the button look better over there?" "Should we put more content, here?" Concrete facts validate the subjective blueprint. This underlines the importance of documenting your creative process or history. If you change the colors, fonts, messaging - or in other words build an entirely new brand persona, you can compare and use the results for an overall larger redesign project without having the client worry about the risk associated with such a project.
Test & Validate Your Hypothesis:
After you analyze your data, slowly begin testing your hypothesis by making gradual adjustments to the website. Testing gradual adjustments helps build credibility as improvements will be directly strung to result, clearly indicating what’s working and what isn’t. Although creating an entirely new website design could lead to positive results, it could offer no distinct explanation to what’s working and why it’s improved.
Data is the backing of human centered design because it studies how people, real users interact with a system. Numbers are telling, and when a designer draws creative decisions from that source of information they can justify their decisions with real analytical data - from before and after. This reduces the dreaded “back-and-forth” discussions sourcing from the subjective nature of designs.
The best part of data it’s undeniable, a matter of fact. The bridge between data and creativity creates a path for strong growth driven design, which is exactly what your client is looking for at the website redesign. If the website you've created by using analytics does convert leads and ultimately grows the company, then you've validated your hypothesis and created a strong ROI as a designer.