I spend a lot of time designing experiences for data junkies. They eat excel spreadsheets for breakfast and wash it down with a cool glass of advanced problem solving. There’s a whole world of people whose job it is to interact with all types of digital interfaces and to extract knowledge from data. Designers are responsible for fashioning this tooling that will allow for a better, faster, smarter mechanism for these knowledge workers to access the data they need to be better at their jobs. In doing so, they help their companies and clients hit their target metrics with greater proficiency.
The tools knowledge workers use are extensions of their natural capacity.
They improve faculty to crunch numbers, predict forecasts, analyze trends, and execute actions. So, how do we as designers and product managers create simple experiences & products that facilitate focused command?
In this series Simple UX for Complex Data we’re going to walk through insights from the field and beyond to answer just that. I’ve had the good fortune to work with very talented people, not just in design, but also technology and business. As a result of my experience designing analysis applications in travel, education, healthcare, sales, and customer service I found there are key concepts that apply across industries. Currently, I serve as a Lead UX Designer for a major software company in the travel industry. Airline analysts rely on the data-rich applications, to analyze inventory and revenue. Then, they make evidence-based decisions to maximize value. When designing for products like this, my objective is to instill ease-of-use so that knowledge workers are empowered to think fast when making game time decisions.
Some themes we’ll explore throughout the series include:
- The modern worker is a knowledge worker and their primary tools are digital applications.
- Tools and applications arise from human need.
- Metrics and timeframes are core to the analysis experience.
- Proficiency of data input makes for greater data integrity and serves companies and their people with better information.
- Cognitive ease gives users confidence in their ability.
These themes cover ground from macro to micro perspectives, and much in between. They’ll address questions that arise throughout the design process and I hope you’ll walkaway with knowledge you can apply directly to your product development process. Whether you’re a business stakeholder, technologist, designer, or strategist I intend to provide a bit of something for everyone.
Each blog post in this series will address a specific topic relating to the core concepts discussed above.
Until next time, I recommend checking out Rick Wartzman’s article What Peter Drucker Knew About 2020 in the Harvard Business Review. It illuminates more detail on the fundamental ideas of a knowledge society, a term coined in the 1960’s. If you’ve worked in this area and have had a hand in building these tools, let me know your thoughts. I’m looking forward to taking this journey with my fellow practitioners to explore ideas around simplifying the user experience for complex data. Your thoughts and feedback are most welcome.