User-centered Design Thinking | Key Takeaways

Written by Jessica Kosar  | 

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User-centered Design Thinking | Key Takeaways

We recently held a webinar focused on user-centered design thinking. Our host, Maeve Donovan, discussed how leveraging user-centered design thinking can help your team build effective data products that deliver actionable insights to end users across organizations.

We’ve rounded up the key takeaways from the webinar so let’s jump right in, shall we?

What is user-centered design thinking?

First of all, what exactly is user-centered design thinking and how can it benefit your organization? To sum it up, it’s a process that combines aspects of both user-centered design and design thinking. Let’s review their definitions below:

User-centered design is an iterative design process in which designers focus on the users and their needs in each phase of the design process.

Design thinking is a non-linear, iterative process that teams use to understand users, challenge assumptions about them, redefine problems, and create innovative solutions to prototype and test.

This iterative process can help you retain and secure new business with your data product. By more successfully addressing the needs of your various users, whether they are business or technical users, you can ensure that your dashboards are optimized for user experience across the board. Designing a product that supports your users’ working style will help you to avoid churning, increase engagement, deliver results, and drive sales.

How to practice user-centered design thinking

So how do we approach this process? In three steps: gathering user information, building a user persona, and designing for the user.

Step 1: Gather user research

It’s imperative that you closely understand your user before kicking off the design process. Building a list of interview questions can help you familiarize yourself with your user’s needs, preferences and working style, which will give you a better sense of how you can best deliver value to them.

You may consider asking them the following questions:

  • Who are you?
  • How is your success measured?
  • What would make your life easier?
  • What is your process for using your current data product? What are the pain points and highlights of it?
  • What are three steps you take both before and after interacting with your data?

Step 2: Build a user persona

Now it’s time to take everything we learned during our user interview or research stage and organize it into distinct profiles for each type of user that interacts with your data product. Why build multiple profiles? While various types of users may all use your singular data product, each user will have their own distinct needs. If you view your entire user base under one persona, you risk neglecting their unique needs.

Each persona can include that particular user’s high level goals, frustrations they experience with the current product or process, what motivates them, their working style or habits, as well as some basic personality traits.

User persona profile example
Xtensio user persona example

Step 3: Design for the user

Now that we understand how our user interacts with their data, we can assess whether the data product adequately supports their needs or how it may be improved upon. Is the user able to answer all questions they have through the data? If not, what calculations can we apply to meet this need?

Rather than simply providing the user with data, we want to ensure that the user is getting what they need out of the data. We want to help the users find a flow in their data analysis, beginning with a starting place where they can ask questions, find answers, then dive deeper into more granular details.

Designing for the user can look like allowing the user to choose the way their data is visually displayed, providing dashboards designed to visually prioritize KPIs and key insights, as well as strategically designing dashboards for both mobile and desktop devices.

Wants vs. Results

Your data product should offer a solution to support each of your user’s main needs. For example, if your user expresses that they want to receive updates that are more relevant to their role or workflow, you could satisfy this need by offering KPI alerts and scheduled emailing of reports.

Listen to what your user wants and find what it is they actually need from your product to support that wish.

Consumer wants vs. results examples

Measuring Success

Once you have designed a new product or updated your current one, how can you tell if it’s a hit with your user base? Identity some north star metrics to help you track success. These can include:

  • How much time do your daily active users spend with your product?
  • How many types of executions do your users perform within your product?
  • How many reports have your users built?
  • What is the increase in organic adoption?

Design for your users with GoodData

Want to ensure that your users are getting the most out of their data? GoodData’s analytical designer allows users to engage with their data on an ad hoc basis and design their own reports and insights for a hands-on experience.

To see all the ways that GoodData can support your users throughout their data journey, simply request a demo.

Image examples of GoodData analytical designer and dashboard on desktop and mobile

Written by Jessica Kosar  | 

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