Analytics have changed the ways that many companies conduct their business. This could be through the ways in which they communicate with their customers, the products that they sell or even just the way they operate internally.
However, it has a significant impact on other areas of the business, some which may not seem obvious.
One of the main aspects in this regard is helping design websites and products that are suited to the needs of the customer, from the data they produce.
With the amount of data that can be collected from how your customers use a product (especially if it’s a website or app) it becomes possible to optimize their experience. For instance, through heat mapping it becomes clear where their eyes and cursors are drawn, how they scroll through a page and which areas are of most interest. This information can then be used to change websites in order to make them easily useable by customers.
This has a number of different effects.
It not only means that customers have a better experience whilst using your products, but it also means that a company can increase their chances of selling a product as it is placed in the best possible way to maximize sales. Having the ability to know where this optimal placement is, comes down to data, taking the gut feeling out of the situation which can often lead to personal opinion making design decisions, rather than basic facts.
Finding this information can then lead to changes being made above the basic layout of a web page and can even be filtered down to the pictures used, the colours of the buttons or the specifics words used in a sentence. This is made simply through A/B testing, showing variants to the same audiences, then measuring their success through a predefined target action. This could be anything from signing up to a newsletter, buying a product or reading a specific article.
However, analytical design is going beyond the virtual world and in future could be having a huge impact on how everyday physical items are designed.
Ford are a prime example of this as they are currently experimenting with sensors placed in cars to help find out how they can improve the design of their cars. As the association of emotion with cars is often not something that can be easily described, it is hoped that through data and monitoring of how people use cars, analytics will allow Ford’s designers to design their cars based on how they are being used.
This could be transferred to other areas too, from advertising in public places to the design of buildings, with the ability of sensors to relay data on how they are used, it could become possible to design based on what analytics have shown.
In time it is likely that we are going to be seeing an increased use in analytics throughout the design world. There will always be space for innovation, especially as the metrics being measured are based on how people are interacting with certain elements of a design. If this design is therefore completely changed, the metrics would not be valid and more would be needed in order to establish the success of that particular idea.
At the moment we are in a time where much of the design of our virtual world is dictated by data and analytics, essentially evolving to adapt to how we are using it, who knows if this will spread in the future.