Big Data: Revolutionizing UX Design Strategies, Part 4

April 20, 2020

Big data is like any other technology. Its purpose is to create convenience for both the people who develop platforms and the users of those platforms.

For businesses, it is crucial to know the right approach to UX design strategy—an approach that would enable a company to successfully leverage big-data analytics and understand how best to invest in the development of a system that would support its effective use. This is the main focus of Part 4 of this series.

What Is the Right Approach to UX Design Strategy?

Leading UX designers are leveraging big data to improve the experience of their customers by orders of magnitude. Those who do not will lag behind in their industry.

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But even if you can collect the relevant data, apply the right analytics models, and understand what trends are leading your industry, does that mean your UX design is necessarily going to work? No, not necessarily.

Design is all about convenience, simplicity, and the development of muscle memory. Let’s take a look at what I mean by that.

Leveraging Muscle Memory for a Seamless User Experience

Leveraging muscle memory, or kinesthetic memory, is especially important in game design, but is also applicable to mobile apps and Web platforms. By using big-data analytics, we can identify how users’ muscle memory works and create products that complement their existing muscle memory.

Let me demonstrate this with an example. If a user visits a Web site and wants to search for something, where would the user find the search bar? In the top center or top right of a page, because that’s where major platforms have placed their search bars.

When users are on a platform, they don’t ask Where did the designer place the search bar? then look for it. Their muscle memory immediately guides their hand to the top center of the screen because that’s what they’re used to finding it. The moment users think of searching for something, their hand responds to this muscle memory and points to the search bar at the top of the screen.

You can validate this hypothesis using user-cursor analytics. Before users execute searches, ten times out of ten, they move the pointer to the search box at the top, without needing to look for it.

Now, think of an obscure feature—for example, the Recommendations tab on Facebook. How many people could reach that feature as quickly and easily as they do the search box? The answer: close to none. This is because one of these features is much more frequently used than the other, so users have developed a muscle-memory response.

This is something you can validate through big-data analytics, then integrate your learnings into your UX design strategy. You can bank on your users’ pre-existing muscle memory in regard to their locating certain features, so place those features in the corresponding positions on the screen.

Focusing on Convenience

When you’re developing a platform, it is essential to focus on customer convenience. This is a simple matter. Identify which features customers use most, then place them in the most convenient locations on the screen.

But how do you define convenience?

In my experience, users most easily find things that are close to their eye level. They also employ an F-shaped scanning pattern when using Web sites and apps. Figure 1 shows a heat map from a Nielsen Norman Group eyetracking study that shows the general scanning pattern of a user.

Figure 1—F-shaped scanning pattern
F-shaped scanning pattern

In UX design, convenience results from understanding your users in depth and creating a design that best fits their pre-existing habits. This means you should place the tools and features they use most frequently in easy-to-scan positions on the screen. Creating UX designs that deliver convenience to your users makes your product a better choice for those who prefer high-usability platforms.

We also see this concept in game design, where the default settings for controls accord with their most likely settings based on user data. This is a matter of adhering to industry standards. Your UX designs should provide users with high adaptability, which means users should be able to get used to the game controls as quickly as possible, based on their previous experience with other games from the same genre.

You can apply the same logic to UX design for Web sites and apps to ensure your platforms deliver convenience to users.

Why Does Leveraging Big Data in Designing User Experiences Matter?

Today, leveraging big data in UX design matters to businesses for one simple reason: there is more competition than ever before, in every industry. Consumers have a huge number of alternatives available in the marketplace. Their many choices mean they’ll simply leave your platform if they find it hard or inconvenient to use. This is why businesses must invest in big-data analytics to optimize their platforms and impress their customers.

For brands that are looking to acquire a competitive advantage through UX design, it is essential that they leverage big data. Otherwise, it is unlikely that they’ll be able to create a robust UX design for their platform.

How Can Businesses Implement Big-Data Analytics?

To implement big-data analytics, a company must foster a culture of learning and invest in technology that provides the big-data analytics the company needs.

Fostering a Culture of Learning

Fostering a culture of learning is essential to establishing a data infrastructure that supports the mapping of the user’s digital footprint.

This culture is important in eliminating heretics who do not believe in a more data-oriented decision-making process. Making the maximal use of data part of your business’s core values and strategic vision is essential to the successful application of big data to business processes.

The more quickly your organization can pivot to relying more on objective, data-oriented decision-making than on subjective claims and glittery presentations, the more quickly you can transform your business into a big-data powerhouse.

Leveraging Cloud Analytics

The best way of leveraging big data in UX design is to invest in cloud analytics. Cloud-based analytics platforms give businesses the opportunity to acquire digital data on their users, their behaviors, and their actions.

Once you gain access to accurate, real-time data, your analytics experts can use that data to make accurate, reliable decisions across different sectors of your business. For example, companies such as Netflix are leaders in leveraging big data—both for refining processes and in redefining their corporate culture.

Investing in cloud-based analytics can help your company grow exponentially, branch out into more product niches, and improve your current operations.

Summary of the Learnings from This Series

In Part 1 of this series, I highlighted some of the biggest mistakes businesses make because of their traditional approaches to UX design strategy, which include the following:

  • inference and logic
  • individualistic surveys
  • trial and error
  • experience-based decision-making.

In the wake of big data, these techniques have become redundant and outdated. While this doesn’t mean you can’t use logic or make experience-based decisions, big data makes it possible to validate claims empirically.

In Part 2, I discussed how businesses could implement UX design strategies that are powered by big data by doing the following:

  • creating a survey to gather data
  • analyzing trends by using predictive-analytics models
  • doing run-time analytics to make UX design improvements

These are well-known strategies within businesses that have transformed their industry and become industry leaders. They provide the information and resources that businesses need to make better UX design decisions and deliver user-centric products.

In Part 3 of this series, we explored the business advantages of leveraging big data in UX design, for example:

  • shortened product-development cycles
  • high customer retention
  • well-defined prelaunch metrics

These benefits have enabled industry leaders to leave their competition behind and rapidly scale their processes, products, and services. Big data has helped these companies outperform their competitors and implement reliable systems that have augmented their growth.

Are you ready to take on the next big organizational challenge in the pursuit of growth and scalability? I hope I have convinced you of the benefits of leveraging big data to improve your UX design strategies. 

Co-Founder & CTO at Tekrevol

Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan

Asim Rais SiddiquiAsim is a tech entrepreneur with more than 14 years of experience leading development and design teams for all types of digital properties. His special technical expertise is on formulating frameworks for highly functional, service-oriented software and apps. As CTO at Tekrevol—an enterprise technology–development firm offering disruptive services in the app, Web site, game, and wearable domains—Asim is responsible for reviewing and mentoring all development teams. He is also an industry influencer and has offered his views on technology at multiple conferences, eseminars, and podcasts. He is currently focusing on how technology firms can leverage 4th-generation technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine learning to unlock top-notch business advantages.  Read More

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