How Big Data Influences Design

Big data is influencing every aspect of our lives, both on and offline. On Friday, May 2, Umbel joined IBM, along with Peter Kim, to talk about how the big data revolution is affecting design. In the 30 minute talk, held monthly by IBM’s David Pittman, we touched on how companies can use data to inform design, customer experience and restructure the world around us. 

Check out the real-time chat below, with Umbel’s breakdown of each question following the video.

How Can Companies Use Data to Inform Their Design and Business Models?

Data needs good design to be useful. We aren’t all data scientists. We don’t all know how to mine for the answers. Some of us are still learning how to even ask the right questions – much less how to find the answers in a bunch of 1s and 0s. Great data visualization is necessary, then, to help people connect dots across seemingly unconnected segments of their customers. The platform you choose will determine how useful data is to your business model as a whole.

How Can Companies Use Data to Their Advantage, to Enhance and Ultimately Personalize Customer Experience?

When it comes to customer experience, Umbel fights on the side of user privacy. Big data is something all of us are going to have to get used to, but even Facebook is wising up to the idea that online privacy and anonymity isn’t only possible – but it’s what people want – or at least they want the option. So, when it comes to data collection, especially as you zero in on niche segments, we believe that data platforms need to maintain user privacy.

“When it comes to data collection, data platforms need to maintain user privacy.”

You can get all the same insights from user data when seen as a percentage rather than as an individual. For instance, knowing that 15% of your audience likes or follows Jack Daniels, or has purchased Jack Daniels, then profiling that audience – male/female ratio, household income, and so on. You can make your site more customized for that 15% segment without breeching privacy – and your users will trust you more for it, be more loyal for it.

What’s Next? How Can Data Influence Design Industries and Professions? 

Data is going to inform the design of everything. Jer Thorp gave a Ted Talk not too long ago about how the 9/11 memorial is a beautiful example of using data to create a more personalized, humanized if you will, memory. Names on that memorial aren’t alphabetical, but are instead clustered by relationships so that when you go there and you look at those names, you will see them next to their coworkers, their wives, their brothers. Big data along with data management platforms and software made that possible. 

“Big data and its subsequent design is going to be more about cohesive teamwork across all aspects of a business.”

But, of course, perhaps one of the more immediate areas big data will affect design is on the web. The future of the web will have much fewer banner ads and much more sponsorships. Branded content will benefit the most from big data as readers see brands they like support content that entertains on sites they already trust. The way the web is monetized will be drastically changed by big data, and with banner ads gone, web design has so many more options. 

Data-driven Design May Require Companies to Open Their Books or Allow Greater Access to Employees or End Users for Feedback. How do Companies Adapt and Succeed in this Environment?

You need a holistic business strategy to make big data work, and that very much means a shift in traditional thinking in which the C-suite works separately from the interns and the end-user doesn’t know much about the people on the dev team fixing all those bugs. Big data and its subsequent design is going to be more about cohesive teamwork across all aspects of a business, and you get ready for that by empowering people to understand how to use big data, find insights and take action. Education comes first – and those that do it well, and in a timely manner, will ultimately have the biggest competitive advantage.

For more information on Umbel, data rights management and more, schedule a demo