Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Juned Ghanchi, who is the director of marketing strategy at IndianAppDevelopers.
As far as the web and digital presence are concerned, can there a thing of bigger importance these days than the user experience? Well, the answer for most must be equivocal ‘No’. User experience emerged as the grand total of various attributes that make a rewarding web presence possible. It is now the most important factor for delivering business value. Moreover, the digital presence itself bears the mark of a successful brand in many respects. But the biggest question is, whether the overwhelming volume of digital data produced every moment can actually determine the effectiveness of our user experience. Well, the role of Big Data in the recent times is looming large in respect of validating and measuring UX.
Big Data, the promising horizon of business analytics
For some time now, Big Data emerged as the widest horizon of possibilities offered by the volumes of digital data produced, stored and used across diverse interfaces, gadgets, and platforms. Over a span of nearly a decade, the whole spectrum starting from the large conglomerates to the brick and mortar stores adapted to mobile and web presence in a big way. In the one hand, workplaces became completely digitally equipped and on the other hand communication channels and social interaction exploded data volume through interpersonal and social communication. We have millions of tweets, Facebook posts, emails, web chat messages, web-based communications in every second.
This expansive, ever increasing, rapidly growing digital data brought under the focus of robust data management and analytics is largely referred as Big Data. Big Data has 5 elemental characteristics, referring to variety, volume, velocity, value, and veracity. Now this exponentially growing and multiplying digital data through sophisticated analytics can deliver most useful insights for a business process, including user interaction, user engagement, pulling factors in a digital interface, etc. Thus Big Data can help us validating and measuring business analytics on a continuous basis.
Mind the relevance of data
Well, while volumes of digital data may carry insights, all data are not relevant and all data are not insights. Moreover, it is the process of analytics and extraction of insights that give them relevance. Pure data in its face value amounts to nothing unless you can put them under the scanner of analytics and extract insights relevant to your business or any particular use. You can always understand your customers better by obtaining contextual and purpose-driven data concerning your business process, customer interaction, and business output.
For instance, a user buying a product or subscribing a service has a buying habit, has his preferences and there are time and location of his interaction with the business. All these combined together deliver insights about the customer and the business transaction. So, while the pool of data is always there, bringing the gap between the volume and relevant insights contained in them remains to be the biggest challenge.
Do you consider the UX unique? Ok, but it is not enough dude!
Well, uniqueness is a motivation itself for creative minds. Any web and app designer likes to deliver a unique experience. By creating something out-of-the-box they can readily consider it engaging and performance driven. But, what if a rather common interface that does not startle users with anything special can deliver superb fast-paced performance and continues to engage users? So, uniqueness is not a criterion to deliver performance and to allow better user engagement, right? For the same reason, there is no scope of being contented with your UX design until you validate and measure it thoroughly.
From the user engagement to the rate of conversion to any sort of digital interaction with the business can only be measured in specific as well as quantified terms. UX validation involves a streamlined process with some specific measures the sole goal of which is to track the business performance of your web or app in comparison to your strategy and objectives. Now, thanks to the huge volume of data set from diverse sources and carrying a different level of customer and user insights can be put to the rigorous analytical role to derive insights about the user interaction and performance of the UX.
The larger and bigger role of analytics
Analytics tools are utilized in businesses for many years. But their role has become increasingly vigorous with the growth of digital data and proliferation of data tools. Analytics often are considered to be the backbone of well-informed decision making and building strategy for businesses. But, until just a couple of years ago the utilization of these tools was mostly focused on marketing strategies ad campaigns.
Well, these tools became too important now for UX professionals just because with all bigger scope of data-driven insights they can now measure UX performance of digital apps. From measuring the mood swings of the customers to delivering insights concerning the buying habits to extracting insights from demographic data, the analytics tools now can measure ad validate UX with an array of customer insights.
UX professionals have found their new liberator in ‘Big Data’
Big Data like many fields of business has come as a liberator for UX professionals as well. Big Data analytics, has played an instrumental role in delivering useful insights from operational business data. Business decision making all over the world today irrevocably agrees to this emphasized role of Big Data.
But what about allowing this new horizon of digital data analytics to make the digital user experience better? Well, this has been the new and one of the promising roles that have emerged as a liberating mechanism for UX designers and developers. Actually, the huge volume of data sourced from varied sources can tell us a lot about customers and their digital interaction with more assurance and depth. Naturally, influencing factors for different users and interactions can now easily be measured and accordingly the effectiveness of the UX can be validated.
Data visualization: new way data can make UX better
Finally, it is the data visualization that has emerged as a new area of interaction for the UX and Big Data. What we refer as data visualization? Objectively speaking, by data visualization, we mean all kinds of visual communication that incorporate complex data sets. The visual communication of data and data oriented insights can be presented through graphics or logically formatted images. The main objective of data visualization is to deliver instant insights by visually presenting data sets.
As for examples of data visualization, we can refer to several such visual presentations across the web and native app interfaces. We all have seen information dashboards on both websites and in certain apps. In ecommerce sites and apps graphic product description is a common practice now. In most ecommerce sites pictorial visual cues are used to guide users to product and cart pages. All these and many such utilizations of visual data quickly gain user traction and interaction just because they can make an instant impact.
Author bio: Juned is the director of marketing strategy with responsibility for brand management and integrated marketing programs at IndianAppDevelopers Company, a professional company which offers mobile app developers for hire to develop top notch business applications.