The Clash of Data and Design.

30 May 2017 by Jeremy Sweetman

Data vs Design

Now, you may already know this, but the digital landscape harbours a polarised community of data-driven practitioners and their design counterparts. This tension is (typically) born from perceptions that data driven design diminishes – if not eliminates – creativity. Really!?

Let’s be clear, what is data-driven design?

(For simplicity) we can define data-driven-design as the use of quantitative data to inform the design deliverable.


Without doubt, there are large companies that live & die by their data-centric approach to design – I’m looking at you Google & FaceBook. But this focus is equally balanced by successful counterparts like Apple – who are particularly anti-data – and who openly express a heavily design-centric process. So, who’s right? Both? Neither?

Could it be that both are wrong? With the answer lying within a blend of both? Now before ‘heresy’ is suggested from the respective camps – let me explain.

Data creates opportunity. Delivering opportunity to gain user empathy and inspiration. It pulls back the cover on what people say they do and displays what they ‘actually’ do. Remember that numbers represent people, behaviours and engagement; then this intelligence allows design to drive innovation and fuels informed improvement.

As a tool, data then allows for better designed experiences, elevating the human-centred design process.

As the world becomes increasingly more digital, we’ll need to continue to embrace the ‘data by-product’ of user engagement to continually craft better outcomes. By leveraging analytics, we enrich our understanding of amazing (or awful) experiences and, therefore, can iterate in more meaningful ways. This, ultimately, will lead to better products. Increased user engagement.

Bear-hugs all round.

Perceptions aside, it's time to hug an analyst and/or high-five a designer, then wield the power of data & design in pursuit of crafting more meaningful digital experiences.

Data+Design=Amazing Experiences <3