A classical dispute that won its fame is the one between design and data. There is this general overview that the two cannot get along or can’t stand each other. This can be impartial and open for debate. Since both data and design are important stepping stones that lead to great final products for users and consumers, this is not a relationship that should have cracks.

When design relies on data

Today, data is greatly used to gather information about how people are using certain products and it helps to a certain degree to engage in meaningful communication. After all, data is a representation and a measurement of how certain products are used in real life by real people. In the digital world data should be used as a tool that in the end gives answers and solutions to possible problems.

Designers are those that need to shape things, to give a final product but they cannot to this unless they find out which are the best options. All in all designers should craft experiences and data is there to help them give the best experiences.

What data gives to design is confidence and an objective perspective because it can validate the work of a designer, proving that it was a good choice. On the other hand, it can also tell where the issue is or what is not working. Digital products or even the tangible ones cannot evolve without neither of these two resources because this constant cycle of development and experimentation is what encourages growth.

Design has its fair share

It is now clear that data has its benefits and designers should think twice before saying that they don’t want to spend time analysing this or that. In the end designers are happy when data is saying that something they done is working. However, we shouldn’t abuse data. An example would be the burden of proof when new ideas are stone-walled to the point of being refused because there is no analysis or evidence that can back up that proposal.

It is also true that actual numbers can help others understand design, not only the other way round. Data is not only the tool that helps designers prove a point. Data has its limits because while some designers use data before starting a project, as an inspiration and afterwards, for the confirmation, sometimes intuition is all they need to boost new projects and designs.

Defining boundaries for data and designers is important especially considering that researchers are closely working with the team of designers. These are not boundaries that will limit their powers or their work but rather defines tasks and responsibilities so everyone knows where to invest their time and energy.

The job of the designer is to exploit and enhance the power of data so this makes it clear that the two cannot exist one without the other. The relationship between designers and data will continuously evolve because customers are also changing together with the new markets, tools and technologies that are being developed. This dynamic will also lead to a change in behaviour and expectations from consumers.