From data visualization to actions

The standard: Ignoring the user’s entire journey

Think about it. You’ve got a tons of data and now you have to look through it. You hope you to get something out of all this data. Hopefully, you’ll get some actionable insights that will improve your organization’s performance.

Data visualization tools help users perform only the first part of the process — looking at the data. Unfortunately, a lot of UX designers don’t acknowledge the entire data->action journey — they deliver an UI that displays data and provides the ability to sort/filter, along with import/export options and then call it a day. That’s not enough. The users are getting short-changed.

People don’t just need data, they need actionable insights. Better yet, they need a system that helps them take action and can perform the data-to-action process automatically.

Why is this problem so prevalent?

One possibility is that, the UX designers are not thinking through the user’s scenarios and their needs. They’re only doing a fraction of their job.

Another reason could be that other folks are doing user research – maybe they failed to map out the user’s entire journey, they failed to ask the right questions, and they failed to pass the right information to the designers.

A more typical reason, is that visual and graphic designers are pretending to be interaction designers — without having the right problem-solving skills yet. They get mesmerized by the beauty of data visualization graphics. They get caught up in tiny visual details, rather than looking at the big picture to remind themselves that the UI has to support a larger interactive process(I know this is a common problem because I was one of these guys when I started my career. Making the shift to thinking like an interaction designer is not easy and takes time.)