User Experience (UX) and Big Data
Big Data has become a more widely understood concept, but many companies from entrepreneurs to corporate conglomerates are failing to tap into the full potential of all of the data available or already being collected.
Charlie Claxton is the Chief Creative Strategist for UpTop, a full-service, web-based software application design firm that focuses on user experience design, conversion and mobile. He has led successful design efforts for Expedia, Amazon and Microsoft as well as growing early-stage companies and is a frequent speaker on UX design and conversion.
In his own words below, he identifies how the answer to the Big Data ball of yarn could actually be UX (user experience):
Okay, you’ve collected piles of data. Now what? How do you transform an overwhelming amount of information into actionable insights?
This is a common problem facing many businesses today. Massive amounts of data, often referred to as ‘Big Data,’ are being collected across every business sector. However, this data usually exceeds the processing capacity of conventional database systems.
“The data is too big, moves too fast and doesn’t fit the strictures of common database architectures,” says Edd Dumbill, a data science analyst based in Silicon Valley. “To gain value from this data, you must choose an alternative way to process it.”
UX designers bring data to life
This is where the discipline known as user experience (UX) design comes into play.
UX designers bring the power of data to life by creating customized data visualizations and reporting solutions that make it far easier for companies to reach important business conclusions. These solutions, coupled with an easy-to-use data collection system, can revolutionize the way you work.
By taking the massive amounts of data you’ve gathered, distilling it and then presenting it in a visual, user-friendly way, it’s possible for a variety of people to easily digest and use the data – a major departure from the days of huge spreadsheets.
What if you could get a quick view of data trends, then dive in for more details? What about overlaying two disparate data sources into a single chart based on a constant variable? No problem – just about anything is possible when you use UX design disciplines to crunch data. An effective business intelligence (BI) reporting solution designed around the needs of its end users can create data visualizations that were previously unheard-of.
Data input can also benefit from good UX design
Data input is another crucial factor that can benefit from solid UX design. How are you collecting your data, and more importantly, how are you getting that data into your solution?
Bad data generates bad reports; the more seamless the data entry is within the daily workflow of the people involved, the more likely you are to get great data.
The ultimate goal is to gather clean data that empowers people – data that gives them what they need to do big things, no matter what their specific role is.
Great UX design can give a company:
- Insights into the direct correlation between sales and marketing campaigns.
- Competitive knowledge.
- Sales forecasts in relation to existing quota and product mix.
- Trends regarding how people feel about key words related to a company’s product offering.
How UX can identify untapped product opportunities
Perhaps most importantly, great UX design enables businesses to identify untapped product opportunities.
An effective, UX-infused reporting solution gives people an ability to act on the data right away. It should enable the people reviewing the data to blow right past the daunting “now what?” stage and immediately begin plotting next steps.
The bottom line: UX translates data
At the most basic level, the value of UX design lies in its capacity to translate the overwhelming into the informative. It gives you the ability to make better, faster decisions by creating a clear, accurate view of your data – customized to fit your specific needs. UX design comes with a dynamic set of tools that can transform the data analysis process and save companies both time and money, which has never been more important than it is today.
iOS 15 beta has blur nude photos opt-in, but its not without fault
(TECH NEWS) To protect children from explicit content, the most recent beta version of iOS 15 includes a feature that allows users to blur nude photos.
In a move to protect children from explicit content, the most recent beta version of iOS 15 includes a feature that allows users to blur nude photos received in the Messages app. Amid privacy concerns, the feature has yet to be released.
This iteration of the feature is distinct from the original one insofar as it will no longer alert a parent or guardian when nude photos are encountered. While this may seem like a controversial change, several experts pointed out that exposing nude content on a child’s device in some households could result in abuse or, as Harvard Cyberlaw Clinic instructor Kendra Albert suggests, the outing of “queer or transgender children to their parents.”
With the most recent version of this feature enabled, children who receive inappropriate photos via the Messages app would be able to do two things: choose to avoid (or see) the content, and choose to send a report to a trusted adult if they see fit to do so.
Blurring photos is just one of several aspects of Apple’s Communication Safety suite, a feature that aims to prevent child sex abuse by making it easier for children to avoid and report predatory content.
Another feature that Apple has tested – but not released – is their Child Sex Abuse Imagery Detection (CSAM-detection), which scans and reports iCloud content that shows child pornography or abuse to Apple moderators for further review. As one can imagine, the feature drew mixed criticism, the majority of which came from privacy advocates.
While the vast majority of humanity can (hopefully) agree that fighting against child exploitation is a noble cause, these groups argue that scanning and reporting individuals’ personal photos via an algorithm opens the door to government interference and increased surveillance. Switching the algorithm’s baseline to scan for things like anti-government content, for example, would be easy, these groups posit, making the feature extremely dangerous in principle.
There is no current release date set for any of these aforementioned features, though iPhone users can reasonably expect them to drop at some point during iOS 15’s development.
Amazon Music debuts synchronized text transcripts for popular podcasts
(TECH) The first feature to hit Amazon Music is auto-generated and synchronized text transcripts for their most popular podcast shows. Sign us up!
Amazon set out to accelerate the growth and evolution of podcasts last year by acquiring the podcasting network, Wondery. Now, the company is doing just that with the launch of its auto-generated and synchronized podcast transcripts feature on Amazon Music.
According to an Amazon Music tweet, with this feature, you’ll be able to “Roll it back, jump ahead, and follow along” with the podcast you’re listening to. For instance, you can scrub through the transcript to find that line of text with that quote or movie and book suggestion you can’t quite remember. When you tap on a particular line of text in the transcript, you’ll be able to jump straight into that specific part of the podcast. I can already see all the time saved! But, if you just want to read along as you listen, you can do that, too. The transcript will match the audio as you’re hearing it.
Right now, the company is only rolling out podcast transcripts in the US on both iOS and Android devices. When it will expand to other countries isn’t known, and the feature isn’t available for all podcasts yet. For now, it is only available on a selection of popular podcasts like Smartless, Crime Junkie, This American Life, Uncommon Ground, and Modern Love, but more are coming.
To use it, all you have to do is open the podcasts tab on Amazon Music and select one of the podcasts you’d like to listen to. Of course, you’ll need to select a show with the podcast transcription feature to see it. When your show is playing, on the top of the album art and in fullscreen mode, the transcriptions will be available for you to read along to.
Oh, and if you’re worried about having to read through the ads, you have nothing to fret about. Ads won’t be transcribed. Instead, the transcription will read “audio not transcribed” when they are playing.
So far, Amazon seems to be going strong in the podcasting game with the release of podcast transcripts. The feature makes it easy to search and find what you are looking for in a show. And, for those on a long and noisy bus and subway ride, you’ll finally be able to read the information you previously couldn’t hear.
UX design: If you don’t have it, get yourself an audit made easy
(TECH NEWS) UX design is important. By conducting a simple audit to make sure your site is accessible, you can minimize the number of people that quickly go away.
A good UX design is essential in attracting and retaining customers. A seamless and positive experience will keep customers happy and bring your business many benefits, like increasing audience engagement and sales.
But, how do you know if your user experience is in need of help, so people don’t bounce away quickly? Well, if UX is not your forte, the best thing to do is to hire a good UX designer. Unfortunately, sometimes hiring one isn’t always within the budget.
So, what do you do then? The next best thing is to conduct a UX audit of your website or app. Not sure where to begin? Fulcrum’s Do It Yourself UX Audit kit is one place to start.
According to the website, this DIY UX audit “can help you gain valuable insights about the usability of your product.” The tool detects problems in your UX, prioritizes them for you, and finds out how you can fix any existing issues.
The tool is made out of free easy-to-use Notion templates. These UX audit checklists are all customizable, and you can print them or save them on your Notion dashboard to use later.
Inside each template, there are cards with descriptions and examples. Depending on if you meet certain criteria or not, you drag and drop the card into the “Yes” or “No” column. When you’re finished, you will easily see what issues you have, and you can work on fixing them.
The templates are divided into Junior and Middle-level templates.
The Junior level has templates for things such as field and forms, login, mobile UX, and architecture. Most of these templates help make sure you cover your basic UX bases. For instance, it looks at whether your website is desktop and mobile-friendly, and if each element makes sense and is easily identifiable.
The Middle Level dives in a little deeper. The “Visibility of system status” audit checks if you are keeping your audience informed on what’s going on. Things like battery life, loading, or Wi-Fi connection indicators can make a huge difference. No one wants to stare at a screen with no clue if what they clicked on is working or not.
If you can afford it and want a UX virtuoso to do the work for you, you can get a UX audit from Fulcrum. The experts will conduct a full-fledged UX audit and create wireframes with solutions for your UX issues.
However, no matter how you go about it, a good UX design is important. Higher rate conversions and user retention won’t happen if your product is just pushing people away.
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