How to Use Data to Build Better Products – Laura Klein

by Wendy Soon on November 4, 2015

LauraKlein_bannerIn an era of big data and data scientists, there is no running away from using data. Laura Klein, author of the book UX for Lean Startups, came to one of our recent Igniter Meetups and spoke about how we can build better products in a systematic and scientific manner, using data.


Disclaimer on data usage:


  1. Data cannot replace design. They enhance designers, not replace them.
  2. Data cannot replace listening to users. (or talking to them).
  3. Data cannot tell us what we should be building. It gives us hints on what we should be investigating, what we should dig deeper into.


Quantitative vs Qualitative data


There are different usages of Qualitative and Quantitative data. And we need BOTH to optimize our products. For example, we can use Quantitative data of the customer acquisition process, to identify the main friction point. i.e. Where we are losing most customers. This tells us WHAT is happening, but we will then need Qualitative data to tell how WHY it is happening. One example of doing this is the Observational Usability Study – watch your users use your product. Get hold of a handful of users (4-6 may be just sufficient), and watch what you are inflicting on your users as they use your product (or stop using, for that matter).


After collecting the necessary Quantitative and Qualitative data, proceed to propose solutions.


STEP1: Identify WHAT

STEP2: Understand WHY

STEP3: Propose HOW


But that’s not the end. Solutions don’t always work. You need to test each solution hypothesis, to know if they succeed or fail. One thing to note when testing solution hypotheses, is to have not just a metric to measure if the solution solved the problem identified, but also another metric to measure the potential “damage” level. For instance, a particular box was creating confusion. A simple solution is to remove it. However, the box was placed there for a reason, and make sure it doesn’t change the original intention in a negative manner, or create another problem.


Execute the solution in an A-B test, and collect both quantitative and qualitative data on how it changes things. Did it solve the problem? How did it solve the problem?


STEP4: Learn and Iterate


Examples of ways to use data:

  1. Customer acquisition
  2. Customer Reviews (what worked for them, what didn’t work for them, what they loved about the product, what they wished the product had, which are the most COMMON points amongst customers)
  3. How many people upgraded to an upper tier plan


Use the Data, and your product will get better!


About the Speaker:


Laura fell in love with technology when she saw her first user research session in 1995. Since then, she’s worked as an engineer, UX designer, and product manager at both startups and large companies in Silicon Valley. Her book, UX for Lean Startups, and her popular design blog, Users Know, help teams learn more about their users and apply that knowledge to build better products. She is currently an advisor to several small startups and consults with companies that want to improve their research, UX, and product development processes. She’s also working on her second book,Build Better Products.


Listen to the full session:

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