"Let me show you."

publishedalmost 2 years ago
2 min read

Dear Reader,

If you’d like to be more data-driven, this email is for you.

Q: How do I bring data into my design process?

In Google’s meeting rooms, there are two projectors.

One is for presenting slides, notes, etc.

The other one is for presenting data.

Former Goog execs Eric Schmidt & Jonathan Rosenberg, write about how this dual-screen approach at Google promotes fact-based decisions:

We don’t seek to convince by saying, "I think." We convince by saying, "Let me show you."
-Eric Schmidt & Jonathan Rosenberg, authors of How Google Works

If you can learn to say "Let me show you," it will do wonders for your career.

Every time you show a pretty visual in a meeting, you could also show data on customer behavior.

Design can be a very subjective practice, and any objectivity you can bring to the process will be a bonus in the eyes of business people.

Here are 2 quick ways to do that.

1. "Let me show you" in the Problem Space

When you're just wandering into the fog of a new project, there isn't a lot of data...especially if the project has never been done before.

Some great sources for "Let me show you" might already exist on your company's Google Drive:

  • Videos of users trying and failing to use your designs
  • Quotes from past research projects
  • Reviews for similar products
  • Bug boards and customer complaints
  • Stakeholder interview notes

This is all qualitative data, and that's just as important as quantitative data, especially in the early stages where there is no quant. data. But if you have analytics, use them!

You can also generate your data with customer-facing activities like interviews. These create humanizing data to help your stakeholders fall in love with the problem, not the solution.

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2. "Let me show you" in the Solution Space

The answer to this one's a bit trickier.

When you're ready to design solutions, it's hard to say "Let me show you" with anything except sketches and designs. How in the world can we find data on the sketches we just did?

Instead of convincing stakeholders with visuals you made, show visuals to customers then share the resulting data with stakeholders.

Here are some ways to do that:

It’s an extra step, but it will de-risk your design decisions.

That's the premise behind product experimentation.

It’s setting things up in a test and letting the customer decide if it’s a good idea or not.

What could be more user-centered than that?

So next time you find yourself saying "I think," consider that second screen in the Google office and all the data you could be showing.

Jeff Humble
Designer & Co-Founder
The Fountain Institute

P.S. We've got a Saturday workshop coming up called How to Design Product Experiments. Grab your FREE ticket here→

The Fountain Institute

The Fountain Institute is an independent online school that teaches advanced UX & product skills.

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