In this article, you discover how we can help you apply Design Thinking principles in data projects as a user-centric method for delivering business value. Why? Let's take a common situation as a starting point.
The success of any software application hinges on end-user satisfaction and user adoption rates. But when it comes to data projects, we typically see data teams focus on technical delivery aspects. Building a proper understanding of the people who will be using the Business Intelligence tools is often forgotten. In addition, BI projects often encounter setbacks due to a lack of clear goals or a loss of focus of users during the project (“why are we doing this again?”). Consequently, people are often stuck with BI tools that do not meet their needs and wants, which can lead to user frustration and dissatisfaction.
In all types of IT projects, User Experience is becoming increasingly important. This is also true for BI projects for two big reasons:
So, it would be a great advantage if we could properly translate the goals, wishes and ways of working of users into requirements for a BI solution before selecting and implementing a BI tool. Design Thinking is the way to go (if you ask The Value Hub).
In the Design Thinking Process, we will involve different users who will each provide input from their individual perspectives. Although the Design Thinking is an iterative and not always linear process, there are several steps you can take in the context of BI projects. In each step, we apply different techniques in a workshop format to help users share their known and latent needs for the future reports.
In a first workshop, we ask a group of users to draw up their ideas on a piece of paper. This allows them to see their own ideas from the perspective of an outsider, as it were. On top of that, it also helps others to better understand your ideas.
Once an idea is put on paper, it is also easier for the group to continue working together and further refine their ideas. In our experience, this technique boosts involvement of the workshop participants while quickly leading to concrete ideas.
In a next step, we will join and structure the ideas in a wireframe. A wireframe provides an overview of the expected contents, components and functionalities of the report. In this step, the future User Interface elements will start to appear. For BI projects, we typically combine the Sketch and Wireframe steps in one single workshop.
During the following Design Thinking workshop, we map the user journey through storyboarding. We see that developers often focus on how an application works, but often miss to capture how users work with the application. In this step we will tell a double story. On the one hand, there is the story of how people will be using their reports in their day-to-day workflow. On the other hand, it's about how they should be able to achieve the goals they have determined themselves.
Some questions that you should be asking are:
Next, you can map the users’ input to a storyboard that shows the several screens a user will see when he’s interacting with the report. In this step, the focus is on the ‘flow’ that should closely follow the natural way of working of the involved users.
In this step, we see the future reports come to life as a prototype. In BI context this means that we’ll create a first interactive “application”. This application focusses on how users will be working with the tool and how the tool could allow users to gain their desired insights more efficiently.
Important sidenote: we’re not aiming to deliver a visually pleasing application, a technically perfect solution, or show real data.
Instead, we want to allow users to test the prototype application. Depending on the feedback we receive from users, we can perform adjustments to the prototype or move forward towards the technical development of the actual application.
By applying Design Thinking Principles in BI projects, organizations can ensure that the end result of the project aligns with the needs and goals of the users. This way, the value of the solution to-be is already clear before any development has started. In this article, you now know how Design Thinking principles can be used in various contexts as a user-centric. It's used to bridge the gap between technical experts and business users to tackle any kind of problem.
Curious how our experts can help you design the solution to your problems? We’re here to listen to your challenge!