As users are spending over four hours per day on average on their phones, advertisers and marketers across industries, from retail to software, are figuring out how to capture just a couple minutes of that users’ time. Doing so is made easier with tools known as Martech, or advertising tech, which boils down online behavior to a science.
The ways that market intelligence companies convey that info to the marketer, though, can be tricky. Telling the fully nuanced story of how hundreds of users interact with every aspect of a site can be a monumental challenge, particularly when it comes to the metrics themselves. To get a better understanding of the challenges UX designers in Market Intelligence face, we spoke with Tamar Yadin, a lead UX Designer at SimilarWeb.
As one of the leading market intelligence platforms, SimilarWeb offers actionable insights on web traffic, site sources, site use, and competitor traffic.
We’re sharing a couple of key insights from the interview on what makes SimilarWeb unique to other platforms, and what drives the SimilarWeb team’s decision-making.
1. Expect that your product–and customers’ reactions to it–will change
It’s easy to judge a product by the initial release of new features. But, according to Yadin, advancements that slowly come out in the weeks and months after are just as important. iterations are key when integrating new features, as only continuous improvement will deliver the highest possible value. When it comes to data visualization, in particular, stepwise enhancements are the best way to see if a user can truly gauge insights from the data presented. If there’s difficulty, it means gathering the data and rolling out a new update.
In the market intelligence spaceAdTech specifically, this is crucial. As a relatively new industry with ever-growing ways to gather insight, customer expectations for the platform and metrics offered change, too, whereas in legacy industries, reporting advancements may not be in such high demand.
Yadin also notes that the product design team at Similarweb has, over time, developed a specific style unique to their platform upon which customers have come to rely, and upon which Yadin herself can continue to build.
In that vein, Yadin explains that the work she’s “most proud of is not a specific feature, but rather a gradual process of improving the overall look and feel of the product” that addresses the changing needs of consumers and digital world at large.
2. Customer Feedback is important, but quant research always reigns
A designer certainly has their own interpretation of how a product is useful. But it’s important to remember that a customer’s interpretation could be entirely different.
For example, Yadin and her team were on the verge of building a new feature to better analyze competitor performance. Right before development, Yadin and her project manager spoke in depth with a customer, who explained that they didn’t want the insight in order to benchmark against direct competitors, but because they wanted a second source to view their own product’s performance on several retailer sites.
This insight fundamentally changed how the team approached the new product feature, designing instead for the client’s own insight on third party websites.
But ultimately, when it comes to feedback, she says the quantitative approach plays a much bigger part in SimilarWeb’s process.
“For each new feature we release, we define events that we want to measure, and gradually optimize the product by tracking the metrics. Working with data lets you pinpoint weak spots in the experience that you weren’t aware of.”
3. Don’t over blast your users with features.
Yadin shared a key philosophy that guides her design: “Since the data is so elaborate, you should make sure you reveal it in the simplest possible way.”
Yadin explains that designers have a tendency to match the complexity level of a product’s data to that product’s user experience. But, she says, it’s crucial to fight that instinct.
Her process to achieving the right user experience starts with “releasing the most basic functionality”, “validating that you’re aligned with reality”, and lastly, “gathering feedback and feature requests.” After these three steps, she says, one can “start making things more interesting.”
“The challenge is preserving your users’ focus with the right design decisions that serve them clear insights that they can act upon,” says Yadin. “We recognize that our users are looking to become the best at their craft, be it marketing, sales, research or investment- and we want to make it easy for them to achieve that using SimilarWeb data.”
4. Consistent design should not be sacrificed in the interest of speed
Yadin notes that, though conflicts come far and few between, the biggest conflict on the team boils down to two different processes, favored by the product managers and designers, respectively: deciding whether to prioritize the “agility” or the “consistency” of a product.
“Being agile means delivering value fast without being limited by procedural factors,” Yadin said. “This often comes at the price of sacrificing consistency [of the design], which is key to maintaining a good experience.”
For example, building a suite of custom graphs from scratch create complexity in software that only disadvantages users, so start off by relying on tooling that can simplify the visualization creating process.
A development team can find a happy medium between these two values by “allocating engineering resources to develop the product’s design system.” Yadin believes that, in doing so, designers can “reuse components.” This ensures that a product’s consistency is maintained and the capacity for “velocity” is improved.
5. Keep in mind that the design process is more than visuals
Overall, Yadin sees that her role as a designer is entirely different from what it was five years ago because “today, the design process is more informed by research and data.”
While usability and visual style are still important, designers also “need to be aware of the market, the business needs, the org’s strategy and prioritization, brand and design system, and much more,” Yadin advises. That means “communicating with a great deal of stakeholders,” down to the last detail, and thinking on one’s feet to make complex decisions, whether it’s in the data vizzes, the design, or the product itself.
As we’re discovering through our research interviewing designers across industries, good design boils down to keeping it simple and customer feedback at the center of every decision. At keen.io, we’ve built visualization tooling whose ease and usability is proven every day by thousands of satisfied users across our entire client base. For more ideas on how to streamline and simplify your data, schedule a demo with us to get started.