Crafting Meaningful Data Experiences

Bitsy Bentley (GfK Custom Research)
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I am frequently asked for advice about using data visualization to solve communication problems that are better served through improved information architecture. A nicely formatted bar chart won’t rescue you from a poorly planned user interface. When designing meaningful data experiences it’s essential to understand the problems your users are trying to solve.

In this case, I was asked to take a look at a global data-delivery platform with a number of issues. How do we appeal to a broad cross-section of business users? How do we surface information to our clients in a useful way? How do we facilitate action, beyond information sharing? How do we measure success?

A user-centered approach allowed us to weave together a more meaningful experience for our business users and usability testing revealed helpful insights about how information sharing and data analysis flows within large organizations.

Data visualization is a powerful tool for revealing simple answers to complex questions, but context is key. User-centered design methods ensure that your audience receives the information they need in a usable and actionable way. Data visualization and user experience practices are not mutually exclusive. They work best when they work together.

Photo of Bitsy Bentley

Bitsy Bentley

GfK Custom Research

As the Director of Data Visualization at GfK Custom Research (a global market research firm), Bitsy designs data visualization applications to tell compelling stories about research data. In addition to developing new methodologies and templates for current GfK design processes, she also educates colleagues on current and emergent visualization tools, techniques and best practices.

Prior to joining GfK she worked as a freelance consultant, designing and hand coding interactive data displays for technology companies as well as traditional market research firms.

Bitsy has six years of experience in the market research industry, and holds a B.F.A. in Industrial Design from the University of Wisconsin Stout.

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