Where Does Big Data Fit In When Designing A Website?

Curious about how big data fits into your web design process? Here's what to know about how it can help.
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Big data has brought profound changes to the web development field. Website data has become essential for many industries. For example, 21% of investment advisors use website data to manage investments.

In order to leverage big data effectively, you need to understand its context in the web development. This warrants a background on website management and web design, which is provided below.

Evolving Perspective on the Role of Big Data in Web Development

Every popular website we use today started with nothing more than an idea. Someone, whether they were working from their parents’ basement or from a glass skyscraper, had a business idea and decided to give it a go. However, big businesses aren’t born in a flash, and behind those seemingly simple websites, there are months of work. Users don’t often realize this, but every button placement, dropdown menu, or animation, isn’t random. All these elements are created after a thorough research process that considers the users’ behavior, likes, and dislikes.

In the past, this research process used to be quite long, tedious, and often hit-and-miss. However, Big Data and AI have significantly sped up the process, helping business owners save money and make the right decisions.  

The majority of businesses generate large amounts of data that can’t be processed via traditional methods. This is Big Data. What does it have to do with web design, and where does it fit in your strategy?

Well, designing a successful website in 2020 is no longer just about adding elements based on aesthetics and personal preferences. For best results, you have to curate the insights received from Big Data analysis and thus create dynamic websites that engage users.

In other words, Big Data can help you make smart decisions based on customer preferences and design a website that people actually love visiting. This is why the big data field will be worth $77 billion within the next three years.

Here’s how big data is changing things up.

Big Data shortens the design process.

Why design something in a month when you can do it in two weeks? Back in the day, designers and developers often based layouts and website features on their own inspiration, on the website owner’s personal preferences, on what had worked on previous websites, or simply on what seemed to look good.

This process is outdated today. Not only because the result might be unsatisfactory, but also because guesswork takes a very long time. Today, modern web designers can use Big Data to interpret huge amounts of data to get specific recommendations of features. Therefore, you no longer have to waste weeks trying to determine what users would like (or worse, guess). You have precise, actionable data to base your design on. Later on, you can also use Big Data in the development process.

Create a personalized user experience

Modern Internet users are notorious for having a short attention span, but that’s not the only challenge you’ll be dealing with. To convert them to customers, you have to give them the UX they want, and that’s something that Big Data can help you with. So, when looking at your provider’s website design portfolio, it’s important to ask them what research tools they used to achieve those results and how they can create a relevant design for you.

There are many beautiful websites out there that fail to impress users. One of the reasons why this happened is because they were designed as standalone products, not in connection to a target user.

A professional company should be able to conduct research and use tools like Big Data to establish the following:

Identify the target user.

Not all users are the same. Depending on their age, sex, location, and personal preferences, they will prefer some features over others. For example, there’s a huge difference between designing a website for an investment firm that attracts male investors over 55, and a website that sells high-street clothing for young adults. You can use Big Data to identify buyer personas and use that information to create a website design that’s both useful and engaging for them. In addition, Big Data can help you get very specific and establish things such as how adventurous a user is, how often they’ve interacted with websites like yours, and at what step of the customer journey they’re on. Then, based on this data, you can start thinking of the color scheme and page elements to add.

The five elements of user experience

Big Data can help you figure out the four steps of user experience and make the right decisions for your future website:  

  1. Value. How useful is a certain design element? Does it help users in any way? In order for a design to be valuable, the features need to align with the user needs.
  2. Usability. Is that element easy to use, or do users need extra help to get there? For example, if a website visitor wants to get in touch with you, is the contact section clearly displayed, or do they have to click on several pages to find it?
  3. Adoptability. Is the website ready to use? 
  4. Desirability. Is the design emotionally appealing to the users? Are they genuinely excited to use them? 
  5. Scalability. Big data is very important for scalability.

Risks & barriers

Even the best design ideas can be compromised if you don’t think of potential risks. Even if an idea seems intuitive to you or the designer, the users may take a different path and encounter an error that you didn’t even consider. Calculating all these possibilities and imagining yourself what could become a liability is extremely difficult and time-consuming. Big Data can help you do this much faster so that you don’t have to worry about potential shortcomings.  

Understand the minimum requirements for a minimum viable product

Sometimes, bringing that perfect idea to life takes longer than you expected, and you have to launch a minimum viable product first. But what are the features of that minimum viable product? What requirements should it meet from the very beginning to drive value, and what can you afford to add later on? Again, Big Data is central to the research process, and it can help you refine your MVP.

Conclusion

The websites designed on accurate insights are the ones that perform the best. Big Data plays a huge role in the research process, helping you understand who your customers are and what features you need to add to impress them.

Ryan Kh
Ryan Kh is an experienced blogger, digital content & social marketer. Founder of Catalyst For Business and contributor to search giants like Yahoo Finance, MSN. He is passionate about covering topics like big data, business intelligence, startups & entrepreneurship. Email: ryankh14@icloud.com