I met with a designer yesterday who shared with me that she wants to learn user experience design and asked for my advice. I asked her what she was reading and if she had joined any local groups. What had she found useful so far?
She was reading Alan Cooper. Good. She had joined the local product design guild. Good. So then I asked about her job. Did she have an opportunity to learn on the job?
I have a strong bias towards learning by doing. Don’t get me wrong. I love to read and I love to talk shop. But you can’t learn to build great products by reading or talking, you have to learn by doing.
Fortunately, she did have the opportunity to learn on the job. She worked on a team of engineers, where she was the sole designer, and the CEO acted as product manager. Perfect. In this type of environment, there is plenty of opportunity to learn, because it’s much easier to step in and fill a void than to convince someone else to let you contribute.
And then she asked a great question: How do I know if I’m getting better?
And that’s when I asked about analytics. How do you measure the impact of their changes you are making? Do you start with a hypothesis? Do you know why you are doing what you are doing?
Like many companies, her company wasn’t there yet. They were just starting to get their heads wrapped around analytics.
I get it. My company is going through the same thing. Getting your analytics right is one of the hardest things you can do.
But here’s the thing. If you can’t measure the impact of the changes that you make, you are just guessing. Guessing without learning is mostly pointless. You might as well buy a lottery ticket.
You don’t have to get everything right the first time. Just like we take an iterative approach to building products, you can take an iterative approach to analytics. Just start somewhere.
I’m working on several posts about analytics and how to measure what matters. Stay tuned.
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