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🎓 Not so big: Making data less overwhelming for designers

From the internet to the sensors in wearable devices, people leave their digital traces behind both online and offline. Data is getting ubiquitous and cheap. Some new fields, like business intelligence, are recognized and emerging. As a trustworthy and precise material, data is also a valuable source for designers. It provides accurate and detailed data on users’ behaviors and brings some new perspectives on users’ needs in the design process. Meanwhile, big data is a new field for most designers. Most designers, especially novice designers, often lack big data related knowledge and skills. When they face big data, they usually feel clueless and anxious. It is difficult for them to deal with big data well. This thesis’s foundational objective is to support designers in applying big data in the design process effectively and confidently. It is about keeping exploring the possibilities of design and making sure that design stays at the cutting edge of the big data era. This project focused explicitly on novice designers who are inexperienced with projects involving big data.To provide this appropriate support, the key pain point was targeted from designers’ big data related project experiences, which is the feeling of being overwhelmed by big data when designers face it. In the end, I designed the data management platform to help designers relieve this feeling and have a better performance at big data involved projects.This thesis will introduce the project process. First, I did the literature review to learn about big data, how the relationship between big data and design is, and how the relationship between big data and design process is. Afterward, Context Mapping was conducted to learn about the designers’ experiences in applying big data in the design process. With the literature review and Context Mapping, I understood the project from both a theoretical and design practice perspectives. Then, I held a session to explore the problem space. The session was organized with designers to learn about their difficulties when dealing with big data. After the session, I realized that the biggest challenge for designers is being overwhelmed by data when translating big data into insights. It results from the massive big data content and cluelessness when designers face big data. It affects designers’ efficiency and confidence in the design process. To explore the solution space of the challenge, I held a co-creation session with novice designers.In the end, Data Management Platform was proposed. The concept’s goals are to relieve designers from data overwhelmingness and assist designers in dealing with big data. The Data Management Platform can provide designers an overview of the project and prevent designers from feeling lost in the big data content. By guiding designers to apply big data in an appropriate process and assisting designers with some tools to collaborate with different people, designers can confidently and effectively make full use of big data. In the end, the concept was evaluated.

Master Thesis: TU Delft repository

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