Fact-based design

Fact-based design is about creating solutions based on insights. We gather insights with strategic design research and base our concepts on a sound understanding of the user goals.
This approach can save time and money. The design is based on more than assumptions, so it will be a better fit with the user needs.

How does fact-based design work?

Fact-based design is a three step process:

  1. We gather insights form business and users alike. Mostly by asking the right questions to the right people.
  2. Then we analyze and distill insights from the information we gathered, getting to the core of the matter.
  3. And lastly - but crucially - we translate these understandings into something tangible. Like concept sketches, a storyboard or a complete design for an app or website. Whatever the job at hand.

What are the key benefits?

The most important benefit is that you don’t do your design process based on a hunch, some assumptions and a dose of creative enthusiasm, but that you add some real user insights to the mix.
This will help you to focus on the things that are important for your (future) users, and eliminate the things that will distract them. With a concept that is fact-based your chance of hitting the sweet spot increases. And working like this often results in:

  • less design iterations
  • a smart focus on the right features
  • faster time to market
  • less guessing
  • easier communication with stakeholders

Why hire experts?

Creating a fact-based concept is something you don’t do very often. But we do. And as with many things, the more you do it the better you get at it. Faster too. So hiring an expert studio will save you time and increase the quality of your solution. And since the concept is often the start for expensive processes, the quality has a lot of impact.
We have been working together on fact-based designs for years, and the added value of our complementary skills is at the heart of mbstudio. We both bring some core qualities to the fact-based design process:

A professional design researcher

Everyone can ask questions. But interviewing people about what they want and need is a serious craft.

  • A pro researcher can help you draw up the right criteria for your participants. She knows her way around the different recruitment services for research participants.
  • Experience and solid preparation ensure you get consistently phrased questions and comparable results.
  • During the interview, she will be able to create the right atmosphere to get to those key insights you need.
  • She will ask the right questions. And not make the common mistake of asking leading questions. Really difficult.
  • Because she is independent and has no stake in the idea or design, the conversation is more open and explorative.
  • After the interviews, a pro researcher is able to create a proper analysis and translate all the information into actionable insights.

A concept designer

Designers solve problems. And concept designers are specialized in creating concepts out of insights and ideas. Ideally we do this together with the designers that will further work on the product, so nothing gets lost in translation. So what does a designer typically do during a fact-based design process?

  • Interview preparation: the designer creates materials that can be used by the researcher during the interviews to get a fruitful conversation going.
  • Taking notes during the interviews.
  • Ideation and concepting: you cannot start building an insight, so immediately the after analysis phase, the designer translates the key insights into tangible sketches and concepts.
  • Information architecture: The designer ensures that the different parts of your product work together as a coherent and holistic system.
  • Interaction design: What do users understand and expect? At what point do things get (too) complicated, and how to make sure things feel logical and intuitive for users.
  • Clarity: A concept sketch brings clarity. It provides a new focus to ideas and reduces confusion of tongues.
  • Inspiration: Having a creative expert work on your ideas often gets some juices flowing here and there.

A solid process

Every project is unique. But the steps leading to a successful fact-based concept usually look something like this:

  1. A kick-off meeting to learn everything about your business and your product, pinpoint the problems and set the project goals.
  2. During research preparation we arrange participants, prepare the interviews and create any materials necessary to get the maximum results from the research.
  3. Conducting interviews.
  4. During analysis we extract key insights from the facts we gathered.
  5. First ideas and concept sketches.
  6. Presentation of insights and first concept sketches.
  7. Sketch session with the product team to flash out all key steps or screens and create a complete set of sketches that injects the research insights in the DNA of the product.

After this there are several options, depending on the size and complexity of the project. Sometimes the most efficient course of action is to draw up supporting CX deliverables for the team, such as customer journeys, design principles, persona’s etc. In other cases running a design sprint might be a more efficient approach. And often it is just creating the detailed designs for the app or website.
Whatever delivers the best result for your business.

Get serious about fact-based design

We have been running fact-based design projects for many years, helping large multinationals and financials, small business, cutting-edge telco providers, hospitals, non-profit organizations and universities.

We gladly discuss the possibilities and advantages of a fact-based design approach over a cup of decent coffee. So give us a call if you believe this could be right for you.


is a no-nonsense UX bureau.

As creative engineers, we love complex challenges. We design solutions that feel logical for users. We focus on quality. We choose to be a small agency, so we can give each client our full attention.
We bring over 20 years of experience to each project.

Bart + Meike: engineers with a focus on people.
Meike Mak design researcher and UX specialist—industrial design (with honors), TU Delft. Meike likes to submerge in the experience of the user and is a trainer in UX research and interview techniques. She loves mountains, squash and board games and is the mother of Willem.
Bart van Lieshout designer—architecture (with honors), TU Delft. Bart worked 10 years as an architect, designing complex buildings such as hospitals. He is fascinated by grids and typography and always in pursuit of elegant solutions. Bart sings as a tenor soloist in classical music. His daughter is called Domino.

Our specialty is fact-based design.

We base our designs on facts and insights. We research the needs of the people who are going to use the product or service. And we merge these user needs and ambitions with our clients’ ambition in a concept.

Concept a strategic foundation for the design. We sketch solutions for the core user interaction. From here we design the main functionality, outlining principles and structure.
A solid concept is half the battle. It forms the basis for prioritising and planning features, helps to convince stakeholders and guides the product roadmap. For agile teams the concept provides a clear high-level context, essential during large or complex projects.
We always start with sketches and add detail with our clients as we iterate. This helps idaes to stay agile and prevents rework in expensive production steps.

We help ambitious organisations to make online projects successful.

Our work is often of strategic importance to our clients, so we can only show a selection.
  • Design for online services of a pension administration

  • Ideation for purchasing tools for the government

    Ideation generating ideas and solutions. Together with the purchase professionals from the Dutch government, we created a clickable prototype to demonstrate how large purchasing projects can be facilitated.
    Take a closer look.
  • Design for a website and mail service for lawyers

    Ontwerp a clear plan of what will be created. Based on the insights from user research, we created sketches, visual designs and prototypes. The site went live in 2017 and together with the in-house development team we realise a constant flow of improvements and extensions.
    See what we designed. And why.
  • Design Sprints

    Design Sprints is a format developed by Google Ventures to create a user validated prototype in only 5 working days. The ideal compact (and low-cost) innovation kickstart for corporates with challenges and ambition.
    Design thinking and teamwork.
  • Concept for a new public service portal

  • Implementation of UX research for a sports brand

  • I.A. for a telco app

    Information Architecture a design for the organisation of information. What information will be displayed where? What screens are necessary and what form of navigation aligns best with the user goals and needs? A well though out I.A. forms the basis for a successful interaction design, layout and visual design.
  • Coaching in-house UX teams

    UX-rescue help for design teams and product teams in doubt or in trouble. Sometimes it’s hard to see if your working in the right direction. Is this the best solution for the problem? Or are you fixing the wrong problem?
    With the refreshing perspective of outside professionals we help teams to identify their problem and choose an adequate solution, empowering the team to get back to work with renewed energy and focus.
  • Strategic pressure cookers for teams

    Strategic pressure cookers facilitating sessions with stakeholders and business owners to outline a clear product vision. Strategic sessions result is a shared understanding and insight of the bottle necks, challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
  • Branding for a dental practice

    Branding the identity of your organization. Your business card—literally. What impression do you want to make? What are the core values of your business and how are they best displayed in your corporate identity?
    Read more about the typeface, layout and logo.
  • Design and code for a bridge club website

    We build websites on a regular basis. This keeps our knowledge up-to-date about what can be achieved in the browser—and how much effort is involved. We believe that good design takes into account how things are made. Online products are not clickable images, but responsive layout systems that work well on small and larger screens alike. So we need to understand the code that makes the design.
    Illustrations and website for a bridge club.
  • User research in public transportation

    User research finding out how users experience something. In this case how international train travellers experience the Dutch OV-chip card. What challenges and problems do the travellers face? Do foreign visitors understand how the system works? And how to get past the gates at their destination?
    Find out what we found.
  • First website for mbstudio

    First website always challenging. What to put on your website when you’re setting up a new business in the evening hours?
    This is what we opted for in 2016.
  • Naming our company

    If you like to base decisions on facts, and advice your clients to conduct research, then how do you choose the name for your company? Fact-based of course! Complete with sketches, prototypes and user research.
    Read all about it.
  • adidas
  • Arcadis
  • Boom juridische uitgevers
  • Centraal Bureau Rijvaardigheid
  • ING
  • knab
  • Ministerie van Binnenlandse Zaken
  • Nederlandse Spoorwegen
  • Schaal+
  • Squla
  • Delft University of Technology
  • User Intelligence
  • UX academy
  • uxinsight

Because we believe that digital products make life better.

Why you do something is just as important as what you do. We believe in human-centered design: products and services designed from the perspective of the human who uses them. We believe that good websites, apps and online services make our life easier and more pleasurable. And that the impact of digital products on our life—and that of our children—will only increase.
That is why we choose to use our talents and energy to make digital products as good as possible.

Are you facing a challenge? Contact us.

We like to think along and can usually help. You can reach us at studio@mbstudio.nl