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.

specialty of mbstudio