Presented By O'Reilly and Cloudera
Make Data Work
Feb 17–20, 2015 • San Jose, CA

Designing Delightful Data Products

Alonzo Canada (Interana)
1:30pm–2:10pm Thursday, 02/19/2015
Design & Interfaces
Location: LL21 E/F
Average rating: ***..
(3.89, 9 ratings)
Slides:   1-PDF 

Significant developments in data products over the past 30 years have been designed by developers for developers. Spreadsheets, relational databases, and Hadoop are only used by technologists. While this has pushed technical development forward, it has limited the impact that data products have on businesses and mainstream users that could benefit from data to aid their understanding, insight, and decision making. Even supposed consumer applications like Microsoft Excel are difficult for the average person to use for discovering patterns and insights in data. Its GUI suggests that it’s a product designed for mainstream use, but in reality it inhibits data exploration, pattern recognition, and insight discovery because it forces users into difficult-to-use pre-canned visualizations and basic calculations.

If data products continue to be designed in this way, they will forever be relegated to a niche market of technologists, while robbing the world of their potential benefit and impact. Many market categories have gone through the same evolution, including personal computers, tax software, internet search, and even electric cars. They all have one thing in common: they’ve used design to appeal to a broader audience by packing the technology up in ways that are understandable and easy to use for mainstream users. To achieve this broad market adoption, data products need to do the same.

This talk reframes data software development as a design challenge. Technical development should be in service of larger design goals informed by well thought-out business strategies and a deep understanding of users. In this talk, participants will learn about design methodologies taught at the Stanford D.School and practices that have been in designing interfaces for Samsung, Audi, and Yahoo.

Participants will learn how to:
• Research and design unique sets of features that appeal to influencers like early adopters.
• Use writing, ideating, and simple sketching to creatively imagine new solutions with design methods that go beyond brainstorming.
• Use metaphors and analogies to design UX elements that make data products feel familiar and new at the same time.
• Design product attributes that dramatize the benefits of your technology.
• Design products for daily use, workflow, and habits, to become an essential everyday routine.

Alonzo Canada


Alonzo Canada leads developing new ventures with a particular focus on product strategy and UX development. He mashes up business strategy and human-centered design to craft product vision and execute against it. He uses strategy formation, customer development, and product design to lead multi-disciplinary teams in designing magical product experiences, viable roadmaps, and sustainable business models.

He likes to speak and write about how to develop user experiences, products, go-to-market strategies, and business models. Alonzo lectures on design strategy and leadership at the Product Design Program at Stanford University. His articles on design and innovation have appeared in BusinessWeek, The Design Management Review, Rotman Magazine, and Forbes. He was once fluent in Japanese, but still holds two Master’s degrees: one in Fine Art from Mills College and one in Product Design from Stanford University.