Human Data is the Key to Success
Every day thousands of small businesses encounter human data. This article is meant to explain:
What human data is
What data looks like
Why data is important
Data is loosely defined as facts or information used to calculate, analyze, or plan. Human data can be used to calculate individual performance, which can include counting computer keystrokes when entering information or counting the time required to complete a task. Human data can also be collected to determine design requirements. An example of this would be calculating the Workstation requirements of a 30-40-year-old male. Thanks to data analysis, it’s possible to find out if there are differences between groups of customers or differences within a specific group of patrons. Data analysis gives us the ability to determine if human datapoints are related and by how much. You can also use data to predict the likelihood an individual will join a specific group. When it is available, it is to our advantage to use this data to develop a plan for marketing materials, research, and product development.
For small or medium sized businesses, data often looks like key performance indicators (KPI’s). These may be the amount of product shelved, the amount of work completed in a timeframe, or the value of goods sold per customer. KPI’s are used to assess the success of a company, work group, production line, or even an employee. In business KPI’s can be predicted but are only as valuable as the activities they encourage.
Human data, on the other hand, is largely unstructured. Its nature is qualitative like the feedback that comes from focus groups, survey responses, social media posts, and phone calls. It is also quantitative such as the length of a Veteran’s time in service, their age, gender, and location. Human data is generally depicted by word clouds, diagrams, charts, and maps whereas KPI’s are portrayed by bar and pie charts.
Some companies are fully data driven (KPI’s and human data). Other companies may collect KPI’s, but rarely collect or use human data for their marketing materials, research, or product development. This may lead to problems. Human data is important for product development because it determines not just how, but for whom products are designed. In fact, user-centered design at the beginning of a product’s life cycle really pays off when the product is sold.
Using human data to identify market interest and unit price point is a really good idea. Obtaining and using human data in initial design has been known to prevent expensive mistakes and costly design changes later. Obtaining feedback from potential customers and designing based on their input is essential to increasing success in the marketplace. All of this is possible through proper – and sometimes constant – human data collection.