In school, we read a super long and super depressing poem where a ship is lost in the ocean and the crew has run out of water to drink. So even though they are surrounded by water, they are dying of thirst. That’s when the captain says,
“Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink.”
This is what today’s quote reminds me of. Many thanks to Kalpagam Sharma, an altUXR member, for sharing her favorite quote and giving me food for thought.
“We are drowning in data but thirsty for insights.”
Understanding the nature of something
By definition, insight means “a penetrating understanding into character or hidden nature of something”. In this way, an insight is different than a finding or issue from a user study.
Because insights stay true beyond a single study and shift our thinking in a big way. It is unsurprising that insights are not found aplenty, because insights take time to ripen – to zoom into the data and zoom out, and need good questions to house them, and curation to facilitate them.
Example I – Insights need time, curation, discussion, and questions
We were building an application for professional users in healthcare. I was conducting a heuristic evaluation and I articulated an insight on how our users were using the space in our applications, and how our on-screen guidance was not in line with the user behavior.
I had observed this across different studies and countries over 2 years. But it was in this specific discussion on “how do we best guide our users?” that this insight of mine found a home.
And this insight changed the way we were providing guidance within all applications of that business from then on. It also changed my understanding of what is important to these users overall.
Just like I outlined my process here, I would suggest you to do that same, to get an insight into your process of working, so you can apply it everywhere :).