Analytics kills design?

The Elephant in a Creative Designer’s Living Room was a debate on the question of whether analytics kills or cultivates great design. The panel consisted of:

Jeff argued that evaluating good design, makes it less subjective. That’s what separates art from design. However it could be argued that it just evaluates common sense. And is certain cases, the Amazon Product Page, was given as the example over optimisation can leave you into a dead-end for design. Having a heavily optimised page can make people resistant to changing it. Use analytics on a crap design, you can make it a better kind of crap but it’s still crap!

Analytics is not a substitute for good design. Apple produce beauty without asking us. The emotional component of design is so important, as Apple know so well. BTW I’ve never seen so many iPhones in one place and everyone who doesn’t have one (like me) just wants one even more.

A little bit of art and science is needed for creating big ideas. Analytics will not make you have good taste as a designer.

The US Navy were stationed on a remote Pacific island during World War II in occupied by natives who had never seen technology before. The natives watched as the Navy erected towers and fiddled with knobs on brown boxes and food was dropped from the sky. When the Navy left, the natives built towers and created boxes and headphones out of coconut shells and tried to get food to fall from the sky. The natives copied the behaviour but fundamentally misunderstood how it worked.

You can’t just copy behaviour and expect to get the same results.

Jeff Veen’s team at Google are launching an improved version of Goggle Analytics in May and and later launching MeasureMapa social analytics for Blogger, giving analytics back to the user. You can join the beta buy going to


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