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Comment on "My Data Says You Like Beautiful Things"
by Lukas Mathis — Oct 19
> Ego is needed in design.

I don't deny that. But ego shouldn't be put above results. Software designers are not designing for an art gallery; their products need to provide a useful service to their customers.

> If you're just choosing what is the best UI for the average user based on data then that is equivalent to asking a focus group.

I guess I see where we disagree. You associate using data to improve design with focus groups. Focus groups don't provide data, they provide anecdotes; subjective opinions. That may in some cases be useful, but it has nothing to do with statistical data showing how people actually use a product.

When Google makes a design change and presents it to a focus groups, that may or may not result in useful feedback (probably not).

When Google makes a design change, runs an A/B test, a 5% fewer people manage to successfully sign up for GMail with the new design, then the new design needs to be improved regardless of how pretty it is, and regardless of the designer's ego.

Statistical data is a *design tool* designers should use to improve their designs (just like usability tests and accessibility tests). It's not in any way the antipode of design. It doesn't in any way negate the requirement to have great designers.
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