"Go Home, Data, You're Drunk"
I respect and admire Danielle Malik for a plethora of reasons, and I also love talking about... data. So I was tickled by Dani's awesome Interaction15 talk about Data... our "friend with benefits".
I used to work at a quantitative marketing research company, and the 2.5 years I spent there simultaneously made me believe in the power of quantitative research but also become critical of those who laud it's value over other sources of information. Data is hard to ignore, but it also doesn't tell the whole story and can easily be misinterpreted/skewed in whichever way someone wants. Weighting, adjusting the significance test and confident interval standards, showing or not showing data with low sample size as it fits with each circumstance... these are methods that can be used well or abused.
What Dani said about data being another tool in the toolkit alongside quantitative research, interviews, gut instinct, professional intuition, experience, etc. rather than the loudest voice in the room, is what resonated with me the most.
Once you have... data, you should strive to communicate how it's used. ...as designers, we should see to educate, to inform, and allay fears, and to help our customers make better and informed decisions. - Danielle Malik