IBM Insight 2015: Your input shapes IBM design

Program Director, Marketing, IBM Analytics

I’ve written before now about how much direct engagement you’ll be able to experience at IBM Insight 2015—everything from one-on-one time with IBM leaders to hands-on demos. Now I’d like to focus on a particular aspect of direct engagement: user feedback. At this year’s conference, you’ll have opportunities to participate in usability sessions, allowing your input on look and feel—among other aspects—of IBM analytics solutions to directly influence their design.

This is part of IBM Design Thinking, an approach to design that focuses first on users and how they experience IBM solutions. As one of the designers on the IBM Watson team puts it, “We want to make sure that we’re not sending our users on a bicycle down a river.” IBM Design Thinking means spending time with users, learning about their capabilities, tendencies, habits and motivators—everything that goes into how they interact with technology. Only then can IBM designers create an experience, using the knowledge gained from users, that is uniquely tailored to meet those users’ needs.

For example, when designers from the IBM Watson team worked on a solution targeting system administrators, they found out that users wanted to see much more information in their software interface than the designers had anticipated. By finding this out ahead of time, the design team was able to go back and design an interface that allows system administrators to dive into the information they need without having to navigate a cluttered virtual workspace.

This kind of thinking about design is an integral part of the world of data analytics on which Insight 2015 focuses, because making analytics available to everyone in business—not just to data analysts or technology users—requires solutions that are designed to be broadly accessible. And such solutions can only be the result of extensive input and feedback from the people who will be interacting with them.

With its ability to analyze and interpret data more quickly than any person can, IBM Watson is an ideal platform for generating data insights. And the IBM Watson design team is constantly working to provide an experience that makes Watson’s capabilities and insights widely available to users across business organizations. I hope you’ll join us at Insight 2015 for the latest on the Watson team’s work; don’t forget that you can help shape the design of IBM analytics solutions by participating in usability sessions. Also, while you wait for Insight to start, explore how you can use the power of Watson to drive smart design.