Big data has revolutionized the way we experience the digital data that we create. Increasingly, companies, governments and researchers are analyzing petabytes of data to learn more about people and their needs, and to find solutions to many of the problems plaguing our society today.
However, for the common man, none of these complexities matter. All that one wants to see is useful information presented in an appealing manner, so that they can make the most of it. This requirement reflects the need for well-developed and intuitive user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) in helping individuals harness the power of big data.
The above discussion brings up an important question…
Why Do We Need UI at All?
To start with UI is the process of creating a user-friendly screen that is both appealing and easy to use. Every UI is based on two questions:
- What is the user trying to do?
- How can UI help a user to achieve his or her objectives within the fewest possible steps?
When both these questions are answered, you're likely to have created an amazing user-interface.
Along with UI, user experience (UX) also plays a role because this factor determines if your UI has achieved its objectives. In other words, when a user accesses a software using a particular screen, he or she should feel comfortable navigating through it and doing all the things they want. In this sense, UI and UX are closely inter-related.
Now that we know what UI and UX are, and why they are important, let's go back to see…
The Role UI and UX Play in the Big Data Revolution
For starters, big data is hard to visualize. Imagine how a big data system can analyze structured and unstructured data to find meaningful patterns between seemingly unrelated things. However, when the same definition is explained in the form of data using a clean UI, you can better understand it.
For example, if the UI displays a five-star review of a hotel in London written by an individual, and combines it with a tweet from the same individual where he says that he is going to travel to London soon, you can easily infer that he is likely to stay in the same hotel.
In other words, the complexity of big data is better understood through a visual representation because the human mind is genetically programmed to use visualization to convert cognition to the perceptual system. So, an image stays in your mind much longer, and UI simply taps into this power of perception.
Additionally, big data – just like some other digital marketing concepts like SEO, ad retargeting and analytics - is complex and not everyone can understand the different systems that are in place to collect data from varied sources and to analyze them.
In fact, much of this process may not be visually appealing because all that you're going to see is tons and tons of data that mean nothing to anyone in that state.
For example, big data systems collect the tweets of 320 million Twitter users for analysis. How does this interest you? On the other hand, if you see on a screen tweets about your city or your favorite game, then it can add some meaning to you.
What's the difference? The powerful imagery used in the latter. A great example is the UKMedix blog which makes copious use of visually appealing images to better communicate ideas in their blog posts.
This post by Smartplayer is another good example. They wanted to tell the readers what football team is the classiest ever, so they converted the data they had into vivid imagery of various national teams over several decades in a style that leaves you with feelings of nolstagia. If you're like me, you'd find it resonates well.
To replicate their results, you can use an Instagram search engine like Mulpix.com to get relevant, hyper-targeted images to engage your readers.
Also, it will interest readers only when this data is in a readable form set in a specific layout and stylesheet – or created in form of animated video for instance. This is exactly what UI offers for you.
This importance of UI is restricted not just to individual users, but to anyone looking for actionable data from big data systems.
This includes retailers, corporate players, data scientists, government officials, weathermen, teachers, doctors and other experts of different fields.
This ubiquitous use of UI among all sections of users has added to its worth as an important player in the big data revolution.
Since UI helps to present complex data in a visually appealing manner to users, it has become an integral part of big data. Going forward, we are likely to see more emphasis on UI and UX as more users from diverse backgrounds and needs are tapping into big data. This will be important also when you’re developing an app, irrespective of the mobile development framework you’re using.
In short, UI is important in big data revolution because a picture is worth a thousand words, or in this case, algorithms!