Finding Insights in Seas of Data: A Few Words with Laura Martini

Tell us a little about yourself and what you've been doing recently.

I'm a UX designer at Google, working on the Google Analytics product that helps people understand how users are interacting with their website or mobile app. Recently, I've been learning more about how UX can use data insights to improve the products we build, and also to make a business case for the projects we're working on. I've been working closely with my Product Manager partner, and learning how to create product vision that can get our leadership invested in our ideas and make them into a reality in a large, complex organization.

What are some tools you find indispensable to your work? These can be any sort of tool, or really even things that aren't tools but are still super helpful.

As simple as it is, I couldn't be productive without a Post-it (or two or three...) with a running to-do list. I've recently taken on more people management, so a lot of my work involves talking with people and looking at data to understand what's going on, creating design briefs to articulate the problems we should be working on, and building slide decks to or creating storyboards to help people understand the team's vision.

Finally, what's current with/next for you and how does it relate to your talk?

I've recently been exploring how Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning can help people find important insights in their complex data, and can even predict future trends. It's an interesting design challenge, as you're often dealing with information that's statistical, so you can't give people a definite yes-or-no answer. And anytime you involve a machine in the system, it makes things more complicated.

Computers are funny, in that they are so powerful, and yet struggle at tasks that seem basic to humans, like identifying whether a photo is of a dog or a blueberry muffin. The sweet spot is when you can design a system that allows machines to do what they're good at – like doing the same thing thousands or millions of times, and monitoring data 24/7 – and combine that with the human ability to know what data is important, and what action they should take. I touch on some of these types of features, like data insights and predictions, in my Data Basics talk.

See Laura present “Data Basics” at An Event Apart DC (July 29-31). Don’t miss this chance to hear Laura and sixteen other top-notch speakers share their insights!