Braden Kowitz wrote a great article exploring the ever increasing tension between making design decisions based on instinct versus data. As he says, “It’s common to think of data and instincts as being opposing forces in design decisions.” This is especially true at an A/B testing company — we have a tendency to quantify and measure everything.
He goes on to say, “In reality, there’s a blurry line between the two,” and I couldn’t agree more. When I’m designing, I’m in the habit of always asking, “What data would help me make this decision?” Sometimes it’s usage logs, sometimes it’s user testing, sometimes it’s market research, and sometimes there isn’t anything but my own intuition. Even when there is data, it’s all just input I use to help me reach a decision. It’s not a good idea to blindly follow data, but it’s equally bad to only use your gut. As Braden said, it’s important to balance the two.