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The #UX of #StatisticalSoftware for #MobileDevices

Posted on December 10th, 2014

UX + Data

12/10/2014 @Pivotal, 625 6th Ave, NY

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Sungjoon Nam @NumberAnalytics talked about the software he has developed for the analysis of business data without the clutter of standard statistical interfaces.

When he started teaching at Rutgers Business School in Newark, he realized how hard it was for the students to navigate the interface of SPSS and decipher the statistical tables output by the package.

He found similar issues with SAS and R, so he developed a web interface (using R as the statistical engine) that takes in data and produces outputs that directly address the business decision. In addition, the analysis were clearly labeled by business question addressed, so users can go directly to the needed analysis without needing to decide if it was a regression analysis, clustering, or other statistical technique.

One of the techniques used to guide the user to the important factors is the use colors to show when variables are statistically significant. Instead of using tables, they use graphs to show which variables are statistically significant. The software also provides a text description of what is significant.

Sungjoon then talked about the challenges when moving the application to the iPad. One challenge was that local storage may not be sufficient to handle some data sets, so alternatives such as dropbox must be available. Screen space is also limited, so they adopted a rule where user interactions move left to right on the screen and cover only one topic per page.

He closed by listing some lesson learned when presenting the software at a training class in China:

  1. Google does not work – avoid Google graphs.
  2. Make sure it runs on Windows XP, IE 6.0 – also Chrome is not available since it’s from Google
  3. Internet speed varies widely from provider-to-provider – make sure the site works in all environments
  4. Internet server speeds may vary over time.
  5. Use a local contact

One interesting design decision was to not include data cleaning facilities in the software. This greatly simplifies the interface and the technical demands on the user. The assumption is that the user will analyze clean data from sources such as Salesforce and Alibaba.

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