Data Insights

Qualitative Case Study


First phase of a design research project to create on-demand data visualizations & analytics for university instructors to track the health of their course during peak disruption from COVID-19.

The outcome of this work was a set of data visualizations that process and visualize course data for instructors. Data Insights instantly became a market differentiator for Labflow.


"It makes my job a million times easier"

— Dr. Megan Rudock, UNCG



Dane setting out to solve a big business challenge

There was a sense of urgency to build a solution quickly to help alleviate the pressure that university science courses were experiencing during the pandemic.

I set out to figure out to understand what "course health" meant in practical terms and how data could be foregrounded and presented to address the needs of lab instructors.


Project Outline

This project took place between Dec. 2020 – Apr. 2021. At the end of the design research cycle, we released a beta version of Data Insights to early adopters behind a feature flag.

📏 Scope

📦 Deliverables

👥 Roles

Mixed-Methods UX Researcher
Software Engineer


What “data windows” would make grader behavior and student performance visible to instructors?

Research Objectives

Research Methods & Findings

Excerpt of the task analysis of "course health." Colleagues who formally ran labs were asked to comment and validate.

My task analysis identified three foundational pillars of a course that need to be in good shape to support good course health:

Through an iterative process, I produced a number of designs to address our customers' needs. Here are some of the designs that emerged from the task analysis:

Data Insights Screenshots (concepts & prototypes)

Design concepts and interactive prototypes of various data windows during the design and discovery phase of the development of Data Insights

Dane feeling tension between simplicity and comprehensiveness

Should course health be reduced to "a single number" or be more multifaceted?

By focusing on tasks to be done, I kept coming back to a consistent need for data to only be minimally rolled up along specific dimensions, with more complexity available on drill down.

Data Insights debuted at the American Chemical Society (ACS) conference.

Demo video of the first Data Insights dashboard. Presented at American Chemical Society (ACS) Spring 2021.

Research Impact

Sales associate shares how Data Insights made it easier to open new opportunities

"Data Insights is probably our biggest, most unique differentiator. It opens up so many conversations with the big [universities] we want to work with."

— Elizabeth Crowe, Account Development Scientist

University lab coordinator, adopter of Data Insights

"It’s nice to see all the grading complete! I appreciate the Data Insights tool [it] helps me find those errors easier. I feel like I am a little ahead this term. 🙂"

Mary Jo Smith, Gran Valley State University

Data Insights (Phase I)

Screenshots of beta release of Data Insights pages

Dane thinking about the next steps for the evolution of Data Insights

The launch was a success. But we now had a golden opportunity to slow down and reassess: 

How could we improve the usability of Data Insights?

To read more, please visit my mixed-methods case study on the usability of Data Insights: