Designers need to make data their business

Marc Belle
2 min readMar 27, 2024

Let’s imagine — everything you own, all your stuff, is data. The sofa, the TV, the pictures on the wall…you get it. It’s all ‘stored’ in a house. If the house is well-designed you can find whatever you need when you come to look for it.

To do that we should have a conversation about the type of data you have and what might be used the most. Then we can design the right house and make sure there is enough space and storage for all your data stuff to be easily accessed.

The sign with your house number on it is your website. It tells the people where to find you. You could add other parts to this signage like a “No junk mail” or “Dog lives here” sign to give the people more information about you and what to expect.

The windows are apps and front-end systems (these could be web-based). They allow someone to look inside your storage and see how nicely organised (or not) your data is. The window only gives me a limited view unless the window is maybe larger or a different shape so that I can see more. Sometimes there will be other windows or maybe sliding doors that give me other views of your data in its storage.

We have made sure not to put all your data on the windowsills because we wouldn’t be able to see it from another window if we did. We’ve designed shelving, bookcases and rooms to house all your data in a nicely organised manner so we can see it from a variety of different windows.

If we want to adjust the way we see your data we could use patterned, curved or coloured glass in the windows to warp or change the way we see things inside. That way if I look through another window at least I can see your data in its original form. If we do want to make changes to it we walk through the sliding doors front-end and make changes or move it around, that way when we make a change permanent we can see that change through all of the windows.

A smart doorbell is a new front-end system. It doesn’t let me view inside the storage, instead, I can talk to you through it and ask you about what is inside or get you to make some changes.

By thinking and designing in a modular way we create flexibility in the ways we can view, access or change the stuff you have inside the house. It means that when new ways to access the data come along we haven’t limited ourselves by tying ways in which we choose to view data to the actual data itself.

Just a thought.



Marc Belle

I am a Creative Director, Design Lead, Mentor & Problem Solver based in the UK. Product and Service Design lead for GOV.UK orgs