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Validating product ideas through lean user research objectives


I ordered an Automatic two minutes after I saw that post. But this was different. I really wanted that thing. The beautiful, smooth Automatic Web site and purchasing workflow reassured me that I could trust my instincts.

When the Automatic package arrived at my doorstep a few months later, I was happy. I hooked the Automatic car adapter to my car somewhere under the steering wheel where I was able to find the data port quicklyinstalled the app, and made sure it worked when I drove the car. A few days after I installed it, my wife went with the kids to one of their baseball league games 45 minutes away from our home on a weekday evening. The car was relatively new, without any history of issues, and no mechanical failures at all.

Immediately after my wife pulled the Automatic car adapter out of its data port, the ignition started. I have no idea. The point is that when I bought it, I wanted it without any clue whether I needed it or not. This question is interesting, since it can be perceived as a critical question to get an answer Validating product ideas through lean user research objectives however, it is not really a question about design and user experience of products, but rather one that concerns marketing them.

User researchers are sometimes uncomfortable answering this question with different methods such as focus groups, opinion polls, and Net Promoter Scores NPS because these methods focus on what people think rather than what they actually do.

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However, the Lean Startup management approach has brought to life several lightweight, nimble, and non-wasteful research techniques.

These techniques force research participants to demonstrate a behavior that indicates what they want. By that, they help generate useful results to answer the wants question. Actually, with one of the methods you will need to write two to three lines of code, but no more than that, I promise. Answering this question is key in making you more aware of current pain points of your audience.

This is exactly what you look for when you are on a quest to validate your key product and user assumptions.

What people want is a question that can be asked and answered before a specific product or service even exists. It is a question that affects product marketing and communication more than its design and features. Yes, when you ask people what they want, their answer includes products, features, and services. Yet they have no idea what they are talking about. Basically, they have no clue, but they think they do and want to be helpful.

In order for people to want a product or perceive it as something they need, three things must happen:.

Note that all of the above has nothing to do with product design, unlike the rest of the questions discussed in this book. By asking the question before you actually build the product, feature, or service, you are reducing waste—time, resources, and energy Figure 5.

The more you learn about what people want before you build anything, the less time and effort you will spend on redundant code, hundreds of hours of irrelevant meetings, and negative emotions of team members when they realize they wasted their blood, sweat, and tears on something nobody wanted.

Research techniques covered in this chapter involve some manner of pretending you have a product or service, and therefore require you to create a manual, prototype, or page that is a key component used during research. An MVP is not version 1 of the product. As a matter of fact, some MVPs are not even products. For example, it could be a contract you try to persuade potential customers to sign and learn if they show enough interest.

Or it could be a prototype with minimum functionality that allows its creators to test it with a subset of potential users to avoid building something people do not want.

An MVP is not a cheaper product, nor it is a minimal version of a product with the smallest possible feature set. Think of an MVP as a series of experiments and research activities with the sole goal of helping you learn. You guide your user through the solution to a problem. For example, Open Snow is Validating product ideas through lean user research objectives startup from Boulder, Colorado.

They solve the problem of the non-existent, specific, and detailed snow sports weather forecast. Skiers invest a lot of time, money, and effort in planning ski trips. These trips might be canceled due to wrong or too general weather reports for the area, or even worse, skiers can go ahead with a trip only to find out that the actual weather does not permit any sports activity.

Open Snow solves all of that. The Concierge MVP approach is much simpler, less wasteful, and more effective for learning what skiers want. Rather than investing their time and money into building even a primitive version of an app or Web site, Open Snow can visit ski resorts, approach potential customers in person, and offer them the service they envision the app or Web site will eventually deliver.

When they find someone interested in the service for free at firstthey will continue to provide value to the customer via email. Eventually, they should ask customers to pay for the service. Get Maid is an app for booking a home cleaning service. The founders first created a front-end app that would send them a text message. They Validating product ideas through lean user research objectives call their network of maids and see who was available and then text the customer that the appointment was confirmed once they found a maid.

This is an example of a more high-fidelity approach to an MVP, yet still one that does not involve fully developing the product. A Fake Doors experiment is a minimum viable product where you pretend to provide a product, feature, or Validating product ideas through lean user research objectives to Web page or app visitors. Without developing anything just yet, you communicate to visitors that the thing exists and ask them to act on it.

For example, imagine a grocery store Web site. If the store is thinking about developing a grocery shopping app and wants to know whether customers are interested or not, a call-to-action button could be added to the Web site. Concierge MVP and Fake Doors are effective and efficient lean research techniques with the following benefits:.

It helps humans communicate, find old friends, work more effectively, have fun, find places, and oh-so-many other great things. In many cases, technology is also hard, time consuming, and expensive to develop. In this step, you will find a way to solve a problem you want to solve with or without technology. Manual ways of solving problems are, without a doubt, inefficient, yet they will teach you a lot about what people want without actually developing any technology.

Steps 2 to 4 will guide you through Concierge MVP research. If you chose a Fake Doors experiment, jump to Steps 5—6. In no way are you pretending that the product does exist.

You ask potential customers to sign a contract confirming that they will pay you for your service once it is available. If it will not be available or if they are not interested anymore, you and they can take it all back without any consequences.

Among other features, Ordr. To validate that businesses wanted this type of service, Ordr. The founders decided in advance that if businesses signed their contract, they would start developing a product. The rest is history. Many things can go wrong. Here are some examples:.

A Concierge MVP manually provides the functionality of the product to the customer. Without developing any expensive technology and without writing one line of code, a concierge MVP helps you figure out if Validating product ideas through lean user research objectives are interested in your idea.

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