Research Methods to Validate Features Before Building Them

Understanding users & context

Before building a new product feature, it’s important to understand if it aligns with the needs and desires of your target audience. There are various ways to get to know your customers better.

  1. Online surveys: This involves creating a survey that customers can complete online, either through a website or email. Online surveys can be a convenient and cost-effective way to reach a large number of customers, but they may have lower response rates than other methods.
  2. Phone surveys: This involves conducting surveys over the phone, either through interviews with individual customers or through automated calls. Phone surveys can be a good way to gather more detailed and in-depth feedback, but they may be more time-consuming and costly to conduct.
  3. User interviews: This involves conducting one-on-one or small group interviews with users to gather more in-depth feedback on their experience with a product or service. Interviews can be conducted in person or remotely, and may involve open-ended questions or structured tasks.
  4. Diary studies: This involves asking users to document their experience with a product or service over a period of time. This can be done through a physical diary or an online tool, and may involve tasks such as taking photos or writing notes.

Testing for resonance

Prototyping allows you to test out a product feature before investing time and resources into building it. You can create a simple prototype using tools like paper and pencil, or a more interactive version using software like InVision or Marvel. This approach moves us closer to "do" data, providing higher accuracy than "say" data.

  1. Low-fidelity prototypes: These are rough, simplified versions of a product or service that are used to test early concepts and gather feedback. Low-fidelity prototypes can be created quickly and inexpensively using materials such as paper, cardboard, or sticky notes.
  2. High-fidelity prototypes: These are more detailed and refined versions of a product or service that are used to test and refine the design and functionality. High-fidelity prototypes can be created using computer-aided design (CAD) software, 3D printing, or other advanced manufacturing techniques.
  3. Interactive prototypes: These are prototypes that can be interacted with in some way, such as through clicking or tapping on a screen or pressing buttons on a physical device. Interactive prototypes can be used to test the user experience and gather feedback on the usability of a product or service.
  4. Video prototypes: These are prototypes that are created using video, either as a stand-alone product or as a way to demonstrate the functionality of a product or service. Video prototypes can be useful for communicating ideas and gathering feedback from stakeholders.
  5. Usability testing: This involves recruiting a group of users to test a product or service and provide feedback on its usability. This can be done in person, online, or remotely, and may involve tasks such as navigating a website or using a mobile app.

Testing validity

A/B testing is a way to compare two different versions of a product feature to see which performs better. For example, you could create two versions of a landing page with different layout and design elements, and see which one drives more conversions. Here are a few approaches to help ensure your testing results are not misleading.

  1. Randomized controlled experiment: This is the most traditional and rigorous method of A/B testing. It involves randomly assigning subjects to two groups, with one group receiving the "A" version of the product and the other receiving the "B" version. This allows for a more accurate comparison of the two versions, as the subjects are not self-selected and the groups are more likely to be balanced in terms of relevant characteristics.
  2. Split URL test: This method involves creating two different versions of a website or web page and assigning each version to a different URL. Traffic is then split evenly between the two URLs and the performance of each version is compared.
  3. Multivariate test: This method involves testing multiple variables at the same time. For example, you might test different headlines, images, and call-to-action buttons on a single webpage to see which combination performs the best.
  4. Performance-based testing: This method involves setting specific goals or metrics (such as conversion rate or engagement) and measuring the performance of the two versions against these goals. This can be a useful way to focus on specific aspects of the product or service that are most important to the business.

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