Are you building the right product or service?

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How can you know if you are building the right product or service? Big question, right? You’ve put hundreds of hours into your idea and maybe you have already built it but, how can you know if you are building something that will delight your users?

NOTE: This article is focused on new products or products that have not yet launched. This information also pertains to assessing long existing products but, I have another article on that with additional things to consider.

First, have you gotten user feedback?

I’m not talking about feedback from your colleagues, friends and family – they will usually want to say nice things and encourage you. And, I’m not talking about a demonstration where you are showing strangers your ideas and asking them what they think. This is a different type of feedback that you get from users of your product. Both of these types of feedback will not give you what you need.

What you need is to collect and capture what people are thinking, feeling and doing when they use your product. Just as importantly, they need to feel they will not be hurting any one’s feelings (AKA yours) when they share their feedback. There are 3 pieces involved with collecting this feedback.

3 Key Aspects of Collecting Quality User Feedback

  1. Anonymity – users must feel they can say what they really think without hurting anyone’s feelings
  2. Actual usage of the product (and not a demo)
  3. Users must belong to your target audience

Second, analyze that feedback

To analyze user feedback, it usually means that you need to consider both logical activities (errors, learning, task flow, and content categories) and subjective issues (delight and frustration). This is a complex thing to do. Often I see companies collect user feedback but then do not use it to take systematic actions to improve the experience of the user. Sometimes they feel overwhelmed with the amount of information and lack of clarity on what feedback to listen to and what to put in the backlog. Or they are wrapped up in the demands of already in-process work goals and lack of time to comb through the data.

If you’d like test your product on your own, here are some ways you can do it.

  • Interviews with potential users
  • Interviews with early users of the product
  • Think-aloud usability studies

If you would like a professional to help you create a useful and usable product or service, I would love to help you.

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