Points of View
10 Do’s and Don’ts When Validating Your Product or Service
Validating a product or service is an essential step in the development process of your business. It helps ensure that you are building a solution that meets the needs and desires of your target audience. Whether you are a product manager, a startup founder, or an entrepreneur, there are some guidelines that you can follow to help you build a successful solution that resonates with your customers.
1. DO create a clear hypothesis for what you want to validate
A hypothesis is a prediction or statement about what you expect to happen during your validation. Having a clear hypothesis will guide your research and keep you focused on the specific aspects of your solution that you want to test. It will help you collect data in a systematic and controlled way, leading to more reliable and accruable results about your product and its potential success.
2. DON’T rely on your assumptions about your users’ needs
When validating a product, your beliefs are important but don’t rely solely on them, as you risk ignoring important information that could lead to more valuable insights. You often base your assumptions on personal beliefs and preconceptions rather than empirical evidence.
If you assume that a particular feature of your product will be popular with your customers, but you do not validate this through market research or user testing, you may be surprised to find out later that it is less popular than you thought. It could lead to costly mistakes, such as investing a lot of time and resources into developing something that adds little value to your product for your customers.
While your assumptions might be correct, take the time to validate them through rigorous testing and research to be more confident in your decision-making.
A good example of why it is essential to validate users’ needs comes from Owlet, a successful player in the baby care industry that creates solutions to monitor babies’ health. Back in 2013, when the creators of Owlet were still finding their way to success, they started their journey assuming that parents would need a monitor that would trigger an alarm whenever their baby’s health would be compromised. After realizing that building in an alarm would not be cost-efficient, they tested their solution excluding the alarm to analyze the response of their potential customers. They found that parents actually did not need an alarm at all, they just needed a tool to monitor their baby’s health whenever they wanted because otherwise, the alarm would drive too much stress and anxiety. If Owlet relied simply on their assumptions, they would have created a product at a higher cost that would not have met their client’s needs.
Ultimately, your customers will be those using your product or service, so make them the center of your validation process and listen to what they want. To embrace customer centricity, check our article about it.
3. DO create a minimum viable product (MVP)
An MVP is a version of your product with just enough features to allow users to experience its core value proposition. You can then test your hypothesis and determine whether a market exists without investing too much time and resources into building a full-featured product.
Creating an MVP is an effective way to validate your solution because it allows you to gather valuable data and feedback early in the development process. It will help you make informed decisions about the direction you want to take with your value proposition when you are still in the early stages of your process. Consider, for example, the features or characteristics of your offering, its branding, USP, and pricing.
4. DON’T make major design or functionality changes without re-testing with users
Test it, test it and … test it again. When adapting a feature of your product or service, it is essential to validate that the change does not negatively impact the user experience and that it brings added value to your customer. It will help you identify and fix any issues before commercializing your product to a broader audience. Avoiding that step could lead you to make a significant change that might significantly alter the user experience and have unintended consequences.
5. DO track user behavior and data about how your product is being used
By tracking your users’ behavior, you can see how they utilize the product, what features they use, and where they may encounter difficulties. You can use this information to identify and address any problems with the user experience and improve and optimize the product.
This information can tailor the target audience’s needs and inform marketing and sales strategies.
Platforms like TikTok or Instagram are experts in tracking how their users interact with the app. Whenever they want to launch a new feature, they go through a validation process by making that feature available only for some accounts that they would use as “test accounts”. Then, they collect data about how that new feature is being adopted by the test users, to evaluate if it is relevant or not to include it in the general version. If they consider that not enough users are adopting the new feature, it will not be part of the latest update of the app.
6. DON’T ignore negative feedback from users; use it as an opportunity to improve your product
It is a great feeling to be validated by a ton of users that say that your product is excellent. It is tempting to only consider that feedback and avoid the negative one, thinking that they are wrong for saying this. But having negative feedback and considering it is also essential because it is an opportunity to look at your idea from another angle.
Negative feedback can help you identify problems or issues with your idea that may not be apparent from positive feedback alone. It can help to highlight areas for improvement and ensure that the product or service meets the needs and preferences of its intended users.
By addressing negative feedback early in the development process, you can avoid expensive recalls or other issues that may arise due to a poorly designed or executed product or service.
7. DO Continuously iterate and improve your product based on user feedback
Customers are using your product or service, and their feedback will provide valuable insights into what is and isn’t working. By regularly soliciting and considering their feedback, you could identify areas for improvement and make necessary updates to your value proposition. This not only helps to ensure that your offer is meeting the needs and desires of the customer, but it can also help to foster customer loyalty and satisfaction.
Additionally, by actively seeking out and implementing user feedback, businesses can differentiate themselves from competitors and stay ahead of the curve in their industry. Overall, iterating and improving your product based on customer feedback is essential for maintaining and growing a successful business.
8. DON’T rely solely on quantitative data. Qualitative feedback from users can provide valuable insights into the user experience.
Qualitative data is just as necessary as quantitative data because it provides a deeper understanding of individuals’ experiences, thoughts, and feelings.
While quantitative data gives a numerical representation of trends and patterns, it can provide a different level of insight into the human perspective. Qualitative data, on the other hand, allows researchers to understand the context and reasoning behind the patterns and trends identified through quantitative data. It can also provide a deeper and more valuable understanding of the results from the tests and experimentations you conducted.
This can be particularly important when you are in the validation process of a product, as it can help you to uncover any issues or challenges that users are facing, as well as their needs and desires. By considering both quantitative and qualitative data, you can gain a deeper and more accurate understanding of how well your product is meeting the needs of your users and make informed decisions about how to improve and refine your value proposition.
9. DO test your product with a diverse group of users
Testing your idea on a diverse group of users will provide you with a broader range of opinions you can exploit. Different people have different needs and abilities. Testing with a more varied group can help uncover any issues that may have yet to be apparent when testing with a more homogenous group.
Also, testing with a diverse group can help to uncover cultural differences and ensure that the product is appropriate for a global audience. What can work in Belgium will not necessarily work in Spain, and vice versa. It is not always easy to predict your customer’s behavior, so have a look at our article to learn more about it.
10. DON’T fall in love with your idea
Love is blind; we all know it. When you work hard on a new idea, it is easy to be in love with what you created and think it can’t be improved because of how perfect it is. But don’t be fooled, have a critical look at what you realized, and don’t be so in love with your idea that you don’t see your product’s flaws.
You will be more open to feedback and more willing to adapt your idea if you take three steps back to realize that it can still be improved. You will end up winning because your vision will become even better.
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