When most people hear "conducting user research" it feels a little overwhelming and maybe a bit confusing. If you're a tech founder with a great idea, this is an important step that will save you tons of time and money in design and development.
Everyone who has a great idea should go through some research and validation because you want to make sure you're building a solution to a problem that people actually have! So, let's walk through the steps in doing some research and discovery to validate your idea.
First, you'll want to come up with a user persona. This means gathering demographic information, who this person is, what their story is, what challenges them and what their needs are. Here are some good examples of a user persona (https://userguiding.com/blog/user-persona-examples/). This helps you build your product around real people and keeping them in mind is important. A general rule of thumb is to not have more than 3 main user personas.
Next, you'll want to come up a list of at least 10 direct and indirect competitors. If you're worried that there are no competitors like you, consider indirect competitors. Oftentimes you may have indirect competitors or people who don’t do exactly what you do but something similar or in conjunction with what you do. It’s important to look at this market landscape to understand what’s already out there to understand why your product is different and how you stand out in this market. Long story short, be open minded through this process and honest with yourself on who you’re actually serving. Align yourself with the mission and problem.
At this stage you'll want to chat with people experiencing the problem and create your solution around the real problems they're experiencing.
Be open to listening to people -- in most of these interviews, I let them do most of the talking and I am just listening. Here are some sample questions to ask at least 10 people. Make sure to record the interview and/or write down notes.
1. What got you into [fill out industry here] in the first place?
2. What were your challenges you experienced?
3. If you had any advice for someone going through the same thing, what would it be?
4. How much money did you spend on solving the problems you encountered?
5. Where do you think you could’ve saved money or time looking back?
6. How are you monetizing your business?
It’s important to listen and keep these questions open-ended. You don’t want to lead someone into your biases. It can be nerve wracking to go talk with people but it’s a crucial step! And most people are happy to talk about themselves and offer free advice. I used to think I had to pay people for their time, but a good friend told me that just a cup of coffee or a virtual session asking for help is more than enough to get people chatting.
The most important thing here is that these interviews should be with your target audience, not friends or family who will be a source of bias.
This is where you begin to identify your main features and functions based on all of your research. You'll want to categorize your ideas into four categories: Must Have, Nice to Have, Delightful and Can Happen Later. By prioritizing these ideas, it'll help align all of the features with the main problem you're solving.
You can use any map you find online, but a simple product map like this is a great start!
Looking to chat more about UI/UX and product planning? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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