Idea Validation Playbook

Validating the product

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Important for this playbook

The problem might exist, but does your product actually solve the problem? There’s only one way to find out: to get your hands dirty and start experimenting.

Start validating your product by finding the cheapest and quickest possible way you can emulate either part of- or a full product experience.

At this stage, the “product” does not have to scale. In fact: build something that does not scale. Don’t spend your time on building integrations that you might need later: fake it with manual labor. In this way, it is much easier to pivot and change directions if your users didn’t respond favorably to your product.

Can you build a testable (not launchable) product without writing a single line of code?

A/B Testing illustration
A/B Testing

Split test versions of the same design to test which performs better

Beta Launch illustration
Beta Launch

Release a feature-complete product, but with known or unknown bugs

Clickable Prototype illustration
Clickable Prototype

Lay out multiple screens and allow users to navigate between them

Concierge illustration
Concierge

Personally deliver your service to test product satisfaction

Customer Service Logs illustration
Customer Service Logs

Listen in on customer service to understand user problems firsthand

Data Mining illustration
Data Mining

Crunch and combine data to discover trends in market and user behavior

First Click Testing illustration
First Click Testing

Examine what users will click on first to complete an intended task.

Five Second Test illustration
Five Second Test

Test what users recall after just brief exposure

Focus Group illustration
Focus Group

Ask a group of selected participants about their opinions and preferences

Guerilla User Testing illustration
Guerilla User Testing

Conduct brief user tests in the wild with complete strangers

Impersonator illustration
Impersonator

Serve a competing product to your customers as if it was your own

LEGO prototype illustration
LEGO prototype

Quickly assemble and tweak a rough model of a physical product

Mashup illustration
Mashup

Assemble a product by piecing together third-party products

Micro Surveys illustration
Micro Surveys

Set up short and timely in-app surveys in context of the studied feature

Min. Marketable Product illustration
Min. Marketable Product

A product with just enough functionality to be viable to launch

Move in With the Customer illustration
Move in With the Customer

Iterate your product with customers on-site

Multivariate Testing illustration
Multivariate Testing

Test which combination of components performs better

Net Promoter Score (NPS) illustration
Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Ask how likely your customers are to recommend your product to others

Offer a Sample illustration
Offer a Sample

Create a teaser for your full product experience

One Night Stand illustration
One Night Stand

Probe demand with a temporary working solution

Paper Prototype illustration
Paper Prototype

Rapidly sketch and lay out interaction design concepts on paper

Pinocchio illustration
Pinocchio

Create a fake artifact as a proxy for a real product

Pretend to Own illustration
Pretend to Own

Borrow or rent what's needed to test your product before investing in it

Product-Market Fit Survey illustration
Product-Market Fit Survey

Ask users how they would feel if they could no longer use a product

Provencial illustration
Provencial

Run a test on a very small sample before launching world-wide

Remote User Testing illustration
Remote User Testing

Conduct many unmoderated tests fast and in parallel

Single-Feature Product illustration
Single-Feature Product

A reduced product solving one specific problem for one specific niche

Spoof Landing Pages illustration
Spoof Landing Pages

Build one or more one-page sites that advertise your (fictional) product

Takeaway Test illustration
Takeaway Test

Remove or disable a feature to see if it is valued

Try it Yourself illustration
Try it Yourself

Use the product or prototype you are designing

Video Demo illustration
Video Demo

Simulate a working product through a recorded video walkthrough

Wizard of Oz illustration
Wizard of Oz

Use human power to fake automation of complex tasks

Working Prototype illustration
Working Prototype

Build just enough of a feature to test its intended behavior

Write Down Your Concept illustration
Write Down Your Concept

Use pre-defined questions to discover alignments and trade-offs