Idea Validation: Problem

Industry Forums

Discover what frustrations and problems users are actively looking to solve

Illustration of Industry Forums
Run a Industry Forums play

Also called: Forum Comments

Difficulty: Intermediate

Evidence strength

Relevant metrics: Jobs to be done ranking, Ranking needs, wants, desires, pains, Quotes & stories

Validates: Desirability

How: Search out specific forums relevant to the problem you are solving either on multi-topic forums such as Reddit or Quora or on tailored and custom niche forums with single topics. Research insights might not be directly relevant to your problem or product, so look beyond the concrete to reveal insights on what motivates, interests, and frustrates consumers in that industry vertical.

Why: Online forums can seem questionable, but can also provide valuable information about how digital products operate in the wild, how specific products and trends influence users, what the industry jargon is, and what words are used as users try to frame the problem they need help to solve.

This experiment is part of the Validation Patterns printed card deck

A collection of 60 product experiments that will validate your idea in a matter of days, not months. They are regularly used by product builders at companies like Google, Facebook, Dropbox, and Amazon.

Get your deck!

Before the experiment

The first thing to do when planning any kind of test or experiment, is to figure out what you want to test. To make critical assumptions explicit, fill out an experiment sheet as you prepare your test. We created a sample sheet for you to get started. Download the Experiment Sheet.

The digital watering hole

Forums can be excellent sources of information about how digital products are used and discussed in the wild as well as how users are influenced by them.

Forums come in many shapes and sizes. While some seem superficial and general, others are industry or interest specific. Chances are that you can find the digital Watering hole somewhere online. Not every forum offer in-depth discussions about your specific product or company, but many can prove as great sources of information about what motivates and interests either part of, or all of, your target segment.

Examples of great forum sources are:

  • The Mac Rumors Forum if you sell Apple utilities
  • FlyerTalk forum if you are an airline and want to improve your service
  • IGN if you develop video games
  • BodySpace by provide information about what nutrition and exercise issues users have
  • Redit provide thriving company- and product-specific threads.
  • Quora, with its question/answer format, can be particularly helpful to your hunt for information.

After the experiment

To make sure you move forward, it is a good idea to systematically record your the insights you learned and what actions or decisions follow. We created a sample Learning Sheet, that will help you capture insights in the process of turning your product ideas successful. Download the Learning Sheet.


The problem in the wild

Many online forums are excellent sources of information about how digital products are operating in the wild and how specific products and trends as a whole are influencing users.

Source: User Research When You Can’t Talk to Your Users

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