Market demand, Willingness to pay

Physical Before Digital

Sell a physical version before creating its digital equivalent

Illustration of Physical Before Digital

Also called: Analog/Physical

Difficulty: Easy

Evidence strength

Relevant metrics: Acquisition, Activation, Customer feedback, Cost

Validates: Feasibility, Viability, Desirability

How: Produce and sell a physical and analog version of your product to validate the value of your content rather than the form it's presented in. This is especially effective for information or data-based products such as how-to guides, study guides, industry reports, or customer lists.

Why: With expected interactivity and features, digital experiences can be expensive, cumbersome, and error-prone to build. To validate whether your content provides actual value, abstracted from form and function, start by selling it in the simplest form that a word processor and a printer can produce.

This card 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.

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.


Validation Patterns card deck

Before starting a new website on learning lean UX, this Validation Patterns deck was created and sold in pre-order to test market demand. Several beta decks came before it to gather feedback.

Source: UI Patterns shop


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Idea Validation playbooks