It is widely known that a majority—up to 80%—of new products fail. The reasons are manifold. Perhaps the new product couldn’t oust a longtime customer favorite. Maybe the new product was aesthetically wonderful but was also so hard to use that everyone gave up. Or maybe, despite being a superior product, the marketing and go-to-market (GTM) failed to compel. Despite the best-laid plans and substantial investments of time and resources, failure to (successfully) launch happens all the time. While there’s always some risk in new endeavors, you can hedge your bets by ensuring that you understand customer expectations at every step of your development process. Doing so allows you to identify and remedy small problems along the way before they have the chance to become critical issues down the line. Our new guide, Testing at every stage of the development cycle, provides tips and customer examples to help you understand how to select the best testing method (between self-guided (unmoderated) testing and interviews using a solution like Live Conversation) to gather qualitative insights during every stage of development.
Conducting an interview allows you to adapt to the twists and turns in the conversation, to delve deeper into topics and spontaneously head into unexpected (but very valuable) areas. This is helpful during the discovery phase when you are at a starting stage and in search of clarity on areas of opportunity. You don’t yet have a product idea or an endpoint in mind. If you’re short on time, you can also do discovery via self-guided testing. Keep your questions and tasks open-ended, for example: Task: Go to the URL for a brand that you would visit to complete [activity X] Task: Explain why you selected that brand Task: Tell us about the last time you completed [activity X] Task: Now, show us how you did that At this stage, you can also get feedback on initial concept ideas before moving forward with any designs.
When you have some early sketches or designs, get feedback to validate usability before investing resources to build it out. If you're using a third-party prototyping tool, you can publish a URL or otherwise find a way to host and share your designs (like Google Drive, Dropbox or other hosting solutions) to display during self-guided tests. Some customers tell us that they're concerned about sharing early-stage designs for feedback. Even though they know that testing usability is important, they worry about these designs getting into the wrong hands. Others tell us that high-fidelity prototypes can sometimes be confusing to testers during self-guided tests. For example, testers don’t realize they're interacting with a prototype and comment that they can’t click and navigate the page. For these challenges, you can use live sessions, using screen sharing functionality to maintain control and offer assistance while gathering feedback on early designs.