I’m a massive fan of Customer Development, Steve Blank’s fantastic contribution to creating new businesses, but that cannot be the only tool in your toolbox.
Users are wily and/or chronically incoherent. Sometimes they say things that just don’t make a bit of sense.
Sometimes they say things that make a ton of sense but are completely false.
Sometimes we hear what they’re saying but don’t listen to the meaning.
Walk Softly and Carry a Big Toolbox
Using just one tool like Customer Development or a survey gives you one piece of information that represents a general direction and arc of where the ideal User Experience might be. You’ve narrowed your search.To really understand your customer, what they are feeling and thinking, you need to use an arsenal of tools:
- Usability testing
- Customer Development
- Customer Personas
- Minimum Viable Product
- Concierge Testing
- A/B testing
- Cohort analysis
- Mental Models
- Contextual Inquiry
- Design Anthropology
- …and yes….even surveys.
Start with People, Never End
Please do go out and talk to your customers. It’s critical.
It’s the first thing you should be doing. You won’t even know what questions you should be asking on your endlessly fine tuned (and probably useless) survey until you talk to a few customers.
Now go back and talk to people. You’ll have a whole new set of questions to ask.
Four Eyes Principle
Finally, get a second perspective. Go push your co-founder out of the building.
A second opinion with different assumptions will ask different questions, hear different answers, and help you zero in on where your product needs to go.
We can’t see our own typos, we can’t find the whitespace error that’s crashing our app, what makes us presume that we are the end all, be all opinion on our customers?
Be a Minimum Viable Team.
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