Crucial User Research
Build products that fulfill the needs of your target audience.
You'll have to discover:
- Who your customers are
- What needs they have
- How to provide the solutions that work
The first two steps are what Steve Blank calls Customer Development. In Customer Development you define your assumptions, rewrite them in hypotheses, test them, and verify them with your target customer.
During the verification phase, assess your solutions with User Tests. Jeffrey Rubin and Dana Chisnell of the Handbook of Usability Testing coin three different tests: Exploratory-, Assessment-, and Validation User Tests
In Exploratory Tests, you examine the effectiveness of preliminary concepts.
In Assessment Tests, you evaluate the usability of lower-level aspects of the solution.
At the end of these two tests, verify whether the solution works for your potential customers, solves their pain point, and does your business well.
After, make the decision to iterate or exit.
When you do iterate, use Validation User Tests to assess whether an iteration meets the usability standards you set based on the Assessment test.
Using a more lean way of doing Customer Development (as defined by Cindy Alvarez or Rob Fitzpatrick) allows you to do this per feature of your product.