HOW TO TEST A PRODUCT AND SAVE THOUSANDS FOR YOUR IT PROJECT?
It happens to even the most seasoned investors that after spending hundreds of thousands of dollars into developing a product that they believe to be a disruptive innovation, they realized that no one actually used their product. Despite numerous user acceptance tests (UAT), unfortunately, the product is not what the end-users desire!
The problem with most UAT is that they often come late in the process when it is very costly to fix the problems, and sometimes requires the team to go back to the start line. It is an insane way to waste a huge amount of money and time indeed!
The Standish Group 2015 Chaos Report revealed that User Involvement was ranked among the top factors to contribute to the success of software development. This includes basic research, user feedback, requirement review, prototyping, and other consensus-building tools.
To reach a high chance of success, here are the tips that you could follow:
If you want to build a successful software to satisfy users’ expectations, you need to understand specific business needs, goals and most importantly your end-users’ need. If your product does not fulfill the needs of humans who use it, it will become a failure despite your perfectly integrated shiny features.
Technology is quickly outdated; however, great experiences can last for a lifetime. In order to supply the best solution to help users tackle problems, we should put ourselves in their shoes, involving them as soon as possible to ensure the success of the implementation and meet their expectations.
1.1 Understand the pain behind the requirement
It is a challenging task to define the requirement. There are tons of impressive features in the market, but if they do not add value to the customers, the features are useless. The product requirement should reflect both business ambition and users’ needs.
Some questions to ask: Why is this feature desirable? What value it could bring for users or your business?
1.2 User stories matter
The user story is a way to articulate the user’s perspectives into the description of the software features. Software functions are clear; human thought is ambiguous. Therefore, there must be a way to clarify the ambiguity, which sometimes is very complicated.
1.3 Identify unhappy cases
Due to the unpredictable elements of human behaviors, there are many possibilities for a case to happen. In the unhappy cases, the end-users do not know how to tackle an issue, become frustrated, and decide to abandon the application. Hence, it is critical to predict and address as many possibilities as possible to ensure the smoothest experience for users.
The first and foremost goal of building a prototype is to test product ideas before implementing real ones so that during the next Building phase, there will be fewer questions about why this feature is going to be developed.
The article "What are the benefits of prototyping" from Nectarpd.com listed some benefits of prototyping. These are the noticeable advantages of an early prototype:
Fail early and inexpensively: Real innovation always includes a risk of failure. By building a prototype, you can quickly weed out the approaches that don’t work to focus on the ones that do.
Gather more accurate requirements: Increased project costs are often attributed to rework due to inadequate requirements. Traditional requirement gathering techniques such as interviews and focus groups can fall short because many people find it difficult to conceptualize a product before they see it. By developing a working prototype, you can demonstrate the functionality to help solidify requirements for the final design.
Technically understand the problem: Time enhances your understanding of the problems that may occur. By developing a functional prototype, you are forced to address both the foreseen and unforeseen technical challenges of a device’s design. Then, you can apply those solutions to a more elegant system design when you move to the final product.
Conflict resolution: The best engineers have strong opinions about how certain features should be implemented. Inevitably, differences of opinion result in conflicts, which can be difficult to resolve. By taking advantage of rapid prototyping, you can quickly conduct several different iterations of the feature and benchmark the resulting performance to analyze the trade-offs of each approach. This can save time and ensure that you make the correct design decisions.
Funding: By developing a prototype to demonstrate the feasibility of your idea, you lower the risk of investment for investors. Proving a working prototype increases the probability that your idea will be funded.
Easily file patents: The United States Patent and Trademark Office uses the “first to invent rule,” which grants a patent to the first inventor who conceives and produces the invention. Although no longer required, a prototype is still the best and safest way to demonstrate the concept of the invention.
However, you should not spend too many resources on building a pixel-perfect prototype in the beginning. You should break it down into some level of wireframe to reduce the time on detailing the design. In this case, low and high fidelity prototypes are suggested:
2.1 Low Fidelity Prototype for Concept and Requirement Testing
During the early stages of the project, you should focus on validating the concept or ideas before investing to develop the essential functions of the product. Even when you are quite certain with the paper and text requirement; however, there are still a number of questions to clarify. The digital prototype will enable you to sketch out your intuitive product vision, catching some issues from the initial skeleton of the product. Once you are more certain about your product features, you can develop the first interactive minimum viable product (MVP) to test and receive the initial feedback from potential customers.
2.2 High Fidelity Prototype for Validating Requirement with Real User
The high fidelity prototype is able to simulate the actual functioning product that could be used to test with end users, or with targets who can emulate the end-users. During this testing phase, before releasing the product to the public, the risks for your product are low. You can collect feedback and input from users, assess the efficiency of the product features and especially eliminate the unnecessary features that slow down the users’ workflow. Based on that, you can incrementally improve your product, and reduce the likelihood of negative feedback from users after the official market release.
In sum, product development can cost you a fortune. Hence, if your sweat and hard work are rejected by users, you can quickly become resentful and even go bankrupt. To save yourselves from such a disaster, it is very important that you test and validate your ideas before entering the production stage. Users should be placed at the center of all attention, and the product must serve their needs to gain their approval. There exist different types of product testing depending on specific industries, requirements and available resources. In the end, the goal of the whole process is to bring the most satisfying experience to users.
Are you also looking for a team to supply the prototypes for you to validate the software’s ideas before launching the product into the market?
At Sioux, we have a team of experts who possess a wide range of experiences on UX design, UI design, User Research, Interaction Design, and our team can work out on the prototype and help you reduce huge costs on development. If you have an idea for a new product or need some digital consultation? Let’s talk to us.
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