I’ve been researching different approaches to understanding and prioritising product features and the concept of demand validation really stands out.
Demand validation is a testing methodology that ties in with lean principals to figure out ways to answer the question “do people want to use this?”
“Is this product usable?” is answered by usability testing. “Do people want to use this?” is not.
The core idea centres around running tests against prototypes of ideas long before any pixel perfect design work or coding has begun.
There are claims that on average, 50% of the work a product/delivery team completes is not used because customers were asked “would you use this?” in UX testing. The waste happens because there was a gap between customers saying “yes I would use that” (hypothetically) vs. customers actually committing to use it once launched.
Demand validation introduces a cost question. The theory is that until you make saying “yes” cost something to a test respondent, their answer is meaningless.
Once you make it cost something, respondents start to analyse the trade offs they’re going to have to make which then validates that they mean what they say.
If customers are excited to give you either time, reputation or money as a result of testing a prototype – build that feature.
It’s an interesting approach to an old problem in which you can’t guarantee demand for your product. It helps a team understand and prioritise features with high probability to achieving market success. Maybe worth a try?