How Designers Test Their Hypothesis: Budget-friendly Edition

Product Designing Process

How Designers Test Their Hypothesis?

If you deal with product development every once in a while your mind comes with the idea “What if we add feature X to increase the retention rate?”. This is how a hypothesis works. If some conditions are met, we can expect a certain outcome.

Don’t forget about the golden rule that every hypothesis should solve a problem, as people don’t use products that do not help them to make something easier.

So, once there’s a problem and a hypothesis about the solution, there’s high time to test it.

But before diving deep into the development of MVP and creating the roadmap, it’s better to try some hypothesis testing methods to see whether it makes sense to develop this idea further involving additional development resources.

As always, the budget is limited, that’s why product managers need to balance the quality and costs of testing ideas. So here are top ways that won’t break the bank and can get faster results:

Landing pages

Page Experiance & why is important

A great way to see if the idea will be in demand is a separate landing page for the new product. It’s a perfect option for innovative solutions that are too risky to test on the working website. The availability of web design courses to learn the basics and free website builders with ready-to-go templates (like Wix), allows to get a landing page up and running in less than a day. Once done, you can set up a social media targeting campaign to see whether your potential customers are interested in the product.

Talking to real people brings powerful insights about your assumptions, gets you acquainted with the main pain points, and gives you even more ideas on what you can do better. Personalizing potential users also allows being more precise in creating use case scenarios.

The great option to find people to interview is either using the existing customer base starting from users who already left some feedback about the product. If you plan the launch of a new product, check negative feedback about the competitor’s solutions on social media. Usually, people are willing to dedicate their time for free, but you can consider additional incentives. The main thing here is to ask the right questions focusing on what issues users see during the flow and how they resolve them, avoiding the hints to the answers you want to receive, as it will spoil the results.

Error pages

Error pages & Seo

404 error may be frustrating to see if you are the customer who wants to make a purchase. Yet it’s the simplest method to test if your product will be in demand, as it does not require additional development. To decide whether it’s worth going that way is to track the button or link used to land on that page to see how much traffic this page receives. Doing so will help you to see how many users click on the link to measure their interest in the product you plan to develop. They can confuse the users, as it may appear that a legitimate page is not working. It works for the companies with a high range of products like Amazon, where seeing 404, a user would just go to another page, while with small startups it may spoil user experience and disrupt trust if everything seems to be faulty (for such cases, putting a coming-soon page on the feature you plan to use will be a better solution).

If there’s no product yet, showing the prototypes in action may help you to validate the market needs for it. Let’s say you plan to develop a grocery delivery app, simulate the interaction between the mockup screens taking some use-case scenarios using some storytelling. For example, a user needs to go shopping but they lack time, they visit the application, choose the store, have an opportunity to check the prices in different stores, can order the delivery at a certain time, choose the payment method, and have their problem solved. The illustrative examples work better if you use the tutorial style as Dropbox did before the launch. It takes much less effort than rushing to the development right away. That’s how product leaders pitch their ideas on crowdfunding platforms.


Email campaigns offering to participate in early bird program / pre-ordering

If you already have a customer base, there’s a great chance to test the idea simply by launching the marketing campaign encouraging to pre-order the product that you don’t have yet and offering a special price to try a new product plan if you work with SaaS. Monitoring the open and click rate will show you the interest in the option you are considering and loyalty to the brand. Note, that this method may not show the true results in case of cold marketing to users that may not face issues your new product or feature will solve. So if you are working on a completely new solution, engaging the audience in social media and thematic communities may do the trick.

A/B tests

If you plan the full page redesign to improve conversions, change CTAs or show a longer billing cycle by default, it can be tricky for two reasons: first, the results for the new page may be worse, as when the visitors got used to the interface they don’t know how to use some new elements and may become frustrated. Second, you will not know what elements performed better. Using freemium a/b testing tools like Optimizely will help you to divide the visitors’ traffic to show them different page variants and analyze the received results to make further decisions.

Key takeaways

Important Key Takeaways

Depending on the product life cycle, some methods may not be applicable (i.e. A/B testing would work for the existing products) and some work better.

It’s required to be really careful applying these techniques as some of them may be harmful for the reputation or might be perceived as bugs (404 pages). If you opt for methods like pre-ordering, it’s worth informing users who applied that it was a test. After its completion, offer some encouragement for participating in it, if you don’t plan the launch anytime soon. The same applies if you decide to refuse the idea due to the lack of participants or any other reason.

As you see, there are different ways of testing hypotheses prior to launching a new product or implementing a new feature into the existing one. It’s better to try cheaper variants first to find out whether it’s worth doing further explorations.

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