Customer feedback changes with a higher fidelity product vs. a lower fidelity product.
Founder, Spitfire Athlete; iOS Engineer; National-Level Weightlifter
Higher fidelity products typically get less honest feedback from users.
Constantly seek customer feedback.
Don’t ask your users what to build – they don’t know.
Lesson: App Prototyping with Erin Parker
Step #7 Customer Feedback: Customer feedback changes with a higher fidelity product vs. a lower fidelity product
There is a difference in customer responses with a rough sketchy paper prototype and a polished app. In the rough sketchy prototype, yes they're going to be more likely to critique your idea, but they're also going to be less likely to actually understand what's going on. In the more polished prototype, they're going to be less likely to critique your idea, because they're going to feel like it's more set in stone, and that they can't really change it. But they're going to be able to see what you're actually envisioning with your product. I think that actually is what gets them excited about using it, because they can see "Oh, this is what you mean, when you said you wanted to build this." Whereas with the paper one, it's like "Oh, you described this idea, but I don't know if I can see this really being successful."
I'm more of a fan of higher fidelity prototyping though, because when you design a specific implementation of, say, a button and then you make it transparent, that's when you can tell that the users don't actually know that that's a button that they can click on, even though you think it looks really pretty.
So I think it's important to test that, because you could be building this stuff, as an engineer, and your customers never know it's even there. That's really bad, because you spent like two weeks building something, and they can't even discover it. So it's important to test that interface first at its higher fidelity state, before you build it, so that your customers are like "Obviously, that's a button. Yeah I can totally click on it." Then they actually understand how to use your product.
So we do talk to our customers a lot. We do ask them for their feedback and their perspective on the product, but since we have the vision of where the product needs to go next, We're really asking more for "Hey, is there something that we haven't built yet that you want?" At this point we just know our users so deeply that they're basically telling us stuff that we already know, like "Yes, we know that you've been wanting this for a while."
We've actually found it's a bad idea to ask your users what to build, because they don't know and they actually have never thought about it. So even though they are very much your target demographic, and they have the day and the life that you understand. Just straight out asking them "Hey, what should we build? " is a bad idea.
I think if you want to understand your users better, a much better question to ask them is, "Tell me how you spend your day, from the moment you wake up till the moment you go to sleep. What do you do every single hour?" That's really insightful, because then you know when their day, are they going to use your product? Do they ever go near the gym? We build a fitness app. So, do they ever go near the gym?
Or is there a time at home when they're like "Huh, I'd like to workout right now." Understanding how they spend each of those hours is much more insightful to you as an entrepreneur, because then you know, "Okay where can I reach them? How can I market to them?" Also asking them, "What social media do you use, and why?" Then asking if you could watch them use it is really interesting.
So we watch our users use Instagram, we watch our users use Facebook, and we see where they click and we're like "Huh, why did you click on that?" Or, "Why did you join this group?" and then they'll respond "Oh, I wanted to learn how to do this, so I though this would help me achieve that." Then in your head you're thinking, "Oh, my product can help them better achieve that. So next time they go through this process, we're going to advertise our product here, and hopefully them they'll find out about it."
So instead of asking your users "What should we build?" you should just try and learn as much about them as possible, because then you can see where to put your product in their lives, so that it can actually help them do what they're already trying to do.