As in, really talking to them! This week our teams embarked on User Research — which you can do even if you don’t have users yet! As a startup, you need to find out problem you are solving. This isn’t always obvious. You usually have an idea that gets you going, but once you speak with others, you realize there are nuances and motivations that come into play that have a huge impact on the shape that your product will take.
When our teams join WebFWD, they learn about User Research in part from a copy we give them of Ash Maurya’s book, Running Lean. They also get some fantastic coaching from Mozilla’s user research guru Diane Loviglio.
Diane has done lots of on-the-ground work for various startups as a mentor for us, 500 Startups and entrepreneur in her own right. If you are tempted to think that a survey will suffice for user research, be advised that there is no replacement for talking to users in person. You will tease out a lot more information and value than sending out a mass survey — at least in your early stages. When you are ready for quantity over quality, don’t miss these great insights on designing an effective survey, summarized by Diane herself ;)