Don’t wait — validate! 4 quick methods to check your idea

Anna Kamieniak
UX Team Leader
Anna Kamieniak

I have prepared a quick description of 4 fast and easy methods to check your idea. You can use them all or just choose the one that suits you best!
As a designer, I often hear that we don’t have time to research, design, or test before development. But what about methods that are so lean that you can apply them in sprint zero or just at the beginning of product development?

Got anything better in mind? Don’t hesitate to share in the comments!

Canvas method — sketch your business on all canvases

time needed: even one long work-day may be enough
costs: your time
questions answered: Does it seem to fit into the market?

Probably everyone knows the business model canvas. It is a very effective method for visualizing ideas presented in 2008 by Alexander Osterwalder. You can find many different fancy canvases suiting specific needs here.

It may seem obvious or not deep enough, but proper business sketching isn’t easy and lets you find good and real questions about your users, market, and an idea.  And finally, you can take your canvas to talk to other people and gather insight faster.


Storytelling method — tell the story or explain your product

time needed: even one long day may be enough
costs: your time
questions answered: Is your idea simple?  Are you a good storyteller? Is your idea convincing?

Once upon a time… I had an excellent opportunity to work with talented design students to help them showcase their work on Behance. Their task was to tell the story with words and images —  to explain, to convince, to evoke emotions — or at least one of them ;)
What I actually noticed was that stronger ideas are easier to work with. It is not a golden rule. Sometimes the idea might be difficult to explain, even if it’s very good. Remember, if you can’t create a good and easy to understand story for your product, and the day is coming to an end — that might signalize a problem with your idea.

There are a few good methods to work with your idea just with words. They are cheap, and fast, and usually not as easy as they seem to be. For example, try to explain the main value of your product in one sentence… And speak it out loud.
This work method helps you get out with your idea and check how it resonates!

Sprint method — take time to run and perform a design sprint

time needed: 1 week for a sprint (add something for planning)
costs: time of your team (about 6 people, gratification for users)
questions answered: Does it give value to the users? How usable is the prototype?

Have you ever tried the design sprint methodology? If your idea is well set, and you can formulate a sprint hypothesis — take the five-day formula to test this assumption. On the fifth day, you will be user-testing and at the end of the day, you’ll be equipped with real knowledge.

If you want more info, check my previous article and follow the GV library on medium.
Sprint is fast, but remember that it might not answer every question. Prepare for a few races in a row.

Money method— fake it till you make it

the time needed for it: from 1 to 6 weeks
costs: landing page, campaign or cold mailing
questions answered: Is somebody going to pay for it?

Imagine you want to sell it now. Calculate your time to market. Show your product well and offer it now! You can sell a bonus code, a Kickstarter pack, or just a product with an extended delivery time.

When people are asked if they like something or need something, they usually like it and want it, but when you ask them for money, their need is much more real. It is indeed a guerrilla method — use it with caution, don’t cheat on users, cause you risk reputation and experiment to fail. And take some work to make your customer feel protected in case your product doesn’t appear — money back guarantee is a must.

If you need some guidance on this trip, let Skyrise team help you!