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Lean Startup Customer Discovery Tips


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For those of you interested in Lean Startup and Lean User Experience, here's a one-pager about what to do when you're "getting out of the building." I created this for the LUXr mini-retreat in San Francisco, November 13-15, 2010.

Published in: Business, Technology
  • Hi Clint,
    By 'in-line Web recruiting' I mean instrumented solutions like Ethnio

    I've used Craigslist two ways. The right method depends on your location and complexity of the research profile. In NYC, I wanted to talk to people who use smartphones. That's fairly common so I added a screener to ask some more targeted questions as a pre-screen. I used the screener results to choose who to contact and schedule for an interview. In SF, for a more specialized need (parents with small children who make home movies willing to do in-home interviews) I was able to directly recruit the right number of participants using Craigslist.
    I've never used Mechanical Turk. Care to share your experiences with me? ;)

    When I use an online survey to screen respondents, I prefer Survey Methods because IMHO it has a better UI to set up the surveys. and have also used Survey Monkey. I’ve heard that Google surveys are excellent because you can manage results easily in Google spreadsheets, but I don’t have direct experience using that method (yet).


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  • hi lane,

    fantastic 'lean tips'! as a student of yours i have some questions:
    + what's an example of In-line Web recruiting?
    + how would you best use Craig's list?
    + how do you feel about using MechanicalTurk for surveys? i guess surveys in general too?

    thanks a bunch! i hope you are doing well.
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Lean Startup Customer Discovery Tips

  1. 1. Lean  UX  Customer  Discovery   What  to  do  when  you’re  “getting  out  of  the  building”         License:  Creative  Commons  Attribution-­‐Share  Alike  3.0  United  States         What  can  we  learn  from  users?   • Where  will  our  product  fit  in  their  work  or  life?   • What  problems  will  our  product  solve?   • When  and  how  will  our  product  used?   • What  features  are  important?   How  to  frame  an  effective  conversation   Before   • Identify  who  do  you  want  to  talk  to  and  what  you  want  to  learn   During   • Use  conversation  starters  instead  of  prepared  questions   • Listen  more  than  you  talk   • Capture  your  observations  (index  cards  work  well)   • Collect  artifacts  (photos,  screenshots,  work  product)   • If  you  have  something  to  show/demo,  do  it  after  the  open-­‐ended  conversation   After   • Debrief  and  share  what  you’re  learning  with  your  team   DO’s  and  DON’TS   • DO  Spend  time  with  your  users  “early  and  often”   • DO  Create  a  conversation,  not  an  interrogation   • DO  Maintain  a  “beginner’s  mind”   • DO  Use  your  visits  for  multiple  purposes   • DON’T  Ask  what  features  people  want   • DON’T    Ask  users  to  talk    theoretically  about  what  they  might  do   Identify  the  need  behind  the  feature  request   • User:  What  I  really  need  is  feature  x…”   • You:  “If  you  had  feature  x,  what  would  that  allow  you  to  do?”   Where  do  you  find  users  to  talk  to?   • Licensed/registered  users   • In-­‐line  Web  recruiting   • Conferences  and  industry  events   • Special  interest  groups/user  groups   • Market  research  firms   • Craigslist   • Friends  and  Family