In the life of any aspiring entrepreneur or product builder, one of the most exciting times is when you have an idea for a product that you believe can solve a real problem. I’ve written about product validation before so by now you probably know that I believe that before you start writing a single line of code or designing the UI, it's crucial to validate your idea.
An important step in the validation process is talking to users and better understanding their pain points. Today, I want to share with you a set of ten key questions that you can use in your user interviews to validate your product ideas before going down a building rabbit hole.
1. What problem are you currently facing in relation to [idea domain]?
This question is straightforward but it's the cornerstone of your interview. It's essential to understand the problem from the user's perspective. It allows you to explore the nuances and implications of the issue your idea is aiming to solve.
2. How often do you encounter this problem?
Frequency is an important factor in determining the severity of the problem. If it's something they encounter daily, it's likely to be a more pressing issue than if it happens once a month. People are more willing to pay to solve problems that they deal with frequently.
3. Have you ever paid money to try and solve this problem?
Most “would you pay for this” solutions end up getting wishy washy answers but this question helps you to better gauge the monetary value users place on a solution. If they've paid for a solution in the past, it's a strong indication that they might be willing to pay for a better one in the future.
4. How are you currently solving that problem?
The answer to this question gives you insights into your competition and the alternatives users have available. It also helps you understand the current behavior and habits of your potential users. You’ll be shocked at how many users answer this question with a manual / inefficient process.
5. What do you like and dislike about that solution?
This question gives you insights into the pros and cons of the current solutions from the user's perspective. These can be translated into features and benefits of your own product and can expose additional layers to the problem and pain point.
6. If you could wave a magic wand and have the perfect solution to your problem, what would it look like?
This is your opportunity to dream with your user. It’s always good to take user feature requests with a grain of salt but at the very least understanding how users envision a solution to their problem can add valuable context around how they think about the problem itself.
7. *After explaining how you’re approaching the problem* Do you think this would adequately solve the problem? Would you use a product like this?
Here, you are testing the waters with your solution. Their feedback is critical in shaping the direction of your product and understanding if the user would find it valuable. It also validates if your solution resonates with their needs.
8. Can you think of any potential drawbacks or challenges you might face when using our proposed product?
Understanding potential challenges or barriers to adoption helps you anticipate and plan for them in your product strategy, marketing, etc..
9. Would you be willing to try our solution when it’s ready, and provide feedback?
This question is crucial for building a list of potential beta testers. It also demonstrates the user's interest and engagement with your proposed solution. It’s worth noting that if people aren’t willing to sign up for a free beta access waitlist them it’s likely that either the problem isn’t as painful as you thought or your solution is missing the mark.
10. Do you know anyone else that experiences this problem? Would you mind introducing me so I can talk to them?
Growing your interview pool through user referrals can give you a wider perspective. It also helps validate if the problem is widespread enough to warrant a solution. Additionally, if you’re asking question 9 this can help turn these people into beta users in the future.
Remember, the goal with these user interviews is not to sell your product but to learn and understand. These conversations should be as much about listening as they are about asking questions. Don’t hesitate to ask follow up questions to comments users make and go down some of those rabbit holes. Getting a full picture of the problem will help you build a better solution.
In the end, the users are the heart of any product. Their problems are your problems to solve, and their feedback is a critical factor in your roadmap to a successful product. If you can build something that resonates with them, then you're onto something!