So far I have an idea, a few other people think it’s interesting, but how do I know there will be enough people interested in the product to make it worth building?
I need to make sure that the problem I’m solving for is actually real, that the need is there and that it is acute enough to warrant a whole new product to satisfy it.
So far I have found that there are many people in the research community who are interested in Diary Study activities and learning more about how to run them, what tools to use and best practices around participants and synthesis.
I have a hunch that people need this but I need to validate two hypotheses in order to be really sure:
The Value Hypothesis: Do researchers actually need a tool to help them run diary studies and are they willing to pay for it?
The Growth Hypothesis: Are there enough researchers out there to create a sustainable business out of this app.
In order to test these hypotheses I need to create an MVP – something that will help me learn the most while expending the least amount of energy, time and money.
I see three MVP options that will be helpful to me.
Email Newsletter: Create an email newsletter/website with advice about designing, running, synthesizing and presenting diary studies. This MVP will help me understand how many people out there are interested in this subject and how quickly the topic spreads and gains traction in the community.
Private Beta Product Site: This page will have mock-ups and an explanation of how the app works and the benefits it would provide. I will drive people to this site through the email newsletter and through targeted ads on LinkedIn and possibly through promotions at research events. Visitors to the site will be invited to sign up for private beta as soon as the app is launched. Through this I will collect some basic data, gather email addresses and generate a pool of test participants that I can do usability and value testing with.
Diary Study of Researchers Running Diary Studies: Is this getting meta enough for you? Products for researchers often do. In this MVP I will run a long term study of researchers who are performing diary studies. I will ask them to report on their process, their challenges, what things go well, what things don’t go well, why they chose to do the study and what they felt the outcome of the study was. This MVP will help me understand what parts of my product will add the most value for the researchers who run diary studies and how it might fit in to their work.
Prior to these MVPs I might try a personal Market Research project where I consult with various companies specifically to run diary studies. Through my experiences consulting I will learn what is important to clients, fellow researchers, participants of diary studies and to me, as the primary researcher.
My experiences consulting will directly translate into the content of the email newsletter and the requirements for this app.