Posted in Product

Hypothesis/ Solution Exploration Testing

“More than half of our ideas will deliver no value, we just don’t know which half” – John Wanamaker (3, page 78)

Product Testing Statistics

Experiment Statistics (3, page 79)

  • 65% of features are rarely or never used
  • At Google and Bing, only 10 – 20% of experiments generate positive results (Harvard Business Review)
  • At Microsoft 1/3 have positive results, 1/3 have neutral results, 1/3 have negative results

Creating a Product Test

Focus on value (5, page 78)

  • Get to the point – ignore the navigation/ log in etc if it does not help you determine the value 
  • Use a clear call to action – give the user a clear way to show that they value your solution like signing up for it 
  • Prioritise ruthlessly – don’t hold on to invalidated solutions
  • Stay agile – work in a medium that allows you to make updates easily as feedback comes in fast 
  • Don’t reinvent the wheel – use existing systems like email, forums etc to save work 
  • Measure behaviour – observe and measure what people do (behaviour trumps opinion here) 
  • Talk to users – understand why they are behaving this way

Truth Curve (5, page 80)

The amount of effort you put into your MVP should be proportional to the amount of evidence you have that your idea is a good one

X axis shows the level of investment you should put into your MVP

Y axis shows the amount of market based evidence you have about your idea

Truth Curve (5, pg 80)

Product Testing Grids

Qualitative TestsQuantitative Tests
Marketing TestsMarketing MaterialsLanding Page/ smoke test
Explainer Video
Ad Campaign
Marketing A/B tests
Product TestsPaper Prototype
Interactive Prototype
Wizard of Oz
Live Product
Fake door/ 404 page
Product analytics and A/B tests
Qualitative TestsQuantitative Tests
BehaviouralUsability testingA/B testing
AttitudinalUser InterviewsSurveys
Research Methods Framework (1, pg 230)

Qualitative Marketing Tests

Marketing Materials (1, page 93)

  • To understand which benefits resonate with customers
  • To understand how they react to different ways of showing the benefits
  • Aim is to understand how they find the marketing material and why
  • Marketing material can be landing page, video, advert, email

Quantitative Marketing Tests

Landing page/ smoke test (1, page 94)

  • Traffic is directed to a landing page
  • On this page they are asked to show interest (e.g. a sign up button, or a plans and pricing page)
  • There is no product yet
  • A ‘coming soon’ message is often displayed to those who show interest

Explainer video (1, page 94)

  • Same as landing page
  • For products that are harder to explain on a landing page (e.g. dropbox)

Ad campaign (1, page 94)

  • As adverts don’t allow you to display a lot, this is more appropriate for optimising customer acquisition and not product-market fit
  • Can advertise to different demographics to check hypothesis about target market
  • Measure clickthrough rate to measure which ads (and from which demographics) prove more successful

Marketing A/B testing (1, page 94)

  • Test two alternative designs to compare how they perform
  • Run the tests in parallel with 50% of the traffic to each for simplicity

Crowdfunding (1, page 94)

  • Advertising your product on a site like Kickstarter and asking people to pay for the product in advance of it being made
  • Set a minimum threshold for funding where you do not build your product before you have raised £X of funding
  • The donators to your product will then get your product once it has been built (i.e. pre-order the product with a discount)

Qualitative Product Tests

Paper Prototype (5, page 89)

  • Can be created quickly
  • Easily arranged and rearranged 
  • Cheap and easy to throw away if you are wrong 
  • Can be assembled with materials already found in the office 
  • Fun activity many people enjoy
  • Rapid iteration and duplication of the prototype can become time-consuming and tedious 
  • The simulation is very artificial, because you’re not using the actual input mechanisms (mouse/ keyboard/ touch screen etc) 
  • Feedback is limited to the high-level structure, information architecture, and flow of the product
  • Only useful with limited audience

Wireframes/ Mockups/ Interactive Prototypes (1, page 100) (2, page 124) (5, page 89)

  • Demonstrate or show concepts to user to gauge their feedback (e.g. wireframes)
  • Have an ‘ask’ as a definitive pass-or-fail criteria
    • Commitment, monetary value, time, or another investment to show that they are interested
  • E.g. dropbox did a video of their concept (advert as if they had built it) to convince investors
  • Variations in interactivity and fidelity
  • (fidelity refers to how closely the artifact looks like the final product)
  • Provide a good sense of the length of the workflow
  • Reveal major obstacles to primary task completion 
  • Allow assessment of findability of core elements
  • Can be used relatively quickly 
  • Most people will recognise that it is an unfinished product 
  • More attention than normal is paid to labelling and copy
Example of a Wireframe Sketch

Low fidelity prototype (4, page 49)

  • Start with the a persona
  • Draw the homepage and ask what actions the user wants to do from there
  • For each action draw a box (each box is a story)
  • Continue until the persona has completed their actions (including exploring edge cases) and then start with another persona
Example of Low Fidelity Prototype

Concierge (2, page 122)

  • Deliver the end result to your customer manually
  • Customer understands that it is being done manually and there is no appearance of a final solution to them
  • Conduct with just enough users as this is labour intensive

Wizard of Oz (2, page 123)

  • Deliver the end result to your customer manually
  • Customer is not aware that it is manual behind the scenes and thinks they are using the end product
  • Tempting to leave them up as if successful you will get value from it, but it is expensive to run
  • Can be combined with A/B testing

Live Product (5, page 89)

  • Potential to reuse code for production 
  • The most realistic simulation to create 
  • Can be generated from existing code assets
  • The team can be become bogged down in debating the finer points of the prototype
  • Time-consuming to create working code that delivers the desired experience
  • It’s tempting to perfect the code before releasing to customers
  • Updating and iterating can take a lot of time 

Quantitative Product Tests

Fake Door/ 404 page (1, page 100)

  • Good to test demand for a new feature
  • Include a link or button on the product to direct customers to a new feature
  • The link leads to a page saying it hasn’t been built yet and asking for why they would find this feature valuable
  • Overuse will make customers unhappy

Product A/B tests (1, page 100)

  • Used to compare performance of two alternative user experiences in your product

Qualitative Behavioural Tests

Usability testing

  • Online tools can be used to give a user a task and record them completing the task
  • Users are asked to talk through how easy it is to complete a task

Quantitative Behavioural Tests

A/B Testing

  • Two different versions of the product are shown to the user
  • Differences in behaviour are tracked (e.g. conversion percentage)


  • Tracking on the product of the users behaviour
  • Data can then be analysed to see if hypothesis was acheived

Qualitative Attitudinal Tests

User Interviews

Quantitative Attitudinal Tests

User Surveys

  • Coming soon: Tips of User Surveys


  1. Lean Product Playbook by Dan Olsen
  2. Escaping the Build Trap by Melissa Perri
  3. Mastering Professional Scrum by Stephanie Ockerman and Simon Reindl
  4. User Stories Applied by Mike Cohn
  5. Lean UX by Jeff Gothelf

Explore more

User Interviews



6 thoughts on “Hypothesis/ Solution Exploration Testing

  1. Pingback: Product Backlog
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  3. Pingback: Product Kata
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