How to identify the acute problem users actually have
Does this problem matter?
I just got back from a field study. I got a chance to observe a school that adopted the student-centric paradigm. It was transformational and eye-opening. I won’t talk about that today, though—I’ll make another post for that.
In that trip, my goal was to understand what the acute problem the users have. We want to build a product like a painkiller, not a vitamin.
Because of that, I prepared myself with a few principles to ask good questions and identify whether the problem actually matters or not. I thought it was going to be interesting to share it. I believe this will be useful for you to use these principles to ask good questions, even if you don’t conduct a field study.
Paid subscribers can access this with an example by the end of the post.
1) Avoid fluff, don’t ask for future behavior like how many time you go to the gym? You want to avoid people describing their ideal future self. It’s better to ask how many times did you go to the gym last week? This question is more grounded based on the reality. If I plan to go to the gym 5 times a week, but there’s a lot of obstacle that makes me only go twice a week. You want to know the reality, not the speculation.
2) Ask for a specific story about what they’ve done in the past. Instead of letting the users explain how they usually do something, it’s better to ask for a specific story. Whenever the users start saying “always” or “usually” or “would,” they give you generic stuff. Try to ask to tell me the last time you did (action)? The same principle: Ground it on reality.