At GitLab, we practice both Problem Validation research and Solution Validation research, depending on the questions we need answers to and where we are in the design process. The end result of these methods is a high degree of confidence which results in a better overall user experience. Generating solutions, developing the product experience, and launching to the market is much more effective when we start with a deep understanding of our customer problems. We leverage Opportunity Canvases to track quick iterations on levels of confidence, hypotheses, and lessons learned as our learning about the problem evolves.
Problem validation research seeks to provide decision makers with a well understood and clearly articulated customer problem. At GitLab, problem validation encompasses foundational research as well as descriptive and informative research.
Foundational research helps develop a deeper understanding of users to uncover opportunities for solutions and innovation.
Descriptive and informative research begins with a problem statement in mind and is used to gain a detailed understanding of the context of the problem.
Foundational research is done when we don’t have a good understanding of what the problem is we need to solve. Often this occurs at the very beginning of the product design process. The purpose is to formulate a problem to solve and have a decent level of confidence that the problem is a relevant one.
Descriptive and informative research starts with a problem statement, which provides us a concrete problem to solve. This research is used to gain a better understanding of the context we are trying to solve for through our design and is imperative to fill the knowledge gaps of the solution environment by what our participants know.
When you are conducting a problem validation research effort, make sure to apply the
UX Problem Validation label to the research issue.
Foundational research provides answers to these questions:
Descriptive and informative research provides answers to these questions:
When choosing the right method for problem validation research, first ask yourself if you need foundational or informative research.
Some problem validation research methods include:
You can also frame questions using the Taxonomy of Cognitive Domain, which explains how certain verbs target particular thought processes. This is a great way to expand your questioning in order to help trigger specific responses from participants.
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