At GitLab, we practice both Problem Validation 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 that results in a better overall user experience.
After identifying and understanding a problem, its context, and the people around it (also known as problem validation) the next step is to learn which solutions will work and which ones do not. Solution validation research critically assesses if the product/feature/design has indeed solved the problem that was initially intended to be solved.
Solution validation research is conducted after we have a working design or prototype that was created to solve the problem(s) discovered in Problem Validation research. It is not necessary for the design or prototype to be high fidelity, it only needs to be able to support the task(s) it was designed for.
You can and should conduct solution validation research when confidence in the proposed solution isn't high, as it can help identify issues that may have been missed during other stages of the project. A great way to increase the confidence in your solution is to base design decisions on prior user research.
UX Solution Validation label to your research issue in the GitLab UX Research project.
When choosing the appropriate methodology for your research question, there are multiple factors to consider.
If you want help creating a pristine test environment be sure to reach out to the Demo Systems group on the #demo-systems Slack channel. They can create a demo environment for users and help build any particular parameters needed for your testing environment. Be aware that setting up a test environment for a research study can be time consuming and difficult.
Some solution validation research methods include: