Product discovery is the process of identifying and validating opportunities for new products to be discovered by audiences, users, or customers. However, despite its importance, many organizations struggle with product discovery and fail to launch products that are used by their intended audience. In this blog post, we'll cover some common pitfalls in product discovery and how to avoid them.
Focusing on the product, not the user
One of the most common pitfalls in product discovery is focusing too much on defining the product itself, rather than understanding how it fits into and adds value to the user's life. This can happen when organizations become too internally focused and fail to understand how user lives intersect with their product rather than assuming they live within the defined product.
So what? It's crucial to understand when, where, and how users consider your product, so you can design an entry point that resonates with them.
Organizations may overlook the importance of keeping up with their competition, especially when launching second or third-to-market products. Users have many options to choose from, so it's essential to differentiate your product and provide a better experience than your competitors. A competitive analysis can help, but unless you understand your users, it may result in an unweighted list of features that don't necessarily add value to them. Testing unbranded concepts with users and using max diff feature weighting can help prioritize features before development.
So what? Researchers mainly focus on understanding the usefulness and usability of interfaces, but that can ignore decisions made prior like what product to use. Given equal awareness of all options - are there good reasons a user might want your product over another?
Underestimating feature bloat
As a product matures, it can suffer from feature bloat. The team continues to add new features, making it harder for users to find what they need. This can lead to users not finding new features, even if they would use them. It's important to evaluate if users care about all the features available to them and to consider how to let them know about new features and where to find them.
So what? If a product is seeing diminished returns from new feature launches, it may be time to take a step back and reevaluate several aspects of a product – do users care about all features available to them? How do we let people know about new features and where to find them?
Confusing User Research with Change Management
User research and change management share user-centeredness, but they focus on different goals. User research focuses on how to make a product useful, usable, and delightful to keep users engaged, while change management focuses on how to get users to adopt a new experience, product, or process.
So what? It's important to understand that user research is not change management and to incorporate change management practices into product discovery efforts to help users transition to new experiences.
Measuring Funnel Metrics
Funnels can be a useful tool to diagnose usability issues, but they should not be used to diagnose discovery issues. Funnels presume a linear pathway as the only way a user can accomplish a task, and they don't account for discovery issues that may occur before users reach the defined entry point.
So what? It's important to avoid using funnel metrics to diagnose discovery issues and to focus on understanding user behavior before they reach the entry point.
Product discovery is crucial for any new product or feature's success. To improve your product discovery efforts, focus on understanding your users' needs and goals, keep up with your competition, simplify your product navigation, incorporate change management practices, and avoid using funnel metrics to diagnose discovery issues.