Flash: Phase 4 - Validate

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Create a prototype, test assumptions and iterate

Validate is the phase where everything starts to feel a lot more real. We’re running a lot of experiments and it’s an incredibly exciting time. Every activity leads to new insights which in turn drive what we do next, and every iteration helps us to get closer to product/market fit. The main activities are listed below.

1. Run your campaigns to test activation and engagement rates

We have scheduled your campaigns in the last phase so now it’s a case of waiting for the results. The main items we are interested in are click through rates, the demographic of those clicking and the conversion rates for each ad. Price per click is also important but it is something we have an opportunity to work on at a later stage.

As the week progresses we will have a lot more data at your disposal. We might have a clear winner and if that’s the case we double down on this campaign over the others. With time constraints in place the testing we can do across all campaigns will be limited. Focusing our efforts will return a lot more value than continuing to shoot from the hip with a variety of campaigns.

2. Conduct an initial round of user testing using your wireframes

Whilst our campaigns are running we are out on the road testing our wireframes. We prepare a testing script to capture the notes from session so that we can review and act on them afterwards. We use scenarios instead of specific tasks as we don’t want to guide the users actions.

We relax the participant, remind them they aren’t the one being judged and ask them to narrate their thinking as they go. We remain relatively distant and if the user appears to be stuck we let them have some time to try and figure it out. If there doesn’t seem to be much progress we ask the user to explain what they are thinking or trying to do to avoid leading their responses.

Due to the low fidelity of our wireframes, users will focus on the core experience rather than their individual preferences. We make sure to write up our notes immediately after the session as items like engagement rate are very important.

3. Adjust your wireframes based on the insights derived

We aggregate our findings after each round of testing and discuss the insights and what they mean for your product. We will likely have a large list to work through but keep in mind that we are trying to create the simplest possible flow for the user to complete. Using a framework such as MOSCOW will help us to remove all unessential items. We then use a dot vote if we’re still struggling to decide what to incorporate.

Once we’ve decided on the changes to make it’s time to adjust our wireframes. Given their low fidelity this shouldn’t take too much time and we should be able to start working on alternative flows. We then repeat the process of test and iterate.

4. Create high fidelity designs and conduct further user testing

Given the time constraints placed on this phase we start working on UI designs relatively quickly. We might not be 100% happy with our wireframes but with just 3 users we can uncover 80% of UX issues. Using your brand guidelines we now turn our wireframes in to mockups. Sketch and Figma are our preferred design tools.

Our designs will mimic a familiar experience when put into a prototype using a tool such as Invision or Marvel. When we take these prototypes back to users we will receive a different type of feedback. We now notice opinions and preferences starting to emerge and it’s our job to ensure we identify the bigger picture. The test and iterate process continues as we refine the designs and the experience they represent.

5. Perform a feasibility/risk analysis based on current product offering

With the product now a lot more defined it’s a good time to conduct a thorough feasibility and risk analysis that builds on our previous work from Immerse.

We hold a call/meeting to bring all stakeholders together. 3 types of analysis happen on this call: risk, delivery and resource. We listen to those present and note down their comments and concerns. While we aren’t the biggest fans of estimates we advise seeking estimates for both product complexity and team size.

We now build on the responses received. Unknown or risky items are our immediate focus as they will be the first items to be questioned by external investors. We remember we’re building a sustainable business so prepare for a variety of scenarios.

Find out more about the final phase, Aggregate, by clicking here.