Concept Validation
User-Centered Design Facilitation

One thing is almost certain: the initial features and functions of any new product will need changes once your users get ahold of it. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of by how much. Avoid costly changes by testing your assumptions and reworking your product concept with real users up-front before committing development resources.

Do this by quickly constructing a user-understandable and easy to modify mockup such as a paper prototype. Have users conduct their real-life activity while using the mockup. You will be able to see the reasons behind the parts of the design that benefit them and the parts that cause problems. For the parts that work well, you’ll come away with sales points in the user’s own words. For the parts that don’t work, you can co-design changes with them while you are with them until it meets their needs. You’ll not only come away with useful design ideas but clear reasons why they are useful.

Have review sessions with your team to update and make changes based on the feedback–it only takes a few interviews to reveal the core issues. Conduct one or two additional iterations and once the design stabilizes you’ll have confidence in a sound set of requirements for realizing the design in code, hardware, or business process.