Evaluating new Solutions

”Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment.” – American scientist and author Dr. James Jay Horning

Design Thinking promotes taking calculated risks by failing early and cheaply, rather than later and bigger. Following the iterative loop, in the evaluation phase of the design thinking methodology prototyped solutions are tested, in order to update the solution until it satisfies the user needs. User’s critiques of the solution are valuable for the improvement. ”The customer is not always right but always has a point.” It is better and cheaper to discuss and solve problems during this early stage of the project, rather than having to fix the final product.

”Every truth passes through three stages before it is recognized. In the first it is ridiculed, in the second it is opposed, in the third it is regarded as self-evident.” – Arthur Schopenhauer
Users have a bias toward evaluating a new solution according to its similarity to existing products with which they are familiar. They may say things like ”The old one was better. I don’t know why, but it was better!”. To overcome this issue, the new solution should inherit the main usage patterns of the existing product that users are accustomed to. In time, people will also get used to the new solution.

Interview & Focus Group Technique

Since most products are used individually, one-on-one interviews are often more effective than focus group sessions. During focus-group sessions, people usually affect each other’s opinion. However, after conducting interviews, focus group sessions can be very helpful, in order to brainstorm how to fix the flaws of the proposed solution. There is a risk, that some people do not want to criticize the solution or make negative comments and some users may not provide complete, clear and objective feedback. Therefore, user observations should also be conducted following interviews and focus group sessions.

User Observation Technique

This technique consists of observing users while they use the prototyped solution. It is most effective to evaluate a limited number of users who represent the target personas rather than testing many random users. The optimum number of users is eight to ten per persona. Most challenging in this approach, is to find users who represent the target personas. It is recommended to interview users by phone first, and if possible, analyze their social media profiles to determine whether they really represent the personas or not.


Christian Herbst

Chief Executive Officer