It’s a little sobering when you think about how much time, money and energy is being wasted building features that the market doesn’t want or need. – Christian Bonilla, Mind the Product

The best way, really the only way, to find out what features people want is to get out into the world with them. Observe and talk to them where they live, where they work, where they go about their lives. Through understanding the lives, emotions, and needs of the human beings that will hopefully experience your digital product on a daily basis, you can make sure that what you’re building has the features that they will love. However, most organizations skip this crucial step and make products that are based on their own internal stakeholder’s gut feelings. The truth is that your goals might not align with what people really need. Figuring that out happens by researching your chosen audience out in the field.

Steve Jobs famously said, “people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” Henry Ford stated that “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” These are the types of sentiments that often justify creating digital products in-house without any field research. However, Apple, and Ford both did, and do, tremendous research on their customers so that they can see the problems that people have and create appropriate solutions.

How do you do that? Valtech has built the concept of field research into our process to create some of the world’s best digital products. Here’s how we do it: