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Don’t fall into the trap of false progress!

It’s natural for companies, and the individuals doing the designing and developing, to get invested in and excited about their products. Why else would you spend the time and effort in developing them? Especially when you can see the end result and want to rush towards the finish line like an Olympian. Before you make like Usain Bolt, keep in mind that the farther you get the more expensive and time consuming it is to make the necessary changes, which can be especially difficult to make due to emotional attachment to a product.

So how do you know that you should slow down and do some prototype UX testing on your product? Look for the following warning signs you’re building too fast and not testing enough.

Signs You’re Building Too Fast

The Product

The first place you should look for signs you’re building too fast is in the product.

  • Scope Creep – Is your once-clear product feature list turning into a laundry list of nice-to-have’s and wouldn’t-that-be-cool’s? Make sure to stay focused on the original pain point you’re designing a solution for and test with users to see if that’s working as intended. Then get their feedback on whether they truly need/want other features.
  • Over Budget – In-line with the above point, if you’re adding features and suddenly find yourself over budget you may need to scale back and focus on the original goal of the product.
  • Over Timeline – Likewise, do you suddenly find that it’s becoming impossible to hit deadlines? Could be a red flag for the other signs.
  • Scope Reduction – Conversely, you might find yourself cutting features too freely withoutgetting user feedback, only to end up with a final product that doesn’t make sense to users.

The Team

Another place to keep an eye out for warning signs is in the team itself.

  • Chasing Tasks – Are sprints being delayed due to the need to finish previous tasks? This could be an indication of scope creep and a sign that the team may be moving too fast.
  • Burn Out – A drawback to building at break neck speeds is team members declining passions and growing frustrations. If you notice that the folks who were enthusiastic becoming less and less so, you may want to take note.

The Users

Most telling of all is that once you do start testing your product users have trouble understanding it. Or even worse – you learn this after you launch your product.

  • Confusing UX – Users aren’t able to intuitively interact with your product. Even if it solves the most pressing problem, if users can’t use it or won’t use it, it’s as if there’s no solution.
  • Slow Adoption – If there’s no word of mouth and no to slow growth it could be a sign of a well designed product that users don’t want.
  • Extra Marketing Needed to Explain the Product – This is indicative that there isn’t a clear use case for the product.

Conclusion

With the advent of Agile design and development there are perks to being speedy. However there are also risks to building too fast: no clear use case for users, too many features making your product confusing, slow growth or no growth, and extra marketing efforts to explain your product that are expensive and exhausting. The good news is that these risks are easily avoidable when you make sure to include prototyping into your product design and development.

Want to hear more about how prototyping can help you design a better product? Watch our recent webinar with UX designer Sarah Doody and learn:

  • Why we must prototype
  • The prototyping process
  • Tips to prototype fast & furiously
  • How to use prototypes effectively in your product design process to improve clarity and collaboration with your team

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