Transforming an Idea into a Viable Product: User Research

 About the speaker: Ved Muthal is the cofounder and CTO of  Peppercorn Labs.


The article content is taken from the Social Innovation Lecture Series held at Venture Center, Pune on 18th August 2017.

User research is an integral part of the journey of a product from prototype to market. Most startups fail to deliver after they launch their product. It is required to make changes to the product as per the user experience and minimize the risks.


User research is important to see your product through the lens of your users, their behavior, and emotions behind using your product. Therefore, before the rollout of a product, it is advisable to involve users directly in your market research.  This can be done with a focus group or with direct interviews with users. It not only gives you an insightful feedback on the product and at the same time doesn’t cost you anything.

Here is a scene from the American TV Series Silicon Valley on a focus group.

Well, not all focus groups end up like the one in the video. It indeed gives you a good feedback on how your customer will perceive your product. Make a note on some key questions, like if they are able to access the key features of the product? Is your product easy to use? Are they able to understand your product? What are the pros and cons of the design? This would help you to understand the usability of your product from a customer point of view. You might even discover new insights which can be incorporated in the product or even validate your market research.

How to recruit users for conducting User research?

It is important to carefully select your users as it will give you crisp results and will save a lot of time. It is recommended to prepare a filter sheet and identifying the right set of people which closely resembles your market segment.

How to conduct a focus group/interview?

  1. Keep the session informal. This will help you to form a bond with the user. Greet them and introduce your product.
  2. Record your session so that you can keep it for your reference
  3. Watch. Observe. Listen. Don’t be defensive about your product The idea is to get honest insights about your product.
  4. Keep track of time.
  5. Take notes. One person in your team should be a moderator while having someone else for taking notes.
  6. Don’t pitch your product. Ask questions and make a note.
  7. Thank them for their time and the feedback. Keep some refreshments if possible.


About the Author: Shubham Singh is presently working as the BIRAC Social Innovator at Venture Center, Pune.