I write a lot about user research - generally tips and tricks for people who don't have much experience with it. The reason for this should be obvious. Understanding your user, by any means necessary, is always the first step in creating a compelling product.
Seriously, you can't build a product without understanding the problem you're solving and the people for whom you're solving it. Various forms of research are the best way of understanding people who aren't you. It's really as simple as that.
But I've also seen another common problem. A whole lot of folks have learned how to go out and listen to their customers and understand problems, but they still make bad, hard to use products that don't really solve a problem. It turns out that, while learning your users problems is a necessary first step, it's not the only step.
You also have to be able to create something that people understand and want to use, and you don't do that by simply trying random ideas until one of them sticks unless you have an infinite number of monkeys and typewriters. If you are constrained with respect to monkeys, typewriters, or VC funding, you might want a little guidance on what to do once you understand the problem.
Getting your design closer to right on the first, second, or third try will speed things up considerably. It's hard to learn anything from a badly designed, unusable product other than the fact that people hate badly designed, unusable products. And believe me, that lesson has been learned. Kind of a lot.
That's why I'll be giving a talk at Lean Startup Circle on Wednesday, March 20th. It starts at 6:30. There will be other interesting speakers, as well. You can sign up here: http://sanfrancisco.leanstartupcircle.com/events/102633722/
I'll be talking about Design Hacks. These will include a few general tips on producing a good design. It will also include some (free) resources for getting good design ideas. Time permitting, it will include an example or two of how to think about new features for your product in a way that makes them easier to design.
This talk is NOT for design experts. Sorry, you'll be bored out of your minds.
This talk is perfect for founders and engineers who don't have experience with turning what they know about their users into useful designs. And, as always, I'll be hanging around afterward to answer specific questions about your products.
Once again, to see the talk, sign up here: You can sign up here: http://sanfrancisco.leanstartupcircle.com/events/102633722/
If you want to hear about future events where I'll be speaking, you can follow me on Twitter.
If you like to read about things like Design Hacks, the book is available for pre-order.