Keeping things simple

Describe your product in a single line, better still, in 5 words.

Q: What does your product do?

A: It ____ ____ ____ ____ ____

The simplest questions are the hardest and there is no right or wrong answer to this question. The most interesting part of this simple question is what perceptions people build around your answer – assuming they have never heard or seen your product or brand before.

Have you played a team-building game where your teammates will form a line facing each other’s backs and the first person will be given a word to act it out. Based on how the first person describes that word through silent actions, everyone in front of you has to pass the message down to the last person, who will then reveal the final guess. If he guesses it right, the team wins otherwise, everyone loses. Assuming you are sending this message to your users – as the 1st person, you need to send this message in the simplest way possible. The make this more realistic, you are blindfolded, you can’t see the person in front of you.

How would you describe your product so he/she could get the correct message?

Every word, graphic, video, or even the product itself, is the tool used to send a message to your users about the product. We need to understand that everyone will have a similar or different perception of what you are trying to do but they should not be confused.

Therefore, the idea is to keep things simple:

  • Keep the designs clean – whether it is a phrase, word, app etc.
  • Avoid complex words – “dumb it down”
  • Repeatedly verbalise it – Tell people about it and ask them to explain it back to you

When you keep doing these actions repeatedly, you will formulate an initial idea of how acceptable your product is. The last bullet point below is the most important action above it all (remember you are blindfolded).

  • Hear your customers and improve

Now, test it out in the market and start observing people’s comments in groups, forums, chats, conversations, interactions – anything you can get your hands on-to then improves as you go along. Most product managers hold a focus group or survey to gather user feedbacks but I find it more powerful when you are the silent observer. Users are more genuine when they discuss among their own friends or closed communities especially when they are not incentivized.

As Gary Vee mentioned in the video below, “it’s important to hear your customers, but not necessarily listen to them”.

Source: LinkedIn Post

Keep it simple and never stop improving.