One of the best ways to get your money’s worth out of a prototype is to get feedback on it from people who will be consuming your product. Here are some tips to make sure you get feedback that is both accurate and useful.

Why Should You Even Get Feedback?

You’ve developed your new invention, you’ve proved it can be produced by having a prototype made so you should be ready to launch your product right? Technically, you can, but you are drastically increasing the chances that it will fail without getting proper feedback.

Most inventors only get one chance to launch a product. There are a variety of reasons why products fail – the product was launched in the wrong market, the product fixed a problem no one was looking for a solution to, the product failed to understand consumer needs and wants, the list goes on and on.

Why not do EVERYTHING possible to increase the chances of your product being successful? Feedback on your prototype will allow you to understand your market much better, and help you improve your product to maximize its chances of being fruitful. You will be able to use that feedback to improve your product, gauge public opinion on it, and see if people will want to buy it and get a sense of what they may be willing to pay for it.

How to get feedback on your Prototype

Obviously, the nature of your prototype is going to change how you present it. For example, a completely digital product might be used to get feedback through a demo, a video, or a PowerPoint, depending on the target audience.

Physical products should have a physical prototype made where possible. This will allow you to not only test your product’s form fit and function, but it will also allow you to get much more useful responses from the people you are looking to get feedback from. Then you can take that prototype and show it to people to get their response.

Interview the Right Demographic

Make sure the people you are getting feedback from will actually use your product. If you were a chef looking to see what people thought of a new steak recipe, you wouldn’t have a bunch of vegetarians sample your steak for obvious reasons. When getting feedback on your prototype, consider who can and will use your product. Take into consideration things like age, gender, and location. Your product will likely have more specific demographics, like with the vegetarian example.
Ask your questions in a neutral manner.

Hypothetically, let’s say you have a product that you absolutely love the color scheme of, you’ve spent hours going through colors and this is the one that you are absolutely passionate about. It excites you just thinking about it. It’s important when you are asking a question, to ask it in an almost detached manner.

Just because you love it doesn’t mean your customers will. Remember, your goal with prototype feedback is to get data on your customer’s objective preferences, not persuade them to love yours. It is much easier to change a product to fit a target market rather than convince an entire target market to like your product. Showing a person a few different color schemes and asking them what they prefer will give you much better data then asking, “I really love this color scheme, the blue matches so well with the orange, I’ve spent a long time deciding on it, what do you think?” The person you ask might not answer honestly for fear of offending you.

Also, if they are giving negative but constructive feedback, don’t let it get to you and don’t let it show in the middle of questioning your interviewee. That could also make them not want to provide honest feedback. Their feedback can sometimes be more useful than positive feedback, as it will give you areas to improve your product on.

Ask the Right Questions

You’ll want to make sure you ask questions that will spark ideas coming from the person you are asking.

Open ended questions can be very useful to getting inside your consumers mind.

Questions like the below are a good starting point:

  • “What do you like about the product?”
  • “What would you change about it?”
  • “How would you use this product to help solve (insert problem here)?”
  • “If there was one thing you could improve on this product, what would it be?”

Of course there are plenty of closed-ended questions that are good to ask as well.

  • “How much would you pay for this?”
  • “On a scale of 1-10, how much would this product interest you if you saw it in a store?”
  • “How does this product feel?” “Is it too heavy or light?” “Does it feel good in your hands?”
  • “Do you see this product solving an important problem?”
  • “Is the product easy to use?”
  • “Does the product make sense?”
  • “Do you see any features that appear missing from the product?” “If so, what?”

Regardless of the type of questions you ask, all of them should be related to how the user experiences your product, and if it fixes a problem that is a big enough pain in their lives that they are willing to spend money to fix. With the information you get from asking people about your product, you should be able to make improvements to your invention to be in a much better spot to launch it.

If you are looking to develop your product or need to get your prototype made, contact us! Our partners in China can get quotes on prototypes that can be 70% cheaper than the cost of domestic prototypes.