on choice models

As discussed in Practical Product Management, there are six methods of research: three are best for finding problems; three are best for evaluating solutions. An experiment is the best tool for evaluating usability—or is it? Check out www.interface-research.com. This site compares 10 different aspects of usability for a web site and asks which you prefer. At the end, they show you their results so far. Pretty clever. This form of research is called a choice model because it forces the respondent to choose. After all, you cannot choose both answers.

But here’s the question: is the survey telling us which is better or telling us which is popular? And is popular better? Britney Spears is popular. (For better, check out The Alternate Routes.) I’m not convinced that the popular choice is indeed better or if it is just what we’re used to.

If you have a new user interface or new web site design, why not use a method like this to test before you poke it out online? For that matter, you should test positioning, product names, your marketing collateral templates look-and-feel, and so on. Do you?

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson was a founding instructor at Pragmatic Institute, a role he held for more than 15 years before he left to start Under10 Playbook. In his return to Pragmatic Institute, Steve supports the complete learning path for product teams, ensuring they are fully armed for success. 

Over the course of his career, Steve has helped thousands of companies and tens of thousands of product professionals implement product management processes. He has worked in the high-tech arena since 1981, rising through the ranks from product manager to chief marketing officer. Steve has experience in technical, sales and marketing management positions at companies that specialize in both hardware and software. In addition, he is an author, speaker and advisor on product strategy and product management.

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