As product designers, there’s a need - and now the opportunity – to greatly improve the information we base our design decisions upon.

Today, most of our early design decisions are based upon pretend use of pretend things. It’s only when our ideas meet reality – usually when a product or feature ships – that we truly learn what, if anything, people find valuable about them.

To build our best products we need to be able to build out from the actual value they provide, as early as possible. To date, our design process has been missing a big piece of the puzzle to accomplish this. Understanding actual value requires observing real behavior, which requires that we build design experiments that feel like real things.

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For this talk I organized my thoughts in article format first. Helpful for clarifying ideas, not necessarily recommended for easily converting into spoken ideas on stage. 

Article of presentation content, with slides in-line.