At the beginning of my Reese News Lab experience, I learned about three keywords that have a prominent role in the development of a service. These keywords are desirability, feasibility and viability. These three elements are central to the development of our products and services. Will the product fulfill the needs and wants of potential users? Is it a reasonable product to develop? Is the product financially viable?
My team and I are developing an international postcard service. Working in concert with nongovernmental organizations, children located throughout the world will write about their firsthand and personal experiences of news. We will then share this information, which could include text, pictures and videos, on a postcard to teachers, subscribers and families.
Before proceeding with the development of the product, we have to understand how people will react to the basic idea we created. We cannot assume that we know what people would like to see from this project. For example, we cannot assume people would prefer to receive digital postcards more than they would like to have paper postcards in the mail. To have an understanding of the basic foundation to the service, we created a paper prototype.
Our paper prototype consists of postcards with excerpts of news that kids have written, either by themselves or with professional guidance from news organizations. We wanted to start testing the prototype in the news lab, so we put the postcards on a bulletin board and collected surveys with responses to the postcards. We also converted this prototype to a basic digital version with online surveys.
After more than a week of the initial tests within the news lab, we have learned more about our idea and our assumptions. For example, we learned that some people do like the news aspect of our product, while others think the content is too informational.
We have a better understanding of reactions to the content, the voice of the narrator, the subjects that potential users would like to read about and the comprehension of the content. Responses also guided us into understanding the product development, such as what readers look forward to learning about from this potential international postcard service.
The survey responses we received from the first week of testing in the lab have also informed us of the postcard service’s feasibility and viability as we are consistently creating new ideas and conducting research. Regarding feasibility, we are developing the product, learning the ways in which people access the news, and others’ opinions of the roles of nongovernmental organizations.
Regarding viability, we are conducting research to learn about our potential competitors. We are currently building upon our research by learning more about our target market and the target market’s interests, our competitors and their services and the operations of nongovernmental organizations.
User tests and prototypes benefit the development and research of our news prototype. A basic prototype has taught us about potential users’ opinions. As we continue to develop our product, we must remember the three aspects that our research and our service must cover: desirability, feasibility, and viability. By following these components of the prototype’s development, we can understand more about the potential users of our service and more about our service in general.