Is Your Hair on Fire? A Guide to Discovering User Problems

Resources & Guides
August 25, 2022

When building a product from scratch, rather than starting with solutions you want to start with problems.

What is the “hair on fire” problem I’m solving for someone—are they worrying about this all the time? Have they tried to solve it before? How much does it cost them to live with this problem in terms of time or money?

Hair on fire
Image credit: Magnify Consulting

The reality is all of us have 1000s of problems, small frictions and irritations, annoyances and abrasions in our lives—but there are very few that we prioritize and actually solve. If it’s not a hair on fire problem for your customers, chances are they won’t buy your product.

Is your hair on fire? 🔥

It’s not that hard to identify hair on fire problems—you can ask people what they are. The real magic lies in how you ask the question.

The last thing you want to do is to suggest the right answer to your customers, or hear them rave and rant about a problem for 30 minutes, without stepping back to find out—but does this really matter?

There are a few good ways to get this answer. To start with, don’t trust what people say. Trust what they do. Ask for evidence of past experience—did you care enough to solve this problem? Did you go looking for a solution? Did you hire someone to fix it for you?

Words just don't cut it by themselves.

Your Starter Discovery Question Guide

To get you kicked off, here’s the first ever User Interview Question Guide we set up at Looppanel. These are the very questions that helped us hone in on the problems our target customers cared most about, what they’d done to solve it, and why it really mattered to them.

Discovery Question Script


Pain Points

Existing Solutions

Wrap Up

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