Thursday, April 04, 2024

Fake Door Testing in Web-Based Product Management: Sounds Odd or Negative, but can be Instrumental during Product Discovery


In highly competitive world of web-based products online, product management efforts step in to help make informed decisions about enhancements or creative ways to address issues. Sometimes you face an issue, but the solution isn’t obvious (no technical issues, no support tickets, performance charts appear ok, etc.) To get you unblocked fake door testing might help. It’s a powerful technique that allows product managers to validate ideas, understand customer needs, and gather insights before investing significant resources. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the fundamentals of fake door testing, its benefits, and how to run effective tests. 

Fake door testing in Product Management

What Is Fake Door Testing? 

At its core, fake door testing involves creating a landing page or feature that appears functional but doesn’t actually exist. Users interact with this “fake door,” providing valuable behavioral data. Let’s break it down: 

  1. 1. Setting the Stage: Imagine you’re considering a new feature for your web-based product. Instead of making large investments of time and money by building it right away, first you create a landing page or button that suggests the feature’s existence. 

  1. 2. User Interaction: When users click on the fake door (CTA button, in-app notification, or advertisement), they expect to access the feature. However, they’re redirected to a page revealing that the feature isn’t available yet. Sometimes you could offer the user to have pre-release access or preferred customer status. 

  1. 3. Data Collection: By tracking metrics like Click-Through Rate (CTR), you gain insights into user interest. High engagement indicates demand, while low engagement suggests reconsideration. 

Benefits of Fake Door Testing 

  1. 1. Early Validation: Before committing to development, fake door tests validate product or feature ideas. Avoid investing time and resources in concepts that might not resonate with users. 

  1. 2. Pricing Strategy Refinement: Test different pricing models through fake doors. Adjust pricing based on user responses, ensuring optimal market fit. 

  1. 3. Beta Tester Recruitment: Identify potential beta testers by observing who engages with your fake doors. These early adopters can provide valuable feedback during development. 

How to Run Effective Fake Door Tests 

  1. 1. Segment Your Audience: Define specific user groups for testing. Tailor fake doors to match their interests. 

  1. 2. Choose the Right Landing Page: Design a landing page that closely resembles the desired product or feature. Keep it simple and focused on one aspect to enable reliable tracking. 

  1. 3. Create Compelling Content: Craft persuasive copy and visuals. Clearly communicate the value of the feature, even if it’s not yet available. 

  1. 4. Track Success Metrics: Monitor CTR, engagement, and conversion rates using tools like Mixpanel. Use tools like Unbounce for landing pages or Figma for design. 


About the Author 

Dominik Ras, a seasoned product manager, brings a wealth of experience to the table. His certifications include Professional Scrum Master I and Professional Scrum Product Owner I. Dominik’s passion for innovative product development shines through in his work, and his commitment to customer-centric decision-making aligns perfectly with the principles of fake door testing. 

Remember, when it comes to web-based product management, sometimes the best doors are the ones that lead to insights, not fully built features. 

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