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The success of your business will hinge upon how well your product achieves these two standards; you absolutely need to execute both well.

But it important to highlight the differences between these two features. A common trap is that entrepreneurs will think that if their product is usable, it must have a strong fit to its market. This is not necessarily true. While usability might be a part of your product’s value proposition, other elements will be included in your market fit as well. Those other product characteristics need to be considered and evaluated as well. Some entrepreneurs will focus exclusively on usability and will develop a product that never fits with their market, leading to a failed business.

 

Product-Market Fit

In short, product-market fit defines the niche in which your business operates. Just as a fish wouldn’t last long in the desert, your product won’t last long if you don’t put it in the right circumstances.

For a more business specific definition, product-market fit is about how useful your product is to your target market and whether they are willing to pay for it. Something with a good product-market fit satisfies a need that a customer might not even know they have. The product saves them time or makes their production process better or improves the quality of their own product or service. A product with a good market fit is something that, once a customer tries it, becomes so indispensable that they can’t imagine trying to do their job or lives their lives without it. As a result, they are willing to pay dearly for it. That is how you build your business.

 

Usability

Usability is about how well your product thrives in its niche. Being in the right environment is not enough; your product has to be optimised so that it takes advantage of all that space has to offer.

Usability measures how well someone can make your product do what it is supposed to do. A website with high usability is easy to navigate. You can find all the information you are looking for easily, and with very few clicks. The most important, most often used information and functions are located in places where the average user looks the most. For the user, it is almost like the site is clairvoyant; as soon as you have a thought of something you might need to do, it appears in your eye line.

 

Comparison Between the Two

By now you should be able to see why you need both and the difference between the two standards. An easy to use product that does not address the needs of the market is not something anyone will pay for, but something that everyone needs but no one can use will actively alienate your potential customers.

 

Tying this back to our MVP discussions, you should use the low-fidelity portion of your development process to address all of your market fit concerns. Ensure that you are building something people need. Once those questions are addressed, move on to developing your high fidelity MVPs and focus on usability questions. Learn how to develop products people both need and can use, and you will always be able to make money. You will always have a successful business.

 

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Originally published April 29, 2017, updated April 9, 2018