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One of the challenges in modern fluorescence microscopy is to reconcile the conventional utilization of microscopes as exploratory instruments with their emerging and rapidly expanding role as a quantitative tools. The contribution of microscopy to observational biology will remain enormous owing to the improvements in acquisition speed, imaging depth, resolution and biocompatibility of modern imaging instruments. However, the use of fluorescence microscopy to facilitate the quantitative measurements necessary to challenge hypotheses is a relatively recent concept, made possible by advanced optics, functional imaging probes and rapidly increasing computational power. We argue here that to fully leverage the rapidly evolving application of microscopes in hypothesis-driven biology, we not only need to ensure that images are acquired quantitatively but must also re-evaluate how microscopy-based experiments are designed. In this Opinion, we present a reverse logic that guides the design of quantitative fluorescence microscopy experiments. This unique approach starts from identifying the results that would quantitatively inform the hypothesis and map the process backward to microscope selection. This ensures that the quantitative aspects of testing the hypothesis remain the central focus of the entire experimental design.