Technology is taking over the world. Taking a quick look around us, we see digitalisation gaining more and more traction.
Even more today, in the light of the pandemic we’re experiencing, global businesses are looking to automatise their processes and replace humans with machines while offering online, technology-based services to their customers — and here’s where digital products enter the scene.
But how do you make sure that the product you build can sustain your business while generating income? And how do you fast, customer feedback-based releases?
At appssemble, we encourage all of our clients to first build an MVP for their product.
What is an MVP?
Eric Ries defined an MVP as that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort. This validated learning comes in the form of whether your customers will purchase your product.
One of the promises that lay under this definition is that after launching a minimum viable version of your product, you get to observe your customer’s behaviour with the digital product and collect feedback from the way they interact with it.
Note how less functionality does not mean poor quality. In fact, it is essential to know that in a relatively competitive digital world, to achieve customer traction, the software you build needs to be more than just a few lines of code well kept into a repository. It needs to create emotion, blend into the everyday environment, solve real-deal problems, and tell you a little story while it does all that.
The benefits of building an MVP
MVPs had their time of popularity in the startup world. Founders and new product builders all over the world are choosing Eric Ries's MVP to validate their ideas, accomplish the market fit, gather feedback from their customers and, why not, attract new investments. In short, an MVP is a great way to layout your business idea, and see if it works or not without investing a tone of money beforehand, which leads us to our first benefit of building a minimum viable version of your product first.
1. An MVP saves you time and money.
As a startup founder and new product builder, you can easily fall into the trap of adding too much functionality to your product before getting it on the market to have its first interaction with the users. This means that you can easily invest loads of money into something that hasn’t been tested, hence validated by the users.
Ideally, you would want to release the core features of the product, get them out to your beta testers, and continue with the roadmap of your product based on feedback. It not only saves you money but time as well.
2. An MVP will bring focus to your core value proposition.
Because an MVP brings restrictions when it comes to releasing entire sets of functionalities, it challenges you to think of the real problem the product is solving for its customers and the core value proposition of it.
3. An MVP helps you verify the market demand.
MVPs are renowned for helping business owners and startup founders test and validating their product idea. Bringing an ideology of only building core functionalities and being cautious with the money invested, and MVP will help founders achieve market fit while decreasing future investments in the product.
4. MVP’s provide an ideal framework for iterating the UI and UX of your product.
User Experience is crucial for the success of your product. Once you release an MVP on the market, you have the necessary amount of feedback to know what works and what doesn’t about the UX of your product.
How to build an MVP
Building an MVP started with a digital product idea that solves a real problem for its potential users. Once you have identified that you can start thinking of the functionalities of the web or mobile application you want to build.
At appssemble, we created a software development process that guides us when building new products and provides a tried and tested framework for building mobile apps in an agile manner and lean-approach.
1. Product Strategy
Product Strategy refers to the initial step of building any digital product. It is the right time to think of the problem your mobile or web app is solving for your customers, pitch your idea to friend and family and start collecting feedback, think of a monetisation plan, sketch your user persona and research your market. It’s important to make sure that the product you build not only collects data and delivers functionality but can also be used in your business’s economic advantage.
2. Create user stories and flows of your mobile application
Once you have identified the problem you are solving for your users, and have a clear idea of your potential users, move on to creating the user stories and flows of your mobile application. A user story should define the action of a user together with the purpose of it, and most of the time it has a structure that is similar to this one:
“As a [persona], I [want to], [so that].”
Breaking this down:
- “As a [persona]”: Who are we building this for? We’re not just after a job title; we’re after the persona of the person. Max. Your team should have a common understanding of who Tom is. Make sure you understand how your personal works, how they think and what they feel. Have empathy for Tom.
- “Wants to”: Here you want to describe Tom’s intent — not the features they use. What is it that Tom is actually trying to achieve? This statement should be implementation free — if you’re describing any part of the UI and not what the user goal is you’re missing the point.
- “So that”: how does Tom’s immediate desire to do something this fit into his bigger picture? What’s the overall benefit he is trying to achieve? What is the big problem that needs solving?
You can find out more about how to create user stories, here.
3. Mobile App Wireframing & UX Design
Having stated the user stories of your (mobile) application should give you enough information and structure to create a mindmap of the entire application flow.
Start by sketching the screens of your application, translating user stories into features and screens. Most of the initial wireframing that is done at appssemble looks like this:
After sketching the screens of your mobile application, we recommend having a UX designer help you translate everything into a digital format and give you input on your user flows.
Once the UX phase is done, and you have your digital high fidelity wireframes in place, create a functional prototype to get an even better idea of the application flow. At appssemble, we use InVision a digital product design platform that helps with new digital product design.
Remember that the UX phase is the best moment to iterate on the core functionalities and try out possible new ideas and concepts.
4. UI Design
Once you have agreed on the core functionalities of your app and have an agreed UX flow, you can move on to adding the brand to the User Experience.
5. MVP Development (Coding Time)
Exitiiiiing! It’s time to give life to your designs. Make sure you find a team of agile software developers that understand your business and know how to make technology work into your advantage while keeping the feasibility and scalability of your mobile application in mind.
It’s time to get your product out in the world. Pay attention to the feedback your early users provide, as this will be the cornerstone for further development.
Don’t forget to build, measure & learn.
While building an MVP, one of the most essential principles you need to follow is the build measure and learn loop. After you launched your product on the market, keep an eye on how users interact with it and collect all the feedback needed to iterate and enhance your product.
Curious to see some of the projects that we built and started out as MVPs? Go ahead and check out the appssemble mobile applications portfolio on our website.
Struggling to keep yourself motivated during this time? Don't forget that despite everything happening, some of today's greatest startups have been founded during the 2008–2009 recession: Airbnb, Pinterest, Slack, Square, Uber + WhatsApp Inc. All it takes to create a digital product that gets to the heart of the customers is a little bit of attention to your market's current needs and struggles. Spot them and bring on the solution!
🚀Ready to start working on your mobile startup? At appssemble, we help startups and businesses alike build digital products that get to the hearts of their user, and we’d love to hear more about your business idea.
🧐 Want to know more about what we do at appssemble? Go ahead and look through our website — it’s brand new, and we speak about how we help startups and global brands get to the ❤️ of their customers.