Nobody can guarantee that our mobile app will be successful once it is launched on the market, but this doesn't mean that we don't have the tools to test, evaluate and comprehend our project before it's officially launched so that we can optimize our chances of success.
In these terms, one of the most testing tools in our hands as mobile app developers is an MVP, Minimum Viable Product. With an MVP, you can test your idea and your app's features to check how your audience reacts to it, how they experienced it, and if and how the project can be improved before launch.
In this article, we're exploring what the MVP is and how you can use it to improve your project, and we're also going through the MVP development process so that you can understand how you can design and build your Minimum Viable Product.
What is a Minimum Viable Product?
A Minimum Viable Product is a minimal version of the product you are developing that you can use to be tested on the market. A viable product MVP can be used in any field, and it can bring the same advantages: the MPV would be released to a group of people that are a representation of your target audience (for example, if your targeted audience is 'teenagers', you'll be distributing you Minimum Viable Product to a group of teens).
This practice can let you learn about how the public reacts to the new product, how they are using it, and if and how your expectations are confirmed or denied.
What Does A Viable Product Mvp Look Like?
We've mentioned that the MVP is a minimal form of your product, but what does it mean?
With the MVP, you are developing only the core functionalities of your product so that it can become a sort of a basic model capable of fulfilling the primary goal you want to achieve. If, for example, you want to launch an app that solves a particular issue for its users, the MVP should provide this capability, but it can be free of any additional feature or any element.
Mvp Development Process And Mobile App Development
The MVP development process is particularly important in the mobile app development field. Mobile apps are products (and services) provided to users so that they can fix an issue or fulfill a need. The Minimum Viable Product is the ideal test to check the app's core functionalities and collect feedback from your targeted audience.
In this field, an MVP is a very basic version of the app you are building. It has all the core functionalities and minimum features. Still, it needs to make the audience able to use it for its purpose because this is the most effective way of collecting their feedback.
In this section, we are exploring how to define, framework, and build minimum viable products for your app with a detailed step-by-step guide. An MVP app might have limited features, but it doesn't mean that the product development process should be underestimated: the choices you make in the planning stages will depend on the quality and relevance of your feedback.
How To Build Minimum Viable Product: A Step-By-Step Guide
Not only does the MVP development process start with market research, but your entire app development project should start with it.
Market research is what allows you to understand who are the people that are going to need your app and how to reach them. Ask yourself, who are these people? What kind of device and platform do they use more often? What do they need? What do they want?
Of course, other than asking yourself these questions and reflecting on them, you want to actually ask them: run market research with surveys and by asking direct questions. In 2022, this phase is made particularly easy thanks to social media. With them, you can reach tons of people and ask for their opinion for free and with minimum effort on their side.
At the end of your research, you'll be able to identify your targeted audience with precise parameters (age, gender, social status, job, expertise, hobby…). Now you can use this information to provide them with the service/product they need.
Narrow down your ideas
When you develop your minimum viable product, you are narrowing down your app to its core. Therefore, you need to be well aware of what its core is. This step and the following will help you get there.
At this stage, it's important that you narrow down your ideas about your app. Ask yourself:
- What is the need/problem that my app is solving/fulfilling?
- Who is going to use my app, and how?
- Why would they choose my app over dozens (if not hundreds) of others?
Define the feature list
This step also helps you narrow down to the core of your mobile app and MVP development process, but from a more technical point of view.
With the answers you've given in the previous step, now it's time to define what kind of features should be provided to the user. In other terms, if you should answer those questions with mobile app features, which ones would you pick?
The features you pick here are the ones that should be implemented in your Minimum Viable Product.
Map out the user flow
It's important that your MVP product development is built around your users and their experience. One of the most effective ways of making sure that your users will have a good experience is by mapping down their journey as users.
What are the steps they're going to take from the moment they open the app to the one when they achieve their goal? When you've mapped everything down (visually), you can have a better comprehension of how their experience can be improved. For example, you could realize that you've designed a three-step process for performing an action that would only require one.
Once your user flow map is reduced to the bone, you have obtained the framework for your viable product MVP.
Build a minimum viable app
Only this is the time for MVP building: the previous steps should be the foundation for the building phase that begins now.
This is the actual MVP development process when developers and UI techs are at work. Keep in mind, in this phase, that a minimum viable product is not a lower-quality version of your product. Quality must always be a priority; you are only reducing your idea to its core, your mobile app to its core functionalities.
Launch the Minimum Viable Product app
When the MVP product development is completed, you are ready to launch your MVP mobile app.
This is also a step that requires some planning: more than planning, this is when marketing and communication skills kick in the successful building MVP process. Your marketing strategies should be targeted at the same segment as your viable product MVP is aimed at.
Collect and analyze feedback
No, the MVP product development process doesn't end with the launch of the minimum viable product. On the contrary, this step can be considered the most important.
Now it's the time in your MVP product development journey when you need to collect feedback from your audience.
You should try to collect both qualitative and quantitative feedback.
Qualitative feedback is made by opinions shared by users: why are they using the app, why do they like it, why are they not liking it, and how would they improve it.
Quantitative feedback should comprise measurable and comparable data: for example, the number of users under 18 that are using the app, what functions are most being used according to numbers, and more…
During this phase, another important data that you should collect is how users come to know about your app: it can give you important marketing insights.
Collecting data isn't, of course, enough: your success building MVP process requires that you analyze those data and take powerful insights from them on how you can keep on improving your mobile app.
MVP product development: is it only a test?
The MVP is part of your product development process, not only as a test. In fact, the purpose of the viable product MVP is also to show your app's potential to investors. You can show both the app's core features and how they work and the users' feedback. This way, finding people willing to invest their money in your project can become a lot easier.
Last but not least, in some cases, the MVP can also become the basis upon which you develop the final mobile app.
The time for MVP building you spend is an essential part of your product development process. With our guide, we hope that, other than providing you with the knowledge to build the Minimum Viable Product for your mobile, we've also helped you understand its importance and how, if performed with care and attention, it can lead to professional and successful results.