Minimum viable product (MVP) design: how to validate your ideas fast and blow the market?
In this article, we will take a closer look at the advantages of the MVP approach for your business and figure out the specifics of the MVP design process.
What is an MVP, and how it can help in software development
If you have an idea for a business, you need to validate and test it as soon as possible. The market is growing too fast and new products appear every day. If you want to test your idea fast, instead of developing a complete product, it is better to create an MVP. This approach allows you to develop a product with basic functionality without spending a lot of time and money on it. By prioritizing the features, you save time and budget on development—as a result, you reach the market faster and get feedback from the first users.
As we said, new products come to the market every day, but, for a variety of reasons, not all of them achieve success. The key problem many young entrepreneurs face is that their product does not meet the users’ needs. As of 2021, 20% of startups fail in the first year, 50%—within five years, and 65%—within ten years. So it’s better to test hypotheses with an MVP before making a full-fledged product.
Let’s see the benefits of the MVP development in more detail, and then let’s break down the MVP design process
Lower production costs. By demonstrating the basic functionality of the app, the MVP helps you save resources on design and development. As if Uber was just a button to call a cab, without driver tracking on the map and chat. By the way, that’s how it was at the beginning:)
Quick idea validation. There is no point in guessing if an idea is a good one. A proven way is to release the product and gather feedback from users. The MVP allows you to quickly develop the first version of the product and to launch it faster. The sooner it goes on the market, the sooner you’ll know if the idea is worth further investment, or come up with something new.
Path to investors. If you want to get funding for your project, you can go to investors. You can write letters or speak at conferences, explaining in words what a badass product you’ve come up with. But the finished first version of your product, which already has users, is more convincing than any words could be.
One of the important parts of MVP development is a user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design. An appealing user interface design attracts users, while a smart design of user interface helps turn them into loyal customers. So where does a good product MVP design start?
The MVP design process in software development
The design process doesn’t really start with a design in the usual sense. To ensure a good user experience design for your MVP, you need to do something else before.
Market analysis: The simplest and most logical thing to start a market analysis with is to look at competitors’ products. Designers look at the products and assess their usability. Is it convenient to use the application? How many steps do the users have to take before reaching the endpoint? What might they stumble on? Competitors’ products help you figure out which good solutions already exist and which are not worth your attention. Analyzing the market helps you discover a better MVP development strategy. To paint a portrait of your target audience, a variety of techniques can be used: including surveys, focus groups, interviews, as well as user stories that help figure out how exactly users interact with the product. For example, in pizza ordering app, it is better when the user opens the application and goes straight to the menu. Thus, the user will reach the end goal, to order a pizza, faster. Having analyzed the market, the designer creates user stories in order to determine the number of steps users take to get to the end goal. The structure of the app turns into a step-by-step path for each role in the system.
Creating wireframes and prototypes: In this step, the designer creates information structure and wireframes. In the wireframes, the choice of font or color does not matter, this version of the site is closer to a draft than a finished product. The wireframes are aimed at presenting all the necessary content that goes into the interface. A number of factors should be considered, including space allocation, navigation, section separation, etc. Once ready, the wireframes can be transformed into a prototype—at this stage, customers can try the product at work for the first time and assess it.
UI design: Once user scenarios are done, wireframes are thought out, and layouts are agreed upon with the client, it’s time to get down to the fun part! Colors, fonts, animations, and styles—all these are involved in the MVP product design. The visual part is the first thing that attracts the app users. If you want a food delivery app, for example, it’s important to make sure that the photos used are of high quality and that the colors match well with the products that will be presented in the app. For inspiration, you can look for examples of shots and finished apps on Dribbble or Behance.
Testing is an important step in the design process because it helps understand if the design works for users. At this stage, the team tests the product with both stakeholders and end-users. Through the testing phase lies the path to providing users with a better user experience. What are some testing methods?
A/B testing: The designer creates two versions of the app design and compares the results of how users interact with both of them. It takes the guesswork out of deciding what will work best: instead of hoping you choose the best version, you have accurate data to confirm which version works better.
Usability testing: Testing, where users can try the product in real-time, lcan answer many questions, including the following:
★ Do the objectives of the tested product meet the customer’s requirements?
★ Is the navigation convenient?
★ Is the functionality understandable for users?
★ What bugs can appear when using the product and how to fix them?
In the MVP design, it is crucial to remember that user experience is just as important as a pretty interface. When we go into an app, we don’t think much about the steps we take, it happens intuitively. That’s what a good UX designer’s job is all about.
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