Apps such as Uber, Twitter and Instagram, many believe, gained worldwide popularity and thousands of users in a very short time. But that is not the case. Each were once primitive apps that no one had heard about. Can you remember what these apps looked like at the beginning?
“Ideas don’t come out fully formed. They only become clear as you work on them. You just have to get started. If I had to understand everything about connecting people before I began, I never would have started Facebook.”
How to “get started”?
By launching your app MVP style. A Minimum Viable Product is a version of the product which includes only the features that allow you to release it to market, that solve a core problem for a set of users. The goal is to provide immediate value, quickly, while minimizing development costs.
As many as 80 percent of all mobile apps that hit the marketplace never see a return on development investments. User interface issues, performance problems, and other issues are more often found by users than by the testing and development team.
There are major benefits to launching your app with this iterative process over the all or nothing approach:
Core set of functionalities test key business concepts early on
The MVP allows you to get a version of your app to market early to test your business concept. Offering the core set of features rather than a full-blown, feature-heavy app can help you test your product, gather user feedback, and get your product to market quickly while keeping costs down.
Win over investors
MVPs are initial installments of what is to be a larger, more complex product. The more features added and the more resources required to build up the app, the higher the cost. MVPs allow you to demonstrate the market validity of a product and create a business case for investing more into its development. Therefore, if you are seeking funding from stakeholders – whether from within an organization or from external investors – you have a strong, viable product ready that will strengthen your position.
Iterative process allows for innovation
Since a Minimum Viable Product entails going to market with core features and functionalities, it allows you to begin building up a user base and gain insight into what works and what does not. This is vital information as it allows product teams to use data to make decisions on future iterations of the product, including what other features to add, what aspects will help increase sales/ROI, and exactly where you should allocate budget.
Mature apps (like Twitter) are the result of years of development, with the price tag to match. But because these apps were created iteratively over a longer period, the cost is spread over time, often with a reinvestment of the revenue generated from earlier versions.
MVPs allow you to take the same approach by driving the highest value for your business, within the shortest amount of time while minimizing cost. Providing immediate value is at the center of releasing the MVP, and as you gain more users and gather more information to inform the direction of the product, you can begin to invest more (and more intelligently).
The Minimum Viable Product approach for app development allows you to start smaller and iteratively build up to produce a better, more polished product – all in a way that allows you to leverage user intelligence to make the best product decisions. With every release version, the product evolves to maximize ROI and move towards a fully mature application.
Some basics to help get you started
- Create the super set of product features/ functionality, with everything you want to have in your product as features/ flow/ functionality.
- Identify the prime USP features of your product that you will want to have in first version. Identify the next important features, and then the “nice to have” features.
- Estimate cost, or get quotes from competent third party developers. Discuss technologies options with the developers as well.
- Hire the developer, or a team best matching to your requirements.
Are you looking for a team of mobile application developers who can produce a prototype to cut costs and improve the UX of your mobile app?
Menlo Technologies is a global services company specializing in web and mobile technology. We’re leaders in high quality iOS and Android application development.