You had an idea and decided you want to build your own business based on your product idea. Let’s see how you can navigate the process of building your product in an efficient and smart manner.
Validate your idea
The first thing you need to do, the so-called 0 step, is to validate your idea.
Any experienced entrepreneur and best-practice guide will tell you that you don’t start building the app until you validate your idea. The efficiency and accuracy of your research and analysis will directly influence the success of the first version of your product.
Validating your idea is not a standard process, you can use various methods and tools; however, consider some recommendations:
Clearly define and start from the problem you want to solve (never start with your product backwards). What pain points of your targeted customers will you address? How big and important are those pain points? Are they painful enough to buy your product?
What is your target audience, what kind of customers will you address? What needs and objectives do they have? Research your customers, try to see their business through their perspectives.
- Don’t assume because you have experience in that particular industry or sector or type of business that your product will be automatically successful.
- Thoroughly analyze your competition, what they do, how they do it, what market feedback do they have.
- Get feedback on your idea. No matter the approach, ask your potential customers about your idea, analyze the feedback and adapt or move forward. No research is ever too much. Don’t’ fall in love with your idea.
The proof of concept (POC) methodology
The proof of concept method is all about testing if a particular concept is feasible from a technical perspective. The process targets to answer the question: can this be built? The proof of concept method enables you to break down product development in simple yes/no pilot projects to test the technical viability of your product.
If the results are negative, this is a great early-on signal to pivot your idea and product. Doing proof of concepts is a great way to test the idea before allocating significant resources to product development.
If you’re looking for a way to start your product creation that pays more attention to the users’ needs, you need a prototype.
Prototyping is a method of creating a new product and testing it before investing in development. In product development, a prototype is an interactive mockup of your product, built without a line of code, in which you can see screen designs of your product.
You must have speed in executing prototypes and be able to quickly decide which hypotheses to test, so that you use the feedback received into better designing the product and move to the next development stage on a healthier and less risky foundation.
How many types of prototypes are there?
There are different types of prototypes and you must work with the one that is most suitable to your goal and context.
1.Pen and paper prototype
No digital tools, we use pen and paper to sketch out the first iterations of your product. Paper prototypes are a great way to explore features and reach a better team alignment on the macro- level product.
2.Low fidelity, interactive prototype
A low-fidelity, interactive prototype – or a wireframe prototype – takes your product brief, or any paper prototypes you have on hand, and shows the product’s features and flows. We build it without focusing on colors, images or illustrations but on functionalities to highlight how the product would work in a real-life situation.
Wireframe prototypes are very helpful to test if:
- Users understand how to move across each screen?
- Users really use the product as intended?
- How do users feel about the UX?
The low-fi prototype is a great way to make changes with low costs.
3.High fidelity, interactive prototype
If your goal is to showcase and sell your idea and gather feedback, then a high fidelity, interactive prototype is the best approach. The interviewees will be able to see and interact with the app, thus providing really useful insights into the product.
In this case, a UI designer takes the flows, features and structures from the wireframe prototype and brings them to life by making the design look real: we decide on colors, photography and micro-interactions and animations (buttons changing color, screen swipes left or right etc.)
The Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
An MVP is an early version of a product that is created with minimum effort and development time. Ideally, we design the MVP after initial users leave their feedback about the product, taking into consideration only the main features so that they can explore the product.
An MVP is a basic form of your product, which you release into the market and use to gather insights about the product performance. Depending on the result, we can focus on improving it or adapting it.
An MVP helps to reduce the time you might need in the future for redoing or redesigning the product or its features. It also makes it easier to find and fix bugs at the early development stages. With an MVP you’ll have a clear overview of the things to improve, the product’s problems and the pain points for the potential users.
Why build an MVP?
Easy and cheap idea validation.
Rather than releasing a fully–developed product that has a full set of features you can start with building an MVP. It is the cheapest form of a product and requires minimum features to test the idea and therefore minimum time to build it. It represents a possibility to test and experiment at low risk and cost and therefore, allocate your resources wisely.
Proof of your Idea.
The MVP allows to demonstrate investors and stakeholders your idea and engage them into building the end-to-end product.
A flexible architecture allows adding new features and ideas fast and at low cost — we can quickly change an existing code base and improve the functionality. The product architecture should be scalable enough to implement changes based on user feedback.
Investor Expectations of an MVP.
The MVP helps showing investors the potential of your product so that you can obtain interest in starting funding discussions. The MVP results (feedback from the market, testing results, product feedback etc.) will show investors that your product is capable to generate revenue and therefore, worth investing in.
No matter what approach or tool you decide on when designing and developing your product, testing hypotheses, constant dialogue with users and speedy execution are a must.
Each method can help you gain valuable insights about your audience, business model and product early-on, that in the end will help you save costs and set healthy foundations for a successful business.