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How to Build an MVP App: The Definitive Guide 2024

So you have a fantastic idea, and you’re sure that it will attract enough attention to prosper. Great! Some testing still needs to be done, though, and you need a solid foundation for steady development without any sudden setbacks. Enter: MVP.

Scroll down to find all the information you need to know about MVP: benefits, types, costs, and stages of development. Let’s go!

Reading time: 9 minutes

Table of contents

Key takeaways

    • MVP, or minimum viable product, can help you validate ideas, attract initial investments, test your product in field conditions and establish a useful feedback loop with your customers. 
    • There is no single algorithm for how to build an MVP. You can choose from several options or even create a new one — it all depends on resources and preferences you have at the moment.
    • Development of an MVP usually costs about 56,000$, and the final price depends on the complexity of the app.

What is an MVP

A minimum viable product (MVP) is a barebone version of an app designed to showcase its main functionality. MVPs serve as vehicles for testing the viability of ideas and gathering feedback from target audiences. However, they’re not considered prototypes or first drafts — a proper MVP can actually be used in real-life scenarios and bring perceivable value to its users. 

What does MVP development help you achieve

In short: a lot. Minimum viable products help to attract initial investments, review your ideas in field conditions and establish a useful feedback loop with your customers. Let’s talk about all these points in more detail, so that you see why building an MVP might be a good idea for your startup.

Attract investments

Great projects require capital, and external funding is one of the best ways for startups to get it. The chances of running a successful campaign increase greatly with great presentation — and what better suits this purpose than an already functioning application? Stakeholders are more likely to support your project if they see a clear presentation, and minimum viable products help achieve exactly that.

See how your target audience reacts

A lot of businesses fail because there is no demand in the market — what initially seems like a fantastic idea may turn out to be unwanted or simply inconvenient and frustrating. This is why it is crucial to keep in touch with your target audience right from the very beginning of the project. This way, you will monitor the viability of your ideas and solutions in real-time, saving time and money from chasing abstract goals. One of the key advantages of minimum viable products is that they allow your audience to interact with the product and give useful feedback.

Reduce the risks

Entrepreneurship is risky. Virtually any idea can fail due to various factors: inviability, poor technical execution, or ineffective marketing campaigns. Risk management is part of the process, and it is important to leave room for possible losses. Minimum viable products provide a perfect space for cautious experimentation and testing. In case the project fails at this MVP stage, it will not drag its creators into a financial sinkhole — unlike a fully-developed app that has suddenly proved unsaleable without the team behind it ever foreseeing such a turn of events.

Review your UI/UX solutions in field conditions

We have already discussed field-testing the idea as a whole, but a brilliant idea alone is not enough for a project to succeed. It also needs flawless execution — and UI/UX components are a crucial part of this. So, keeping yourself updated on what is convenient and expected is a must throughout the entire development process. This applies to the whole range of UI/UX solutions: from user flow to the positioning of the burger menu. The MVP approach makes it possible to exchange ideas, receive handy feedback, and shape the app in accordance with what the users want.

The MVP must fulfill only the basic function

3 benefits of MVP development

Some other pleasant bonuses that come together with huge opportunities for development and cooperation:

1. It saves money

Instead of working on every single feature at once, with all the resources that you have, you strip the product down to its essence and develop only a few select aspects. Obviously, this is much cheaper than trying to launch another Instagram from scratch. 

2. It’s quick  

For the very same reasons described above you can have a marketable minimum viable product in three months’ time — compare this to a year or two required to build an app with every single feature (and there are a lot of them) working properly. It allows users to have a hands-on experience with your app.

Creating any service in isolation is a bad idea — both developers and their audiences benefit from cooperation. An idea might seem perfect when you consider it from the perspective of a developer, but it may turn out irrelevant when you bring it to the public. In addition, cooperating with the audience can shed light on design issues that were not apparent at first.

3. It creates a solid base for gradual development 

Once you have launched and field-tested a minimum viable product for some time, you can relax a bit (but not too much!). You know whether the original idea is worth pursuing and it is much more clear what direction the project should go in. With an MVP, you get two important things: definite goals and an understanding of what the target audience really wants. Now all you have to do is try to stay on course and update the app while staying in touch with its end-users.

The benefits of an MVP

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MVP Development in 9 Steps

OK, so now you know what an MVP is — now, let’s dive into how to actually build one. Note that we’re talking exclusively about how things work here at Purrweb — we can’t guarantee that other agencies work the same way.

Step 1. Conduct market research

Knowledge is power. And this power comes with market research. An entrepreneur should always understand market demands, define target audience, and be aware of the competition. Think about what makes your product different from the existing solutions and how can you improve upon them. 

Step 2. Define the MVP features of your product

Once you’ve conducted market research and know what problems your future product aims to solve, determine what features will comprise the core of your app — this is what your MVP will revolve around. In order to do that, put yourself in the position of the end-user to better understand what they want and how they want it done.

Step 3. Design the UI/UX aspects

Now it’s time to actually define what your product will look like and how the end-users are going to experience it. This step requires you to define the customer journey. What will they see first? Where will they want to go next? How can you take them there in the most convenient way? The user flow should be intuitive and straightforward with no unexpected turns. Try not stray too far from the core feature — remember that it is the reason your app will be downloaded for.​​

Bad UI/UX vs. good

Step 4. Create a prototype

Prototype and an MVP are not the same thing. Imagine an MVP as a slice of freshly baked pizza; it’s a tasty meal with all the essential ingredients like cheese, sauce, and toppings. While a prototype is like a beautifully detailed picture of that pizza, that gives you a clear idea of how it will look and what ingredients it will have, but you can’t actually eat or taste it.

The same way we sketch the MVP before we build it into a full-fledged product.

Step 5. Choose the tech stack and develop MVP

At this stage, the team starts the MVP development process. Developers choose tech stack, and code features, with a focus on how users can interact with the product, provide feedback, and validate its value.

A coherent user flow? Check. Tasty design? Check. Seems like it’s time for the minimum viable product development to begin. The task here is to create one or several screens for the main processes and make it easy to navigate between them. As you want to reach as wide an audience as possible, cross-platform development is the better choice — this means simultaneously coding for Android and iOS. Keep in mind that design is just a tool — avoid making it too complex or distractive and don’t stuff the app with tons of flashy animations and transitions.

See also  Cross-Platform and Native Mobile App Development: How to Choose

Step 6. Test the MVP and get rid of the bugs

In the testing phase of the MVP development process, development teams actively evaluate a functional, market-ready product through various types of tests. These include unit tests, integration tests, and sometimes even user acceptance testing (UAT), where real users engage with the MVP to assess its usability and performance.

When the team finds issues and bugs, they employ debugging tools and diagnostics to pinpoint the root causes. After that, developers implement fixes — sometimes code adjustments, data updates, or configuration changes. 

At this stage, the most important thing is good communication between developers and testers to ensure that the bugs are not just found, but fixed. If you launch a raw MVP, full of issues, you won’t get a second chance. That’s why everyone should be on the same wavelength when the team builds and tests an MVP.

Step 7. Prepare and launch MVP

The launch of an MVP is the first contact of the product with the real world. Think about this: you’re about to launch a new app. During the testing and development stages, the app worked well in controlled environments. But only after the release you’ll encounter real scenarios with various user devices, network conditions, and unpredictable behaviors.

In this real world, MVP can experience issues like server crashes, unexpected bugs, or scalability challenges. They can disrupt user experiences and damage your brand’s reputation. 

Based on our experience, things rarely go as planned. Therefore, you need to be prepared to address and resolve challenges during the launch, and make sure the product meets user expectations and delivers a seamless experience. A successful release sets the tone for the future of the MVP, the brand and the fully-functional app.

See also  What Is MVP in a Startup?

Step 8. Gather feedback and iterate

So the long-awaited MVP is finally out there. Congratulations! The work is far from being done, though. To bring your product to perfect condition, you need to cooperate with the people who actually use it. Establish proper channels of communication and listen to what they have to say. Bear in mind that not all feedback is helpful and parts of it may even be counterproductive — you want to focus on the more constructive side of the incoming messages. Once you’ve filtered the incoming flow, start implementing the best suggestions.

Step 9 (bonus). Repeat step 5 until done 

You’ve arrived at the development process loop. Now the task is to steadily flesh out the product and gradually implement your vision with help from the audience. This step actually goes beyond the scope of MVPs, so we’ll stop right here.

MVP creation process

How much does MVP development cost

MVP product development usually costs about 56,000$. This sum includes:

Stage Approx. in weeks Approx. costs
Project analysis 1 $1,000
UI/UX design 4 $5,400
App development 9 – 10 $36,000 – $40,500
QA Testing concurrently with the development $5,400 – $6,000
Project management during the whole project $3,950 – $4,100

The cost strongly depends on the complexity of the app in question. Read our article, if you would like to learn more about how much does it cost to make an app.

Let’s start building your MVP today!
We can create your MVP in 4 months, and it’ll cost you around $40,000. So contact us and get a free project estimation in 48 hours.
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Purrweb’s approach to MVP product development

Our specialty is serving clients who want to develop an MVP for their big concept. To better understand our approach, you need to know about 3 pillars we base it on.

1. UX driven development 

Everything we do is for an end-user to be comfortable, engaged and entertained. We prioritize user experience (UX) during planning and development. 

We start the MVP process with a user-journey map of a product, where we think about needs, preferences and pain points of actual customers.

Of course, we consider your business goals and technical capabilities too, in order to create a win-win situation for everyone. Here is an example.

Imagine, you request an MVP for a social media platform. Your goal is to boost ad revenue, and you want to introduce autoplay video ads, but users find them disruptive. 

You can take a UX-driven approach with MVP, listen to user feedback, offer ad preferences, introduce less intrusive ad formats, and increase satisfaction. Or you can ignore feedback and drive users away to other platforms.

2. Process transparency

At Purrweb, we break down a big MVP project into smaller parts and work in sprints that usually last for 2 weeks. For each sprint, we plan a handful of tasks and assign responsible team members. At the end of each sprint, we report to you what has been done and the current status of the MVP project.

This way, you don’t have to wonder what Purrweb is up to right now, because you regularly get updates from our project manager.

If you need more details, we can always give you access to watch a project board and check the updates in real time. It’s an option when you work with us, but we bet you have more important things to do.

3. Flexible collaboration models

Developing an MVP is important, and we know that. That’s why we offer flexible collaboration models, such as outsourcing and outstaffing services.

Outsourcing Outstaffing
And external team gets hired to handle specific tasks or projects Remote engineers are added to your in-house team, typically on a long-term basis as an extension of the existing team

In addition to different collaboration models, our team works with different budgets and can accommodate any MVP project request. We can help you narrow down a feature list and focus only on essential features to cut costs of the development. 

Have an MVP idea in mind and want to know how much it will cost? Get in touch with us to get an estimate.

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