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How to build an MVP app

With literally millions of applications available in app stores, it is rather difficult to create a unique app and make it popular. However, most startups fail in the earliest stages. There can be various reasons behind it, but the fact remains the same – 21% of users abandon apps after the first use.

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    One of the effective ways you can test whether your idea will succeed is to build MVP app for it. If done right, it is cheap and easy to implement, and the benefits it provides far outweigh the resources you’ll spend on the development. What exactly does it help with and how to create MVP app properly? Let’s take a closer look and find out.

    How to Build MVP App

    What is an MVP and Its Benefits? 

    A minimum viable product is a version of your app that is stripped down to its core features. The main goals of an MVP app development are to test out the viability of your idea, get some basic feedback on it without committing a lot of resources needed for the full-blown app development. Some of the benefits you can gain for your project by launching MVP app are:

    1. Market Check of Your Idea 

    As we’ve mentioned, the mobile app market is saturated. To stand out from the crowd, you need to offer a truly unique experience that solves certain problems of your target audience. By introducing the well-developed MVP with core app features, you can test out whether it meets these criteria.

    If the minimum viable product succeeds on the market, the full app with the same core features will undoubtedly flourish as well. Besides, you will introduce your brand and become more familiar with the market as a whole, including your potential users and competitors.

    2. Early Product Testing 

    App development can be a convoluted and frustrating process. Especially if you’re trying to create a unique product, the challenges you and your team will face might stump you. Some mistakes and bugs will also occur inevitably.

    When you build MVP app, you will face a lot of the same major challenges as during the full app development. Identifying these challenges and making certain mistakes during this stage is much more forgiving and is even helpful for the project as a whole. The earlier you know about the obstacles, the better you can prepare for them.

    3. Budget Saving 

    Whether you like it or not, you need to be prepared for the failure of your project as one of the potential outcomes. The odds of it depend on a lot of factors, and a lot of them cannot be controlled. It is not an excuse for you to abandon your idea, but you need to be aware of the risks. 

    If you build MVP app, you might prevent a full-blown failure of your startup. Without MVP app development, in the worst-case scenario, you will lose all the resources you’ve spent on your app. On the other hand, if your MVP fails, you’ll still save most of the funds, and you’ll be able to make another attempt with modified functionality or with another project.
     

    How to Build MVP App

    4. Target Audience Defining and Feedback Gathering 

    Distinguishing your target audience and reaching out to them might be a challenging task, especially if you’re new on the market. However, gaining feedback from your potential customers is extremely important for the success of your product, as it is the best way for you to determine the direction in which to evolve and improve your application.

    MVP of your app will attract the active members of your target audience all on its own. While the feedback on just the core features is not as substantial as the feedback on the full app, it can still be helpful. Use it to your advantage as much as possible and communicate with users directly and openly.

    5 Steps to Take to Create an MVP

    Step 1. Conduct a Comprehensive Research

    The first step you need to take before development is the research. When it comes to MVP app development, you have to clearly define the problem that you want to solve with your app. Next, you need to find out who needs to solve that problem the most, thus defining your target audience.

     Another thing you need to research more is your competition. What makes your product different from what they can offer, and how can you improve upon the existing solutions?

    Step 2. Define the Core Features

    Once you’ve determined the problems you aim to solve with your application, it’s time to define the main features that will do the solving. While you might already have a plan for multiple other helpful components of your app, these features will be the core of your product, and they are the ones that need to be included in the MVP.

    If you’re struggling with choosing the core, remember that your product should be user-oriented. Focus on features that bring the most value to the user experience. Also notice that you shouldn’t spend too many resources on the MVP, yet the experience it delivers should be sufficient and reliable.

    Step 3. Outline the User Flow

    Now that the preparation steps are over, you can start the designing process. This step requires you to look at your product from the users’ perspective. You need to map out the journey they will make from launching your app to solving their task.

     You need to guide your customers through your app logically and intuitively. User flow usually consists of separate individual processes, and each of them needs to be examined both as separate actions and in relation to one another. Try to eliminate unnecessary steps and focus on the ones that don’t branch out and are more clearly related to the main goal.

    Step 4. Develop and Launch Your MVP

    If you have a clear user flow diagram on your hands, it’s time to build MVP app around it. Create a separate screen for each of the main processes and make it easy to navigate between them. As you want to reach as big of an audience as possible, cross-platform development is the better choice.

    The design of your MVP should not be distracting, so avoid complex elements, intricate screen transitions, and other intricate animations. MVP should still solve users’ needs and be engaging, so do not treat it as an incomplete product as well.

    Step 5. Gather Feedback and Iterate

    The last step is definitely not the least – after you launch your MVP it’s time to gather the reviews and impressions of your potential customers. This feedback will not only help you to measure the success of your idea, but also provide you with ways to improve it.

    Be prepared that not all feedback you’ll get will be helpful. You will need to analyze the data and pick out the most constructive ideas. After that, improve upon your MVP and test it out again. With such an iterative process, you might finally get to a full-fledged product.

    How to Determine if the MVP is Successful?

    How to Build MVP App

    Multiple metrics can be used to determine the success or failure of your MVP. Some of them are:

    • Number of Signups – how many users are there as a whole. The more new app activations there are, the more successful your MVP is. If the number does not rise, you might have a problem with your UI or you’re not marketing it to the right audience;
    • Churn Rate – naturally, there will be users that try out your app and drop it after a certain period. However, if multiple users uninstall the app at the same time, it might mean that there is something wrong with it. Churn rate is used to identify the surge of MVP drops, and it is calculated as a ratio between the number of users that have dropped an app during a certain period to the total number of users at the beginning of that period;
    • Monthly Revenue – how much money you gain from the MVP per month. Obviously, the more money you gain, the more successful the MVP is. Another metric that is often used interchangeably with this one is the average monthly revenue per user – the monthly revenue divided by the number of users;
    • Customer Acquisition Cost – how much does it cost to get a customer that pays you. This metric is calculated by dividing the money you spend on traffic by the number of users gained from said traffic. The lower this number is, the more successful your MVP is.

    Common Mistakes to Avoid During the MVP Development

    1. Overloading it or Under Developing

    Overloading MVP with features not only requires additional resources you might need later but also distracts from the core features you need to present to the user. Furthermore, MVP development should not take too long, so if you’re working on it for more than a couple of months – consider getting rid of some features. 

    Under developing your MVP is also a mistake. If the app is unusable, bugged, or does not serve any purpose, you won’t get any helpful feedback on it. Unfortunately, there is no precise method to determine, whether your MVP is the exact quality you need, no more and no less. That’s why you need someone on your team that has experience in such app development.

    2. Choosing the Wrong Core Features

    The core features you need to introduce with your MVP should not only solve a certain need but also be unique enough to distinguish you from other solutions on the market. If the product you offer does not do anything new, it will not spark any interest in your target audience.

     However, being unique does not always mean being good. If you focus too much on your unique selling points, you might clutter your MVP. You need to understand your product and how you want to present it, otherwise, you might create a wrong impression and gain a lot of useless feedback.

    3. Targeting the Wrong Audience

    In addition to the previous point, you should also understand your audience. If you sell market your product to the wrong audience, you won’t see any interest in your MVP, and the feedback you gain on it won’t be helpful.

    4. Various Feedback Errors

    As getting feedback is one of the main goals of developing an MVP, you need to do it right. If you don’t get enough feedback, you won’t have information to rely on when developing new features. If you get too much data, it might be hard to analyze it and pinpoint the important and helpful points among the less valuable data.

    There is also the problem of quantitative and qualitative feedback. The first focuses on the “How many?” question, the second is about the “Why?” question. Focusing too much on one or the other will create a distorted and not complete view of the MVP, so try to balance them out.

    How to Build MVP App

    5. Unqualified Development Team

    No matter how great and unique your idea is, and no matter how well you’ve planned it out, if it is not realized properly, your MVP will probably not be successful. It is not enough to have great tools; you need to have professionals wielding them.

    There are various ways you can find skilled people to help you to develop your idea into something bigger. From hiring an in-house team to turning to outsource, the possibilities are numerous. Choose the one that suits your project and budget.

    Final Words

    If done right, MVP is an effective tool for any app development project. There are cases where you can manage without it, but if you want to be sure of your success it is better not to avoid it. Multiple successful companies like Uber, Snapchat, and Spotify have used an MVP approach in one form or the other. So, join them and make your idea into reality right now.

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