Getting off to a lean start: MVPs in Mobile Development
Launching a mobile application is not a quick process. Finding a concept, creating functionality, developing design, programming, testing – it all takes time and money. What if the company is young and still afraid to invest a lot of money in a mobile application? If there is little time to start because the investor is waiting and wants to see the project in action? When there is no certainty that such a product will appeal to the audience at all?
These doubts are no reason to postpone the realization of the idea until better times. You can start with the minimum viable product (MVP) version – an easy start with relatively small investments and minimal risks. This format will show if the application has prospects, in which direction to develop it. And if the startup idea turns out to be unprofitable, the customer will not suffer major financial losses.
How MVP Works in Mobile Development
MVP in mobile development is an application with a minimum required set of features that solve basic user tasks. There are no complex design elements and additional features that are not needed at the first stage of work. Nothing superfluous – only the most important options for the realization of basic user scenarios. Let’s look at the advantages of this format and the possibilities MVP offers.
Start with minimal cost
MVP is a rare case where the concepts of “fast” and “inexpensive” are perfectly combined. Fewer features and sections means less time spent on design, interface development, and programming. This is an important advantage, especially if you need to get to market faster – for example, if the product is trendy or in seasonal demand. If you choose the right concept for an application, it will “shoot” even in a minimal version.
Startup development is an unstable process, and many changes are made literally on the fly. It is only after the product is launched and metrics are analyzed that it becomes clear whether the application concept is the right one. Based on the results of the analysis, it is necessary to make changes, adjust the structure and functionality, and think about scaling directions. In this way, you can test multiple hypotheses to find favorable paths and development scenarios.
Development and Scaling
If an application is created in MVP version, changes and adjustments are quite painless, not requiring extraordinary financial investments. Experiments and creative searches become safer for the fate of the project. By the time the application acquires a fully functional format, it has already passed all the stages of testing, analytics and adjustments. All that remains is to add “embellishments” and work out the details more deeply – this is easy when there is a solid foundation, high-quality and tested in every possible way.
Analyze feedback from CA
At the development stage, you can only predict in theory how the target audience will feel about the application and whether there will be demand for it. Launching an MVP allows you to move from theory to practice – to analyze real feedback from users, their complaints and requests for technical support. As long as the application is working in its basic version, it is easy to respond to such signals – add new functionality, make the interface more user-friendly, and get rid of unsuccessful solutions.
What is more persuasive to an investor – a beautifully presented idea for a cool application, or a basic but working version of the product that you can test yourself, read reviews, and see user ratings? Obviously, the second option. After all, a working MVP allows you to work with real numbers, push buttons, and see the application in action – to evaluate the finished product, not prototypes, predictions, and assumptions.
There are several ways to monetize an app – paid subscriptions, internal purchases, display ads. If the product is completely free, it will also help you earn money after launch – to promote your brand, optimize workflows, generate sales, and more. By releasing a minimal MVP version, you can start reaping financial benefits as soon as possible, giving you more resources and inspiration to continue developing the app and the business in general.
Examples of MVP applications for various businesses
For a better understanding, here are examples of mobile apps in MVP version for different business niches:
- For the clinic. In the first stages – an application with a catalog of services and doctors with an online appointment form. Further development – a patient’s personal cabinet, electronic health card, automatic appointment confirmation, chat and video consultations, medical directory, health calendar, service calculator, etc.
- For a restaurant. You can start by creating an electronic menu with a feedback form. And then expand the functionality to an automated service with a food catalog, shopping cart, online payment, interactive table reservation system, information section, and loyalty program tools.
- For Hotel. In the MVP version you can limit yourself to a catalog of apartments with an online booking form. Gradually add online payment, 3D tours, ordering additional services, detailed search filters, calendar, chat with the administrator, integration with CRM, etc.
- For transportation companies. The MVP application’s MVP client interface includes a service catalog and order form. It then adds a real-time vehicle tracking map, cost calculator, online payment, chat with a dispatcher, and other useful options.
- For online stores. Basic MVP version – product catalog with search and shopping cart. As development progresses, online payment, automated order processing, warehouse accounting, delivery tracking, bonus system, feedback section, website integration and much more will be added.
- For job search. The first version may contain only a job catalog and an application form. In the future, a resume builder, a portfolio section, a rating and feedback functionality, a video link for interviews, etc. will be created.
- For courses and training. For the MVP format, all you need is a list of training materials with a quick registration form that collects contact information. Then add Internet payment, chat rooms, online seminars, personal learner accounts, and progress tracking.
Application MVP Development Process
MVP should go through several stages of adjustment, but this does not mean that the first version can be an open “raw” product. The basic set of functions and UI/UX parameters must meet the market requirements and the needs of the target audience, as well as not lose against the background of competing applications. To this end, preliminary analysis is conducted:
- Niche analysis – general market picture, product demand, level of competition;
- Audience analysis – basic needs, pain points, problems, characteristics of potential users (age, gender, income level, education, occupation, interests, etc.);
- Analyze direct and indirect competitors – similar applications operating in the relevant niche;
- SWOT analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the future application, assessment of internal and external threats and opportunities.
Without deep analytics, the app concept must be searched blindly, and MVP development runs the risk of stalling or driving developers in circles.
Based on the results of the analysis, we get a detailed portrait of the target audience, the pros and cons of competitors, and clearly delineated market development trends. Based on this, we can create the concept of the application – choose the functions, structure and interface style. The list of functions that seem important should be filtered and only those without which the application loses its meaning should be left.
The same goes for UI/UX elements – the interface should be user-friendly and efficient, but without unnecessary elements that add no practical value to the application. User scenarios should be simple and obvious, and the user’s path to the desired action should be short and intuitive.
Once the structure, design, and functionality are agreed upon, the project moves into the development phase. To save time and resources, you can choose the MVP format of a hybrid cross-platform product, built simultaneously for both iOS and Android operating systems.
Measure success and develop MVPs
After publishing an app to the App Store and Google Play stores, the most responsible phase begins – testing, analyzing, and improving the product. Which metrics to analyze:
- Audience feedback – in-store reviews, technical support contacts, social network comments, survey results, in-store ratings and reviews;
- Behavioral factors, the level of user engagement;
- The dynamics of growth of the application downloads;
- Number of registrations;
- Rejections, deletions, user churn;
- Conversion rates;
- Cost per lead;
- Monthly revenue – total and per user;
- Percentage of active users;
- Advertising effectiveness;
- Bug test results.
This type of analysis is performed with each subsequent update: dynamics are monitored and indicators are compared. In this way, you can clearly see if the project is moving in the right direction. Gradually, the MVP becomes more solid – the number of features, sections, and original design solutions increases. Each subsequent update is clearly justified and therefore less risky.
Tips for Creating a Quality MVP
Sometimes customers worry that the MVP format won’t allow them to make a strong statement in the marketplace, that the limited functionality will make the application cumbersome or insufficiently useful. But it is important to understand: MVP is a high-quality minimal version, not a simplified low-end product built on its knees.
“Minimally viable” is not the same as “minimally useful” or “minimally high quality. An MVP has well-designed functionality that is sufficient to solve basic problems-nothing more, nothing less. Here are some tips for ensuring product viability and laying the groundwork for further development:
- Solve user problems. You should see the problems, highlight the main ones, and offer the simplest possible solution by creating convenient user scenarios. If the product is valuable to the target audience, it will be in demand, even in a minimal version.
- Get your priorities right. Among several features, only 1-2 are the main ones, the rest are secondary. Even if the secondary features seem very interesting, leave them for later. Prioritize the essentials, without which the application simply loses its meaning.
- Ensure the quality of development. A minimum viable product implies economy, but not on technical indicators. In all versions, at all stages of development, the application should be productive, reliable, fast and without failures.
- Balance UI/UX. In the early stages you can reject complex design elements, but it is worth laying the foundation of style and ergonomics from the very beginning. Let the design be simple, but comfortable, pleasant, understandable. And most importantly, it should solve the user’s tasks and lead him to the desired action.
How do you do all this with minimal manpower, find reserves for sure savings, combine speed and quality so that the user does not suspect that he is dealing with an MVP? This is the skill of experienced KitApp developers who understand mobile applications of any complexity and can take a project from the initial MVP stage to an undisputed niche leader.