What is a MVP app? Examples of Minimum Viable Products

“Have you heard the concept of MVP or Minimum Viable Product?” is one of the first questions we ask most of our clients and many prospective clients haven’t. So, I’d like to explain what MVP means and why the concept of MVP is very important.

Minimum Viable Product is more of a concept than a specific process or technique. The idea is to bring a product to market as soon as possible and get real people using it. Once people start using it, you gather data and based on the analysis you iterate or add new features based on real user feedback instead of assumptions.

Now, alot of times clients ask me, how much time it will take an app like Instagram or an App like Uber? And my reply is 10 years or so. The current version of all the successful apps that you see in the market are actually the versions which exist 10 years after the existence of the company.

“It takes 10 years to make a great software product which is loved by millions of people.” 

Now, it is definitely not advisable to sit in your lab and code for 10 years to find out that the app that you wanted to build is no longer required. So, you work on an MVP with minimum features but which are absolutely core to the product and launch in the market. To have a better understanding of the concept lets have a look at few examples.

Examples of Minimum Viable Products:

1.) Facebook MVP

Facebook was not the behemoth it is today when Mark Zukerburg coded it from his dorm room in 2004. It stared out with very basic functionality to test the idea. Here is what Facebook MVP looked like when it was launched: 

 

MVP App of Facebook in 2004

Source: E-News

Not at all fancy right. Lets a little further. Even after gaining some momentum in 2005, Mark did not work on look and feel of the app that much, they just tried to get as many new users as they could. Here is what it looked like 1 year after the launch: 

MVP App of Facebook in 2005

Source: E-News

The news feed feature that is so common in all the social media apps did not come in Facebook until 2009. Clearly, Facebook has improved over a period of time. There was no like button, no news feed, no groups, no games and most importantly no Ads! It all happened over a period of 15 years, 1 feature at a time.

“No company starts out as a billion dollar company. No idea is perfect. You just start small with an MVP and keep on improving.”

 

2.) Instagram MVP

Now, Facebook is not alone. Even Instagram, started out with baby steps. Instagram was launched in October 2010 just on iOS. For almost 2 years it stayed that way. They built the platform and added new features and finally when there was enough demand and managerial bandwidth with the company, they launched on Android platform in April 2012.

Instagram MVP had much less number of filters, no video upload support, no direct messaging, no algorithm for their feed. Just simple feature of upload a photo on the platform with some features on which your friends can comment and like.

The biggest lesson we can take from Instagram’s journey is:

“Start with 1 platform either Android or iOS. Once there is some demand for your product and you know customers actually want your product make the app for the next platform.”

3.) Uber MVP

Uber’s vision was “to get a cab on click of a button”. They just did that in their minimum viable product. They connected customers with drivers and allowed a payment service. That is it! No Promos, no different choice of taxis, no home, no work address. Nothing! They took that basic concept, quickly entered the market, received real customer feedback, and grew from there.

MVP App of Uber

 

These examples prove that you should first build a MVP app of your idea, test the market and then take small steps based on the the data you get.

Advantages of building a MVP app:

1.) It helps you release your product to market in the shortest time.

2.) It reduces implementation costs.

3.) You avoid failures and large capital losses.

4.) You gain valuable insight on what works and what doesn’t work.

5.) You gather and enhance your user base.

Example of Companies that use MVP App approach

Twitter, Dropbox, Airbnb, Apple & Google all big companies do this. All these companies know that software development is an iterative process. You launch an MVP and keep improving your apps based on the costumer feedback. I will write about their individual case study in some other blog post. 

Now at App Knit, we go one step further to reduce implementation costs. We provide a service of prototype MVP. Think MVP for the MVP. This is a code-free, manually-operated (and significantly cheaper) prototype that helps in determining which features of the app work best. 

If you need more suggestions please feel free to Contact Us, we will be happy to help. 

How to Make an App? 14 – Step Guide to Make a Successful Mobile App

Voila! You got your app idea that will change the human life for ever. Wow! That is Amazing! What next? You don’t know how to make an app. Well, Here is is guide to help you find the riches you seek.

 

How to Make an App – Step 1: Refine Your Idea

Best ideas are the ones that can be stated in 1 line or less. A one liner idea that is simple to understand will not help you gain clarity of your vision but also help you attract employees and investors at a later date.

 

“Best ideas are the ones that can be stated in 1 line or less”

 

Refine how to make your app idea

Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

 

Take example of some of the best ideas that have changed the way we live:

Uber: “get a cab on click of a button”

Amazon: “Online book store”

Instagram: “Share Photos with Friends”

So, try and write your vision that will help you achieve your goal. Ask and answer the following questions:

  • What exactly do you want the app to do?
  • What problem are you solving?
  • How will the app simplify life for people who use it?

Once you are absolutely clear in your mind what you want to accomplish, now is the time for execution.

 

How to Make an App – Step 2: Sketch Your Idea

Now your idea is crystal clear but you will need to use the pen and paper to move your clearly worded ideas into visual representations. Try to work out a rough flow of what the users will be able to do, what will be the basic features so on and so forth. Probably, you can also make a flow chart for the process the user will follow. 

 

How to Make an App – Step 3: Create Wireframes

 

Create Wireframes for your App

Photo by Galymzhan Abdugalimov on Unsplash

 

Wireframes will act as the blueprint of your app. Here you take your sketch and you give your idea a lot of clarity and functionality. The major difference is instead of pen and paper, you use a software to do this. This wireframe will become the foundation for your apps development, so it really is a crucial step.

 

“Wireframe will act as the blueprint of your app” 

 

There are a lot of wireframing websites that you can use to help you but as kit is a very crucial step if you are not an experienced designer it is preferable to have someone who can guide you with the best practices.

 

How to Make an App – Step 4: Design the look

Now its time to do the cool stuff. UI, User Interface Design is a very important part of your app because people are attracted to how things look and how easy they are to navigate. But how to design your app?

Here you will need to hire a UI/UX designer who can help you design the high resolution skins, or visually appealing screens based on your wireframe, for your app. 

 

Design your App

 

How to Make an App – Step 5: Build a Prototype

Wireframes are good, designs are better but prototype is the killer. Prototype gives you a Cristal clear flow of your product. You are able to click on various buttons in your UI and see which screen opens up. How will the app actually work once it is developed. 

 

Building a prototype helps you identify alot of gaps in your product planning

 

You will be able feel some missing screens and you can fix the flows even before writing a single line of code.  You will have to work with your UI designer again to get the screens fixed. 

 

How to Make an App – Step 6: Write the User Stories

 

How to write a user story for your app

 

Till this point you have just worked either alone or with a UI designer. Now, you will need to collaborate with multiple people to get your product ready. You will need at least one Android developer, one iOS developer, one backend developer, one Web developer for Admin Panel and a Quality Assurance Engineer. Hence, you have to collaborate with at least 5 people to get your product ready. So, it is very important to document the idea. And you do this documentation with User Stories. 

 

“User Story is tool to capture the description of a feature form an end user perspective. This document will help you avoid infinite number of bugs and miscommunication that happen in a development process”

 

User Story document is the most underrated tool in App Development world. But it is the most crucial element of making apps. Hence, spend good time on it and ensure that you have captured all the cases that user can follow. 

 

How to Make an App – Step 7: Explain the App to Development Team

 

Explain how to make an app to your team

Photo by You X Ventures on Unsplash

 

Armed with the prototype, and the User Stories now you can explain the app idea to your developers who will actually make your app. Walk them through the flow of the app, tell them about the major features, explain them the critical functions and encourage them to ask as many questions as possible. Once they are clear with your requirements they are going to show their magic and make your idea come a reality.  

 

How to Make an App – Step 8: Make the App

You don’t have to do much in this process, your developers will burn the midnight oil to build the app. Make sure to touch base regularly to clarify any confusion they might have about the flow. 

 

Do ensure that your team integrates Crashlytics and App Analytics in the build”

 

These tools will help you to gather crucial customer data, that will help you make better product decisions. 

 

How to Make an App – Step 9: Test your App

 

Test Your Mobile App for bugs

 

Testing and ensuring that the app is free of bugs is very critical. Your Quality Assurance team will surely test it but as a founder the bugs and the issues that you can find no testing team will be able to match it as the vision that is there in your head will always be unparalleled. Hence, spend some time testing true app and share the list of bugs with the developers to fix them. The User Story document that you prepared will come in handy to see if the function of the app matches the requirements that were there.

While you are testing the product you will also observe that some of the things that you thought would work well in the design phase are not actually that impressive. You might want to change those. So, make a change document, share that with the team, discuss the alternative approach and if you think user will be better served with the changes then go ahead and get the changes done.

 

How to Make an App – Step 10: Test your App, Again

A second round of testing is imperative. The changes and bugs you submitted will need a second look to ensure that they were executed properly once that is done you are good to go. 

 

“A great app is not the one that is well built but the one that is well tested”

 

How to Make an App – Step 11: Create a Beta Release of the App

You’ve looked at your app through all possible angles, and you think you’ve managed to develop the next billion dollars baby. However, it is just you who have checked it. Let some other people also test it and see what they have to say. So, you launch a Beta version of your app and share your app with some people in your closed group who will use the app as normal users. They will be able to find those very small details that you as a founder and creator would have completely overlooked. Get those small details ironed out and you are ready to go to market. 

 

How to Make an App – Step 12: Launch your App

 

Launch your Mobile App on Play Store

 

You’ve made it to the finish line. You’ve brought your idea to reality, and the last step is to share it with the world. You share the apps by adding them to Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

 

How to Make an App – Step 13: Analyse the Data

Well, now that the app is live, 

 

“Your customers will be talking to you constantly via analytics”

 

Remember you integrated Analytics in your app, now is the time to check that data on regular basis and ensure that your next product decisions are based on the data that you have.

 

How to Make an App – Step 14: Modify and Adjust

An app is a ever evolving thing. You can always think of cool features to add in your app. Make sure your the new features that you add are backed by the data that you gather. 

 

“If you keep adding the features that you think Customers want based on the data that you have, the numbers of users who will love your product will keep on increasing”

 

Hope the guide helps to make an great apps. If you need more suggestions please feel free to Contact Us, we will be happy to help. 

 

Journey of a Mobile App: Conception to Birth

‘They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself’ – A. Warhol

A stupid sounding idea has always been a major reason behind any innovation or progress in our world. The consequences of not nurturing such an idea could be huge. You can take a sneak peek at the following stone age focus group discussion to find out what killing an idea could cost us.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OORnMYoWX9c

We, at App-Knit, are believers, creators and collaborators of ideas in a time when an average person uses a mobile phone to connect, buy, sell, play, learn, find places, inform and be informed. The small screen is her gateway to the big world!

Our goal is simple! We want to bring every big idea to this small screen!

Let’s go through the steps of how any dreamer can take an idea successfully to the small screen playstore!

Step 1: The IDEA

Ask a couple of quick questions to yourself: What need does your mobile app aim to satisfy? What aspects of the intended service can it provide? Who are the competitors in this space?

Do not forget to keep the consumer at the center of your mind all this while. What kind of an app will make her life easier? What would be her expectations from such an app? Why should she choose your app over your competitor’s? What elements are absolutely essential to get your app more downloads?

NEVER underestimate your competitors. Find out what apps in the concerned space are doing better than others. What is their operational model? What kind of work the creators are doing behind the stage?

Step 2: Design and Layout

A limitation of the human race is that people can’t see and read into the ideas inside someone else’s head. This is why a pencil and a notebook have greatly served many thinking individuals. You need to have an idea of what your app is going to look and feel like and draw them on a paper if you must. How is your app going to look? How is your app going to behave? What is the user interface going to feel like?

When you have everything on display, it will help you understand and explain your idea better! Plus having a repository of all your ideas and going through them will feel good when you’re old!

Step 3: The Nitty- Gritties

It’s time to dig into the technicalities!

Find out what niche your mobile app can satisfy, what monetization modes are available, what are the technical specs of your app, how much is its development going to cost and pen down all your research. Getting expert help can make a lot of difference while dealing with all these particulars!

Step 4: Basic Prototyping

Here, you need attention to detail to sail your boat!

From understanding the flow of your mobile app, to seeing how it works on mobile platforms – the prototyping process is crucial for the successful launch of your mobile app. There are a few web-based prototyping tools you can use. These aren’t rocket science, and incorporate a lot of options in terms of troubleshooting and design additions.

Some of the good ones are InVision, JustinMind and Marvel. For those who wish to take a soak in hands-on mobile app development, this is a good place to begin. Quite a lot of these don’t involve lines of code, are interactive and can be very easy to use for the entrepreneur in you.

Step 5: Markup and Assessment

Create a markup plan for the developer, now that you have the particulars and the prototyping frames at hand, so that there is no disconnect between what you want and what you get!This is a good time to get some feedback and reviews from your community and see if your app development has been hitting the right notes. It will help you gain some meaningful insight into your users’minds!

Step 6: The Geek Show

After all the surface level scratching has been done, we need to go deeper and beyond- to the skeleton of your app! This is where the developer comes into picture!

Finding an app developer that is reasonable (in terms of pricing, behavior or otherwise), and can understand your vision is a little difficult but definitely not impossible. Approaching design and tech firms can be heavy on the pocket for most independent operators, but it is always the better option since their services will be more targeted and efficient.

If you’re a technical geek and interested in the development process yourself, then you may consider one of these reliable options – AppMakr, GENWI, Mippin, Mopbase or MyAppBuilder!

The developer, or you for that matter, will also have the task of designing all the frames of your mobile app at this stage – they’re called ‘skins’ – and the flow from one frame to another has to be streamlined. The developer also adds servers, API’s and storage based processes to the back-end.

Step 7: The Final Touches

We never press ‘send’ on a love ‘letter’ without crosschecking, do we?

This stage majorly involves troubleshooting and testing -AGAIN!

We aren’t perfect of course and some issues would only arise when our app is subjected to rigorous testing. Live testing in iOS and Android environments is very necessary and highly recommended to monitor performance!

We hope that we were able to guide the dreamer in you a little into the world of mobile app development!

You could send in any queries that you might have to inforappknit@gmail.com. We promise you will be replied to on priority.

Happy Learning! 😊