How to Build an MVP for Mobile Application?

Finally, you come up with a good idea for a mobile app. What’s next? How to bring it to life? At this stage, you start seeking for a development team to complete the project. The first thing your developers will do is discuss a list of critical features that you want to see in your final product. This is where it will be a good idea to develop a minimum viable product.

It always better to know if an application will have success with users before you actually build it.

Building an MVP for mobile app will let you realize whether your project is really worth it. This article will describe some of the most popular MVP types as well as useful tips that will come in handy when creating a list of crucial features for your project. We will also talk about the minimum viable product development cost.

How Can We Define the Term “MVP”?

Most beginners misunderstand the term and consider it as a part of specific development process. However, MVP development version more refers to a concept rather than techniques or methods. The original idea is to make a prototype of something as soon as possible in order to deliver it to a target audience.

You should note that real people will use your MVP. It means real feedback and determination of the product value. Then developers usually fix some functions and add features to meet users’ expectations. You may think that executing MVP is a simple task.

However, it may appear to be rather tricky. You need to consider numerous factors before the launch including the average cost to develop a minimum viable product, a set of features and more. You need to put forward the best your users can get. Otherwise, there is no point in prototyping.

The main reason why most startups decide to release an unfinished version of their product is value for time. It is the most valuable resource for any business. MVP appears to be the only effective way to realize what your product may need to reach success. It will also let you observe how real people use your app. For this reason, comparing MVP with an unfinished project is not quite right.

What Are the Types of MVPs?

Before we start discussing how to build an MVP for mobile app, let’s have a look at some major types of MVPs. They traditionally refer not only to mobile market but also web. The type will directly depend on your purposes and tasks as well as the project you want to bring to life.

Landing Page

Landing page is a good way to boost the sales of your products. It has grown into a major marketing and SEO tool in order to drive traffic. The process of development includes:

  • building a landing page – it usually describes the core benefits of your product/service;
  • Ad campaigns to drive traffic – businesses and startups usually use AdWords to attract customers;
  • Analytics – it is high time to start measuring conversion rates implementing various CTA tools like signup forms, “buy” and “order” buttons, etc.

In this case, creating a simple signup form is not an MVP. Once you need to build a most valuable product for a landing page, you need to capture as much feedback on your product as possible.

Explainer Video MVP

Once Dropbox was about to be left without investors, it decided to choose another way and realized its explainer video. It has eventually grown into a specific type of MVP. The idea is very simple. A video describes the core idea of developers. It highlights the app operating and the way users are supposed to interact with the product. It resulted in new investments and funds for the company.

Software Prototype

MVP for software? Sounds at least strange although still possible. In this case, we consider developing a prototype with only core features. This method is the best bet for startups which:

  • have a limited budget to cover MVP development cost;
  • have a goal to show their product to a target audience to generate feedback;
  • strive to get more than just users’ satisfaction.

Of course, launching a software prototype can be more time-consuming and expensive if compared with mobile MVP, for instance. But if you do, you can benefit a lot fulfilling your promotional needs as well as acquiring valuable feedback from real users. Moreover, startups may decide if the development team they selected is a perfect fit for them. MVP makes it all clear.

Mobile Application MVP

Finally, here we are at the core issue of the article. In spite of numerous types of MVPs, our mission here is to provide useful tips on building the most valuable product for the evolving mobile market. The stage of creating MVP or prototyping is the main step in the development process established by many companies today. The mission is the same:

  • to highlight basic functions to users;
  • to generate valuable feedback;
  • to understand how the app will work;
  • to detect pitfalls and malfunctions right from the start;
  • to check if a development team has a clear understanding of what you expect in the end.

Now, let’s get to handy tips on how to create a minimum viable product for your mobile application.

Know Your Target Audience

The first thing you need to start with is to explore your users needs. The idea is to define their problem and provide a solution. Once you have an idea of creating a new app, you should realize who is supposed to use it. In other words, it is vital to have a clear buyer persona. If you don’t, here are some questions you should think about:

  1. Who are your users?
  2. What is the approximate volume of the target audience?
  3. What are the problems they try to solve?
  4. Are there any decent competitors on the market?

It does not matter what industry your startup is referred to. User needs – it is the first thing you should think of. People will delete your application if there is a slight hint on the inability of tailoring their interests or needs.

The ability to set priorities is vital. We have different examples of how well-established companies placed some features in the MVP because only THEY wanted to see those features. This is not right. Think like your user.

UX and Interaction

Both are the main ingredients for a successful application. They make the first impression and may define if the user will come back to try your product once again. For this reason, they should also be reflected in the MVP version. You need to keep in mind the following:

  • Android UX is different from iOS;
  • Mobile apps are unable to translate web applications properly;
  • Additional screen real estate should be considered when creating MVP for both smartphones and tablets.

Once you think of creating a new app in spite of its type, interaction design comes first. This is where you need to work hand in hand with developers and designers, as Agile Method lets you handle co-working.

Mobile Web or Native App?

Always keep in mind that native is the only way to go. You should note that UX design varies greatly if compared with mobile web and native apps. Just look at the example of LinkedIn. So the MVP version should be developed considering the following:

  • Native apps reserve more space for monetization;
  • UX design is more engaging when it comes to native apps;
  • Native apps deliver a higher level of user adoption.

Release on Time

So, you have finally decided on the list of core features, identified targeted OS and types of devices and got the design approval. It is high time you released your MVP version letting users try it to provide feedback. It will get to a real app store with real buyers.

It means that you may start observing the first results very soon. All you need is to launch the MVP version at the best time. Track the users’ activity as well as the activity of publishers. Choose the time with less new releases to make your app stand out.

Now you may start generating feedback. As a rule, it gets from your target audience. People from your team may also leave comments and recommendations. Expert’s opinion can always come in handy, as you will always know what features call for improvement and when there is no need to boil the ocean.

It may sound harsh, but you need to be always ready to give up your project. Get ready to press the “abort mission” button once the MVP is nothing but a failure. It may happen from time to time, as some of our ideas might be misleading or simply wrong. There can be plenty of reasons for not getting success on the app store. Maybe your app does not actually solve problems. Or maybe you failed to identify that problem correctly. Keep in mind that it is always better to fail fast and cheap and try some other ideas.

How Much Does it Cost to Make an MVP?

Usually, the price will depend on different factors as well as the type of MVP you need. For example, for landing page MVP you only need to register your domain name that will cost you not more than $15. When it comes to mobile app most valuable products, it may be a bit more expensive than you could expect.

The final price depends on:

  • a number of core functions;
  • a type of development team (local/outsource/freelancer);
  • timeframes and more.

When it comes to local development teams, the price generally ranges from $15, 000 to $20, 000 per project. However, it may be higher depending on the issues above.

International outsourcing is a more affordable way although it never guarantees great quality. If you decide to hire an international freelancer, prepare to pay from $500 to $5, 000 depending on the project complexity.

Summing Up

As you can see from the article, building MVP is not as easy as it may seem at first sight. There are many things startups and businesses need to consider. They include:

  • knowing your users;
  • interactive design and UX;
  • native apps only! Never go mobile web;
  • try to think as a user and implement only those features that they need;
  • release on time;
  • generate as much feedback as possible.

If you still have any questions or call for a professional advice on how to build MVP for a mobile app, our website is a good place to visit. We deal with all stages of the mobile development process and have a huge track record of successfully designed prototypes and MVPs. Contact us for more information.