Testing Mobile iOS App Ideas Cheaply with a Minimum Viable Product

Posted by Davzo Inc

Posted in Business

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Testing your iOS app idea before actually investing time and money into building your app is an intelligent way to determine whether your project is viable, as well as whether there is enough demand for your app. The most effective way to do this is by creating a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). This isn’t as complicated as it sounds.

What is a Minimum Viable Product?

A great example of an MVP that kick-started a business is the now famous 3-minute demo video titled “How Dropbox Works” that Dropbox founder Drew Houston created to showcase the online storage service’s functionality and released on the web before actually building the product. The video went viral and brought him 70,000 new sign-ups for a product that at the time hadn't even been developed.

As a key strategy of the Lean Startup business method introduced in 2008 by Eric Ries, a popular strategy for creating and managing startups in a way that shortens product development cycles, the MVP concept entails three stages:

  • building the MVP and launching it
  • measuring its impact on the targeted audience by analyzing incoming feedback and data
  • learning from the feedback to ascertain the viability of the product and discover the changes you have to make to increase demand and improve its functionality

An MVP can take many forms. It can be anything from a landing page to a demo video to a prototype app that offers the core functionality of the app you want to build.

The Benefits of an MVP

More than helping you test the market, more than raising awareness about your iOS app, an MVP has the power to inspire you. It can help you find the confidence you need to work hard on a great iOS app idea, to bring it to life in the form of a solution that solves a particular problem or set of problems your audience is facing.

When it comes to mobile iOS app development, an MVP is especially important because the iOS App environment has become increasingly competitive. There are now many apps in virtually every category competing for the attention of an engaged and vibrant audience who is more than willing to pay for high-quality apps that improve their life, or that are simply great fun to use.
Let’s face it – developing an iOS app today is easier than ever. Almost anyone with developer skills or with money in their pocket can develop an app, either directly, or by paying someone to build it for them. Creating a high-quality, well-optimized, and engaging iOS app for the iPhone and the iPad, however, is a lot more difficult than that, and requires a sustained effort throughout the development period, a lot of feedback, a good budget, as well as the patience and commitment necessary to fix bugs and optimize the user experience. Above all, it requires a solid understanding of the market it targets, and its needs and expectations.

When to Use an MVP

The MVP iOS app development strategy works for both innovative, experimental apps which try to introduce into the mobile world new features or sets of features that had never been combined before, as well as for apps that offer features similar to those of existing apps, but come with an improved designed, a superior user experience, or greater device compatibility. In other words, whether you’re developing an iOS business app, a companion app to your web-based service, a standalone app that you hope to build into a startup, or an app that tries to make a foray into an already popular app category, the MVP concept helps you built the right app for the right audience, while avoiding the common pitfalls of app development, such as mis-targeted, overdeveloped, underdeveloped, or downright superfluous products.

Creating Your MVP

Good iOS app development usually starts with a good idea. It can be a full-blown idea for an original app, or a simple solution to a problem iOS users are facing that has the potential to grow into an app. Either way, before you pour your time and money into turning your idea into an app, you will want to validate it first. Your friends can help with feedback and suggestions, of course, but to build a viable app, you need more data.

The more relevant feedback you have, and the better you understand your audience, the less likely you will be to spend thousands of dollars and months of your time developing an iPhone or iPad app that will prove unsuccessful – not because it’s not good, but simply because people don’t want it or aren’t willing to pay for it.

When deciding on what the right MVP for your startup or business is, you want to take into account a few things:

  • the type of app your are building (some apps are more complex than others, and even the development of a prototype can require a big investment)
  • the solution your MVP proposes
  • the budget you have for developing an MVP
  • whether or not you have an app development deadline
  • the audience you target and how easy it is to reach it

Here is a simple yet effective strategy that can help you develop a reliable MVP without breaking the bank:

  • Build a simple landing page, highlighting the product benefits, and then spread the word about it on Twitter and Facebook. Measure the hits and email sign-ups you get.
  • If the landing page proves successful, create a demo video of your app and market it on your blog, website, and social media pages.
  • If the video generates interest and comments, take your MVP to the next development cycle and build a basic prototype of your app. By now, the two previous cycles have shown that there is enough interest in your app idea for you to invest time and money into building a prototype.

The Bottom Line

In the end, working with a mobile iOS app development company which understands the value of the Minimum Viable Product and Lean Startup method can help you gauge the interest and likely impact your iOS app idea will have before investing money and time into its development.

We believe the MVP concept has many benefits and, because of its low implementation costs, can help businesses and startups not only develop successful iOS apps, but also improve their products, offering their target audience a final product optimized for their needs.

We can help you develop an iOS app using the Minimum Viable Product concept in a cost-effective way. Please contact us to learn more.

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