Designing High Impact MVPs - UserActive

Designing High Impact MVPs

Do you have a new product you’re thinking about launching? Want to find the fastest and easiest route to validating it? In this article, we are going to share our design process for creating high-impact MVPs you can use to validate your product idea.

Designing an MVP for SaaStock

In order to demonstrate what an MVP (minimum viable product) design process looks like, we’re going to share with you a real-life project. Our customer was SaaStock – one of the world’s leading SaaS conferences. SaaStock came to us to design a marketplace platform that acts as a matching service for SaaS startups and investors. They had a great concept that was a marketplace inspired by elements of LinkedIn for connections, Netflix for filtering content and Tinder for matching. We prefer this more creative and specific analogy to what some other startups tend to say, “We’re the Uber of funding”.

Customer Research

In this phase, you need to identify a problem that you can solve in the marketplace. Some of the useful exercises here are exploring the Total Addressable Market to see the scale of your potential venture. As well as customer research to identify if there is a clear demand in the market and identifiable buyer persona for your product idea. Our clients have usually already done this work and are coming to us to get the MVP designed.

Product Workshop

The next task is to start defining the product. We recommend running workshops. In these workshops, get the relevant stakeholders together on a series of zoom sessions. During these meetings, we use Miro as a whiteboard and general idea canvas. We set focussed exercises for the sessions which enables us to resolve key issues and reach solutions faster. 

In our workshop with SaaStock, we discussed the VentureMatch platform and started to add structure, scope and details to their concept. We were able to map out user journeys, key touchpoints and interactions. Furthermore, we reviewed feature lists and developed a detailed product spec for the MVP. During these sessions, we shared an open forum to discuss ideas and gain input from different points of view. This also immensely contributed to the outcome.

Low fidelity Wireframes

Low fidelity wireframing is always a good place to start when a project is at the early conception stage. At the first step of defining the details of a product concept, rough and simple visuals are very convenient. They enable people to discuss the best implementation of the idea. We find that the fastest way to achieve this is by sketching and creating low-fidelity wireframes using Whimsical.

You’d probably agree these look fairly primitive. However, the reason for this is that we’re aiming for the fastest route to MVP definition. This means rapid sessions of prototyping and reviewing in a collaborative process as we iterate towards the best solution.

High fidelity Wireframes

Once we had agreed on the fundamentals for this platform, such as what screens it needs, what the user journeys look like and a list of features, we moved onto the High Fidelity wireframing phase. At this stage, we start flashing out all the detail for our designs. There is a lot more detail in these designs and you can start to see that we resolved pretty much all of the structure, navigation, content and interactions here. We created around 26 detailed screen wireframes for this platform and even added linked interactions to the wireframes. In this way, they could be opened in the browser and tested for usability.


User Testing

Finally, we got to the last step where we handed over the designs and SaaStock continued with the journey of validating their project. For this purpose, our interactive wireframes served as a sufficient MVP and SaaStock shared these with customer personas and stakeholders. They were able to get feedback from users who could test the prototype, navigate around and get a real idea of the concept. In the video above at 4:58, you can hear a few words our client had to say about the process.

Conclusion

To conclude, it is essential to do the validation work when launching a new product. Products succeed by having a market of willing buyers that receive tangible value. One of the most common mistakes inexperienced SaaS founders make is building a product that has no demand and ultimately fails. Therefore, MVPs not only help you validate but also help you define the most important elements such as functionality and feature set. If you’re launching a new product be sure not to skip this step. Successfully validating your concept with an MVP ensures you build a product that will attract users and grow!

Peter Loving

Peter helps SaaS companies create meaningful products users love. He regularly speaks at conferences and shares UI/UX related content on the UserActive blog and YouTube channel.

If you’re launching a new product, have some improvements you’d like to make, or simply want to plan for your next phase of gropwth, we’d love to help.

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