When discussing a new project idea it’s very natural to respond by getting excited and jumping into creating a feature list of all the possible feature ideas and solutions. Before you know if you’ve created a feature list which far exceeds your original budget and timeline and all this before you’ve even started talking about what your users want. The first step of any well planned and well designed project is to understand thoroughly what the motivations are for the work.
Every product has both business goals and requirements, and user goals and requirements. The business is usually looking for sales opportunities or customer engagement but the user goals can be a little harder to identify.
User research should form the basis for any product design and ongoing strategy as it will really direct the overall vision of the product. If the users are not interested or engaged with the end product then most businesses will count the project as unsuccessful. By researching what motivates the client, what their needs and frustrations are, we’ll have a much better base with which to start the design process.
By understanding what the client and business does want we’ll also be able to cut down on project waste.
Minimum Viable Product and Desirable Product
A MVP or Minimum Viable Product centres around the idea of refining the project feature list down to its smallest possible form to create a product which can be launched as quickly as possible.
Using prioritisation methods we can identify what features make up the minimum viable product; a product which is launchable and usable. The problem can be that this minimum viable product doesn’t necessarily make a desirable product, that’s where user testing comes into product strategy.
By testing our design regularly with users we can not only validate the product concept we can also gain feedback and insights about the product direction throughout the entire delivery process. We can identifying what features are working or not and what features are most important to the users. We can use this information to prioritise these features to create not only a viable product but a desirable one. The desirable product should focus on achieving the user's goals easily and intuitively in the simplest possible way.
This testing process allows all project team members to keep the conversation on track around what features are important and provides justification for pushing back features which are less important or might only cater to fringe cases. This process stops the project from heading off track or ballooning in scope as it keeps the project decisions focused on users rather letting team members personal feelings complicate the priorities.
While it is very tempting to keep adding and refining we also need to remember that the initial launch doesn’t have to be perfect or ‘finished’, the initial launch is about getting something usable in front of users as soon as it can reasonably add value to them.
Find out more by getting in touch to discuss your new concept and we'll talk your through the process of turning it from a great idea into a usable web solution.