July 24, 2018   |   3min read

MVP Tips Every Designer Should Know

According to Eric Ries, the author of “The Lean Startup” “Minimum Viable Product stands for the version of the product that enables a full turn of the Build-Measure-Learn loop with a minimum amount of effort and the least amount of development time. The minimum viable product lacks many features that may prove essential later on.”

This leads us to the crucial insight when it comes to creating MVP: we should remind ourselves that it’s made for us to learn from. By testing and analyzing users’ behavior even with the simplest prototypes we can discover whether we evolve in the right direction before spending too much time and money. Defining the scope would be all about removing features, processes and effort that do not contribute directly to the learning we seek.

In this article I share with you some useful tips when designing for MVP.

Icon selection.

Who is it for?

When deciding on building an MVP we should define what is the main goal of creating this constrained version of our dream product. It happens that for most of our needs a prototype is enough and developing a mobile app is just not necessary. With an interactive prototype you can test the product with users but also pitch it to potential investors. On the contrary, if you need a Proof of Concept that your idea is feasible, a constrained version of the working app with the most complicated feature/s will be the best option to learn from. If you need a broad audience to test your app, creating a working app and publishing it in AppStore or Google Play may be necessary but you can still make the first version smaller and build new versions while gathering the feedback. All of the above serves one great purpose – creating something that users actually want and like to use.

Designer's notes on the table.

Start the process of validated learning as soon as possible

Remember that thanks to the rapid prototyping and user research techniques you can start testing ideas right from the beginning of the project. Put your assumptions to the test, don’t get into the trap of believing that users think just like yourself. What if they don’t care about the design the same way you do?

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Focus on what’s most important – User Experience

Even the most beautiful interface won’t make people use the product if it lacks usability and makes the user experience inconvenient. Therefore, tasks like “handle error messages” that are often at the far end of the design priorities list might make a huge difference for the users. Just imagine being in a process of booking a hotel or buying a new bike which suddenly crashes for no reason and you have to start over. Often, it’s more subtle— it may become a totally different experience when you inform the users in advance on the number of characters they can include in a message (instead of popping a number of error messages when they exceed it.)

A tweet example of a long text.

Use what’s free

It might happen that due to the tight deadline you don’t have enough time to polish all the UI elements. There are so many UI resources available on the web that it’s not necessary to draw everything from the scratch for your MVP. If you need something to test really fast and it’s about the logic and experience, not the visuals, it’s good to use the iOS and Android native components which you can find in Sketch. Just go to top bar menu and click File > New from Template… and select the template that you need.

Sketch app Resources is a wonderful source of UI Kits, icons, mockups and many more resources for those who work in Sketch.

The noun project hosts over a million curated icons, created by a global community.

Flaticon is also a database of free icons available in PNG, SVG, EPS, PSD and BASE 64 formats.

The Grid is an AI based service that can build a website basing on your specification and added content.

The Mockup Club is home for graphics and photos that can become a beautiful background for your mockups.

Hope you find this article helpful. If after reading it you have any questions on designing for MVP, get in touch - we’re here to help;)

Agnieszka Czyżak

Creative Director

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