Mastering MVP in Web Development: Best Practices for Building Successful Products
All great products started somewhere. There was no overnight success for Amazon, Uber, or Airbnb. Even with innovative concepts, it took these businesses years to get to their current state and size. However, what all large companies have in common is a solid foundation and understanding that their ideas have actual market demand.
In today's article, we'll show how to get that solid foundation for your company with MVP startup web development. We'll discuss what MVP in web development is and the benefits that such an approach can bring to your startup or established business.
1. What Does the Term "Website MVP" Stands for
The term "website MVP" refers to a website Minimum Valuable Product. It is a basic version of a website created with a core set of features to test the general product idea and get customer feedback to understand whether the website is worth investing in it further. An MVP website typically has a limited set of functionalities, but it is functional enough to provide value to the end users.
What Are The Main Goals of MVP in Web Development?
The main goal of an MVP website is to validate a business idea or product concept before investing significant amounts of resources into building a fully functional website. Once the MVP website is tested and validated, the features can be added iteratively based on user feedback and business needs. By going with MVP development, companies can greatly reduce the risks of failure when launching new products.
2. Advantages and Disadvantages of Developing a Website MVP
Without a doubt, developing an MVP website is a go-to move for all businesses looking to launch quickly and cost-effectively. However, it's important to keep in mind that this approach has its downsides as well. So, let's go over the main pros and cons of building a website MVP over a fully-fledged product.
Developing an MVP first is much more cost-effective than building a full-scale website. Since an MVP focuses on the minimum features required to satisfy early users, it needs fewer resources to develop. The team can focus on the core functionality and avoid wasting time on features that may not be necessary (at the MVP stage anyway). Such an approach is particularly beneficial for startups and small businesses with limited resources.
2. Faster development
The time needed to create an MVP website is intertwined with the budget resources required for the project development. Since MVPs require fewer features, they can be developed in a shorter amount of time. As a result, companies can release their MVPs within shorter timeframes, up to 2-4 months on average.
3. Testing the market
Going back to the core idea of an MVP, which is to release a basic version product and gather customer feedback. By doing so, companies get to test the market and validate their business assumptions without committing to the development of a full-scale product. All to get an idea of how to further proceed with the project’s development.
1. Limited functionality
One of the main advantages of the MVP approach is also its disadvantage. While an MVP focuses on the minimum functionality, it may not have all the features that customers expect to see in an app or website. It means that you may not be able to satisfy a particular portion of a user base who would like to get more from your product.
2. Limited market reach
The hard truth is that an MVP is not normally created to reach a broader audience. While this approach is ideal for testing waters, it's better not to expect it to become the #1 choice for every user on a market. Your offering will obviously have limited functionality and thus won't appeal to all users initially. And that's absolutely fine.
3. What to Choose as an MVP: App or Website
The decision of whether to go with an app or a website as an MVP solely depends on the nature of your offering, the scenarios in which your target audience is going to use the product and some specific features that you may plan to offer.
An app is a good choice if you want to provide a more interactive and 'on-the-go' experience to your users. Apps can also access the user's device's hardware, such as the camera, GPS, and sensors, allowing for more functionality. However, creating an app can be more expensive and time-consuming than building a website.
On the other hand, a website is a more straightforward option for an MVP. Websites are accessible through any device with an internet connection and a browser, which makes them easier to use.
Still, the listed characteristics don't make the latter option better than the former. The choice here should be dictated by the requirements of your project and the kind of functionality you want to get.
4. Main Components of the Web Application MVP
While focusing on the website MVP development, let's not forget about the web applications and check what components should be present in such MVPs:
4.1 User authentication
User authentication allows users to create an account, log in, and access the app's functionality. It also enables developers to keep track of user data, such as their preferences, browsing history, time spent inside the app, etc.
This feature can be potentially dropped from an MVP. However, keep in mind that without user authentication, your product may not be able to provide more tailored experiences to users and gather their feedback more precisely. User authentication can be implemented in different ways, such as via email, social media login, or two-factor authentication.
4.2 Clear navigation
Navigation is another essential component that is critical for the success of any application. It should be intuitive, and users should be able to find what they are looking for quickly. A web app should have a clear, well-defined hierarchy of pages or sections, with each section leading to another in a logical sequence.
Another aspect is consistency. The navigation has to stay consistent across the app in order to help users understand where they are and where they can go. Clear and intuitive navigation can help reduce bounce rates, increase user engagement, and improve the overall user experience.
4.3 'Killer' feature (s)
In simple words, a 'killer' feature is the one that sets your product apart from the competition. It can be something innovative or just a functionality that other apps are lacking. This kind of feature is extremely important for MVPs as not only do you want to present your app to users in the best light possible, but also make them come back, talk about it, and share it with their friends, colleagues, etc.
4.4 Payment gateway
Another critical component for a product that involves transactions is a reliable payment gateway. Aside from its direct functionality to process user payments, it can also be considered as an element of concept validation since it can clearly show the number of early users willing to 'financially support' this product idea.
Notifications inform users about new messages, updates, or changes to their account. Including notifications in an MVP is important because they can help improve the user experience and increase user retention. Based on user preferences they can also be personalized and used to ask users’ feedback after they get to use the app for a while.
One of the most important components of your MVP is the analytics module. It can help you understand how users are interacting with your product, what features they like, what should be improved, and so on. With the help of analytics, you get valuable insights into user behavior, usage patterns, and performance metrics. So that's why it's necessary to integrate it into your MVP right from the very beginning, to make sure that the data you get from your product is objective and fact-based.
5. Good Practices to Follow When Developing a Web MVP
5.1 Do a proper market research beforehand
Market research is a critical step to take before the web MVP development starts. It helps you understand current market trends, study your target audience, their pain points, and how your product can solve them.
By doing this research you can identify your competitors, their strong and weak points, and find the gaps that your product can fill. You can also use the market insights to adjust your development strategy to ensure that you're building something that people will actually want to use.
5.2 Establish success criteria
Establishing specific and measurable success criteria — a.k.a. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) — is important for any project. They can help you measure whether your website MVP is meeting its projected goals and whether you need to make any changes. Some of the KPIs you can use for your website are:
- Unique visitors — number of individual users who visited a website.
- Conversion rate (CR) — percentage of users who completed a desired action.
- Pageviews — total number of pages viewed on a website.
- Bounce rate — percentage of visitors who left a website after viewing just one page.
- Time on site — the amount of time users spend on the website.
- Click-through rate (CTR) — percentage of users who click on call-to-action or another specific link on a website.
By tracking these and related metrics, you'll understand how your website minimum viable product performs and identify areas for improvement.
5.3 Keep it simple (but not sloppy)
One of the most critical things to remember when developing an MVP is to keep it simple. The purpose of an MVP is to test the market and gather customer feedback. So, don't try to add every single feature that you can think of. Instead, focus on the core features that address the needs of your target audience.
However, keeping it simple doesn't mean being sloppy. Your web MVP should be polished, which means making it visually appealing, easy to navigate, and bug-free. Otherwise, it may turn off potential users and damage the product launch as a whole.
5.4 Focus on the product value
The ultimate goal of creating any MVP is not coming up with a visually superior interface or a website heavily packed with features, but creating a product that provides actual value to your users. Therefore, focus on solving a specific user problem throughout the development process. Ask yourself, how does your product make the lives of your users easier? What will change for your target audience once they start to use it?
By focusing on the product value, you can ensure that your MVP is something that your users will find valuable and want to continue using. Don't get distracted by the secondary features or unnecessary functionality that doesn't contribute to solving user problems and only scatters their attention while using a website or app.
6. Building a Website MVP: Advice From Our Experience
During the development of an MVP, there are plenty of aspects you need to keep an eye on. In order not to get lost along the way, make sure you have a clear project structure established. Don't forget to account for potential problems and have a risk mitigation strategy prepared beforehand.
When it comes to budget planning, make sure to keep quality in focus. If your resources are limited, you can put some MVP segments away for later, but don't try to lower the budget by simply cutting the quality of your product.
If you partner with a professional software development team, they'll likely recommend ways to pace your project development and make sure that the entire process goes as smoothly as possible for you.
7. Consider Lunka Tech for Creating the Best Websites and Web Applications MVP
At Lunka.tech we understand that building an MVP can be a challenging endeavor, especially if you don't have prior experience with web development. This is why our team offers full-cycle MVP development services to get any project from the ideation and prototyping to the testing and deployment stage.
Our developers are well-versed in the latest programming languages and agile development techniques, allowing us to build MVPs that are not only reliable and functional but also scalable and flexible. We work closely with clients during each step of the process to create products that meet their business needs and are 100% ready for market launch. We also provide ongoing support and maintenance services to ensure that the client's product continues to perform optimally.
8. Final Thoughts
The creation of an MVP is an inevitable stage in the development of any successful product. Aside from those mentioned above, such services as Dropbox, Hubspot, Grammarly, etc. also started as simple MVPs and made it all the way to be renowned names in the industry. Coming up with a minimum viable version of their products first, allowed them to test the market, draw necessary conclusions, and adjust strategies to meet the needs of their users.
Believe it or not, these success stories can be replicated too. All that's necessary is a product idea aligned with the market expectations, a clear strategy, an understanding of all the nuances of MVP web development, as well as a professional team that can carry out the technical side of the process for you. So if you are interested in MVP website development, or simply want to know more about how to create an MVP website, contact us in any way convenient to you!
What is the fastest way to build MVP for web-based applications?
There is no right way to answer this question because the "fastest way" simply does not exist. The development timeline for each MVP depends on a variety of factors, including the complexity of the product, the available resources, and the team's skills and experience. Though the general recommendations would be keeping the number of features at a minimum, going with the simple user experience design, and using a framework or pre-built templates to quickly set up the project structure, routing, and so on.
How many screens should a website MVP have?
The number of screens a website MVP should have will depend on the particular project requirements and website functionality. As a rule of thumb, an MVP should have enough information and modules to demonstrate the core functionality of the product or service that is offered. Normally, such websites may come with a landing page and sign-up or registration page.
How do we know if our idea is suitable for an MVP?
To know if an idea is suitable for an MVP, you should evaluate if there is a real problem or need that your product addresses for a specific target market. You also need to study your competition to understand whether a product similar to your idea already exists or not.
How many features should be included in the MVP?
The number varies depending on the product and its purpose. But in general, MVPs normally include 2-3 core features necessary to deliver the core value to their target audience.