It’s not new: our everyday interaction with a whole range of apps, websites, and digital platforms has become so intimately linked to our capacity to thrive -both socially and professionally-, that our expectations have risen when it comes to the quality of the tech products we use.
We’ve become used to relying on apps to communicate in real-time with our friends and colleagues, buy food, clothes, cars, and even homes. To read and learn new skills, manage our finances, or entertain ourselves, we also count on apps. In other words: we depend on them for each and every aspect of our lives. And with users counting on apps to perform most of the tasks demanded on their day-to-day, creating smooth, comprehensive digital experiences has become a must for any company in the world that intends to be competitive.
Consider this: the average smartphone user has about 40 apps installed on their phone. But, did you know almost all of the time is spent on less than half of them? What these numbers are clearly suggesting is that as users become more experienced in the use of technology -and therefore their tastes more refined-, those apps that aren’t able to offer them a user experience suitable for their needs, tend to be left behind and risk becoming rapidly obsolete.
To avoid these types of UX issues, companies usually first put their business concept to test by developing basic versions of their products with a limited set of features. This kind of first product iteration is known as Minimum Viable Product (MVP). But getting quality data and feedback out of an MVP evaluation -the kind of information you need to confirm or reshape your business plan in an effective manner-, is not always an easy task.
What should we always keep in mind when designing a user experience for an MVP?
Let’s take a look at some of the key points that will help us navigate through the challenging waters of launching a new product aiming to provide users with the best possible experience.
To put it plainly, the essence of a great user experience is making complex processes as easy and smooth as possible. And to do this, you need to understand users’ needs and develop ingenious solutions that help them complete their tasks without bumping into frustrating obstacles. This can be achieved even when you refrain from including some of the most complex features an app could have. In fact, the minimum-viable approach of MVP should not necessarily affect the quality of experience. Features can be more or less complex, they can be of shorter or bigger sizes, but when an app is well built, the quality of the user experience remains across all of them. And it is this type of well-built product that wins customers’ trust.
As our dependence on digital products rises, the risk of our lives being harmed by misuse also grows. This is why, today, one of the fundamental issues of the relationships between companies and their customers is, precisely, trust. A well-designed app should create a bond of trust, showing customers clear information and easy paths to understand the services a company offers, and how they can benefit from them while minimizing the risks of mistakes. Providing users with an area within the app to clear their doubts and express their complaints is key to creating and maintaining a healthy relationship. This leads us to our next point.
A particular area for doubts and complaints is also an excellent tool to receive quality information directly from the customers. When we are in the middle of the complex process of creating a new business concept, the importance of receiving quality information cannot be underestimated. If you want to properly evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your business to design effective strategies for continuous improvements, understanding how your users interact with your tech products is critical. Poor data and misleading information are a significant threat for any startup, and even more so when it’s in the middle of the process of developing a business concept and plan.
Yes, we want our users to engage with our brand. We want them to be loyal and to feel identified with our values. But in the end, the fuel of every business is sales. Many people, even experienced ones, do not understand how deeply connected user experience and sales are. They tend to associate UX with colors, images, and button texts. But it’s much more than that - it’s about how a company is perceived by its target audience, and it’s about their experience as a whole. So a well-designed app should provide users with the appropriate tools to help them in their decision-making process and ultimately guide them into purchasing a specific product.
It is an all-too-common mistake to reduce user experience to the interaction with an app, a website, or a platform. Many companies tend to overlook the fact that UX transcends the boundaries of the digital environment. Consider, for example, Airbnb customers. Initially, the app will help them find the right apartment or house and guide them through the process of renting it. But their experience doesn’t end there. They will later get to know their host personally, and they will spend time in the place they have rented. All these experiences are part of their interaction with the Airbnb brand.
Every company needs to make sure that the overall user experience is satisfactory, not just within the digital product. This is why the product discovery phase and the design sprints are crucial. These processes allow companies to uncover the potential of their business concept, keeping a 360° view and gaining valuable insights into how the customers perceive their services.
Lots of companies suffer from the consequences of poor project planning when designing the user experience for an MVP. Bad experience holes can result from not considering some of the crucial elements that define how the users interact with a company’s products and services. But this should not necessarily be the case.
Creating an MVP is not just about making a product that works more or less fine - it’s about making sure that, even with a basic set of features, the user experience is smooth and pleasant, from the first interaction with the brand, up until the end. By doing this, your startup can be confident that MVP testing can produce quality information that will help you further develop and improve your business plan.