MVP approach: types of MVPs

Quite a number of start-ups fail because they’ve made products that the users don’t actually need. But how can you foresee if your solution will be successful and popular among the audience? In this case it makes sense to start with creating an MVP: an MVP helps in collecting maximum quality feedback, by targeting specific groups, or types of users.

In one of the previous articles (MVP approach: pros and cons) we’ve already uncovered what an MVP is, how it can help start-ups, the advantages and disadvantages of using such an approach. Actually, there are many types of MVPs available, suiting any budget and purpose. This article will help you understand the MVP concept in-depth and define the most suitable type for your specific goal.

Types of MVP

In a broad sense, all MVPs are divided into two categories — low-fidelity and high-fidelity.

Low-fidelity MVPs

Low-fidelity MVPs are comparatively easy to develop. They give basic results that help to understand the needs of your potential customers. But don’t underestimate their value. Some ideas don’t need sophisticated and expensive approaches for validation.

Landing Page

One way to create an MVP is to create a landing page. Generally speaking, this page should help your prospective customers imagine what your product will look like and suggest a simple call to action. You can offer your visitors to sign up to the waiting list, schedule a demo, or even buy your product (just to see how many will get to this step).

“The Fake Door”

“The Fake Door” MVP is quite close to landing page MVP. It helps to measure interest in a product or specific feature without actual implementation.

For example, you create a landing page that offers access to a feature you’d like to test. Let’s say you would like to know if people are interested in a new Premium subscription plan for your service that gives some additional options. You put the required information and a call to action button on a landing page to check how many people click on it. The button itself leads not to a subscription page or checkout. It leads to a message that this functionality is “under construction.” You can collect emails of interested users to notify them when it becomes ready.

Explainer Video

An Explainer Video is a short, simple video explaining the features of your product and how users could benefit buying it. Such videos have become an increasingly popular Minimum Viable Product and it’s a very effective and simple way for people to find out about your product.

Mock-up MVP (digital or paper prototypes)

Paper prototypes, such as drawings and sketches, and digital prototypes such as mock-ups, wireframes, can be used to demonstrate the product’s functionality in a way close to the actual experience and perception. These prototypes can be low-fidelity sketches as well as more complicated interactive applications that a beta user could test and feel the experience as close to using a real product

E-mail/ad campaign

Marketing campaigns are a good way of running market validation surveys. With platforms like Facebook and Google, you can choose demographics for a specific target audience and you can discover which aspects of your product are most appealing. If you have some email base of potential customers, so with the help of the e-mail campaign you can quickly check if your new idea interests them.

High-fidelity MVPs

High-Fidelity MVPs are a more advanced and complex strategy in terms of software development and functionality comparing to lo low-fidelity MVPs. But despite their complexity, you get more profound results that are worth it. You aim to check whether clients will pay for your solution. It will be helpful if you elaborate on marketing and business strategies to promote your final product and make it compatible.

The “Wizard of Oz” MVP

The MVP product created by this principle looks like a completely functional product with all required features on board. However, most offered features are processed and executed manually. And users do not know about it. This type is suitable to test ideas that require sophisticated technologies (e.g., machine learning).

The “Concierge” MVP

The “Concierge” MVP is very similar to The “Wizard of Oz” MVP concept. It is a product that simulates a multifunctional software solution while a human fulfils its primary functions and the customers are aware of the fact that they are receiving a human service. It helps test the solution’s effectiveness and popularity before it gets completely developed.

The “Piecemeal” MVP

Falls in-between the “Concierge” MVP and the “Wizard of Oz” MVP. With a Piecemeal MVP, you use existing tools and services to deliver a functioning product to your customers. Typically, you use a number of existing technologies (that don’t always integrate so well together) so mean more human resource is required to manage the process. Using existing services will save you time and money by building your own technology and infrastructure.

Single Featured MVP

Often it’s more effective testing just one essential feature of a product. A single featured Minimum Viable Product prevents users from getting distracted by other features and allows you to gain a really clear understanding of one specific problem or solution.

Crowdfunding

This is like getting pre-orders for your idea. The idea is very simple: launch a crowdfunding campaign on platforms such as Kickstarter, IndieGoGo or any other, and raise money to create a product. For the best effect, you’ll need to create a prototype or demo video, and then see the reaction you get.

What Type of MVP is Best for You?

There are a few things to consider when choosing which type of Minimum Viable Product to use, such as risk, timescale and cost. Before you start your MVP project, ask yourself these questions:

  • What could your biggest potential risk be, and how could you avoid it?
  • How much time do you have to build your MVP and wait for reliable results?
  • How much money do you currently have? What amount can you spend on an MVP?

Answering these critical questions will help you to narrow down the suitable range of MVP types to build your own MVP. However, whichever type of MVP you’ll choose, the main rule to follow:  don’t overload it with unnecessary features and details. Start your first MVPs including only most important features which are directly related to the problem and solution. Later you can add other features and benefits if you have the essential idea already confirmed.

Anna Kozik

Business Development Manager