Each year, an abundance of mobile apps come out. While some go on to become successful endeavors, others fail. So, what helps to make a profitable app? Product discovery is the first step and one of the most essential parts of developing a mobile app. Even though the discovery phase is optional, it should not be underestimated or overlooked. This crucial step helps set the stage of the development process by identifying gaps in the market that need to be filled, pinpointing potential risks, and strategizing solutions. These are some other benefits you’ll see by making time for the discovery phase:
- Prevent costly mistakes by problem-solving any risks that are recognized and testing solutions.
- Ensure your app meets end-user needs by determining your target audience and empathizing with them.
- Align project goals to guarantee you’re meeting deadlines.
Here are key questions to ask when kick-starting a successful discovery phase for mobile app development:
- What is the purpose of your app, and how does it align with your overall business goals?
- Who is your target audience? What issues are end-users experiencing, and how can you fix them? What does your competition look like? Is there a viable gap in the market that you can fill?
- What can you do to solve the problem? What solution is the best option?
- How did users react to your solution? Is this an acceptable solution? Can you make it better?
- What ideas will work, and which ones will you execute first?
Asking these kinds of questions will create a valuable product the target audience will employ and want to use. While there are many ways to approach the process, the main steps involve researching, defining, ideating, analyzing, and testing.
- Defining/Researching: In the first stage of the discovery phase, you’ll want to determine the problem your mobile app is trying to fix (the gap in the market your app is filling) and the app’s target audience. Having a clear idea of what end-users need and how your product can help them will set a strong foundation for the entire process. This step will also ensure you have a dedicated and harmonious team.
- Ideation: After figuring out the problems, you’ll move on to brainstorming. In this step, it’s encouraged to think of as many ideas as you and your team can, this way you can build off each other’s concepts. The more solutions you can try out, the better!
- Analyze: The third section is where we experiment to see if any of the solutions work. If they do function as intended, are they realistic? Can they be built? Which solutions would be best, and which one will you prioritize?
- Testing: This is the final step of the product discovery process. After narrowing down to the best solution, you’ll focus on planning your product’s MVP (Minimum Viable Product) displaying your app’s main features. Having this will give your development team a better understanding of your product. It’s in this part of the process where you can validate your product’s worth. This is done by showcasing ideas to a select group of your target audience and then collecting feedback. Analyzing the observations gives the project team the opportunity to improve the app and learn even more about what outcomes the end-user is looking for in a product.
In addition to following the above guidelines, having an empowered team will assist in making the discovery phase and overall mobile app development process less problematic. While titles vary depending on the product, including the following members in all aspects of the discovery stage will be beneficial:
- Various programmers/developers (QA, Backend, Android, iOS, etc.)
- Operations Head, Delivery Manager, Scrum Master, Process Manager, Product Owner
- Business Analysts, Business Developer
- UX/UI Designers, Graphic Designers
- Any stakeholders such as a Product Manager or investor
Each person on the team brings a different perspective and skillset, which allows you to create a well-balanced product and speed up the building timeline. Getting all members involved in the process together also produces open communication and ensures everyone is on the same page throughout the mobile app development process.
Creating a mobile app that goes on to be successful can be tricky, but incorporating the discovery phase into your mobile app development process helps you set a strong foundation. It does this by allowing you to focus on building the right product by identifying the end-user needs so that you can customize it before you even start making the app, identifying risks, and preventing costly mistakes. It lets you not only understand what type of mobile app you want to build but also identifies the one you need to build. Following the above guidelines will help you design a valuable product that end-users will appreciate and, in turn, increase your app’s chances of success in the market.
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