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MVP: Quickly Validate your Start-Up


Hi my name is willed. Abel i'm going to take you through a white boarding process for creating an mvp or minimum viable product is a way of narrowing down your idea into the smallest amount of stuff online that validates your assumptions it's much better than building a big crazy terrifying thing because if you build too much you have no idea what makes people love the thing you're building geeks like us love to dive into a code editor or photoshop and start doing the actual work before we've done the important step of checking what our users want and how we can deliver that so this works really well for on and offline stuff it doesn't matter whether you're doing a sass or an e-book or selling a physical product the important thing is that we cut our idea down with a process not guesswork and add features later it starts with a really simple set.

User Storyline

Of sentences a say i need so i can today we're going to do cat food monthly delivery ah which could be put us as a cat owner i need some cat food so my cat doesn't starve this user story line is kind of a cool idea. But we might we need to give it a lot of texture so we need to be like as a lazy cat owner ah i need a monthly food box you know a little a little thing that i can give my cat so that i don't have to leave the house you can see it's a very different thing from as a crazy cat lady i need four tons of food. So i can feed all of the cats in my house or ass a new cat odor i need kitten food to feed my little baby child thing that is actually a cat so we try and give us much texture as we can to our user story line before we get into the actual process of figuring out how they get through some kind of ux flow at the other end to actually getting their cat food i'm going to bang through this whole process that i've already drawn out of a kind of over complicated system for like cat food delivery the start of any ux flow starts with the decision from the point of view of the user to engage with the brand so this might be a link from facebook it might be like a google search for whatever reason they make a decision and the first thing that they interact with is usually alike what the hell is the product and wise are brilliant you know so often it'l be like the price and how it works. And that's it might be that really nice one sentence that explains this does that for this kind of person as you can see we've kind of very simply gone through all of the little steps that happen after that. Hey. Yeah i'm interested. It's do it kind of kind of decision making point so first we've decided we want to know what kind of cat because we want to know the age the size the temperament this might lead to blog posts about ages and sizes and temperaments of cats it might lead through to the plan do we want like weekly or monthly delivery for fat and skinny cats might we want to know about the health of the cat are they an indoor and outdoor cat do they need organic or vegan cat food with the shipping does it need to be like in the city of melbourne or should it be international so we're dealing with canadians and southeast asia and melbourne all under the same brand is their priority shipping for if you really need food for your cat can it be delivered by drone there are many options that we deal with in the shipping chunk which then leads us through the accounts where you know it's got like login guest checkouts you can look with your github or facebook for all those geeks with lots of cats finally takes us through to the you know the email that you get at the end that confirms it and there's like a coupon code in there for the next time you come in maybe you're a full program some kind of support finally gets out the other side into reality where you get the food box for your kitty at which point we might think well there's like a kitty litter upsell so that we can like double ever avenue from the same product great idea now this is fantastic for laying out a user flow note that there's a there's no mention of the word drop-down or check box or submit button there's none of that our technical jargon because your user does not care about any of those things we simply want a series of decisions that tie together to an outcome in this case it's a bunch of people buying cat food now this is where we put the m in the product to minimize this what we do is we get a bunch of post-it notes or a big nasty texture and we scribble out all the bits that suck it's really hard to do this with your own products because butchering your baby feels like a sad and nasty thing to do. But it's really important because hidden behind all of these ideas is you know ten or a hundred extra interfaces that are a massive waste of time let's do some post-it notes.

Postit Notes

Now that we have gone through the ux flow and written out all the various components that the user might go through and experience in the app now we've got three kinds of sticky note that we're going to use to destroy our idea sad faces happy faces and kind of on brand nests as sad faces are the things that users hate so going through the flow is there anything here that users are just not going to care about particularly lazy cat owners so the blog i don't know who really cares about a blog that doesn't help me get food for my cat the account step this is really obviously to me something that doesn't make anybody happy you know maybe getting on facebook logins are going to be useful but it doesn't get me any nearer to my goal as a user of getting cat food happy faces some people really like certain chunks of applications so it might be that there's a certain business that makes a lot of sense is a lot of fun set such as the idea of like the health component you know that there is a brand that's going to take care of my cat ah on its health terms might make me really happy so let's look at that as a component then we've got the idea of brand now brands a weird one right because with branding online and with application branding your brand is not what you tell people it is it's not the logo or the colors or any of that stuff your brand is what your users tell other people it is and in this case we've said it's monthly cat food so let's say that the plan idea of when you get the food is a big part of the brand you know it might be monthly cat food calm with these three ideas we can go through all of the components in the app and find out where the really important stuff is okay. So i've made some like a really subjective calls on what i think is cool and not cool about the app the fact that it exists is fun who cares about what kind of cat it is it's like my cat and that's like all i care about the blog might be great might be bad that makes me want to forget about it entirely because all decisions in good ux should every user will or only uses that one a certain thing will buy our product we don't want sometimes people might those kinds of questions are really scary in your ex so the blog being maybe a good or a bad thing makes me want to kill it entirely the idea that it's a plan that comes every month that's on brand the fact that we care about health is great shipping and accounts of course nobody cares about that kind of stuff a nice email makes everybody happy and the fact that it's a box of food is on brand so based upon this we can kill off all the sad stuff find smarter ways of doing the good stuff and change the flow into a much simpler version of the same cool. So i've just rubbed out all of the fat in the idea only the things that are necessary for it to exist remain you make a decision you find out the price there is only one plan which is monthly and it's only vegan cat food you get one email to confirm that you get the product. And then you get your food box. And that's it. So. Whereas previously this big long complicated mess of stuff we had might be thirty or forty or fifty interfaces that are with ap is to the github login and all this other ridiculous stuff that nobody needs we've done something that could probably be executed in a one-page site even the questions about purchasing etc could all be done very simply through email i've actually seen people are test payment ideas by just saying that there will be a payment and asking for an email address you might not be validating that you can write a payment system but you don't need to if nobody's going to buy anything let's put this into a wire friend.


Okay cool. So we've taken our flow that we created that has no more fat on it and we've actually figured out that we can turn this into a really simple one-page sign its monthly vegan cat food for $30 a month instead of worrying about shipping we've just said it's in melbourne bad luck and that way if people are not in that area they don't buy it and that's fine. Yeah. We're not creating all this extra work around shipping systems and even the physical distribution problems that we've got to deal with it's just 30 bucks in melbourne we explain briefly why because there's some health stuff going on with a brand. And then there's a big buy button and instead of building some kind of crazy shopping cart system it's one thing that starts now and works monthly. And we do all the buy mechanisms through some other third-party provider this can be whipped up in like two or three hours can be put online and can be measured so we can see how many people look at the site how many people actually go through to buying if you were really sneaky with this. And you are doing a minimum viable business not a minimum viable product you'd throw a couple of grand worth of google adwords budget at this targeting keywords that you think are important and then refund everybody else's money after you've done the actual initial spend because then you can say apologies our distribution did not come through but at least we've learned what people out there want from our web app so the summer what we've done we've defined an audience member from their point of view with a bit of granularity we've taken them through a process within our application that gets them something doesn't matter whether it's an e-book or a subscription or a product physical or electronic we've taken them through that got them out the other end and then cut all the fat off that process if the idea that we come up with at the end isn't very exciting it might be that our idea wasn't very exciting in the first place even more importantly it checks our assumptions against those of important and that is the true power of the review you.

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