Google Sprint Design: Ensures You’re Building for Product/Market Fit

What is Design Sprint?

If you are hearing this term for the first time, I’m pretty sure it sounds as intriguing as it is. So to what is actually a Design Sprint?

Similar to a sprint, which is running at the maximum speed with full efforts for a short period time, we have design sprints, figuring out more quickly how to solve problems in short periods.

“The design sprint is a five-day process for answering critical business questions through design, prototyping and testing ideas with customers.”

Solving big problems and testing new ideas in a limited time duration, as short as 5 days can be called a “Design Sprint.”

Under the umbrella of Google, the nuances of Design Sprint are further explained, with each step being discussed elaborately. Hence, as it goes…

 

‘The Google design sprint is a set of structured activities developed to help organizations answer critical business questions by designing, prototyping and testing solutions over five days. Often these questions are about potential new products or services, or new features for existing offerings.’

Google took the initiative to develop this process and further refined at Google Venture (GV). Since most companies already follow this approach subconsciously, putting this approach in a concise manner it can have various versions. Here we have followed the process laid out by Jake Knapp with Braden Kowitz and John Zeratsky.

These Design Sprints are perfectly ideal for big challenges. Especially, for projects:

  • Complex and not sure for whom to build
  • That have high stakes
  • Lack of time and require a certain decision to be taken quick
  • What are stuck and need a fresh start with an entirely new perspective

It’s a chance to try high risk/high reward approaches without investing too much time and money. It also lets you concentrate your effort into a short period. And it gives you a structured approach that can jumpstart your creativity and decision making.

What gave it a kick start?

Whenever a new product is set to launch in the market it has a huge risk factor that comes along, especially timeframes and budgets that are not well calculated. But the good news here is, those issues will not be completely eliminated but it can be at least be minimized to a great extent.

 

ENTER Design Sprints.

This idea is based on design thinking and it was created to reduce the risk of bringing a brand new product to the market. Google Ventures has refined Design Sprints and coined it ‘Google design Sprints’.

Some books present this concept along with its history in a very descriptive manner, focussing on the procedure and steps. One such example is a book written by Design Partner at GV Jake Knapp, titled ‘Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days’.

Without any doubt, this book is a must-have for every entrepreneur!!!

Jake describes first attempts at creating the whole five-day process – from chatting during a coffee break, through making a plan of the project, to creating a final working prototype.

Why should you be talking about Design Sprints?

If you are an entrepreneur or an innovator trying to solve a problem, Design Sprints can be a panacea for all the problems you might face; right from mind block to the uncertain risks involved. Having known the basic introduction about this drill and where can it be applied, here are a few points which buttress the application of this concept even more.

  • Quick and apt solutions are derived in the end.
  • A good environment, where the focus is fixed and there are no distractions.
  • Step-by-step method, we know what’s next.
  • Different methodologies which can be adopted not only to get rid of mind blocks but also enhance creativity.

How?

Design sprints are sprints for the brain. It’s true that the more we flex our brain muscles the stronger they become. Our brain abilities do not decrease as we use it, instead, they grow thus increasing our problem-solving abilities.

Consisting of 5 major stages, this drill can be run in 5 days, with each day discussing each step in detail. A typical design sprint runs as follows:

 

MONDAY- Understand

The first and foremost step in any Design Thinking process is to understand the problem statement with its intrinsic details. After all, if the problem is not clear how can we work out on the solutions which are efficient?

As its first step, the group works with experts from across the organization to identify the ultimate goal of the sprint and map out the challenge for the week.

  •  The team can pen down their notes using the “How Might We” technique.
  •  Ask the right set of questions, so that further the team can come up with some innovative solutions. These questions push the entire team in the right direction of working.
  •  Understand the vision and mission of the company through some guest lectures by the VPs and the CEOs. This ensures that all the decisions taken hereafter are aligned with it.

TUESDAYDefine

After having understood the challenge and its subtleties, the team proceeds on defining the initial strategy of the solution that they are looking for.On Day 2, the team churns their brains to explore a variety of feasible and innovative solutions.

“We’ve found that magic happens when we use big whiteboards to solve problems. As humans, our short-term memory is not all that good, but our spatial memory is awesome. A sprint room, plastered with notes, diagrams, printouts, and more, takes advantage of that spatial memory. The room itself becomes a sort of shared brain for the team.”
― Jake Knapp

Creating mind maps and applying some brainstorming methods help in branching out various approaches keeping the resources available, in mind.

  • We started by creating various personas that describe the product’s users
  • Then we created a user statement which is a simple sentence that describes the user’s characteristics, his needs, motivations and what he values the most.
  •  Adjectives that we want our users to describe our product with.
  • And lastly, we executed the “First Tweet” – a very inspiring exercise of creating the company’s first tweet after the publicity of the solution within the Twitter limitation of 140 characters. The best guidance is to tell the group to imagine that it’s time to launch the feature and ask them “What is the first announcing tweet you will send out?”

WEDNESDAY- Diverge and Decide

decide

 

The third day of the sprints requires real stamina!! Because it requires being decisive. The group glances at the outputs of Tuesday and further comes up with a solution.

Often we consider the first solution as the only and the best one! But honestly, this is a blunder. Your first solution if at all is feasible, then it only indicated the right track you are following. Things don’t come easy, but also when you work hard for them they no longer remain average instead become extraordinary. The Diverge stage is where the fun begins!

Hence, your first solution is just like a trampoline, it would give you a great bounce. Using elements such as whiteboards, sticky notes, flowcharts etc. helps in framing our thoughts that are scattered and in organizing them.

A significant detail to remember is that No idea is a bad idea. The only thing that the team members need to do is start throwing ideas, no matter if they’re realistic or not. Follow a technique called “Crazy 8 in 5”: each individual sketches quick 8 potential UI solutions in 5 minutes.

But how can we elect one idea to prototype?

  • Voting can be a solution. The most favored solution can be prototyped. But this might not work every time, considering the other group dynamics.
  • Using the “Risk vs. Reward” scale, we can take every well-liked solution and place it in a scale of the various risks vs. the value – It would reveal what’s easy to do and is important for users, hence we could decide which one to prototype.

THURSDAY- Prototype

Prototype MVP

A prototype is the proof of all the above stages. It allows us to test how pragmatic the ideation was, also saving time money and resources before building the actual product.   Using the prototype, underline the potential success and failure of the solution. The accuracy of the prototype must be kept in mind, having clear and easy testing would give the actual feedbacks and thus reiteration can be done, before the products lands in the market. Once the prototype is ready, our next step is testing.

“Goldilocks quality. Create a prototype with just enough quality to evoke honest reactions from customers.”  ― Jake Knapp

FRIDAY- Validate

The most important question that the team answers on the 5th day are,  “How can we know if we did a good job?”

Now the prototype that has been created is introduced to different users in order to test it with them and ask them some guiding questions. But that is not all.

The validation stages require the technology team to review the solution and understand its complexities, how much time it takes to develop it and if we’re able to support this kind of solution in our framework. Once it gets approved and can be pretty much chalked out in the possible timeframe the validation can be taken from the ‘investors’.

Last but not least – the stakeholders’ validation. Their review is essential for the sprint to succeed. Usually, they’re the ones that are funding and managing the company, therefore they can point out other crucial perspectives and make the final validation.

Here’s what you will need to run a design sprint:

  • Sticky notes
  • A4 paper
  • Erasable Marker
  • Pens/Pencils
  • Notebooks
  • Whiteboard
  • Colored papers
  • Open Mind

At the risk of sounding cliché, we cannot emphasize enough how much and open minds can make a difference. The entropy of our thoughts triggers the most innovative of the solutions.

Finished the design sprint – now what?

At that stage, after a full day of work and a jam-packed week, you just finished the sprint. People might part ways after this, thinking that it’s done and they can peacefully return to their jobs. It’s up to you – the design sprint leaders – to monitor the progress of the development. Like an aid to the product managers, and be there if the team has doubts or questions about the solution.

How To Keep The Momentum? 

The show must go on. Completing these 5 steps won’t get you anywhere unless the solutions are being applied. How do you keep the momentum? Here are some practical next steps and tips:

  • The design sprint leaders still need to hold the accountability, until the solution gets implemented. The leaders can also assign this role to someone, such as a product owner or project manager. Ideally, this person was also a participant in the sprint
  • Decide what’s the Minimum Marketable Product (MMP). What are the essential features and functions required to deliver your unique value proposition? The customer feedback gathered during the sprint should drive this decision. All trivial features (the nice-to-haves) should be saved for later.
  • Test your prototype for usability. Remember, it’s about the ease and not the features always. A good product might not even need an instruction booklet 
  • Get to work! Set your priorities right you can always have the nice-to-haves in the end. But for the same d not compromise with the ‘solution’ that you settled on.
  •  Run more sprints. The design team would ideally conduct a few sprints ahead of the development team’s sprints. For example, if the development team is working in two-week sprints, then designers should schedule their sprints accordingly every two weeks, regardless of what type of design sprint they use. At the very least, the design sprints should consist of iterating on the prototype, testing with users, and passing off to the developers, ensuring that only customer-validated features are developed.

iterarte your protoype

Using this process, you have established a continuous customer feedback loop, starting with your sprint. Do not let loose after running one design sprints. Quickly recharge yourself and get back to more as and when required!

Everyone deserves delightful products. Our design sprints will help you to get them. We will validate your ideas with real customers and iterate until we build what really solve their problems.

Let’s jumpstart innovation in your organization and get in touch with us: [email protected]

 

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Mobile Website vs Mobile App: Which Is The Better Option?

If you’re planning to establish a mobile presence for your business or organization one of the first considerations that will likely come to mind is whether you want to create a mobile application for users to download (app) or a mobile website, or perhaps both. Mobile websites and apps can look very similar at first-glance, and determining which is most suited to your needs will depend upon a number of factors, including target audiences, available budget, intended purpose and required features.

What’s the Difference Between a Mobile Website and an Mobile App (Application)?

Before you can evaluate the benefits of a mobile website vs. an app it’s important to understand the key differences between the two. Both apps and mobile websites are accessed on a handheld devices such as smartphones (e.g. iPhone, Android and Blackberry) and tablets. A mobile website is similar to any other website in that it consists of browser-based HTML pages that are linked together and accessed over the Internet (for mobile typically WiFi or 3G or 4G networks). The obvious characteristic that distinguishes a mobile website from a standard website is the fact that it is designed for the smaller handheld display and touch-screen interface.

Increasingly, responsive web design is becoming the new standard for websites that are not only mobile-friendly, but that can scale to any sized device – from desktop down to tablet and handheld smartphones. Like any website, mobile websites/responsive sites can display text content, data, images and video.

They can also access mobile-specific features such as click-to-call (to dial a phone number) or location-based mapping. Apps are actual applications that are downloaded and installed on your mobile device, rather than being rendered within a browser. Users visit device-specific portals such as Apple’s App Store, Android Market, or Blackberry App World in order to find and download apps for a given operating system.

The app may pull content and data from the Internet, in similar fashion to a website, or it may download the content so that it can be accessed without an Internet connection.

Mobile Apps

A mobile app is a software application made specifically for use on smart phones and other small, wireless devices such as tablets and smart watches. They are developed entirely separately from your website. In the beginning, apps were made to provide users with a similar experience to a website they can access on desktop. Today, apps are usually highly-specialized individual software that serves as part of a business’s mobile strategy.

Mobile App Pros

A native mobile app is an app that is developed for a particular platform, for example, iOS or Android, and are installed on the device itself. A native app is written in the language of the operating system of the device. Apps are a completely separate entity from a company’s website, and are often an extension of a brand.

   1. Branding Opportunities

Since a mobile app is an entirely separate entity from a company’s website, it has the ability to offer new branding opportunities to users. This means that companies can experiment with new branding tactics and styles with a mobile app. It’s important to note that a mobile app offers a completely different experience for the user. If your website can’t offer enough value for your customers, a mobile app may be the way to go as it offers users with another channel for engagement.

       2. Convenience

Analysis shows that the applications are more popular than equivalent websites, as they’re more convenient. Mobile apps provide better user experiences, load content faster, and are easier to use. Besides, unlike websites, apps have push notifications. Sharing updates, special features, and reminders within an app increases customer loyalty and retention. Also, the design of mobile apps fits different screen sizes more elegantly than websites.

       3. Personalization

Mobile apps are a great solution for services that require regular use. An application allows users to set preferences, create personal accounts, and keep vital information at hand. From a business point of view, mobile apps provide better support for targeting an audience and therefore building marketing campaigns for different groups of users.

       4. Working offline

Another crucial advantage related to mobile apps is the opportunity to use them offline. As apps are installed on a mobile device, they can keep providing access to content and features even without an internet connection

       5. Customer Engagement

Mobile apps run with their own interface environment which enables users to become more immersed in the mobile experience. They are built with a purpose, for example, more convenient banking. They address user pain points and make it easier for users to achieve a goal.

Additionally, mobile apps allow for more interactive ways for the user to engage with your content. Rather than looking at the exact same text and images as a website, apps can integrate features which allow users to interact with certain components of the app. Finally, if a mobile app delivers a great deal of value to a user, they will return frequently, forming a habit. These factors all contribute to greater customer engagement, in turn, boosting conversion rates.

Mobile App Cons

The truth is that comparing mobile apps and mobile websites is like asking to choose between bread and butter. Bread is great, but it’s awesome with butter. Right? Since mobile websites are easier to get up, an mobile app need to have a strong argument for itself if you were to consider getting one set up.

  1. Added setup 

This used to be a pretty strong con against mobile apps, but now with app building solutions like BuildFire, getting an app up and running isn’t really hard and definitely doesn’t take a long time. For a business, the app doesn’t have to be very elaborate at the start. The setup can be quick if you’ve planned ahead.

2. Extra cost 

It’s rare that a business wants to have a fully custom app developed for them. Whether for functions like booking, mobile commerce store or as a customer service channel, app builders are able to provide a drag and drop platform for a fraction of the price of custom apps. Builders can charge anywhere for $30 to $100 monthly, which saves you a lot in upfront costs and ongoing support.

      3. It’s more work 

Mobile apps might be drag and drop but they’re not definitely going to operate themselves. Apps should be part of a larger mobile strategy and marketing strategy. You need to have someone who will spend time learning the ropes of app marketing so you can maximize your app and get a good return on your investment. It’s more work but it promises more returns.

Mobile Websites

mobile website is a mobile version of your desktop website. It is separate from your desktop site and is designed for exclusive mobile use. Mobile websites typically do not have as much content as desktop sites. It has limited pages and each page is optimized to match what people usually need when using mobile to access websites.

Mobile apps build by devgap

 

Mobile Website Pros

As mentioned earlier, a mobile website is a website that has a responsive design and works for different screen sizes. Essentially, it’s a customized version of a regular website that is used specifically for mobile. Here are the benefits of a mobile website:

  1. Broader Audience Reach

Due to the multi-device support that responsive web design provides across various platforms, it’s becoming easy to reach a broader audience than a mobile app can reach. In the “app vs website” debate, the website definitely wins in terms of potential audience. Secondly, in terms of search engines, it has greater reach capability than a mobile app which has to be searched and downloaded in either Google Play or Apple’s App Store.

      2. Cost-Effective

Websites also cost less to upgrade. You need to maintain just a single version of a them. Compared to mobile apps, which require downloading of every single update, responsive/mobile websites let you change the content or design just by editing them once, and allow you to do that efficiently and flexibly. After implementing, updates become active and visible immediately across all types of devices.

Depending on complexity, a responsive mobile site can be more cost-effective than mobile app development. This holds true if you want your app to have a presence on more than one platform.

      3. SEO & Brand Visibility

Mobile optimized sites are now ranked higher in search engine results pages than sites that are not optimized for mobile. Companies with mobile-friendly sites are more likely to rank better, which results in greater brand visibility and higher website traffic.

Mobile websites may be a less expensive option, however, they are very limited when it comes to personalization and engagement. Additionally, websites simply can’t be as tightly integrated with the user’s device, so they can’t leverage the phone’s other capabilities as easily.

It’s also important to note that mobile website design relies on the networks being used to access it. The network access, quality, and speed are all factors that will impact your mobile web experience, if a wifi network is even available.

Mobile websites are also more difficult for a user to navigate since they’re on a much smaller screen than desktop. This means that you should have fewer steps for the user to take. If you don’t simplify the user journey, users can get frustrated and will abandon the site altogether. This will not only lower conversion rates, but can also damage your brand image. Make sure to optimize your site’s functionality on mobile devices, ensuring that the user journey is simple and straightforward.

      4. Compatibility

A website enhances the user experience across different types of mobile devices. In contrast, a mobile application requires developing a separate version for each operating system and device type. Users who own devices of different types may especially appreciate the benefits of compatibility that responsive websites provide. Besides, they support easy integration with other mobile features like QR codes and text messaging.

Mobile Website Cons

If you have a desktop website, it’s pretty simple to setup a mobile site. If you had someone else or an agency develop your site, it shouldn’t take a lot cost and time-wise to setup a mobile site. That said, businesses should have mobile sites. For the purposes of comparison, here’s how they stack up against mobile apps.

  1. No app store presence 

As a business, being visible on all marketing channels is useful.

      2. No push notifications 

Push notifications are a delicate but amazing way to communicate with your audience. It can be highly targeted and is aligned with their interests.

      3. No offline access 

Mobile websites need the internet to work.

      4. A challenge to design

If you’ve put mobile web design duties to someone who isn’t familiar with usability practices and performance benchmarks, your site can be useless and do more harm than good.

Comparison:  Mobile Website Vs Mobile App

Criteria Responsive/Mobile Website Mobile App
Compatibility Displays equally well on all types of devices Requires development of separate version for each platform
Reach Reaches wider audience; covers all devices (mobile, desktop, laptop) Accessible for smartphone and tablet users only
Working Offline Limited offline functionality Works well offline
Ongoing Maintenance Supporting and updating across all mobile devices is easier; flexible; requires less effort Requires extra time and cost for regular updating, including time for approval from app markets
Convenience Provides limited convenience due to screen size and inability to keep all needed info on one page Provides better experience in regular use; loads content faster; has push notifications
Personalization Provides average opportunities to personalize settings Provides wider options for personalization

Conclusion

Thus, both alternatives have their advantages and disadvantages. A mobile app is not always better than the mobile version of the site and vice versa. To choose one of them you must understand the purpose of the product: who will use it and how often.

Also one should know, what is more important: higher performance and functionality or the product development price. From the point of view of money saving web development is a better option. In this case, the content is more important than the visual expression of the app. The mobile app is likely more preferable to a responsive mobile website if your plans require high performance.

In addition, the offline/online availability is an essential issue. Mobile applications do not depend on the Internet access as responsive websites so that many operations can be performed in the offline mode.

Of course, there is no clear answer to what business needs: a mobile site or a mobile application. The main thing is to think about your clients as users of mobile devices and make their life as comfortable as possible.

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Design thinking can help to integrate the needs of your customers

“Design thinking draws on logic, imagination, intuition and systemic reasoning to explore the possibilities of what could be and to create desired outcomes that benefit the end user (the customer).

A design mindset is not problem-focused, it’s solution-focused and action-oriented. It involves both analysis and imagination. Design thinking is linked to an improved future and seeks to build ideas up—unlike critical thinking, which breaks them down.

Design thinking informs human-centered innovation and begins with developing an understanding of customers’ or users’ unmet or unarticulated needs”

— Linda Naiman, Founder of Creativity at Work.

What is Design Thinking?

Design Thinking is a methodology used by designers to solve complex problems and find desirable solutions for clients. A design mindset is not problem-focused, it’s solution focused and action-oriented towards creating a preferred future. Design Thinking draws upon logic, imagination, intuition, and systemic reasoning, to explore possibilities of what could be—and to create desired outcomes that benefit the end user (the customer).

“Design thinking can be described as a discipline that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity.”
– Tim Brown CEO, IDEO

What is User Experience (UX) Design?

User experience (UX) design is the process of creating products that provide meaningful and relevant experiences to users. This involves the design of the entire process of acquiring and integrating the product, including aspects of branding, design, usability, and function.

“User Experience Design” is often used interchangeably with terms such as “User Interface Design” and “Usability”. However, while Usability and User Interface Design are important aspects of UX Design, they are subsets of it – UX design covers a vast array of other areas, too. A UX designer is concerned with the entire process of acquiring and integrating a product, including aspects of branding, design, usability and function. It is a story that begins before the device is even in the user’s hands.

“The process of enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty by improving the usability, ease of use, and pleasure provided in the interaction between the customer and the product”Le

LET’S LOOK AT 3 business benefits of the design thinking process:

CAMERON CHAPMAN – DESIGN BLOG EDITOR @ TOPTAL  wrote a break article about the process of Design Thinking. I highly recommend you to check it out.

1.Nurtures customer-centric product innovation

Design thinking forces UX pros, developers and others involved in innovation to focus on the people they’re designing for in the first place: the end users and customers.

“At IBM, we define design as the intent behind an outcome,” writes Lara Hanlon, software product designer at IBM, in a recent SiliconRepublic article. “We use design thinking to form intent by developing understanding and empathy for our users.”

Design thinking is helping IBM accelerate the pace of innovation while boosting value for users. Adds Hanlon –

“When you use design thinking, your users are your North Star. They are the premise for every action you take. You will measure your success based on the value you bring to them, actively involve them in your work to help you understand the problem, and get feedback on ideas along the way.”

According to Jennifer Kilian, digital vice president of McKinsey Digital Labs, adopting the design thinking principle of putting the customer first is important because

“if you solve for their needs first, you’ll always win.”

2. Removes pain points in the customer journey

As a human-centered framework, the design thinking process starts with empathy.

“Elicit stories from the people you talk to, and always ask ‘Why?’ to uncover deeper meaning,” says a Stanford guide on design thinking. Observing, listening and engaging with customers is key step to the process.

With empathy, product developers can walk in their customer’s shoes and discover obstacles in the customer journey. According to Ryan Hart, principal analyst at Forrester, companies like General Electric and IBM have been able to eliminate customer pain points by adopting design thinking.

“When you look at GE’s old DNA, it was very much about ‘How do we make money?’ and it was built on a highly siloed, very traditional manufacturing model,”

Hart said at a Forrester Customer Experience Marketing event in Sydney earlier this year.

“In 2010, GE did an internal audit and found out that it was releasing hundreds of products across multiple business lines every year, but had zero consistent user-experience strategies and was losing touch with its customers.” By identifying and fixing pain points, GE improved the customer experience and saved costs. “For them to pivot and add design thinking into the DNA equation was a big step, but the effects were felt immediately,”

Explains Hart.

“In fact, in the first year, the company realized $15 million could be saved in development costs alone.”

3. Informs what not to do

When it comes to better products and more seamless customer experiences, simpler is often better.

“Many products built on an emotional value proposition are simpler than competitors’ offerings,” writes Jon Kolko, vice president of design at the education tech company Blackboard, in an article for the Harvard Business Review. “This restraint grows out of deliberate decisions about what the product should do and, just as important, what it should not do. By removing features, a company offers customers a clear, simple experience.”

Design thinking can help business leaders practice necessary restraint. That’s because a critical step in design thinking is clearly defining “the challenge you are taking on, based on what you have learned about your user and about the context,” according to the Stanford University Institute of Design. This focuses the process, helping identify which features and experiences should be dropped.

The latter steps in the design thinking process—ideation, prototyping and testing—help further validate the features, processes and experiences that customers are looking for.

How Design Thinking Applies in Practice

So you’re not Amazon or Uber. But you do design products with the customers in mind. Adomavicius (Aurimas Adomavicius, president and co-founder of Devbridge Group) shared an example of where design thinking leads to better customer experience outcomes. He cited a bank application creation process. Historically, organizations would build applications and software like this by completing a lengthy requirements process. A business analyst then drafts probably a 100-page document that defines the market opportunity, the requirements, the functional needs and so on. Next, someone draws out the different fields necessary for the application and then someone designs the interface, builds the interface, integrates it, tests it and then brings it to market.

And herein lies the problem, according to Adomavicius: only then would an actual user get to see the finished product, which in this case is an online banking experience that the bank was looking to launch. “In design thinking, you would start by having a team emphasize with the end customer/end-users, and actually design and define the solution based on the customer needs versus a business analyst that is talking to stakeholders and internal stakeholders at the bank at the company,” Adomavicius said.

“So, if you look at the different stages of design thinking, they go from emphasizing with the end-user, defined requirements, ideate over those requirements of how to actually do the execution of the requirements, prototype those and then test.”

Stages of Design Thinking

The design thinking process comprises six stages: empathize, define, ideate, prototype, test, and implement. The process flow is not necessarily linear—some stages may be repeated or revisited.

1. Empathize

A big part of the design thinking process is the ability to empathize with the people for whom you want to create value. This stage involves gathering data about your customers by ethnographic methods such as experience mapping instead of traditional methods such as surveys and focus groups. These traditional methods are not considered reliable or useful in the early innovation process because people are not necessarily good at recognizing and giving voice to their latent needs.

2. Define

Once you have complete knowledge about your customer, use the information to discover where their problems exist. While narrowing down on the problem(s), identify opportunities for innovation.

3. Ideate

This stage involves generating creative ideas to address issues that have been defined in the previous stage. It is recommended that team members get together to tease out their individual ideas and then share them with each other, thus allowing a remixing and expansion of ideas. Some ideas are tested for feasibility in the next few stages.

4. Prototype

To test if the chosen idea(s) work, a real prototype is created. By inviting feedback on the prototype, an impact versus feasibility study can be done for each idea. Thus, new ideas are treated as hypotheses that are to be tested instead of assuming that they will work using estimates made with existing data.

5. Test

Ask customers for their feedback on your prototype. Answers to questions like “Does this solution meet the needs of the customer?” and “Has this solution improved the way that customers feel or think?” will determine what improvements or variations are required.

6. Implement

In this stage, the solution is converted into reality and is delivered to customers. This final step is crucial because true innovation can only take place if the implementation of the solution is done properly.

Some Benefits of having a Design Thinking Approach

Helps in tackling creative challenges: Design thinking gives you an opportunity to take a look at problems from a completely different perspective. The process of design thinking allows you to look at an existing issue in a company using creativity. The entire process will involve some serious brainstorming and the formulation of fresh ideas, which can expand the learner’s knowledge. By putting design thinking approach to use, professionals are able to collaborate with one another to get feedback, which thereby helps in creating an invaluable experience to end clients.

Helps in effectively meeting client requirements: As design thinking involves prototyping, all the products at the MVP stage will go through multiple rounds of testing and customer feedback for assured quality. By embracing the design thinking approach, you will most likely meet client expectations as they were directly involved in the design and development process.

Expand your knowledge with design thinking: The design process goes through multiple evaluations. The process does not stop even after the deliverable is complete. Companies continue to measure the results based on the feedback received and ensure that the customer is having the best experience using the product. By involving oneself in such a process, the design thinkers constantly improve their understanding of their customers, and as a result, they will be able to figure out certain aspects such as what tools should be used, how to close the weak gaps in the deliverable and so on.

Related article: How Design Thinking can benefit Education

Avoid These Common Mistakes with Design Thinking

So if you’re ready to start molding design thinking strategies into your organizations, avoid these common pitfalls:

Don’t go by the book – You can’t look at the fundamental ways of applying design thinking while still operating in a very much linear, or waterfall fashion, Adomavicius said. For instance, we oftentimes run into executives, or even teams, in departments who say, “We have $5 million dollars, so we have one attempt to get this right and if all else fails, everyone’s heads will roll.” According to Adomavicius, this is akin to “anti-design thinking.” “Because to make it the premise that you have a single attempt to get something right implies a linear fashion of design and requirements gathering.”

Related article: How Design Thinking Can Help Improve Your Organization’s Customer Experience

Don’t insert design thinking as a formulaic process that embeds itself in current processes and in individual departments rather than looking at the whole picture structurally. Ideally, Hallstrup said, an organization collaborates with designers to see which touchpoints are missing a customer-centric approach, assess the company’s culture and capabilities and start implementing internal change to support external products and services in a way that’s sustainable and scalable in a time frame that spans years, not months.

Don’t feel you need to create a level of “certainty” at one stage before proceeding to the next – It’s important to recognize, Guzman said, that most progress happens by fluidly moving and continuously collaborating between the steps. “By over-investing in building fidelity vs. just quickly prototyping an idea so it can fail quickly,” Guzman said, “brands run the risk of perceiving collaboration as a drawback rather than a strength, and ultimately, not making enough time for the whole process to actually play out.”

Don’t look at design as a creative services group and have them designing marketing materials, user interfaces for websites and apps or employee communications. According to Kanazawa, design thinking should be a discipline built into all operations in order to bring customer and human insights into anything from products to manufacturing operations, sales engagement approaches and onboarding and developing employees.

Conclusion

If we take a closer look at a business, we will come to a realization that the lines between product/services and user environments are blurring. If companies can bring out an integrated customer experience, it will open up opportunities to build new businesses.

Design thinking is not just a trend that will fade away in a month. It is definitely gaining some serious traction, not just in product companies, but also in other fields such as education and science.

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Follow these Simple Steps to Design the Best User Experience

One of the most important aspects of mobile applications is their user experience. In the first place, apps were designed to give people a better tech experience and to make life simpler for their users. This is why one of the key factors to an app’s success is how well it can provide a good UX to its users.

A regular person just uses a maximum number of five apps in one day, and there are thousands of different apps out there! If an app wants to make it to that person’s top 5, then it has to give him/her a reason to be there. If the app, on the other hand, frustrates a user, the app will get a low rating. It’s as simple as that.

What Is UX All About and Why Do Businesses Need It?

In a nutshell, UX has to do with a user’s use of technology. In order to provide a good UX, a mobile app has to create an emotional connection with its users. This eventually leads to brand loyalty. UX is emotion-centered, so if users have nothing but positive emotions from the app, then the app will become more popular.

Good UX Determines the Success of Your App

As you can see, the entire popularity of the app depends on the UX it can provide. To support this idea, a 2017 survey consisting of 5,000 participants shows us that 63% put performance as a top factor when choosing mobile apps. Also, 32% of the participants state that they are willing to find alternatives if the app they’re using doesn’t give them a good experience. Lastly, 20% state that they will share their experience of using an app to other people if they think the app is bad.

UX is Everywhere

People use apps on a daily basis because they want their daily routines to be done more easily. For example, if you’re trying to watch your diet, you’ll want your diet plan app to help you simplify your meal creation. If it doesn’t do its job well, it can hinder your daily routine. As a result, you’d want to find a better diet plan app.

The same survey showed that 15% of people have lost their jobs because of an app’s bad UX. If an app has the power to do something as big as this, then an app has very high importance to people. So if the app gives a bad experience to people, then its reputation will be in shambles one way or the other.

If app development is such a sensitive thing, why are brands still going for it? Well, it’s quite hard for businesses to ignore mobile marketing and app development simply because it’s the in thing. There are so many benefits a mobile app can give you, and not taking advantage of them can cost you a lot of opportunities.

How Do You Provide a Good UX?

When determining how your app can provide a good UX, you have to think from a wide perspective — a collaborative point of view. If you think from a linear and straightforward point of view, you won’t get what you want. What you need are many minds together in one room to brainstorm ways on how to give customers the best UX that they can find through an app.

Rather than just thinking about how to create an app, set your goal to finding techniques on how to create a solution towards a problem. Let’s say a set of users want to learn to speak Chinese and you want to develop an app that can teach Chinese. The goal here isn’t to make an app that teaches you Chinese. The goal is to make an app that makes it EASIER and CONVENIENT to learn Chinese since it is a very hard language to learn.

This is why you’ll need as many insights as you can so that you can understand how to fully give your target market what they want. You have to know what they want to achieve and you have to give them an easier way on how to do it. If you can do this, then you’ll definitely reap the benefits of your hard work. Knowing what your customers want to achieve can also give the developers more insights on how to customize the app to fit their needs. Remember, it’s not just about creating an app but about giving a solution that people are looking for.

The Process of Journey Mapping

When you start your journey to figuring out the needs and wants of a certain group of people, you’ll need a map to lead you to a “discovery”. This is known as a journey map and will help you and your team discover what type of solution is best for a certain type of problem. Here’s what can be found in a journey map:

  • Personas

The first thing on the journey map is the list of personas. This refers to the people that you want to serve and their needs, wants, feelings, difficulties, and expectations.

  • List of Emotions

This refers to the emotions that your potential customers will feel before and after they get a solution.

  • Behavior

This refers to the specific behavioral patterns that affect their actions.

  • Communication Channels

This refers to the modes of interaction for each action made.

Getting Started

Now that you’re familiar with journey mapping, let’s go over the whole process of discovery.

Step 1: Research

Before you brainstorm, you’ll need a basis for your ideas. For this, you’ll need to do an intensive market research consisting of quantitative and qualitative data from your research instruments.

Step 2: Make an Empathy Map

In this step, you have to empathize with your target market. You have to ask certain questions to know what they think and feel. What are their pain point right now? What do they think and feel about it? What makes them want to seek out a certain product? Does a certain product fill their needs?

These are some of the questions to ask when making an empathy map.

Step 3: Make the Journey Map

*The blue UX tree is the First user Experience (NUX) and the purple one is the main user experience

Lastly, make the journey map, which is the above image of a Mobile App and what we discussed in the previous section. When making a journey map, it’s very important to be as specific as possible so that you can touch all areas.  Once you’ve reached your goal, further breakdown the goal into action steps that you will take so that you can implement your ideas.

Since UX is one of the most important factors in an app’s success, determining how to provide it is a very delicate and intricate process. It should be done carefully and surely because it will directly affect the reception of the app. After all, discovery isn’t something that can be rushed, right?

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What Steps Should You Consider with Mobile App Development | Checklist

Building mobile apps takes more planning than most assume. Oftentimes, companies and individuals believe their business plan and app idea are rock solid, but they unintentionally gloss over key items that must be considered prior to any design or development begin.

The most critical phase in any mobile application development project is Design Phase. The goal of discovery is to define the project from a business, design and development perspective, identify any project risks and elaborate on the scope of the solution, all for the purpose of delivering a polished product on time and on budget. Below, we’ve compiled our app development checklist. The list includes a series of questions we believe are critical to the early stages of successfully run app projects. Obviously not all will apply to every app, but we hope you find each provides areas of exploration that your team should focus on prior to beginning development.

What Are Your Goals or Business Objectives?

It sounds like a silly question, but putting these on paper is an important step. The reason being is that they may be obvious to you, but completely absent from the minds of those working directly on the product. Write down exactly what makes your app a success in the eyes of your stakeholders. A clear vision provides your app development team with an end goal as well as reinforcement on the decisions they make to get you there.

Who Are Your Target Users?

Target demographic understanding is another key element early in your business plan. Its important you put this down on paper so you have a clear understanding of each user your app may encounter. We call these user personas. In its simplest form, a user persona is a profile of a potential user of your product. Questions to ask yourself as it relates to these users include: What problem are they trying to solve with your product? What actions will they take within your app? What platforms and devices are they using?

Competitive Research

Identifying and researching your competitors is an obvious early step in your business plan. Make sure you fill in your developers and designers on the makeup of the competitive landscape. This allows each to properly research both UI and UX decisions based on real users and data. Its truly amazing how much you can learn from your competition and improve your product before a developer writes a single line of code.

Monetization Strategy

There are hundreds of variations on strategies to monetize your app. Choosing the right one is not an easy task. The most critical thing to remember here is not to assume you will figure out the monetization later. Having a clear plan early will allow you to save time and money pre and post launch. Oftentimes, monetization features are built directly into the app’s user experience, so being indecisive could cause major setbacks throughout the development process. The best way to alleviate this is to have a clear path to monetization and test whether or not your potential users align with that strategy any way you can.

Project Assumptions

Oftentimes small details related to app development go overlooked when founders are focused on the big picture. Its important to take a step back and spot these assumptions before they roadblock your project in various stages of development. Smaller details such as: What are my OS compatibility targets? Does it even make sense, based on my target market, to make my product compatible with products made 5+ years ago? How will I handle server hosting? Will the app be designed for localization? There are dozens of these seemingly small details that need to be addressed prior to any project beginning to avoid issues as the project progresses.

Do You Have Branding?

You never want something so simple as logos, colors and fonts to be a blocker to your designers and developers. If you have your branding finished prior to seeking development great! If not, no big deal, typically your design team will be more than capable of providing branding services.

Wireframes and User Flows

Typically before development can begin, your team will need to see a comprehensive set of wireframes. Wireframes are product schematics or blueprints that detail each screen within your application and the general flow users will follow while using your app. Creating these design elements are critical during your discovery phase as they layout the what, why and how’s of your products key features.

Do You Require a Functional Prototype?

Prototypes are an amazing testing tool. They allow users to interact with your product as if it were the real thing. If you have key questions or concerns about certain features or usability related to your app, a design-based prototype may be great option. In most cases, we suggest developing a fully functional prototype utilizing HTML to give you a similar look and feel to the final product.

App Security

When thinking about app security, consider any and all sensitive info that is going to be entered and stored within the app. Having the discussion with your development team early will mitigate risk and save you from any potential data breaches or security mishaps.

Project Backlogs

A project backlog is used to define and prioritize your app’s features and associated requirements. A properly formated project plan does not include a single feature without the requirements associated with making that feature a reality. This again sets client and developer expectations and solidifies project understanding in an effort to avoid getting something a bit different than expected. Always ask developers and designers if there is any confusion related to any feature in your project backlog to avoid redos when deliverables start coming your way.

Define Project Stakeholders and Key Contacts

Communication will be critical throughout your design and development. Both you and your development team should have a full understanding of which individuals on each side of the coin are the appropriate contacts and, more importantly, the final decision-makers. The main goal of the initial discovery phase is to have everything related to your project fully understood so that developers can sprint through their requirements and deliver your product on time. Setbacks related to communication confusion simply cannot happen and are easily avoidable.

Social Media Integration

Have you considered how social media will fit into your app’s strategy? Typically apps will utilize one or more networks for login streamlining as well as adding to your product’s in-app virality. Each social network has its own demographics and particular use cases, so doing your research will help you understand the best fit for your app.

Have You Identified and Validated 3rd Party API’s?

Finding the right API’s for your product upfront is important and validating their usability is even more critical. Again, these are items that are roadblocks to project timelines should project managers or developers be forced to research new services or validate API’s after development sprints have already begun.

Offline Capabilities

Will you require that users of your application be able to access features without an internet connection? A perfect example is when a company’s salesperson requires the ability to update client information within the app while on the road- allowing the user to access critical components and features within the app and syncing when a connection becomes available. Things to consider include: the total size of data you need to keep offline, the number of records needed to be kept offline, and the total number of data fields you’ll need to search within. This will allow your app development team to choose the best solution going forward.

Will You Need App Analytics?

Depending on your application, the data that exists within the app can be incredibly important. Understanding user motives, most used features and simply who your users are will allow you to make the right decisions in future releases and especially in your marketing efforts. You check definitely checkout Firebase from Google.

Will You Need Push Notifications?

Push notifications can be a great feature that increase app engagement and bring people back into your products ecosystem. On the flip side, using them too often can be annoying and turn users off. Having an early strategy in place to elegantly utilize notifications and optimizing as your user base grows is a nice feature that can set your app apart from the sea of competitors.

Let’s Talk Budget

Unfortunately it’s always an awkward conversation early in the process, but it’s critical that all parties understand your budget constraints. App development companies are experts at what they do and can work with you and your budget to prioritize your critical features and elements that will allow you to deliver the best possible product at the price point you have set.

Release Schedule

App’s should have a release schedule that coincides with development timelines and any marketing efforts planned pre and post launch. A well thought out plan with target launch dates (especially when dealing with a multi-platform app) not only gives your designers and developers a full understanding of your project delivery expectations, but also provides set timelines that will allow your business development teams to set customer expectations and build a coordinated marketing plan.

What Are Your Project Risks?

Its good to know any possible risks that may throw off your project timelines. This way, your team can setup backup plans that allow you to take immediate action when something comes up. Items like backend setup/coordination, API integrations, regulatory hurdles and hundreds of other project specific factors need to be addressed prior to getting started to ensure a smooth recovery when any issues arise.

Post Launch Support and Maintenance

Most development teams are used to supporting products for bug fixes and iteration improvements, but make sure this is discussed upfront. App development shops typically plan projects far in advance in an effort to schedule team capacity, so unplanned work sometimes can be an issue.

App Store Optimization and Marketing Plan

Considering your marketing plan prior to launch seems a bit like putting the cart before the horse, but doing your homework and putting a plan in place early will set you up for longterm success. Since over 60% of app downloads come directly from app store search and discovery, it’s critical to do your homework on the factors that increase app store optimization. Proper planning of marketing efforts inside and outside the app store will put you on the path for sustainable downloads.

Consider Your Company’s Rollout Strategy

If you are creating an app for your business, how will the transition from old technology to new happen? Its important to consider things like potential critical system transition downtime, user training or even employee change management. Oftentimes these items are just as critical as app functionality.

Will Your App Have a Website?

Depending on the purpose of your application, many companies build companion websites. These websites serve as a central hub of all info related to your product. There are many ways to design an app landing page but most contain a few key components including: your pitch, marketing materials, download buttons that lead the appropriate app store, app press kits and contact information. These core elements not only provide potential users a web space to learn more, but also aid in the promotion and discoverability of your product.

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The Design Thinking Process:  A Strategy for Innovation

Innovation is what the modern world is about. The current advancements that you experience are products of people’s innovations. But have you ever wondered if innovation has a formula? Just like how solving math problems work, creating innovations also make use of formulas. You better scroll down to know the great formula that we use with all our clients for crafting innovative applications.

“Research is the gathering of facts. In the absence of facts, you have assumptions. And assumptions are the enemy of design.” – Mike Monteiro

Developed by IDEO, this method is comprised of 5 distinct phases: empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test. Before you go through these phases, you need to start with a design challenge first. Then, you do the following 5 phases.

1st Phase: Build Empathy

Generally, empathy is the deeper sense of sympathy. This is when you are able to put yourself in other person’s shoes and see someone else’s situation with your own perspective. In the world of business and marketing, there are three ways for you to rebuild your empathy.

#Interviews

During meetings, you’re able to investigate each of your team members’ views and opinions about a certain topic or issue. Moreover, interviews are not limited to your own company. You may also conduct interviews with people from different parts of the world. After all, you need to be open-minded enough in listening to different points of views.

Things to Consider Before Conducting Interviews

Build a strong rapport with your interviewees.
Tell or seek stories to let interviewees provide further views.
Apply the wait-time principle!
Choose the right and best people to be interviewed.
Make use of the extreme users.

 

#Observations

The ability to observe is also essential in this process. When conducting observations, you may assign some tasks for your people to do. While they are busy doing their tasks, observing them may help you find some important points for them to improve.

#Experience

Since empathy entails experiencing what the other person experiences, trying things with yourself can be a lot helpful. You may do this by using the products or services that your customers use. Or, you may also want to try your competitors’ own products for you to feel what customers may think about their products.

#Empathy Tool

As you go through empathy phase, utilizing empathy tools such as empathy maps is a great help in obtaining information of what people say and do (explicit), and think and feel (implicit).  Through this, you will be able to clearly see people’s insights in general.

2nd Phase: Define

Defining or redefining the problem should be the next step after you have successfully built empathy. This phase comes with a formula that can help you: PoV = persona + need + insights.

Needs refer to emotions and depth while insights refer to interview findings, contradictions, observations, or surprises. These components will help you identify the real needs that your customers consciously or unconsciously desire. Apparently, this will be your greatest advantage.

3rd Phase: Ideate

Now that you have built a good rapport with empathy and have redefined your problems, needs, and challenges, brainstorming should be the next step.

This phase is categorized into two parts:

1. Creating Choices (Diverge)

Here, you and your team should gather together to conduct a brainstorming session. To successfully solicit a considerable amount of ideas, everybody should be open-minded in considering each other’s views. As a matter of fact, everybody can come up with over 100 ideas for just an hour. You just need to encourage each other so your minds will be more motivated in generating ideas. When you conduct the brainstorming, consider the following tips:

  • Don’t judge.
  • Prioritize quantity.
  • Focus on one conversation at a time.
  • Build another idea on top of the other.
  • Don’t go out of the topic.
  • Consider crazy ideas.
2. Making Choices (Converge)

After soliciting various and unique ideas from your team, it’s for you to sort them out and pick the top ideas. You may do this by asking all the team members to vote for ideas that they are willing to work on. This way, everybody will be able to agree on choosing the top ideas only.  

4th Phase: Create a Prototype

IDEO once stated, “A prototype is worth a thousand meetings. Prototyping will give you a chance to work on the aspects that need improvement. This will serve as the basis of your learning, problem-solving, and of your management. There are three stages that you need to undergo in this phase.

1. Inspiring – This answers the question “What could it be?”.
2. Evolving – This answers the question “What should it be?”.
3. Validating – This answers the question “What will it be?”.

 

5th Phase: Test

For you to validate the quality of your prototype, testing people using it is a must. By doing this, you will be able to see its performance and effectivity. If you think your modifications are easy, test people with the modified version of your prototype. Do this until you’ll achieve the most effective form. Do not be too crazy about your own ideas that you don’t want to do some modifications anymore. Always consider the opinions of your prototype’s users.  

Conclusion

The goal of The Design Thinking Process is for people to come up with a certain output that is truly desired by people as well. This is the kind of output that can be useful, viable, and convenient enough. Starting from your design challenge, you then undergo empathy phase where you connect, observe, and experience, and then you proceed to the defining phase where you redefine and clarify your challenges and problems, to the ideation where you create and makechoices with your team, to building your own prototypes where you can see your initial output, and then lastly, to the testing phase where you let people use your model.

Going through the whole process guarantees you an organized, beneficial, and effective output. This is definitely the kind of process that is most suitable for modern businesses. So, have you thought about your design challenge yet? Go and gather with your team and start moving now!

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A Guide on How to Create a Business Plan for Your Application Startup

People who have new application to set up usually do it to either make sure the team is working towards the same goal or to gather funds. If your reason is the former, there is no need for you to formalize your business plan. You can simply make a canvas for your business’ model. This type of approach is easier and more focused compared with a business plan that is traditional. A business canvas is better in terms of its adaptability in technical startups.

You ought to continue reading this article if you are one of the people who plan to write a business plan to gather funds. You can personalize each part if you plan to compete your mobile application.

BUSINESS PLAN TEMPLATE FOR AN APPLICATION STARTUP

1 Implementation Summary

Implementation summary is the most basic and the most important aspect of your app startup’s business plan. Because the implementation summary is the one that will make an impression to your potential investor, it should be clear and succinct. The lesser, the better.

1.1 Difficulty

Successful enterprises are able to determine a problem and find an appropriate solution for it through their commodities. Upon the detection of problems, ask these questions to yourself:

  1. What causes the customers to be dissatisfied with the current situation?
  2. How does this difficulty affect the customers?
  3. What steps are they taking to address this problem?

1.2 Resolution

Resolution is the part of the plan where you present your application to your target audience. However, you should not divulge too much information regarding your app. You need to focus more on the difficulty you identified. By listing down how your app solves the problem, you can concentrate on finding the resolution first.

1.3 Proposal

Your proposal should be unique and valuable. These characteristics will make your business stand out. If possible, your business should be the only one that can provide solutions. Moreover, do not state that your business is better than your competitors. Basically, do not make false promises to your customers. Doing this will greatly result to a negative impact, especially on the side of your audience.

1.4 Aim

This is the part where your potential investor will check if their goals and your goals match. The definition of success such as reaching a target for a specified amount of time and the end goal are included.

2 Corporation

Some shareholders think that the section where you discuss your company in your plan is the most vital. However, there are some risks in doing this. For instance, it could be that what you’re currently writing about your company does not match what your business will become. This is the reason why most accelerators such as Y-Combinator make decisions according to the preference of the founding team and according to the potential of the company as well.

2.1 Overview

This is the part where you define the current and legal structure of your corporations. Questions regarding your company’s entity, brief history, headquarters, and number of employees should be answered.

2.2 History

You should discuss more comprehensively about the history of your company. You can tell about the inspiration for starting this kind of business and narrate how you and your team developed the idea for the app. You can also mention about the milestones your company has achieved, changes it has gone through, and just about everything that could be relevant.

2.3 Management

The management reflects the image of your company. Thus, for each member of your management team, include their names, college degrees, relevant work experience, and job description in this section.

2.3 Consultation Team

This is your team that helps you come up with the most crucial decisions for your company. The members of your consultation team must have an experience in the industry of your business. You can list down their position in your company, their contribution in your app startup, and their involvement in your company.

3 Business

Company owners ought to be familiar with the industry of their business. They should be updated with the present situation and future projections. Therefore, you must be knowledgeable about your business and its nature.

3.1 Size

For startups, the size of the market is divided into three:

  • TAM (Total Available Market)- This the number of overall demand for your product.
  • SAM (Serviceable Available Market)- This is a part of the TAM that includes the sales channel of your business.
  • SOM (Serviceable Obtainable Market)- This reflects the first customers who purchase and use your product. It is a part of the SAM.

3.2 Projections

Nielsen or Forrester can be your source of projections since these are established market research firms. You can include the growth rate of your competitors in the industry and the amount that you have invested for your company. Do not include global economy statistics if you only focus on domestic market.

3.3 Competition

The Gartner Group, which is a market research firm, popularized the 2×2 matrix. This is a model that investors want to see. For the variables, you can choose and set your competition apart through the X and Y axis. The function level, broadness, pricing, and customers are some examples that can work for you.

Another thing that you need to remember is not to put your company at the top right corner of this matrix. You have to be strategic and realistic with how you position your business.

3.4 Analysis of SWOT

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. This is an objective analysis of how your business plan weighs if you stack it up in your target market and competitors.

4 Marketing

You have to make your strategy in marketing realistic, since this is what investors are looking for. You also have to make sure that these strategies are doable in reaching out to your app’s future customers or users.

4.1 Acquiring Customers

In this section, you will talk about the methods that you will use in attracting customers. Be specific with your details and tactics. Your expectations must be realistic, and your expenses should be included. The funds you will get is for the growth of the product, so you need to be quantitative. By doing this, investors can estimate the risk there is with your plan.

4.2 Growth

If your model entails a large customer base, you need a referral system in your app. Basically, you will need to take advantage of networking. Two good examples of this are Uber and Houseparty.

4.3 Metrics

It is not a good idea for people doing app startups to concentrate much on metrics because it will not sustain your business. You can choose 1 or 2 metrics that focus on your business instead. For instance, if your app is for social networking, it will be better to focus on the number of active users who log in every day.

5 Financial Strategy

This is the final part where you show your investor the amount of capital you need to setup your app. You have to map out where all the money will be spent.

5.1 Monetization

Advertising, paid, purchases through in-app, and subscription are some of the ways to make money for your app.

5.2 Cost

Although you cannot accurately give the amount of money you will be needing, make sure that your estimate is close and reasonable. You may include emergency funds as well. Do not forget to include the frequency of the payment and the stability of the price for your expenses. The frequency of payment can be one time or recurring. For the stability of the price, it can either be fixed or variable.

5.3 Required Funding

In the last section, you should be able to answer these questions about your business plan.

  • What is the amount of money needed?
  • How many percent of the equity can you give up?
  • Is this a preferred stock or a convertible note?
  • How frequent should payments be made?
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How to Design a Free Mobile App Landing Page

After creating a really cool app that you think will be a big hit among users, what’s next? The next thing that you have to do is create an app website or landing page as soon as possible! Now, the big question that you might be asking yourself right now is how? How do you create a really good mobile app website?

Fortunately, there are a lot of tools that can help you do this. We’ll go over some of the best tools that you can use for making a mobile app website or a landing page.

App Landing Page Tools

Most people would say that an app website doesn’t need to be engaging because app websites are built to give information and not to create engagements. However, I would say that it really depends on what kind of app you have. There are apps that only need landing pages that give pure information about the app while there are also those that have blogs and articles made to engage users.

If you’re planning to make a simple and an informative landing page, these tools are the best:

  • Unbounce

One of the best landing page platforms is Unbounce. To make things simple, they already provide templates that users can choose from. All you need to do is provide some of the important information about the app such as the app name, features, screenshots, reviews, contact information, and maybe a video. You also need a good call to action to make users download the app. The rate of Unbounce is $49 per month, but you can start out with a free landing page with a few limits.

  • Wishpond

Another great tool to use is Wishpond. Wishpond is actually centered around lead generation and advertising. If these are what you’re after, that means that Wishpond is a good choice for you. They are pretty new, but they do have quite a bit to offer such as 50 awesome landing page templates in their portfolio. They’re also adding new ones from time to time.

One of the great things about Wishpond is that it’s so easy to use because you can just click and drag all the things you need. You don’t need to know any HTML coding and such like other platforms. Although they’re one of the new players, they’re very updated with the latest styles of landing pages. You’ll want to keep them in mind when you’re creating your landing page.

  • LeadPages

You may also consider using LeadPages. Just like the previous two, LeadPages also has a lot of templates that you can choose from. They also provide forms, pop up ads, and other things that a landing page needs.

  • Smore

Simplicity is something that Smore has to offer. You can create an online flyer using this tool through several templates. It’s really simple to use.

App Website or Blog Tools

Of course, there is always the option to create an actual website or blog page if you think that a landing page is not good enough to promote your app. Although creating an app website or blog sounds like a tough job to do, it is actually quite simple because of the tools at your disposal. You can try out some of these tools:

  • WordPress

First on the list is the very popular website/blog creator WordPress. WordPress is one of the most widely used CMS platforms for a good reason. It is very easy to use and has a lot of great themes and templates for you to choose. While it is free to use, you will have to pay for hosting and other advanced features that you may want to avail of.

While you can use the free hosting of WordPress, you won’t be able to get your own domain name. If you want your own domain name, you’ll have to pay for it and for hosting on another server.

  • Blogger

Blogger is also a good platform to use if you prefer something other than WordPress. The biggest advantage that Blogger has over WordPress is that it allows you to use its platform for commercial purposes for free (WordPress has a fee for commercial use). Also, Blogger makes use of Google’s host servers so you don’t need to find your own server.

However, like WordPress, you can’t get your own domain name with Blogger. Blogger is solely used as a platform to create a blog. So if you want to create a website, Blogger might not be the perfect tool for you. However, it’s a great option if you’re looking to engage fans with quality articles.

Facebook as a Landing Page

If you don’t want to create a landing page or an app website, there is always the option of making a simple Facebook page as your landing page. The great thing about using Facebook is that it’s fast, easy, and ready to use. It also has its own customer support and chat features that give assistance to users when they’re in need. Another advantage of using Facebook is that it allows you to create a social media presence at the same time. Indeed, using Facebook is like killing two birds with one stone.

However, it’s not really recommended that you use Facebook as a landing page in the long term. You’ll still need to have an actual landing page so that you can create a good brand reputation for your app. No one’s really going to take an app creator with a Facebook page as a landing page. It can be a temporary solution but ultimately, you’ll need a landing page or an app website.

Conclusion

These are some of the options that you can choose from if you’re looking to create a good landing page or a good app website. Just to remind you, an app website or a landing page is one of the most important elements of an app. These options are simple to do and also very affordable so you should have no problem with them. Just choose the best one that suits your app’s nature, your preference, and your budget.

Cheers, Fillgapper Koen

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