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App Developer Tip: Stay Close to Your MVP

In app development MVP means Minimum Viable Product. This is the prototype stage where you lay out only the bare necessities of the app in order to observe its functionality and probability of successfully delivering a solution to the problem it is designed to solve. This is the stage when the app is a product, not a shiny object. Too many times, apps are developed to be attractive, and the need fulfillment part gets foggy, therefore the app fails.

The MVP stage is critical for nailing down the important aspects of the app and clearing away from the extras you may be pressured to add in for attractiveness. Sometimes the development stage gets muddled with things that only weigh down the app’s functionality and become more of a detriment to its success. It is important to keep as close to the MVP as possible so the focus doesn’t shift. This is how apps get away from their intended purpose. There are a variety of successful apps that were built to do too much, and now are being scaled back to simplicity.

Take a Note From Foursquare

Foursquare found that its user experience (UX) and orientation was trying to serve too many purposes, and like Gwyneth and Chris, went through a conscious uncoupling in 2013. The break was an attempt to split the app into two and create two simpler, more purposeful apps that work side by side. Foursquare was trying to be a friend finder tool and a Yelp-like rating review service, but design-wise it was just one big check-in button.

“We had been taking on a little bit of a mission impossible,” he says, “trying to make a single-purpose mobile app that actually had two purposes,” said Noah Weiss, VP of Product Management at Foursquare.

So in 2013, Foursquare began to split the app into Foursquare and Swarm. Foursquare will now be tasked with the job of beating Yelp at its review game. The new product, Swarm will serve as a friend finder without the creepiness of similar location-based friend finding apps according to its developers.

While the success of Swarm, which launched in May of 2014, can’t be predicted thus far it can go without saying that Foursquare will be better for removing the clutter and scaling back into a purposeful business discovery tool.

Moral of the story? Stick to that MVP. That is where the sole purpose of the app you are developing lies. If anything you add into the app doesn’t serve that purpose, it will likely just be a success buster.

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