The penetration of smartphones and mobile apps has reached an overwhelming level in recent years. As per a Statista survey, until last year 72.7% of US citizens possess smartphones and use the device once every month. Naturally, the vast majority of small businesses and startups have opted for app development to extend their business presence to mobile platforms.
A great mobile app begins with a unique idea of a solution to one or multiple relevant problems. More important the problem the mobile app idea ventures to solve and the more unique a solution it delivers, the greater the chances of success the proposed app has. At the same time, it is not alone the idea to bring you success, but it is also the execution or the development.
Since developing an app involves a considerable investment and developer resources, it is always important to validate the app idea before starting the development. Here below we describe a step-by-step process to validate an app idea.
Carry Out Extensive Market Research
To explain how to validate your app idea, let’s start from the basics. The first and primary means to determine and evaluate the market potential of the intended app is to carry out extensive market research. Market research will reveal the appeal and demand of the app idea to your target audience.
As the starting point of the app idea validation process, market research will also reveal the preferences, constraints and affordability of the target users. The market research will also reveal the dominant trends in the app market and how your competition is targeting the same audience with their app solutions.
Through market validation and research, you can get a comprehensive idea of the target audience size, the shortcomings of the competitor apps and the additional value propositions that can still be incorporated by a new app. The sole purpose of the market research is to improve an app idea to offer better value to the users and come up with something better than the competitor apps.
To carry out market research for startup idea validation, you can always hire reputed agencies. Or else, you can just start having a conversation with your business customers, employees and stakeholders. Making online and social media surveys and creating a social media page to initiate conversations with the audience can also be highly effective for getting the pulse of the market.
For getting the advantages of market research for app idea validation, you can always opt for a reputed business analysis service capable of making any business laid bare revealing all the shortcomings, flaws and opportunities out in the open. Modern business intelligence (BI) solutions are extremely capable to reveal market opportunities for any digital product.
Analyze The App Market Listings
There is no better way to get a direct vibe of what’s going on in the app market than to analyze the app market listings. As the next viable step of app idea validation, you need to search the app market listings. Both Apple iOS App Store and Google Android Play Store provide app listings or charts that give you a clear idea of the prevailing market trends.
When you go to the “Top Paid Charts”, you can easily see all the apps for which most people wish to pay. On the other hand, “Top Free Charts” showcases all the free apps that are receiving the highest number of downloads. Lastly, by searching for “Top Grossing Charts”, one can easily know about the most popular and highest-earning apps.
Another effective way to go deeper into the app market listings and find the relevant apps is to select several relevant keywords for your industry niche and search apps by using these keywords. Now when you see the apps that are found against the used keywords, compare them with your ideas for apps to create and find out how you can make a better app than these. Lastly, you can also navigate to the “Featured” section and gain a lot of insights corresponding to development.
Create A Dynamic and Clickable Prototype
It has been observed that many startup business ideas fail to create a successful product simply because they become too attached to the idea and without verifying just continue to consider the solution as highly effective. They forget that an idea for solving problems is not just enough. The idea must offer a lot of additional value or unique user experience that other competitor apps lack.
But validating startup app ideas only through opinions or verbal feedback is not enough to improve the idea. It requires a dynamic and clickable prototype that can be released to a small group of users representing the social makeup of the target user group. The app prototype allows user interactions can easily get feedback corresponding to the app user experience.
While building a fully-fledged app product may require months, designing a dynamic app prototype can take just a couple of weeks. But it reveals all the shortcomings and value propositions of the intended app project long before the app is developed and released. App prototyping also features in any guide on app development irrespective of the niche and project size.
Mapping the Customer Journey
Now, let us point out another area that often remains overlooked but remains extremely important for validating the best app ideas for startups. The app idea validation is never going to be only about understanding the users but also about the ways they are interacting with the app and how they are navigating within the app. This requires mapping the customer journey in detail.
After creating the dynamic prototype, you need to record all the user interactions within an app. By mapping the user journey, you can have a detailed idea of the areas that need to be improved for faster and effortless user interactions. The user journey map brings forth the in-app journey from the point of view of the users or customers.
A user journey map will help you perfect the mobile app development ideas and the product design by evaluating the user interactions and the way users prefer and detest moving around within the app and trying to do things. The user journey map is likely to reveal the following things.
- The speed and effortlessness of getting things done through the app.
- The key user experience attributes that make your app better than that of competitors.
- The key feature and user experience shortcomings that your app needs to solve to address user issues.
- What are the key user experience bottlenecks in the user journey and the elements most detested by the users that you need to solve?
As of now, we mostly explained how to validate mobile app ideas through extensive audience research and user journey mapping. What are the most direct means for evaluating the user opinions regarding the app that we still didn’t discuss? It’s nothing but interviewing the users. By interviewing your target users, you can always have a detailed and comprehensive idea about the target users.
If you want to get a strong command over the user preferences, tastes and typical habits over and above the gross user needs, there is no better way than interviewing users directly. In the app idea validation process, user interviews can furnish a lot of useful data corresponding to the preferences, constraints and pain points in user interactions.
Now, let us provide a few tips regarding interviewing users.
- First of all, engage the entire team to record the interviews and take notes of the points mentioned by the interviewed users.
- Apart from the problems and issues cited by the users, you also need to take note of the areas users liked.
- Don’t overstress the interview process and only conduct a maximum of 4-5 interviews in a day.
- Decide a set of questions for the interview and based upon the response, come up with some follow-up questions.
Summing It Up
Any business startup needs to validate its intended app idea before starting the development. This will not only prevent draining resources behind a faulty app idea but will also help you find out all the credible and audience-validated means to improve the app. After all, every app is a business involving considerable investment and manpower resources and you just cannot take chances without validating the idea.