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How “nice” should an MVP look?
5 points by talmr 8 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 4 comments
When you build a MVP, how nice does it need to look?

I'm building my own MVP for web and iOS. For web, I'm just using bootstrap to make it look decent enough because I know bootstrap pretty well. For the iOS side, I'm sticking to almost all out of the box ios components.

The web app is responsive and has most of the MVP functionality wired up. It also allows almost all of the mobile app features, except for some things like geolocation tracking. Couple people I've demoed it to think that the workflows are easy to figure out, but that it looks too minimalist.

This depend a lot on the app. If you're selling an oil and gas company on something that will better forecast their well production over the next decade, no one cares.

The big things to consider about your product are

Will you get another chance to pitch these people? If your potential customer are accountants you can pitch with a more minimum mvp. And if they don't like it just make it nicer. If you are leveraging your connections to sell to a fortune 500 company than you need make sure it's more polished.

Are the people who are going to be buying your product also going to be using it? For instance if VP's will be buying it for their operators they will care less about look for screens they won't use.

Are your selling to organizations/business or consumers? Organizations will care less about look and feel.

How many competitors do you have? If you have a bunch of competitors than you need to distinguish yourself more with a great look and feel. If you don't have any it's not as big of a deal.

How much value are you adding to your end users If you're adding a lot of value then look and feel is less important.

How are you distinguishing yourself from the competition based on look&feel, capabilities, or price? If it's capabilities or price it's not as important.(They do x, and we do x but for $50/month versus

In the end it's all about what's your sales pitch and branding to the end user.

Why are they using your product versus using a competitor or not using your product at all? How much will look and feel influence are part of this decision?

Can you post a link to the web app? Might help people here judge if it's too minimalistic or not.

Either way, it depends on your audience to be honest. If your audience is tech savvy, or designers/marketers, or otherwise expect a nice looking product or service, their expectations will be higher than if they're say, in the market for CraigsList or the Drudge Report.

The purpose of a MVP is to gauge the market potential of a product. For that reason I would prioritize functionality over glossy looks. Unlike a piece of jewellery or art, a smartphone app needs to deliver some specific value, i.e. people will pay for it.

As @CMD30 notes, CraigsList did very well. That is because it delivered new and useful functionality. You can always polish the appearance once you gain traction.

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