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Mobile App Development Process – Step 1 Ideation & Product Discovery

Mobile App | March 23, 2022

This blog series is all about a step-by-step guide to the mobile app ideation and discovery phase. It explains the significance of planning your mobile app development journey right from clarifying the vision to coming up with a solution. Also, this post describes how the right product discovery strategy proves beneficial in the longer run. You’ll learn the basics of conducting product ideation, who should be involved in this step, and some of the best practices to implement that simplifies your mobile app development process. 

So, let’s understand what product discovery in mobile application development exactly means.

What is Product Discovery in Mobile App Development?

When it comes to custom , product discovery stands imperative to target the right audience and how your app solves a genuine problem prevailing in the market. It is a continuous process of brainstorming ideas or solutions and subsequently adopting them to offer customized user experiences.

With a good mobile app discovery phase, you can direct your development team to understand the needs of the user base in advance before moving on to the development. Here’re some questions you need to ask to correctly define it:

Are there any other options available in the market to solve the issue your app aims to target? What are the distinctive factors that give it a competitive edge? 

What are the core competencies in terms of features and usage of your mobile application? What value do they bring to the table?

What is the scope of your app? How will it reach out to your potential users?

Is your app capable of satisfying your user base consistently? Would they use it repeatedly?

Is your app compatible with multiple platforms and devices? Would users find it easy-to-use?

Is your app capable of complying with the market standards? Can its features/ functionalities logically survive the industry challenges? 

Why is Product Discovery Important?

Product discovery helps your team identify what type of mobile app will make your business future-ready and avoid any risky assumptions. It’s a process that helps in maintaining the proper use of resources, time, and capital. 

Here’re some considerations that will help you understand the importance of ideation and product discovery. In actuality, when does this step come into the picture? Let’s understand. 

1 When you want to start a new business

Suppose you aim for business expansion with the launch of your mobile app across a different region or for users with different demographics. In that case, a product discovery process plays an important role. You gain the privilege to welcome novel opportunities with in-depth research around the scope of your app, market competitors, target audience, etc. Here, at this point, you need to conduct product discovery to understand the viability of your new business. 

2 When you want to introduce unique or new products

If you are planning to build and introduce a unique mobile app into the market, starting your development without identifying the preferences and needs of the users is not a good idea. You can carry out specific customer-centric product discovery methodologies to focus on the user problems and enable your team to build the right solution.    

3 When you want to upgrade products

Product ideation in mobile apps can help to trigger successful modifications into your existing application. As such, when you want to add a new feature or functionality to your app considering market requirements or user problems, you get the needed room to analyze how that feature is going to target the pain points and offer an intuitive product experience in the coming times.   

4 At the time of mergers and acquisitions

Your mobile app development shall get the needed push by following an effective product discovery strategy while planning any mergers or acquisitions with third-party service providers. The systems, tools, and processes related to your app development would observe successful consolidation. You can focus on mutual issues and come up with the right solutions.

5 When you need to manage budget and time

Product discovery can help you sort ideas and scrap the one that isn’t worth pursuing. This avoids unnecessary maintenance and development investments alongside saving time to work on the right ideas. Besides, identifying an issue in a product discovery phase shall cost less than dealing with it in the product delivery phase.   

6 When you want to finalize the Tech Stack

Your app professionals have in-depth experience in various technologies and strongly influence their implementation for the mobile app development process. But a product discovery phase can help you choose the tech stack that can directly impact your project output and build solutions more efficiently.

Know-How: What is the Right Way of Conducting a Product Discovery?

There are various methods to product discovery when it comes to building mobile apps. And every approach brings a particular set of benefits to the table. Whether you are planning to develop a dynamic app or want to integrate it into your existing application, you can follow the below process to make the most out of your product discovery platform.

1 Research

It marks the beginning of your product discovery that helps you understand the context of app usability, navigation, what sorts of problems it can solve, and that should justify why to come up with a solution. It also helps in obtaining knowledge about the overall app usage by the end-user. You profoundly discover why users choose any other app instead of yours and how they can emotionally relate to them.

2 Ideate

An ideation strategy is necessary to solve customer problems and think about a solution efficiently. It helps in focusing on the key features of your mobile app. Just make sure you have clear goals and skills to accomplish each one of them. Ideally, it helps you in creating a solution rather than just developing a mobile app.

3 Assess

The next step is to validate your product discovery phase via idea screening and technique prioritization. While the idea screening methodology helps make the development more objective, the prioritization of techniques helps accelerate the process of ideation and solution-finding.  

4 Prototype

After successful assessment, you need to build prototypes to discover a market-ready solution and carry out a smooth mobile app development process. These prototypes can be used to execute various experiments and validations. You can also build a minimum viable product (MVP) based on the results.  

5 Test

Your product discovery prototypes and tests are closely related and are necessary to organize your development efforts. It would be best if you run tests to define your mobile app experiments, hypothesis, and success scale. Getting hold of your app discovery with an A/B testing approach can prove really beneficial.  

6 Comprehend

This is the most crucial stage where your team needs to focus on their capability of quickly learning from the app ideation process and making decisions accordingly. They need to choose how they want to start the development process or repeat the above steps to attain conclusive insights.

Best Practices to Get a Spot-on Product Discovery

Most organizations find it challenging to perform highly responsive strategies to discover apps that the users love. They are unable to maintain the right balance between demand and supply. But you can outshine this fraternity and simplify the agile discovery phase by following the below practices:

1 Think Beyond your Assumptions

The key practice to augment your mobile app ideation and discover the correct solution is by challenging your current methods and related assumptions. Do not assume that the past end-user likings would be the same in the present and future; your idea and implementation should be based around the same. 

The product discovery should involve the collation of all the assumptions followed by their verification via the latest facts, figures, and data. This shall help your team in outlining the ever-changing customer demands.  

2 Perform a Comprehensive User Research

The user research should be qualitative as well as quantitative. The qualitative research should involve understanding and measuring user intent via focus groups, interviews, and surveys. On the other hand, quantitative research should follow a numerical, data-driven approach, as said above.

Your app discovery research should analyze which features are used mainly by the users, what makes them use those features, which smart devices they use to engage with your mobile apps in real-time, etc.

3 Create Design Artifacts

With app discovery artifacts, you can effectively channelize user data. You need to create these artifacts and develop a habit of constantly referring, improving, and updating them throughout your mobile app development process. It’s absolutely critical that these artifacts should be based on the comprehensive user research mentioned above.

Some of the mobile app development artifacts that your product discovery may include are user persona, user journey mapping, and user empathy mapping. With a handful of resulting observations, your company can definitely execute superior app development.

4 Build a Result-oriented Road Map

You need to be clear about the strategies you’re going to implement at different stages of your app development and the time required for their successful completion. For this, you should build a definitive road map driven by results that can analyze solutions solving problems of larger demographics.

This road map should represent your app’s vision, execution plan, primary objective, and measurement of goals. You can also use some cloud-based road-mapping tools available across the market for better outcomes.

5 Focus on the Problem

At every stage of product discovery, from doing research to comprehending what is best for the users, your mobile app development team should honestly focus on defining the problem instead of just creating a solution. To be precise, your solution development and problem validation should be two separate processes as a whole.    

Solely focusing on the problem statement should also involve supporting it evidently. Jot down clear wireframes related to design thinking, information architecture, and testing the smallest prototypes. 

Which Teams are to be Involved in the Product Discovery Phase?

Businesses often push their developers to concentrate on coding and do not involve them in any kind of value proposition. This approach remains the same even for product design engineering tasks related to the discovery of dynamic mobile applications. But if you want to stand out from the crowd, you need to opt for a cross-functional approach.     

This approach helps gather all team members, counter different perspectives, and boosts the process of building mobile apps in real-time. So, if you are thinking of developing a mobile app or want to make changes to the existing one, it would be a great idea to involve the below teams and implement a foolproof product discovery.     

Programmers concerning particular platforms – QA, Backend, Android, iOS, etc. 

Business Development Executive, Business Head, Business Analyst, etc. 

UI/UX Designers, Graphic Designers, etc.

Product Manager, Operations Head, Delivery Manager, etc. 

Wrapping it up,

Considering all the above points will surely help you find out if your app idea is worth giving a shot at. However, you need to choose what works best for your mobile app development process and adds more value to your business. Just make sure that you confront your app with economic, technology, social, and market risks before starting the development. You can also take your product discovery phase to the next level with our . Contact our team to know more about it. 

Nitin Lahoti is the Co-Founder and Director at Mobisoft Infotech. He has 15 years of experience in Design, Business Development and Startups. His expertise is in Product Ideation, UX/UI design, Startup consulting and mentoring. He prefers business readings and loves traveling.

This content was originally published here.