What’s the Point in All This?
Alright, we’ve learned what an MVP is. We’ve seen examples of how businesses started. Today, it’s time to move from the why to the what.
More specifically, what should I build? A website or a mobile app?
If you’re considering building a mobile app, there are a few main factors to look at to decide if it’s the right path for your idea.
1. Your idea has a location-based component
Will you need to present your customers with relevant information based on where they are located right now?
For example, Uber connects drivers with people who need to go somewhere, so it made sense for Uber to build their initial product as a mobile app rather than a website.
2. Your idea requires delivery of information in real-time
Does your idea need to give people access to do something the moment it happens? For example, Coach.me helps people build habits by tracking their behaviors.
Since people perform many behaviors they might want to track when they are away from their computer (e.g., running at the gym or flossing in the bathroom), Coach.me starting as a mobile app made sense so it was more convenient for people to track these habits. People don’t have to remember things they’ve done and record them only when they get to a desktop computer. They can do it from their phone wherever they are.
How to start building your app
Building a mobile app requires a budget. App design and development can range from $10k for a basic app with 1–2 core features to over $100k for more complex apps that work across multiple platforms like iPhone, iPad, and Android.
If the budget to build a mobile app isn’t in your range yet, there are other ways you can start making progress on your idea.
1. Create a prototype app without writing any code
There are many tools available that you can use to create initial designs of your mobile app without writing any code. This is often called a mockup or prototype.
2. Build a web prototype
Even if a mobile app will ultimately be the best route to go, it doesn’t mean you need to start there. If the resources you have available only allow you to make a website first, this can still be useful to test an initial concept.
If you begin with a website, you can identify the core features you’ll need to build for your mobile app. By better defining what you need to build, you may be able to save time and money in the long run when you build an app across multiple platforms like iOS and Android.
A few of our favorite prototyping apps include Marvel and Invision, which allow you to create clickable prototypes for both mobile and web, and POP, which focuses on mobile. With any of them, you can test your idea and see it in action before committing to building out a full app.
There isn’t one correct process to build every idea, but hopefully, looking at the factors above will help steer you in the right direction.
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