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How to Validate Your App Idea and Build a Successful Solution

Slava Vaniukov
19 February 2020 • 18 min read
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How to Validate Your App Idea and Build a Successful Solution

Today despite the high competition overall industries, still successful app development idea can transform the traditional market and pull your product ahead of the major business players. But here the next important question is rising, that is how to validate your app development idea and make sure it will be truly profitable. 

You might ask why you need to run your app idea validation? It’s because having only the application concepts is not enough. You need to make research to be sure your ideas are realistic, valid and will bring profits before you start production. 

That’s because app development is quite costly and spending a lot on the app that will be another similar one to already existing ones can ruin your business. For sure, it depends on its complexity and industry, but according to the Clutch survey, companies stated that the median cost of app development is near $171,450 per app.  Though some apps can cost well in excess of $500,000, but the average range of how much app development costs is the next:

Keeping in mind these numbers, you need to make sure your app will truly beat the market and doesn’t break your business. 

This is all another way of saying that idea validation for your app can potentially be a lifesaver for your business. It’s not a step that you can afford to neglect, particularly if you have limited financial resources on which to draw or you’d like that you app beat the market with its first release. 

So, here we are going to discuss every step of the app validation process that you can avoid all pitfalls and create the perfect mobile solution.

 

Find a Problem that is Worthy of Being Solved

If you are wondering at this point “how can I create an app,” often, the best way to validate app idea is to scrutinize your own problems and needs. Being your own customer helps you identify the pain points that your app user is going to have. 

Look at the apps created by companies like Uber, Airbnb, Groupon, or Facebook. What features do they have that customers love? You can apply those ideas to a different market or industry. You’re trying to create a problem-solving app that is a combination of innovative and familiar. 

Part of how to build a mobile app is to look at others in your niche and use them as a jumping-off point. Start by thinking about the most significant problem that your customer is trying to overcome, and then try to work out a proven app model that can solve it. 

Tip: At this stage, you should attempt to answer the following questions at this stage:

  • Would you use an app like the one you have in mind? Why or why not?
  • If you wouldn’t want to use the app, what specific problems do you have with it?
  • Do you use similar apps already?
  • Will your app solve an old problem in a new way?

 

Find an Audience for Your App

At this point, you should try and pinpoint the target audience for your app. Who is your average customer going to be?  “My app is for everyone,” is not a valid response here. 

Tip: At this step, you need to narrow your audience and target a specific group:

  • Is your app intended for one gender more than the other? 
  • What is the approximate age group of your customers? 
  • How much disposable income do they have? 
  • What is the sort of marketing to which they respond best? 
  • What are their priorities, and what will they expect from an app within your niche?

 

Do Some Market Research

If you wish to create an app for business, you have to figure out how to appeal to your customers. Look for similar solutions that already exist in the market. Observe Android app ideas as well as those for iOS that already exist in the market. 

Tip: At this stage follow the next market research process:

  • Start with a list of phrases and keywords that could describe your mobile app. Next, use search engines to see how popular those keywords are, and make a leaderboard. 
  • Researching the Apple AppStore and Google Play will give you a list of potential competitors. These are apps that can make money, or else they never would have received a green light from the developers. Pay attention to the comments for these apps, as well as their ratings and update histories. 
  • Look at what technologies these apps are built and what structure they have.
  • But also, not forget to keep an eye on the software development industry trends like what tech stack matters now, what most popular programming languages are, what server infrastructure to use. Because your main competitors could develop their solution a year or more ago and not simply coping their tech stack but using new technologies into your platform you can easily beat them.
  • Keep an eye on market technology trends too. For example, one set of technologies matters for ecommerce app, while another for real estate. Research your business niche.
  • Observe competitors’ marketing strategy by studying the pictures and keywords they employ. 
  • Use tools such as AppAnnie and TopAppCharts.com. They’re perfect for research and analysis, and they can also build your app marketing strategy.

Source: AppAnnie

  • Look at what’s getting funded. You’re trying to figure out what the people and organizations who may end up backing your idea are interested in the most. VCs, accelerators, and other startup innovators often share thoughts on their websites and blogs about what business ventures they’d like to fund. The YCombinator Request for Startups page is a great place to look. You can also look at investor portfolio pages and notice parallels between the businesses in which these firms invest. 
  • You’re trying to figure out which niches are perceived as being on the rise and what business models seem likely to succeed.

 

Clearly Define the App and Create Proto Personas and User Flows

After you research the market and your competitors and identify your target audience, the next step is to move ahead and define your vision for the app. A general direction and stated goal will keep you on the right track. This is a crucial part of the app development process

You can create proto personas based on a series of assumptions backed up by data. This understanding of an ideal customer is needed if you want to effectively validate your startup idea.

The right proto-personas play an important role in defining whether your final product reaches the end-user for whom it is developed. Remember, though, that a proto persona is a live document. As you get to know your target audience better, you must update it. 

Here is a quick explanation video on the differences between UX personas and proto-personas and how to build the last one for your p

Tip: To create accurate proto personas, you must:

  • Carefully review the information gathered about the goals and motivations of your customers.
  • Break down that data and actively use it to know your ideal customer better.
  • Take all the persona information you have and use it to determine what problem your app can solve.

 

Creating the Customer Journey Map

Validating an idea is not just about understanding your customers. You also need to comprehend what their journey is going to be like within your app. Without this knowledge, you can never fully understand whether your startup idea will work.

Many entrepreneurs find that their businesses fail because they develop tunnel vision. This happens because of a lack of knowledge about your customer’s journey. A user journey map is a record of user interaction with your product. This map chronicles the journey from the user or customer’s point of view. 

Examining the journey map for your app helps you to understand the user experience fully and how to set up your design process

As you learn more about your target audience, don’t forget to update your customer journey map.

Tip: Use some questions that you should be asking yourself at this stage:

  • Why would potential customers choose to use my app over that of a competitor?
  • Using my app, how long does it take for the user to solve their need?
  • What features does the app need to have that will solve my users’ problem?

All that helps show you how successful your startup is at solving the problem that customers have. It will also allow you to identify the app features that are most critical to develop during these first stages. For example, if you are going to develop a shop app you need to consider features as attractive good cards, easy user navigation and check out among other important UX features for retail apps. But, of course, figure out all that from your audience’s needs.

 

Set Validation Goals

As you go from app concept design to decisive action, you’ll need evidence that your idea is viable in the real world.

Tip: Here you should set clear and measurable goals, such as the following:

  • Idea approval from 10 potential customers
  • 5 successful pitches to investors
  • 1 successful sale of a product concept

 

Develop USP of Your Future Product

USP is an abbreviation for a unique selling point that is how your product differentiates from others in the market. This is a question that you’ll need market research to answer. Make sure that you convey this question to your potential customers, and take note of their response.  

Tip: Here answer what benefits can a customer get from using your product in contrast to ones that already exist?

 

Validate Your App Idea 

Here is actually the step of app idea validation. You should now have a clear vision of your app business ideas and the technical skillset that will be required to make them a reality. You should have some idea of their potential value on the market as well. However, you need to test the hypothesis behind your app idea. The collection of real user feedback is the validation you need before sinking your financial resources further into this venture.

Here are steps to building an app that should create excitement before the launch:

  • Research what users think about a similar mobile solution and survey customers. Choose a relevant user group to provide feedback on your idea. The group that you choose should be reflective of your ideal customer. For example, if your audience is young generations you can ask people for feedback on such platforms like Reddit.
  • Create prototypes or build MVP for your app. This is a stripped-down version of the app that tests how its basic functionality is working for those who are inclined to use it.
  • Build traction for the app by generating market interest. This can be done through introduction videos like the one made by Dropbox.
  • If your business already has a website, you can also create a buzz by mentioning on your website that the app will be released soon.
  • You can use social media accounts to make your customers aware of the launch date.
  • Create a pre-selling landing page that includes a short pitch of your app, basic screenshots or mockups, and an email subscription form for potential customers. You can add a “selling soon” feature to appear on your website. This validates the need for your idea and engages a group of believers who will help you launch the product. This form of promotion can be instrumental in getting the first few sales. Watch a quick recap video on the main points of the pre-sell page in the process of validating your idea.

  • You can introduce your app on startup or investors’ platforms. 
  • Prepare your product hunt campaign launch. Through it, you can get lots of feedback as your app gets closer to making its debut. The ShowHN area of HackerNews is a great place to post your app idea so that it starts generating interest. 
  • Attend meetups and hackathons to promote your MVP or app idea. MeetUp.com is one place where you can find out about local tech events.
  • Create beta and demo versions of the product. At this point, you’re ready to get an early version of the app up and running. See if the functionality that you were expecting works for the test subjects that you bring in, and make sure that you’re getting honest feedback from them.

 

Use Wizard of Oz Testing

This is a market validation approach that simulates the behavior of a new product, device, or service. It gives the customer the impression of using a fully-functional application when it is still under development. Most of the operations can be done manually.

Apps you can make money with often employ Wizard of Oz testing. It allows companies to find out how customers might interact with a product or service which doesn’t exist yet. 

One example of this idea in action is Zappos. Nick Swinmurn created an online shop featuring a variety of different shoes. 

Source: Wayback Machine

In reality, he didn’t yet have any warehouses or merchandise. Instead, he took pictures of shoes at nearby stores and posted them on the internet. When orders started coming in, Nick bought them from local stores and mailed them out himself. 

This strategy was aimed toward understanding whether customers were ready to buy shoes without trying them on. As you think about how to make your own app, use this example for inspiration. 

 

Processing the Feedback

In addition to validation of the app idea, you will now have collected a treasure trove of customer feedback on various key points. As you design your own app, you must be sure to correctly interpret the results. What do your potential customers like, and what do they want to chang? What’s working well, and what specifically is so appealing about it? 

 

Make App Development Decisions and Get Funding for Your Idea

Once your app development ideas have been validated, it’s time to make some decisions. You can continue developing a specific startup idea. If that doesn’t seem feasible, though, you might want to pivot away from your original concept. The rule here is that you need to make a logical assessment of the project based on the feedback that you have received.  ⁠

There are several app ideas to make money that won’t get anywhere without investors. Investment ideas might include Kickstarter, an accelerator or incubator program, angel funding, or VC funding. You may need to pitch an app idea to a group of potential investors, so be sure and practice before you make the attempt. 

 

Start to Build Your App

How can you create an app? Well, now would be the time to engage an app development team if you don’t have one on staff. They should focus on core features first. They’ll need to choose a platform, define a tech stack, and create UX that is easy and intuitive for the user. They’ll make mockups and then do the graphic design. This will be followed by making the landing page, building the finer points of the app with a language like Swift or XCode, and then launching the app in beta before the polished version hits the market. 

There is no easy Android app maker, or one for iOS either, for that matter. The process is going to be meticulous if you want the finished product to satisfy your niche. There isn’t a mobile application builder that is one-size-fits-all, which is why you must make sure that your team is experienced and dedicated. 

 

Tip: Your team should only move forward at this stage if you truly feel that your app has been validated. They should have the customer journey at the front of their minds, as well as what the result of that journey should be. In most cases, you are looking for a conversion. If use of the app does not end with the customer buying something, then it should be considered a failure.

 

Work on Establishing Your Brand Identity

Once you’ve gone through MVP app development, it’s time to focus on how to promote your app. How your company is perceived is going to go a long way toward determining your app’s success or failure. Your visual identity says a lot about your business. The public should approve of the design elements that you employ. The functionality of your app will only matter if people think that it is visually appealing enough to interact with it. 

Create a Sales and Marketing Plan

You can have the best business plan in the world, but without clients, it is doomed to fail. You must craft a strategy that is realistic based on all of the research that you have done. You should be prepared to show your plan to investors, partners, and any other interested parties that might be able to assist you financially. How to invest in apps is something that many financiers are wondering. You need to be able to swoop in and offer something to dazzle them. 

 

Now, you should be ready to validate your app idea and build an ideal solution. You’re not just going to conceive of an innovative app idea. You’ll test it to make sure that it will meet with approval in the marketplace. What you feel is a brilliant idea and strategy will only succeed if the public feels the same way about it. You can show them an idea, but the response is up to them. If you elect to ignore negative feedback then your project is not going to have the outcome that you desire. This is why app idea validation is a necessity rather than an additional option. 

Otherwise, if you are still unsure how to proceed with your app validation process you can always request for our free quote on your project from our business analyst. We have extensive expertise in mobile development for different markets, and know what ideas work best for one or another segment.

Anyway, regardless of your decision, just remember that app validation is a critical step for the success of your business and cannot be missed out.

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