In the world of digital design and delivery, it’s standard practice to work toward what’s known as a Minimum Viable Product, or MVP. Now as a guy who’s incredibly passionate about his work (and has a love of semantics) this terminology really stinks. It hardly inspires teams to produce excellence, right?
At its core, the ‘MVP’ concept does make a degree of sense. Stakeholders gather consensus on a list of features and requirements that their shiny new digital product simply has to have. The idea being that everything on this list is what’s needed for the product to be of reasonable quality and use at the point of launch. This results in a quick-to-market, affordable output that can be iterated and improved upon through future sprints and releases. Everyone’s a winner here, except perhaps that elephant in the room…the end user.
I’m much more impassioned by the MLP approach — Minimum Lovable Product. My take on this is that we should aspire to create products and services that deliver a simple, beautiful, and joyful user experience. It’s about creating something that people really want and enabling them to do it in the best possible way. Through great UX we can help people to complete tasks more quickly, more easily, and with much less friction than before. Through well-considered messaging, characterful illustrations, and delightful interaction design we can put smiles on faces and ensure that your product is enjoyable to use.
To achieve an MLP, follow these 3 steps:
- Make sure you’ve got passionate creative minds around the table from day one. You don’t need to be a ‘Designer’ to be creative, but people who really care about user experience are essential here. Move away from a Go design this mentality to a Let’s create this.
- Involve real end-users wherever possible. Interview them, converse with them, and learn from them, so that we can shape our MLP around their needs. Getting a testable interactive design prototype into people’s hands early and often will massively increase your chances of shipping success.
- Embody the brand. I’m a little rare in that I have an equal passion for Brand, UX & Design. I believe that the UI we craft for websites and apps should be totally unique to the brand we’re building for. Tone of voice, history and heritage, age, visual style…there’s got to be something that defines them in the marketplace. Unearth those nuances and make them sing. Your audience will appreciate it and build further advocacy for the brand and product.