What You Need to Ask Consumers While Building Out Your MVP

Jenna Rodrigues
June 26, 2020

Building a new mobile app or physical product often requires substantial financial and human capital resources. In order to ensure that your resources are being put to good use, it’s important to implement consumer testing along the way. In the early stages of building out your MVP, seeking feedback from your target consumers can help you to validate your value proposition, figure out a viable price point, build a dataset to utilize in future stakeholder decks, and ultimately reduce your risk of failure.

There are a few different mediums through which you might consider seeking feedback from your target market to inform your design and development decisions.

Informal Interviews

One of the first steps that you should take to validate your value proposition is to have some informal discussions with individuals whom you believe would purchase or utilize your product. These can be informal conversations in person or over the phone, with the primary aim of assessing the extent to which the problem you are solving is actually worth solving, and to see how consumers respond to the solution you are building. Here are a few questions that you may be able to answer through having informal conversations with your target demographic.

Digital Survey

Beyond having informal, one-on-one conversations, you also might consider implementing a formal survey that you release to a sample of individuals within your target demographic. Distributing a digital survey can be beneficial, as it provides the opportunity to build out a formal dataset that can be utilized for analyses to derive various quantitative insights. Additionally, the survey format may allow you to ask more detailed and/or sensitive questions. If you are developing a consumer insights survey that you intend to distribute while building out an MVP, you might consider including the following questions:

Focus Groups

A third way to obtain consumer insights is to organize a focus group. Focus groups typically consist of six to ten participants, in addition to an individual who will moderate the discussion. When preparing for a focus group as the moderator, it is often helpful to prepare an initial set of structured questions. These questions will serve as a jumping off point from which a natural discussion will likely evolve. Focus groups are beneficial, as they go beyond just one individual’s viewpoint, and additional insights can often be derived from the interaction amongst participants. There is also sufficient opportunity to ask follow-up questions to make sure that all desired points are addressed. Beyond gathering informational insights, focus groups may occasionally evolve into brainstorming sessions that could generate new ideas for the company.

Online Focus Groups: Holding focus groups online can be beneficial, as it is less costly to organize, may increase individuals’ willingness to participate, and can enhance the geographical diversity of participants. However, conducting the focus group online may detract from the quality of observations derived, given that it may deter the fluidity of participant interactions.

In-Person Focus Groups: Conducting a focus group in person may prompt more natural and higher quality interactions amongst participants, allow you to collect additional data through observing participants as they physically interact with the product, and provide the opportunity to observe emotional responses. However, organizing in-person focus groups can be fairly costly, making it more difficult to attract the desired participants.

Do not wait until too late in the development process to start gathering feedback from target users. As innovators, it is easy for us to get caught in our own heads, making external feedback all the more important to inform our development decisions. Seeking feedback from consumers in these three mediums should not be a one-time occurrence, but rather something that you should conduct at several stages throughout the product development process.

In-App “Micro” Feedback

Once you have a live app with active users, a great time to ask for feedback is via really simple microinteractions right inside the app itself.

You might embed one of many existing in-app feedback services that add an unobtrusive, but intuitive feedback button in the appropriate place in your app’s user interface. They’ll often start with a very quick interaction, such as the question “Are you enjoying the app?” with 👍/👎 buttons, or a more detailed scale of selections like 😠 😐 🙂 😃.

Once the user makes a selection, they can be presented with an optional comment field to describe what they’re liking or not liking about the app. Because the burden on the user is small, and the action takes so little time to complete, this can be a good way to get a quick pulse on how users are enjoying your app overall.

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