The question we’re always asked: how do we know when a digital product is ready to push to the next phase – or launch?
To make it easier, we break down the process of launching a digital product into four key phases: proof of concept, prototype, pilot, and MVP or minimum viable product (see more about that here: Defining The Critical Path: The Stages Of Creating A Digital Product). At each step of the process, we ask these critical questions:
- End-to-end solution
Is the digital product an end-to end-solution? In other words, can a user successfully log in, complete a task, get the desired result, and log out?
Does the user find value in the product? Another way to say this: does the product solve a real-world problem, no matter how small? The product must provide a reason for a user to use it. That reason needs to be more than just because it’s new. If the user is willing to invest time – and potentially money – to get this result, the answer is yes. The specific value depends on the user, as different users will value different outcomes.
Will the user trust your company brand the same amount or more after they have used your digital product? The purpose of asking this question is to ensure that you maintain user trust and commitment to your brand; most important here is not to erode trust or create a worse impression.
If this is your first product or you’re launching a new brand, the bar is lower, as there is no trust to break. For an established company like Apple, the bar is significantly higher.
Less important in the initial stages of digital product development, the level of user engagement in the final stages can make or break your launch. There are two components we measure under engagement. The first: is the user satisfied? What we measure at this stage is whether the user feels that this is a satisfactory solution to the problem they wanted to solve (no matter how small) and if they will consider using your digital product as a solution the next time they need to solve the same problem.
The second is tougher: did you delight the user? Some call this stickiness; we call this user retention and word-of-mouth, as a delighted user is much more likely to talk about your digital product and recommend it to others – a key driver to reach critical mass and long-term success.
These questions will guide you to the right decisions. At the end of the day, though, there is only one way to be sure that you are making the right decision, and that is to strategically and methodically test at each phase.
Maybe you have a digital product that is early in its life cycle or at the prototype stage and you want to be sure it’s ready to advance to the next stage of development. Or, you might have a product you’ve been using for years that needs to be revitalized, modernized, or even replaced. Our team can help structure the precise user testing you need to move forward. We can guide you through the decision-making process of when – and with what – to move to the next phase, or even design your digital product from start to finish.
Boost Labs’ unique four pillars approach, combining our knowledge of data, technology, business, and design, is proven to reduce risk, maximize return on investment, and shorten time-to-market. Reach out to us if you’d like to talk more about your digital product or prototype.