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How to Design Minimum Viable Product? [Cost Spreadsheet]

SpdLoad team prepared an in-depth guide on how tos and the cost of an MVP application design

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When it comes to extending the customer base of your business, it is best to opt for designing an app or a website. 

As the usage of mobile phones and the internet has elevated significantly in recent years, it is best to go for an app as it is easily accessible. But, before designing a full-fledged app for your business, it is necessary to build a testing version and focus on the MVP design.

You must be thinking about why you need an MVP design check? 

Well, an MVP application design can help you greatly in the long run. Not only will it help you gain insight into the market of your app, but it will also help in gathering fresh ideas that you can implement in your application.

As per CBInsights, 42% of startups fail due to the fact that there is no need for that product or app in the market. This is one of the reasons you need to invest time in studying the market before you develop the app. 

As MVP design is related to the core working and usability of the application, it will help you discover how much you need to invest in designing the best MVP.

Look for a Design Team, That Share Your Values?

We design apps, that bring a value to customers, and change the way people think and act. Check out our portfolio to make sure we are good fit for you.

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A Quick Recap: What Is an MVP?

If you don’t know what an MVP is, here are some key pointers about it.

  • MVP is termed as a Minimum Viable Product.
  • It is the first functional version of your application.
  • It has only must-have features and certainly needs to be designed to attract early users.
  • The motive behind an MVP is to test the app idea with minimum investment.
  • It provides you to understand the real-world scenario.

Why Is Minimum Viable Product Necessary?

With the design of an MVP, you can:

  • Find out if the product has scope in the market

A market-fit product is the pathway to your business’s success. Hence, it is necessary to build an MVP (check there how much an MVP cost) with some basic features and test if people like it or not. 

It will save a lot of your time that you may spend in building a scopeless product.

How would you know your idea is obsolete or innovative? 

The simple way to find out is to go for a minimum viable product design. Once you launch your MVP in the market, you will get to know if your app idea is relevant or not. 

You can know better by collecting feedback from the audience and improving it as per requirement.

  • Get opted by big firms

The above-described factors are the reason why founders of such successful apps as Uber, Airbnb, and Dropbox have chosen to launch an MVP first.

A quick recap on what's mvp design and why this is necessary

Why Is Design Important for an MVP?

MVP design is more than the implementation of basic usability principles. Stand-out interaction design builds trust

The goal of an MVP application design is to make users become advocates of your product and turn your application into a profitable venture.

The process of web and mobile MVP software design starts along with software discovery stage. It includes:

  • Product definition
  • User/market research
  • Competitive analysis
  • Wireframes
  • Prototypes development

Web and mobile app design are about understanding:

  • What problems do the end-users have?
  • Is your solution able to solve their problem?
  • Do they need your solution?
  • Can they use your solution?

Those founders who prefer to skip the process of MVP design are not likely to create a great and profitable product. If you want to stay in the game, your product needs an effective UX strategy.

Believe it or not, but every $1 you invest in User Experience at MVP stage brings $100 in return. 

SpdLoad cares about our customers. It may look promotional, but building bad products leads to loss of quality and reputation. Thus, we always put a cost to UX design into the overall budget.

Here are some aspects that make the design of the minimum viable product important.

Reason Description
Test product hypotheses When you test your initial hypothesis, the design of your MVP will play a pillar role in getting true feedback from the users. 

This will help you make your Minimum Viable Product much better than before.

A great example of this is Pebble. The smartwatch brand raised 10 million just by making an e-paper based original design.

Improve usability of an MVP The minimum viable product design also helps in knowing about the usability of the app. Now, this is a bit tough task as you cannot ask for feedback from each user and analyze it.

But, you can use tools to know about micro-interactions, user frustrations, and other aspects. Some of the best tools that you can use are:

  • Google Analytics or Firebase
  • Mixpanel
  • UXCam
Generate new product hypotheses Well, after you have tested the initial hypothesis of the MVP and gathered insights about the usability. 

It is time to redesign a new hypothesis for validation based on your observation.

This is one of the reasons design in an MVP is crucial.

Use UI as branding tool Brand building is all about promoting the brand via direct advertisements. But, nothing will work unless your app has an attractive design.

The term design here includes both UX and UI. And you need to focus on both of them to deliver the best customer experience.

One classic example of an app with a great UI is Spotify. The app started with a simple MVP design that focussed only on music streaming.

Today, Spotify has one of the best UIs among the music streaming apps, with over 320 million monthly active users so far.

What is the role of mvp software design?

What Does MVP Design Include?

Your MVP will be successful only when it will have all the necessary elements required by the users. So, before describing the MVP design, we would like to preface that Minimum viable product design comprises both UI and UX

And it begins with research for both UX and UI. This is the way the entire app design process looks like:

1. User Expereince Design

Factor Description
User and Market Research This is the part where you need to understand the market and users. Understanding the market and users will help you devise better strategies for making a minimum viable product design.

The process of user and market research involves:

Any many others! Complete knowledge about user behavior, feedback, and preferences will result in the best MVP software design.

Competitive Analysis No matter what type of MVP you are building, you always have to keep an eye on your market competitors. 

This is essential as you will get to know what your competitors are up to. Moreover, you can learn from their strategies and mistakes that they have made in their MVP design process.

Wireframes and Prototypes The next thing that comes under the minimum viable product design is the creation of wireframes and prototypes.

On the one hand, a wireframe is low fidelity and a basic visual representation of the MVP design. It should contain all the necessary parts of the design and can be made using various tools like:

  • Adobe XD
  • Balsamiq
  • Microsoft Visio

And others!

A prototype, on the other hand, is near to the finished product, particularly used for testing purposes.

Both of these should be a part of your MVP application design process.

Mockups The mockup is a high-fidelity design that is one step up of the wireframe and below a prototype.

A prototype can be used, whereas a mockup can’t be. However, a mockup provides a better visual representation of the design than a wireframe.

A mockup can also help you bag potential investments, so it is best to go for one.

The UX plays important role in minimum viable product design

2. User Interface Design

The main objective of UI designers is to follow basic app concepts, imagine the UX designer’s wireframes and create an engaging and convenient interface.

Mobile and web app UI designers are in charge of the visual look of the application ⁠— shapes, surfaces, shading, consistency, visual appearance of the project in view of the UX provided. 

They should also create both functional and convenient web and mobile interface designs.

Some founders don’t understand all the magic that stands behind simple actions. But these tiny design aspects can change everything. 

The size and color of one button can make users nervous, and they decide to leave your product and never come back.

UI includes

  • Logo Design. Everyone knows about the Amazon, BMW, and even the Batman logo. Why? The clear reason is that it is authentic and is marketed well. So, if you want to leave a permanent mark on your audience, focus on developing the best logo for your MVP.
  • Interface Animation. Once the user is on your app, you need to ease their usage experience by any means. Moreover, it is also necessary to add all sorts of animation to make navigation and transition in the app smooth. This will not only enhance usability but will also elevate UX.

Some of the animations that you can include in your MVP application design are:

  • Splash screen
  • Feedback animation
  • Onboarding animation
  • Navigation animation
  • Progress indicators
  • Icons, screens, menus, and buttons

The main User Interface tools are:

  • Adobe XD
  • Sketch
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Zeplin
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • InVisionApp
  • Affinity Designer/Photo
  • Pixate
  • Origami
  • After Effects or Apple Motion
The User Interface defines many important things in mvp design

How to Design an MVP?

As you now know what is an MVP design and what it should include, let’s move on to the designing part of the MVP. 

The MVP software design process undertaken by SpdLoad includes the following steps.

Step 1. Interview with a Founder (You)

The key step in the designing of the MVP application is knowing what you need to include in the design. And the ideal way to do it is by conducting interviews with the customers.

You can either do it online or by going out. The method does not matter; the thing that matters is the question you ask.

You need to probe the users in a way that they share their pains with you. Here are some examples:

  • What is the hardest part of the “XYZ” app?
  • What is the frequency of this issue?
  • What did you do on your part to fix it?
  • Did your solutions work?
  • What do you love about the solutions you have been using?

These questions will help you find out the issues with the current designs.

Based on the answers provided by your customers, you can devise strategies for improving your idea, if required.

If you have interviewed 100 people and 60 of them reported similar issues with the solution. It means that you need to focus on that issue as it is a relevant pain.

Our team at Spdload takes around 1-3 days to undertake this interviewing process. And post that, we discuss the collected data with our team for assigning project roles and workflow.

The proper mvp application design should start with an interview with a founder

Step 2. Design of User Experience

Now comes the UX part. To cater your customers with the best user experience, you need to understand the picture that is going on in their minds.

The way a user will navigate in an app when visualized on paper is known as a mindmap. You need to create this mind map in all possible ways.

This is to ensure that your customer does not feel frustrated while navigating your app. Moreover, it also helps you reduce the complexity by optimizing the connectivity between app entities.

Check this link to know better about mindmap; the Ontology Map created in this link depicts the entities of a streaming app and how they are linked to each other. 

Usually, we start with creating a comprehensive mind map of the MVP application design.

Post that, we curate low-fidelity prototypes to test if the design has an impact on the audience. Our prototypes are solely for the purpose of providing a clear and core logic of the app. This is to ensure accurate feedback and quality suggestions from the audience.

Once we have all the relevant feedback regarding the initial minimum viable product design, we create final prototypes of the app that have clickable links and icons.

There is a framework and checklist to design UX in the process of mvp software design

Step 3. Design of User Interface

UI interface and its elements are the first things that captivate user attention. You will be surprised to know that 52% of the users won’t return to a website because of its statistics.

Hence, it becomes imperative to pay strict attention to the UI elements.

In the design of a minimum viable product, it is necessary to pay attention to certain UI aspects like:

  • Icons
  • Menu style
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Radio buttons
  • Tags
  • Slider bars
  • Color scheme
  • Search bar

And countless more! These elements need to be carefully placed on various screens of your app to make usability smooth.

We at Spdload keep all these aspects in mind while making the design of the app. We understand that color scheme plays a key role in the UI of the app. So, we perform comprehensive research on the color scheme and provide various color sets to choose from.

For instance, the ideal color for a dating app UI is blue, and for that of a food delivery app is red.

We also create a UI kit for the speedy creation of powerful user interfaces.

There is a framework and must-to-consider things while creation UI in minimum viable product design

The Required Team for Minimum Viable Product Design

For making the best minimum viable product design, you need to form a team that has:

  • Project Manager
  • UX researcher
  • UX/UI designer

Also, there is an on-demand team setup including:

  • QA Tester
  • Graphic designer
  • Marketer

Now let’s take a look at the cost of the core team working on designing an MVP for you.

The Cost of MVP Software Design

There are different types of mobile apps and websites. Thus, the time frame and cost of UI may vary. 

One critical factor based on which the cost of an MVP software design varies is complexity. Here is a brief overview of that:

  • Simple or Average Applications

These are any standard websites or simple mobile app. This type of application doesn’t comprise complex UI components and multiple features.

  • Medium Complex

These are the applications with complex interaction design. Medium complex mobile apps have additional screens and various content types.

  • Complex Applications

These are mobile applications designed on a base of complex business logic and multiple roles architecture. They have many different features and complex UI components.

The User Experience Estimation

The estimated time for competitive analysis and market/user analysis for an MVP application design varies from 20 to 40 hours.

Average hours to build a website or app prototype varies from 40 to 80 hours.

Overall UX timeline is from 60 to 120 hours.

How Much Do the UX Designers Cost?

Average UX designer salary varies according to the geography factors and the way specialists are employed. We would like to consider freelancers, in-house and outsource UX designers.

Let’s find out how much do app designers make in the US and Ukraine.

Type Salary
Freelancers
  • Hourly rate for UX designer in the United States is about $20 – $40,
  • rates in Ukraine are about $15–  $30 per hour.
In-house team
  • In the US hourly rate is $57,
  • in Ukraine is $25 –  $40 per hour.
Agency
  • In the US user experience design costs $45 – $80 per hour,
  • in Ukraine, UX goes for $15 – $30 per hour.

Summing up annual salaries of UX designers from the US twice-thrice more expensive, than Ukrainian ones:

  • Entry level UX designer (<1 year) $62,558 
  • Early UX career (1-4 years) – $71,258 
  • Mid-Level (5-9 years) – $83,519 
  • Senior Level (10-19 years – $94,893 

The User Interface Estimation

An average MVP UI design price depends on the complexity of the project and country. 

Usually, it includes competitors and industry trends research, ideation of color scheme, creation of UI kit.

In general, it takes 40 – 120 hours to think through UI basics and implement them into UX.

How Much do UI Designers Charge?

To understand how much it would cost to have the UI design of an MVP made, we need to consider various options. You can hire freelance, in-house, or outsource designers. 

The cost of their services varies dramatically. Below you can find how much a UI designer makes and analyze a cost breakdown by country.

Type Cost
Freelancers
  • Rates for the United States are $28 – $50 per hour,
  • designers in Ukraine charge about $15 – $50 per hour.
In-house team in the US
  • Junior UI Designer ⁠— $23 –  $50 per hour,
  • middle UI – ⁠ $26 – $56 per hour,
  • senior UI – $30 – $61 per hour.
Agency
  • UI application designs in the United States cost about $49 – $150 per hour.
  • App UI design cost in Ukraine is $30 – $70 per hour.

MVP Design [The Examples’ Spreadsheet]

As MVP is not a complete product in itself, its cost is way less than making a full-fledged app. The reason behind this is fewer efforts and less time.

If we talk about MVP application design cost, it also varies based on the complexity level of the app and the number of roles. Here are some close figures (Ukrainian prices):

  • Simple features app will cost you around $3,000. On the other hand, this cost may go as high as $15k in the US.
  • Average features app will cost around $7,000 in Ukraine and can go beyond $20k in the US.
  • Complex features app like Jira or Salesforce require more features, so they can cost you around $12,000 in Ukraine and over $30k in the US.

And there are cost decomposition based on the type of designer you’ll decide to work with.

The US-based design:

  • Freelancers will charge $10 – 13k
  • In-house design will cost $18 – $22k
  • Local agency charges $30 – $50k

Meanwhile, Ukrainain designers:

  • Freelancers can provide design for $1 – $3k
  • Outsource agency will charge $3 – $6k
The cost of MVP design - comparison the US and Ukrainian design

Are You Interested in Designing and Developing an MVP?

Well, if you have decided to bring your app vision to life, it is time to look for a professional design and development agency.

Spdload is a Ukraine-based agency that delivers trailblazing app solutions to you. 

We ensure a smooth workflow backed by experts and timely updates to you about your MVP software design process. 

Here are some of the ambitious projects:

  1. Redesign of our own website
  2. A comprehensive telemedicine app
  3. A taxi app with top-notch UX

And many others!

In the field of digital products, waiting is a bad idea. Thus, if you have something to share with the world, don’t be afraid. 

There are more than 270 billion digital buyers in the US in 2019, and this number is expected to grow.

Meanwhile, customers’ spending on mobile apps is going to grow to $156 billion by 2023. The only question is ⁠— are you in or are you out?

Look for a Design Team, That Share Your Values?

We design apps, that bring a value to customers, and change the way people think and act. Check out our portfolio to make sure we are good fit for you.

To Case Studies

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Posted by

Max Babych

Max Babych

I am CEO of SpdLoad

I launched SpdLoad almost 7 years ago and now it has 20+ successful products in SaaS and Marketplace industry and several own products. I am an expert in Marketing, Lean Methodology and Customer Development approach.

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