When we talk about an MVP, we are not talking about the landing page or WordPress brochure theme you used to test your idea.

We’ve moved beyond that and are building technology products that your market will use. 

But just to clarify that an MVP can mean different things for technology and non-technology people.

This is what it can mean to Non-Tech:

It’s a fully functioning platform to test a theory.

This is what it can mean to Tech:

It’s the basics that we can deliver, doesn’t have to work 100%, just has to work in how we think it should. 

This is what it can mean to Non-Tech:

Can be WordPress, Drupal or Joolma site and won’t require too much work once launched to market nor cost an arm or a leg to manage. 

This is what it can mean to Tech:

Could be WordPress, Drupal or Joolma site.   MVP built from scratch using whatever framework we can do it in a short period using our skill set so we make money (include also that they don’t think about how much it will cost to run or the skill set of the founder, so if they disappear, you are on your own, make sure you think about that). 

The best way to think about your MVP is from the research you have done with real customers.     If there is an off-the-shelf solution that does 80% of what you want to do, then stick with that until you literally run out of options.

Before you go to any developer get a senior developer and/or an IT mentor to help you construct down to the last button what you want to deliver.

Mentors can help you understand what framework will work, cost less to run, and help you pick a framework that you can understand to some degree how it works.

UX / UI is a different kettle of fish and we will discuss why further in the series.

WHAT are Wireframes?

Wireframes are a mockup of a website.

Wireframes are images or set of images which display the functional elements of a website or page, typically used for planning a site’s structure and functionality.

Start with a mockup of what functionalities you need on paper with your IT mentor. 

If I had my time again I would have employed my own UX / UI, created the wireframes and then approached the agency or developers myself, armed with my own Github and project timelines, milestones etc.

You can use wireframe software (read this article) and mock-up your own wireframes but note that it will take you some time and frankly you will never nail it as well as a designer.

What’s a UX / UI 

They are not the same.

UX is the user experience and it’s very important it’s done correctly because it’s the process of enhancing user satisfaction with a product by improving the usability, accessibility, and pleasure provided in the interaction with the product.

If you think about this it’s not about aesthetics, it’s about consumer-driven data, what your customers will use every day based on your research.

You won’t know a good design because that’s good design and UX / UI professionals understand both the data and the design – it’s a very unique talent.     Just like talented developers, done well UX/UI will flow.

Put simply, UX is the beautiful front of the shop where your clients’ visit, it’s the pool room,  the fancy parlor room, the entertainment venue, the red carpet or the entry into a stylish venue.

A great designer will nail the look and feel and it seems to just  ‘feel right’ to you and your customers.

UI is how the framework (your backend) speaks to the UX design.    UI is the interaction between the human experience and the technology which powers the backend.

You will need to really mine to find a good designer on freelancing sites because frankly, designers who are good will understand your business and your users and that takes time, it also takes direct connection with your customers.

Understanding these elements takes experience and skill and if your UX isn’t right you are going to find engaging users slightly harder.

If you want to know what good design looks like, speak with Marcus Brookes.   Marcus gets it and it’s hard to find creatives with his depth of experience.   A long-time operator in the Sydney and UK markets Marcus is well-known in corporate circles.

Another great contact who operates in the Sydney startup scene is Michael Wong Mizko.    Michael recently helped a SAAS company (read his client’s article).    

It’s pleasing to note that his client had a vastly better experience on freelancer sites than other people.    

Some helpful tips in this article as well around building a SAAS company and a great reference to the book Hook, a book which teaches how to create habit-forming products.

Adam Falkner (Director at Blue Egg) is another good egg in UX design, with science background, he’s worked with hundreds of startups and is a mentor with the Tech Ready Program watch his talk on UX/UI design here.

Given my background is not UX/UI and is more marketing, strategy, copywriting and Leigh is animals and people – we thought we’d asked Josh Lan who teaches corporates how to think and carry out UX/UI to expand further on what it really means.

Many people have great ideas, execution is everything.    Before you even think about development, immerse yourself in the subject, understand the problem you’re trying to solve (WHAT) and WHY you’re solving it.
Then WHO are you solving it for, understanding your user is key. Find them, talk to them, get to know their needs (User Research).

Then get some users into a room with your team and run a workshop, “co-design” a draft version, which means get everyone to sketch how they see the solution. Wireframe it and create a paper prototype in front of more users and incorporate their feedback. UX Design is not about design If you’re thinking of having in-house developers, get them into the room too. it gives them ownership over the product and saves time in the long-run.
UX Design is not about design!

Josh Lan 
UX Strategy
Co-founder of UX Moshpit (uxmoshpit.com)
Thinking of hiring a developer?   What about an Agency?
READ our next article on Agencies.