As a development shop, we are often surprised that people with good ideas have done little to validate them. We take a very scientific approach to app idea validation. We recommend to our clients that they follow these steps:
State the Problem
Identify the problem in the clearest way possible.
- “I want to build an iPhone app that connects band and fans.” becomes “Local bands have trouble connecting with their fans and managing those relationships.”
- “I want to build a website where home buyers can get rewards for selling their home.” becomes “People do not get rewards for buying and selling their homes.”
Once the problem has been stated it is time to do some research to see if someone has already attempted this idea. This process can be helpful because it reveals competitors and identifies challenges similar businesses had to solve.
Form the Hypothesis
In this step we pose a solution based upon knowledge gathered in the previous step.
- “I think that an iPhone application which allows bands to advertise their shows and allows fans to give feedback is a great way to solve this problem.”
- “I think a web app where people can find Realtors to help them sell their home and gain rewards points is the way to solve this problem.”
Identify Target Market
To identify a target market(s) consider your idea and the industries it will be influenced by and people who see it as a solution to a problem. Think about the places where these people network and socialize. Meetups are a great way to meet relevant individuals who can validate your idea.
- iPhone app for bands
- Local up and coming bands
- Live music fans
- Music industry executives
- Web app for reality rewards
- Home Sellers
- iPhone app for bands
Now that the question has been stated and we have identified the target markets we can begin the testing phase. Writing code and building a product is expensive so its best to build a cheaper framework from with you can test the idea without going through the development. That testable framework is called wireframes. These wireframes are navigable drawings you can view on a tablet and show friends, family, potential investors and most importantly objective public feedback.
After chatting with about 50 people who are the target market for your idea, its time to reflect on that data and ask the following questions:
- “How many people interviewed about the idea are excited?”
- “What would the interviewees pay for your product?”
- “Is the idea so great that interviewees would pay for the product before its been built?”