POC vs Prototype vs MVP: What’s The Difference?
If you are building a new app then you may be considering methods like POC, prototype and MVP. Many companies have heard about these terms but do not have a good understanding about what they stand for and what is their purpose. These three product validation methods are integral in your mobile app development process. With the help of these methods, you can get business funding from investors, test the feasibility of your product, save costs, and ensure a good ROI.
In this article we will discuss POC, prototype, MVP and what is the difference between them. Understanding these methods can enable you to use them efficiently for mobile app development.
What is POC or Proof of Concept?
POC or proof of concept is an internal project that helps you verify that your idea is feasible and has the potential to materialize. In the case of mobile app development, a POC determines whether your ideas can be developed without going overboard with your time and resources. With a POC you can assess if your target users need your product and if you have the capabilities to build it.
Using a POC also enables you to evaluate core functionality of your app. A POC can help you determine if your app concept is viable or not. If you are creating an app that is unique and does not exist in the current market, then a POC is important. On the other hand if you are creating an app with lots of competition then a POC is needed, not to test if it's viable but to determine what sets it apart from other competitors.
What is a Prototype?
A POC determines whether your idea can be done or not, whereas a mobile app prototype shows how it will be done. The purpose of creating a prototype is to illustrate your product’s design, user interface and what the navigation will look like. Prototypes are built to visualize what your app will look like, its layout and how the users will interact with it. You can start by creating prototypes with sketches demonstrating what the app interface will look like. Later you can build wireframes to make your design interactive and resemble the look and feel of what the final product will be.
Testing your mobile product is an essential part of creating a great app design that is user centric. Your app needs to be relevant to your users and design is an important part of it. Providing a good user interface can enable your users to engage and interact with your app. Building prototypes with the help of your development team can help refine your product so that the result is exactly what you need. Conducting this type of testing early in the project can help you save time and money.
Benefits of prototype
Working with prototypes before the actual product has its own benefits, here are some of them:
Coming up with new ideas
Mobile app prototypes help you illustrate what your product will look like. When you are in this testing phase you will come across many new design ideas that you want to incorporate. You can identify opportunities to make improvements to the product design. Prototype is the foundation, and you can play around with it to add more ideas that can create a refined product.
When you start building prototypes in the beginning of your project, you can solve any problems or issues you come across in the process. These issues can be expensive to solve later in the project.
In the prototyping phase you can involve key stakeholders like product managers, marketers, designers, developers and more to take important decisions related to the app. These stakeholders can contribute their expertise and help in refining the product further. During this phase you will need to take important decisions regarding what you want your final product to look like. Each stakeholder can contribute their valuable insights and opinions to lead the project in a better direction.
Create a great user experience
User experience is an important part of a successful app. You want the users to find your app easy to use so that they can engage. Prototype can help you test the user experience so that your app is appealing to your target users.
What is a Minimum Viable Product?
An MVP or minimal viable product is a form of final product that is tested in the market. In the first of your app, you may only include a few features that can evolve into more complex ones with different versions of your app. An MVP is used to test a simple and finished version of your product in the market. You can analyze how the audiences respond to your product. It tests how your product performs in the market.
MVP is important as you can start with core features and see user feedback to determine what improvements you can make to retain your users.
Benefits of MVP
Test core functionality
An MVP enables you to test your product idea in the market. You can offer certain core functions and features to gauge your users’ reactions and gather valuable insights and feedback.
As you only release your app with few, core features you save money during the development process. Overtime you can include more features based on your audience response. This helps you save quite a bit of time and resources so that you don’t waste them on developing complex features that your audiences don’t like.
What is the Difference between POC and Prototype?
POC or proof of concept determines whether your product is feasible or not. Whereas a prototype illustrates how your final product will look like.
What is the Difference between MVP and Prototype?
Prototype is to test what your app’s design will look like. Whereas an MVP can help you test the first version of your app in the market and to see how your users react to it.
POC vs Prototype vs MVP: Which Method is the Best?
Every project is different and will require one or more methods to build a successful app. Each method has its own benefits. A POC can help you test the feasibility of your concept and attract investors. Prototypes can help you test the design of your app and add new ideas and improvements to it. It plays a key role in enhancing user experience. An MVP helps you gain user feedback and test the initial product in the market.
All these methods are cost effective and can save you from building an app that has faulty or useless features. When you start testing your ideas in the beginning of the project you can ensure that you are building a product without any issues. You can fix any design flaws you notice immediately without it being carried to the final product. Hence, you won’t have any technical or design related issues as you proceed further with your project. This helps you optimize your resources. Depending on your business needs you can pick one or more of these strategies you feel are best for your app.