Great products are not easy to build. There are alternatives for all alternatives, everyone is in a constant battle of the user’s attention. Having some experience in the field, here are some steps that may help you to ship a beautiful product without going crazy on the way.
Let’s try to build a product for doctors and appointments, we’ll call it FriendlyDoctor. FriendlyDoctor with the main feature to help patients and doctors to connect and book appointments.
Empathy is a great way to understand the users of the application. Being able to put yourself in the shoes of the user is essential to make a seamless transition from user to a customer. Let’s see how we can use empathy for our app.
FriendlyDoctor is created for both patients and doctors. So what can we do to improve their lives? What unknowns they have in the equation that we can solve?
- Not familiar with specialized doctors around,
- unknown prices of consultation
- Not wasting time in lines
- Scheduling the patients
- Storage for paperwork
This step is essential, as we’re developing the vision of our product and first shadow-self of how it’s going to look like.
Tip: try to unplug from the internet while you’re on this step. WWW has a lot of information and opinions, and it’s hard not to project all of this on your yet not established product. On this step try to think authentically about your users, not competitors and their features.
Now added some features to our list. It’s a good start, let's move on.
This step is the most underestimated, it takes time and patience. Research is important to have because here you should start to draft your strategies, know your competitors and understand the market.
Having this amount of information on your hands in the web researching takes a few days of dedicated work to complete (here’s my guide on how to do research effectively). Use some of the tools available online like Crunchbase, Techcrunch, and ProductHunt to crunch those numbers together.
The takeaway from this step should be:
- How big is your market?
- Are you establishing a monopoly?
- Who are the key players in this market?
- Who are the VCs that invest in this market?
- What connections do I need in this market?
Having these questions answered will make it easier to swim in the blue ocean.
Tip: Don’t get lost in research. It is important, but it’s not a thing that you ever stop doing. For the first time try to find 5-7 companies that are like you, it will be a good place to stop.
We have our features, we have a team and we have something that we’ve built or prototyped. Now it’s time to go out there. Usually, this is the phase where a killing feature may appear. Killing feature is the one that makes your uses stick. For example, the killing feature of Facebook was the “Like” button. Usually, it is something on the surface, and you find out
FriendlyDoctor needs to find its key users to validate the idea and market hypothesis. For this particular app, you can go to hospitals, pharmaceutical conferences to find the people that will use it, post it on beta list websites. What can be a killing feature for FriendlyDoctor?
For example, patients are struggling when doctors go on vacation, for that we can add a feature where a doctor can mention a substituting doctor for some time. Doctors also struggle to understand what happened to their patients during their absence. So the app also can automatically transfer the information about the patient from substitute to the main doctor after returning.
Tip: Do this as much as you can!
The launch is a planned series of events that you’ll need to drive traffic to your platform. At this point you’ll need to have your homework done with market research, and nice to have the following:
- Social media pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter (or whichever platform is best for you)
- Landing page, with analytics installed like Google Analytics and Hotjar
- Register your platform on ProductHunt, IndieHackers, Alternatives, Siftery, and platforms that may drive organic traffic,
- Promote through your social media channels,
- Configured some customer service platform on your landing page.
By the time of your launch, it’s better to have some plan on which features you’re going to build next.
Tip: Relax and ship it.
The launch is never the end of the journey it’s a start, you’ll go through the process many times and it’s better to relax and have some fun with it.