What is a Minimum Loveable Product? Everything you need to know ?
A Minimum Loveable Product is a new way of building a digital product. But, what does it mean?
As the Studio Co-ordinator in the hiyield team, I’ve been learning more and more about how digital products are built and brought to life. Commonly, the first steps of a digital product would be to create a Minimum Viable Product; a basic version of the product that is taken to market with a fundamental purpose to validate the value proposition. In layman’s terms, test the product with intended users and see if it is something they want!
As we are all now becoming more digital day-by-day, digital product ideas are being created more and more. Therefore, how they are being built is changing, as new methods and techniques to build them in a certain way are constantly being developed.
This is where the term Minimum Loveable Product comes in. A new approach that has been getting more attention.
So, with my curiosity in learning how startup digital products are built, I did some research looking into the new attractive Minimum Loveable Product.
Is this the new best way to build a product? Well, let’s see…
What is a Minimum Loveable Product?
The best definition that I can find is from Laurence McCahill:
“The version of a new product that brings back the maximum amount of love from your early tribe members with the least effort.”
So with this in mind, a Minimum Loveable Product would look to go a few steps further than just wanting to validate an idea like a Minimum Viable Product.
From the beginning, a Minimum Loveable Product would look to understand their user’s needs and even make architectural decisions based on intelligence. The goal isn’t just to rush the product and validate the idea, ruining all chances of a loveable relationship with its users, but create a first release that their users already love and can relate to.
At first, I thought of the term Minimum Lovable Product as better than a Minimum Viable Product. However, in my opinion, this is not necessarily the case. They are both two stand-alone approaches in the same bracket. It depends on the product idea and a whole host of variables.
So, let’s look at a comparison.
Minimum Viable Product (MVP) vs Minimum Loveable Product (MLP)
Minimum Viable Product
- Only core functionality
- Minimal User Experience
- Visuals are used as a placeholder
- Quick build and release
- Less expensive
- Could create a negative relationship between product and users
- Won’t get rich feedback or might even get invalid feedback
Reason to choose: Primarily you would choose a Minimum Viable Product when you aren’t sure on the initial idea and just want to test the market to see if the core functionally is something that people want. However, you might want to act fast to a gap in the market, where you believe the product you’re creating is the only one out there meaning you build as fast as you can to capture the market, as you know they will go for it regardless. Also, it could come down to cost. Generally, Minimum Viable Products cost less to build, so doing this might be your only option. But remember, this could harm any relationship with your target users. First impressions do count.
Minimum Loveable Product
- Basic UX & UI
- Basic branding
- Core functionality
- More expensive
- Takes longer to build and release
- Creates user loyalty
- Rich feedback
Reason to choose: You believe in your product and don’t just want to solely validate your idea, but start to create a loveable experience between your product and target users. Your product doesn’t solely rely on core functionality but works in unison with a satisfying experience. This brings me back to my studies when looking at Kotlers five product levels where it’s not just about the tangible product, but other layers such as the augmented product. Both play a huge role in creating value. This is what a Minimum Loveable Product is. Not just something for a user to use, but a product that they love and can get invested in. It could be a part of their identity so to speak. Nevertheless, this method can take more time and more money.
What should you choose for your digital product?
I believe that there is no right or wrong. Of course, if I had to choose I would want my product to be loved and capture the human element behind the technology. On the flip-side, if time were of the essence, I would then sway towards more of a Minimum Viable Product approach.
If you are looking to build a digital product weigh up the variables. If you look in-between the lines there could even be another option between Minimum Viable Product and Minimum Loveable Product. Why not a Minimum Acceptable Product…
A product’s first release can’t have it all. Every product will be different and will shift towards loveable and viable. It is down to you to weigh everything up, do your research, get advice and take action.