insight
mobile app development
By: Sagar Sharma

How to Prioritize Which Features to Build First in Your Mobile App?

When entrepreneurs come up with mobile app ideas, they usually want to add everything in the first version itself.

But this approach can be harmful for many reasons.

For the first version of your mobile app, you should always aim to develop the only features that will fill the common gap in your target audience’s life.

Moreover, if you try to incorporate all features at once, you’re destined to meet one or more of the following obstacles:

  • The cost is likely to reach more than your actual budget.
  • You take the risk of developing features which are actually might not be useful to your targeted users.
  • Your app’s time-to-market will be stretched unnecessarily & you might miss an opportunity.
  • You might end up launching premium features that you could have monetized.

These reasons prove why you must prioritize features.

So, how should you identify the right features for the first version of your mobile app?

The best & proven way to prioritize features is to start by understanding the purpose of your mobile app.

Understanding Purpose of Mobile App

When you’re in the idea phase of your mobile app project, it’s wise to create a Product Requirements Document.

A product requirement document will help you simplify your mobile app idea and defining the main purpose of your mobile app.

If creating a product requirement document sounds too technical to you, just begin with asking yourself this question:

What do I want my mobile app to do?

Just by asking yourself this question, you will automatically come up with the main problem you’re trying to resolve. In addition, this exercise will also help you establish a concrete vision of your mobile app, set clear objectives, and specific success milestones.

For example, let’s say you’ve come up with an idea to build a doctor appointment app.

You’ve identified that patients usually have to wait long times to schedule their appointment with the doctor.

So, you’re planning to resolve this problem through a mobile app that allows patients to book appointments without having to call, wait for their turn on phone, and schedule appointments.

From here, you can easily define the main purpose of your mobile app.

My mobile app is a doctor appointment booking application.

It is for Patients & Doctors.

Who want to schedule appointments.

Unlike the traditional approach, my mobile app saves the time of both patients and doctors by eliminating the need to call.

Once you’ve defined the main purpose of your mobile app idea, the next step is to prioritize the features.

How to Prioritize Features of Your Mobile App?

In order to properly prioritize features for the first version of your mobile app, you’ll need to take a logical approach.

For instance, the goal of the first version of any mobile app is to:

  • Test the idea in real-market.
  • Get feedback from early-adopters.
  • & Incorporate new features based on the feedback.

Now, you’ll only be able to prioritize the features if you know the main purpose of your mobile app. So, don’t skip the above step of understanding purpose.

That step will help you identify 1 – 5 core features of your mobile app. For example, sign up, view available appointment slots, book an appointment, and notifying both patients and doctors are the core features of a doctor appointment scheduling app.

Similarly, for your mobile app idea, it’s critical to take sufficient time to brainstorm and make a list of all the features you want to include.

Once you have the list of all features, it’s to time differentiate core features and nice-to-have features.

For this, you can use the following exercise.

Take a notepad and pen and write the following 3 categories.

  • Absolutely Necessary
  • Important But Not Necessary in First Version
  • Cool or Nice-to-Have Features

Now, let’s a closer look at each of these categories.

Absolutely Necessary Features

In this category, write down the features that are necessary to launch your mobile app.

Ask the following questions to sort out absolutely necessary features.

  • Does this feature solve my target users’ most important problem?
  • Does this feature is in alignment with the main objective of my mobile app?
  • Should you save this feature as a premium feature for monetization?

Answering the above questions will help you decide whether a particular feature is a core feature or not.

If it is, write it down under the absolute necessary category.

Next…

Important But Not Necessary In The First Version

In this category, list down all the features that you think are important and save them for the next version of your mobile app.

For example, once you launch the first version of your mobile app by building absolutely necessary features and receive positive feedback from early adopters, you can then add these important features in the next version.

In fact, you can build these important features as premium features and monetize them to start earning money.

However, if you’re going to use these important features as premium features, make sure that they enhance the primary functionality of your mobile app, make your mobile app even more convenient to use, and users are willing to pay for it.

If a feature meets all three above-mentioned criteria, then only you should consider to add it as a premium feature. If they do not meet all three criteria, then you should also add them in the next version of your mobile app, but as a free upgrade.

For example, if a particular feature is likely to enhance the primary functionality of your mobile app and will also make your mobile even more convenient to use, but if the users aren’t willing to pay for it, then you should still add them as a free upgrade.

At this point, you’re likely to get confused whether to add a specific feature as a premium feature or a free upgrade. When that happens, it’s wise to get in touch with a mobile app development company to clear the confusion.

Remember, deciding between premium feature and a free upgrade is extremely important, so don’t hesitate to seek help from professionals.

Cool or Nice-to-Have Features

As the category’s name suggests, these are all the leftover features of the all features list.

Remember, it is not necessary to add all the leftover features in you mobile app. You still need to evalaute each leftover feature whether it will add some sort of value to mobile app or not.

So, take each remaining feature and think whether it will provide some value to your users or not.

If it doesn’t contribute any value, eliminate the feature entirely.

Why?

The answer is two-part:

Firstly, mobile apps with overcrowded features make it difficult to understand how to use.

Secondly, too many features in a mobile app make users uninstall the app and move on to the next in the App Store.

So, before adding each nice-to-have feature, you need to make sure that a particular nice-to-have feature provides some kind of value to your users and it doesn’t make the app difficult to understand or use.

Conclusion

Overall, it is extremely important think long-term and strategically to make your mobile app successful.

Following are the key points you should remember.

Plan in advance which features will be included in the first version.

Identify which important features will be added as premium features and which important features will be a free upgrade in the second version.

And lastly, before adding the nice-to-have features, make sure that they contribute some sort of value and doesn’t make your mobile app difficult to understand or use.

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