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Izabela Mrozowska
UI/UX Designer
Product Design
06.12.2022 | 3 min

What is a Minimum Lovable Product (MLP), and how is it different from MVP?

MVP is the minimum app version created to validate business assumptions and get feedback from users as quickly and cheaply as possible. You will check whether product X has the potential to solve problem Y thanks to MVP. We’ve already posted some content about MVP and the process of its creation here and there. However, there are situations where the “minimum” isn’t enough to validate an idea. Sometimes to verify the prototype’s potential, it also needs to be “lovable”, and what you need in such cases is… Yes, you guessed it, a Minimum Lovable Product. So what is MLP, how is it different from MVP, and in what business cases do you use it?

What is a Minimum Lovable Product (MLP), and how is it different from MVP? - 2023 32
Table of Contents
  • What is a Minimum Lovable Product?
  • When is it worth using MLP?
  • MLP: a real-life example
  • How is MLP different from MVP?
  • MLP is still "Minimum"
  • What funding should you choose, then?

What is a Minimum Lovable Product?

MLP is a minimum version of a digital product, which, like MVP, is to check with a small investment of time and money whether users will accept a website or a mobile app.

However, with MLP, you aim to make the user fall in love with your solution. Therefore, you don’t necessarily check whether a specific feature is needed but whether its design has the potential to attract the recipient and stand out from the competition.

Of course, MLP has to be functional and intuitive too. IT must also meet these basic needs, but you extend them by beautiful design.

When is it worth using MLP?

Minimum Lovable Product is an excellent tool for testing software if you want to break into a broad audience that already has specific standards for visuals and usability of similar products or tools.

MLP is used by companies that release digital products in competitive markets, where other companies have already paved the way and found the answer to the question, "does this functionality make any sense?”.

In such markets, the initial app must first answer another question: “is it intuitive and pleasant enough to use?”

MLP: a real-life example

For example, we recently worked at OG on a consumer app aimed at a vast audience: mothers.

From the very beginning, we had to launch a product whose appearance attracted attention and encouraged further use to determine what the final version of the website should look like.

If we released a website with nothing but raw features, it would be ignored by our target audience because moms are already used to a particular UX standard, and we wouldn’t get any tangible and reliable feedback.

How is MLP different from MVP?

Above, I’ve already outlined the first difference between the two: the group of recipients.

MLP is used by companies that want to enter a large, competitive market with an established user base. MVP is different because you use it to validate solutions that have never been created. MVP is to examine whether the world needs this certain feature at all.

This, in turn, makes both strategies differ in examining the user's needs.

When building an MVP, you don't need such a deep understanding of your audience's tastes; it’s enough to find out if they can solve a problem with your solution. You also don't have to worry about competition because there simply isn't any or is very little.

In the case of MLP, you need to deeply understand the characteristics of both the end user and your competition. Specific visual standards are already defined, so to stand out, you need to get to know them, e.g., by interviewing users or checking reviews of competing solutions.

The last difference, resulting from the previous two, is the design involvement in the development process.

When creating MLP, you will involve UI and UX designers to a greater extent than in the case of MVP, and you will release a more visually appealing product.

MLP is still "Minimum"

Finally, I would like to point out that although the "lovable" aspect is vital in MLP, you shouldn’t forget about the "minimum" part of it.

MLP is still just a tool for validating ideas, and extended investing in UI/UX is the wave of the future. The time for top-notch design will come if MLP does its job.

Until then, dear, whoever is responsible for the testing phase, please hold your horses with design effort and keep it to the essential minimum. 🙂

What funding should you choose, then?

Choosing the right financing path is one of the most critical decisions for startups because it determines the nature of the entire project. Who you go to for money will affect the pace and atmosphere of your work, the scope of responsibility, the number and nature of meetings, or even the place of work.

What's more, not only choosing the type of funding but also the proper organization or person inside the path is of great importance.

So if you are still wondering and want to consult your situation with us, write to us. We are happy to listen, talk and advise. 🙂

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