What Is a Minimum Viable Experience (MVE)?
In product management, “minimum viable” refers to something the team believes it can release to the market to gain useful feedback.
Product teams aim for a minimum viable product (MVP) to balance building enough functionality to validate their idea while pushing out a product quickly. But product teams should take a broader view than functionality. They should also make sure their products create a minimum viable experience (MVE).
Minimum viable experience refers to how users feel about a product and the company that built it. These feelings will go well beyond the new product’s features. Instead, they include the entire customer experience: design and layout, packaging, ease of use, etc.
How Do You Build a Minimum Viable Experience?
When your product team prepares to launch a minimum viable product, you will want to consider your users’ overall experience with the product. If your MVP is a SaaS app, for example, that will mean asking questions like the following.
Is the product easy to find, try, and buy?
For an app, this could mean making sure the download page on your website is easy to find then that it works with all browsers and operating systems. It could also mean making sure users can easily find your app in the major app stores.
Is the user interface intuitive and easy to navigate?
When someone opens your app for the first time, can they find the functionality they need quickly? Is it intuitive? Has your UX team made sure users can get to the product’s key features in as few clicks as possible?
Have you prepared your customer success team to help users?
With an MVP, you should expect user questions, requests, ideas, and even complaints. Make sure your customer success team is prepared to receive and answer users’ chat messages, emails, social media mentions, and phone calls.
Why Should Product Managers Care About Creating a Minimum Viable Experience?
Customers make decisions about which products or services to buy based on several factors. The product’s features need to be able to solve specific problems for the user persona. But even a product capable of solving those problems can fail to find a market if it does not also create a positive user experience.
Let’s think about the experiences we listed above: a user-friendly interface, helpful customer support pros ready to help, an easy process for customers to download the app. Here’s the challenge. If any of these experiences lead to friction or frustration, they cloud the user feedback of a product team’s MVP release.
When they launch an MVP, product managers should care about the overall experience they’re creating as much as they care about the product’s features. If they neglect these other areas of the experience, they turn off users who might otherwise be thrilled with the new product.
Note: It’s important to keep in mind that we’re talking about a minimum viable experience—not the best experience your team can create. Your goal with an MVE is to make sure the overall experience does not interfere with a user’s ability to enjoy and accurately assess your product.
For more ideas about creating a minimum viable experience, read our co-founder Jim Semick’s blog, Lean Market Validation: 10 Ways to Rapidly Test Your Startup Idea.