For each loving mother, her children are the cleverest, loveliest, and simply the best. The same is with new ideas. Once a brilliant one comes to your mind, it’s hard not to look at it through rose-colored glasses.
Before putting an idea into life, you need to understand its real potential. Ask yourself: do people need this product? How can it help them? Will it be profitable?
To get the answers to these questions and avoid failing, you need a proof of concept. Below, we’re providing a step-by-step guide based on the case of how we’ve developed a real estate mobile app using a low-code approach. In the course of our project, we’ve conducted each of the steps from the guide, so we’re quite sure that this is how the proof of concept process must be performed.
Proof of concept (PoC) definition
Simply speaking, a proof of concept is a way to demonstrate the feasibility of your future product allowing you to understand whether the software you imagined can be built and will be used in the real world.
The proof of concept will help you define the fastest way to get a ready solution, and save time and money when you finally get down to developing your product. Moreover, PoC will highlight roadblocks that you most probably face when starting to develop proof of concept software. While you as an inventor wholeheartedly believe in your idea, you won’t move far without investors. A thoroughly prepared proof of concept – be it a demo, a document, or a prototype – is a good way to make investors and stakeholders see the profitability of your future product.
Now, let’s turn to the guide based on how we’ve developed a real estate mobile app using the low-code development approach.
Step 1. Prove the need for a product
You have to clearly understand whether and why people will use your product, and what audience you’re focusing on. Make sure you define their needs and concerns, and figure out how your software will help them mitigate their pain points.
During this stage, it’s important to interview potential users of your future product – just as we have done when starting to prepare a PoC for our mobile app. We’ve asked interviewees not only about particular challenges they’d like to solve but the possible implications of each challenge. We’ve figured out that our future real estate mobile app should serve as a convenient way for landlords to manage the property, payments, approve or reject the candidates applying for rent, etc.
At the end of this step, we’ve got the list of our potential users’ common needs the software we’re going to build would solve.
Step 2. Suggest solutions for each of the users’ pain points. Collect feedback
Once you get the list, you have to determine particular solutions for each of the challenges you’ve identified during the previous step. Here, brainstorming can help to choose the most cost-effective and viable way to solve a specific challenge.
In our case, brainstorming helped us to understand which solutions we should include in our proof of concept. After that, we’ve turned to our future clients to ask them to share their thoughts and impressions on the solutions we’ve included in the list. The potential users have helped us decide which solutions to leave and develope further.
Step 3. Prepare and test a solution prototype
After that, get all the solutions from your list together and compile a basic product with the UI/UX features that your interviewees expect to find in your software. Once you have a ready-made prototype (an early version of the final solution), or even several prototypes covering a wider set of functions, let your potential users, investors, and stakeholders test it to gather more feedback.
Among the variety of low-code and no-code development platforms (Retool, Bubble, Framer, UI Bakery, and others), we’ve opted for Draftbit. Here, our designers have prepared a prototype of our future mobile app for real estate.
Once it has been ready, we’ve provided it to our potential clients for assessment. Thanks to this proof of concept testing substep, we’ve found some gaps in the app interface and defined the features that our real estate mobile app should have.
Step 4. Build a minimum viable product (MVP)
Unlike a prototype, an MVP is not the software with a set of the most essential features only – it’s a functional bugless product that can be put on the market to allow a wider audience to test it. An MVP should provide users with the vision of how your final product will behave, and how it will solve your clients’ pain points. Placing an MVP on the market will help you understand what you should add to your end-product to make it more competitive.
At this step, we’ve worked with the prototype made earlier in the Draftbit low-code software by our designers. Our team has exported the prototype to the React Native project where business logic has been added, and the necessary database integration has been conducted. We’ve chosen a feature-rich Airtable to serve as a database and an admin panel. We’ve used Integromat as workflow automation software.
Having covered the entire real estate mobile app development process, we’ve got a properly functioning MVP.
Step 5. Draw up a roadmap
Prepare a roadmap encompassing all the insights and feedback collected at the previous steps, and defining the process of creating a final product. This roadmap will serve as a sketch you will use in building an end product, and a guide for everyone involved in the software development cycle.
The roadmap we’ve prepared at the end of proof of concept development allowed us to conclude that the core functionality of the final product should provide landlords with an ability to monitor their properties and track their status, check their monthly revenue, see overdue payments, view the applications from new lessees, see the rental history. Landlords must also be able to add and edit the details related to their property, e.g. photos, addresses, notes. A push notification system must also necessarily be implemented in the final product to notify landlords when they get a new payment, payments become overdue, a new application is received, etc.
To sum up
One should not underestimate the importance of the proof of concept in software development and in business in general. There’s hardly a faster and more effective way to test the idea on the market with the minimized efforts.
In this article, we’ve shared our own experience of creating a proof of concept for real estate. Feel free to use our structured expertise as a guide when preparing a proof of concept on your own.
Have any concerns or doubts? Reach out to us – and we’ll help you in the proof of concept development, or will take the full responsibility for the process.
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