You probably know that launching a startup without idea validation is a risky game. You need to go through a comprehensive validation process which includes a lot of steps.
I’d like to tell you a story of how we validated one app idea from the very beginning.
The seed of our idea
It all started with validating the Plant Care App idea. There were a lot of similar apps with the main feature of plant identification, which also covered plant care. And a thought came to my mind — “Who can be interested in finding plants, exploring in nature…of course, children!”.
So we started to dig deeper in this particular (education) sphere.
Identifying the problem
The first really important thing to do was to understand which problem we want to solve. We identified the next problem — “A lot of children are using their phones just to play silly games/watch cartoons or smth like this. Parents are worried that their kids are sitting at home (especially on the long summer holidays) and losing their perfect young years for nothing.”
This brings an idea of two target groups:
- children from ages ~6-11. Why? Because they are old enough for education and use phones a lot;
- their parents/relatives. Why? They want to see kids progress in education.
Our team decided that we want to give exciting and gamified solution to kids, so they will be allowed to explore nature in a funny and understandable way and share their results with relatives.
The next step was to understand if the same application already exists.
And, actually, it does and not just one :) We found a lot of plant identification apps with similar functionality and nice designs.
But surprisingly, our team found that there are no apps for children with identification feature, moreover all apps for kids were oriented for preschoolers who’ve just started their world journey. That means that we found a few competitors but they’re all indirect.
So, elementary school level wasn’t covered by something educational, only with some clickers, shooters and other apps that annoy parents.
Actually, it was a process of competitor analysis! Without doing this, you can’t understand if there are any competitors in the market. By the way, if you don’t find similar apps it’s not always a good sign but this is another topic 🧐
So, what did we decide to do next? Yes, to speak with real parents to determine if this problem really exists and how parents are resolving it.
I’ve contacted a few friends of mine who have our target age children and went by prepared questions. Generally, we need to speak with at least 8 people to analyse the idea but this time we had 5 interviews with parents and it was enough information to continue. These are a few questions that we asked:
- Is your kid interested in education? Is it easier to read books, ask questions or find some info on the Internet?
- Which apps/games does he/she frequently use?
- Would you (as a parent) allow the use of a phone more taking into account that it’s for education, not just entertainment?
The results were really different and these are just a few conclusions we reached:
- It's more interesting to learn something new using a smartphone than using books for some kids.
- It could be hard attracting/entertaining children for a long period of time because they can change their focus real quick.
- Sometimes parents should be involved in the game and they could be against this.
- Some parents might be against this application because it requires more phone engagement (and they want to avoid it).
- Some parents prefer to educate their children using books. So children will understand that not all info is available on the internet, also there are alternative sources.
So, it was pretty interesting to gather this feedback because we were speaking about potential product, possible features but nothing was ready to use, only the idea existed. It was some kind of a brainstorm which brought a lot of food for thought.
The final step of the first validation stage is presenting all your thoughts to the team. So, we had a call to discuss everything that we found and decide if we move further.
My key points (supporting this idea) were:
- Children can be more interested in learning if you present it funny and interactive.
- If you’ll search “plants for children” in Youtube, you find a lot of relevant videos which have from 900K to almost 4M views. And this is a good sign because these numbers show interest in this education sphere.
- A lot of parents mentioned the lack of useful educational apps for kids from 6 to 11.
- Also, I’ve searched information regarding presents for children our target age and found that they show interest in encyclopaedias, exploring nature and caring for plants.
So, as you can guess from the story’s title, we all agreed that we need to dive deeper into this topic and go on with a marketing campaign. Actually, it’s another story which I’ll tell you in the next article.
Written by Viktoria Muha