Here is how you can create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) from scratch without technical “know how” using online platforms available to anyone:
- Define the problem you will solve with your app.
- Decide on your MVP approach: one capability, multiple, etc.
- What features does your MVP need to have?
- Build your app on a no-code platform
- Publish your app and test
Learn the exact step-by-step process below.
You have validated your startup idea and you are optimistic you can succeed with your new app, but you have no knowledge of coding and you don’t want to beg a technical engineer to build your MVP. So how do you create one from scratch without the need to work with code?
Building an MVP with no- or low-code resources is not fiction anymore; you can create a fully-functioning app the same way you would create a Powerpoint.
A Minimum Viable Product plays a key role in the validation of your idea for a mobile app, and it can steer you in the right direction based on beta users’ feedback.
If you have absolutely no technical skills or any understanding of coding, you will find no-code platforms online that you can use and a swath of educational and coaching resources to guide you through the process. Here’s how to create an MVP from scratch without code.
What is a Minimal Viable Product?
A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a skeletonized, minimal version of your product designed to “test the waters.” The MVP allows you to confirm or deny the intended benefits of your new product, and you can discover how your target users will initially react to it.
It’s an incremental process that is designed to identify user pain points and determine what functionalities of your app must be developed further.
A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a minimal version of your product that allows you to “test the waters” and gather feedback.
What makes an MVP unique is that development is only meant to release the core capabilities of the app to resolve a specific problem and to satisfy early adopters.
It is a version of a product with just enough functionality to be useful to early adopters (customers) and allow them to provide you with valuable feedback.
How No-Code MVPs Break the Technology Barrier
The great thing about MVPs is that they eliminate the need to hire a team to create a new mobile app. You can launch one with the help of a professional like LowCode Agency and using online tools that don’t require a single line of code:
… and more.
Depending on your needs, these tools are great and they allow for a wide variety of applications, from your local shop app to a nationwide social network.
These online platforms are the quickest and most cost-effective way to build and launch your MVP. With various templates that fit a wide array of business models out of the box, it’s a lot easier to get started with them than having to learn how to code.
By building your app on a no-code platform you also have control over your development process, including the ability to make quick adjustments as bug reports start to come in.
Thanks to these technologies, LowCode Agency is able to provide full mobile app development starting from just $2500 with turnaround times as fast as 3-4 weeks.
Numbers like these were previously impossible to achieve.
Different Approaches To MVP Development
This is a critical component of your MVP roll-out plan, with some of the most common MVP approaches that resulted in successful rollouts being:
- First Iteration for “Early Birds”: Instead of going “all out” and launching a full featured product, you can create a first iteration to help you determine if the market will buy into it. This will help you get enough feedback to build on top of the same app and eventually turn it into a full solution. Your first iteration should still look great and be functional, but have limited features compared to a fully-fledged application.
- Multi-Capability (SaaS app): Achievable but you need to consider the extensive functionality that may be required. You can possibly build 2-3 capabilities together but if you go over that, you’re going to need a significantly higher budget to pull it off.
- Landing Pages: Giving the market full insight into your product. Tells you about product usage, what makes it unique from competitors, and why your users like using it. You can lead users to a sign-up area to sign up as beta users of your product.
We don’t recommend starting with a multi-capability app as it certainly stretches the definition of MVP. A single capability app is where you’ll want to start 80-90% of the time.
5 Steps To Get Started with Your No-Code MVP
By using a “no-code” building platform like Glide you can get a functional MVP app customized to your preferences in a matter of weeks if not days many times.
It is important to emphasize here that all apps are powered by a database, a place where you can store all the information necessary for the app to display to end-users.
Glide allows you to create a new app connected to a spreadsheet that is already populated with standard data and which you can customize over time.
Once you connect your data source (a Google Sheet or a more robust table known as Glide Table), the platform allows you to customize the look and feel of the app within the dashboard.
If we were to create a fully functional app in just a few steps, here’s what the process would look like from implementation and going forward:
1) Create an account and open the platform
You will likely see many templates to use for your app or you can create an app using a spreadsheet you already have. You can also create one from scratch.
For example, imagine you have a Google Sheet that is a ‘contacts’ list with names, phone numbers, and email addresses. Glide will pull this information into your new app.
2) Click new app and select Spreadsheet
Glide will read the data and create a default app as a basic starting point. It will also create tabs in your app for each sheet in your spreadsheet. These will appear as icons at the bottom of your app, which you can customize or hide based on the intended use case.
3) Change labels, icons, interface elements, etc
The design interface of no-code platforms like Glide is very robust; nothing you do in the Glide visual editor will alter the data in your source spreadsheet. Your new app will remain in Draft mode until you decide to Publish your app by clicking on the “Publish” button.
Now, you can Share your app with the world.
…and you will get the option to share your app by scanning a QR code, texting the URL to someone, or by copying the apps URL. There will be some branding language in the URL originally but there are options to upgrade to a professional plan. This allows you to connect your new app directly to your domain.
No-Code MVPs: The Question of Scalability
As an entrepreneur, the question of whether no-code apps can scale just as well as traditional apps isn’t trivial. It’s a question that pops up often in the space.
The answer to this question is in the use case.
If you’re going to build the next Facebook, start small. Build an MVP that’s scalable enough, looks amazing and can get you the first few thousand users, investors, and an audience!
This is a perfect example of how no-code platforms like Glide can help you get the foot in the door for a future where custom development may become an option.
Glide can scale up to 25k rows per app using a Google Sheet with their Pro plan, which is more than enough for most small businesses going into mid-sized territory.
We can always use a different database that can go to a few hundred thousand rows of data though if you need that amount of that. And if you’re looking for millions of rows, we can use MySQL as the back end and provide a really scalable, leading edge solution.
Knowing where in your MPV you are likely to experience possible performance bottlenecks or insane growth beforehand will help you adapt the app to “take the hit.”
Build a No-Code MVP & Start Collecting Feedback
The collection of feedback and data after you launch your MVP is no less important than the MVP itself. This feedback will ensure validation from the market and will tell you precisely what your product still needs to improve, offering new ideas for product enhancement.
In the past, building your own app from scratch was tricky as it required extensive experience in the field and loads of money to throw at it, but today there are so many options available that finding someone to help you make your own MVP isn’t nearly as hard nor as expensive.
It is however still work, and many parts of it will feel daunting at first.
LowCode Agency is working to make the process of building your app as smooth as possible while you enjoy a simple way to modify the data in your app as you please once delivered.
Although no-code platforms are more affordable than traditional development, designing and building an app from scratch is still not a walk in the park. That’s why LowCode Agency offers you the expertise and knowledge to build you an MVP that’s not only functional but also beautiful.
We were able to deliver 196 apps in 2020 alone, all functional and all up to the tasks commissioned by customers. See some testimonials for inspiration.
That’s the power of developing apps without code.
Originally published April 30 2021
Updated April 21 2022
Frequently asked questions
A no-code startup refers to an entrepreneur or startup that builds an app with minimal features that early adopters can use by way of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) through no code platforms such as Glide.
To build an MVP without code: 1) Know what problem your app will be designed to solve; 2) Know your target audience; 3) Understand what minimal features your app needs to have; 4) Use a no-code platform to build your app; 5) Have a plan to track the success metrics.
Calculating the cost of an MVP is difficult as it depends on many factors: the complexity of product development, the decision to build the app yourself or hire specialists, the number of working hours, and the need to add more features. We have a handy calculator for you to calculate this easily.
The best way to get your MVP up and running is working with a low-code development firm like LowCode Agency. This is the quickest way to build, test and launch your MVP. You can reference our guide above to learn about building your own from scratch.
Jesus is the founder of Low Code Agency: a low-code development agency that allows small business owners to get their mobile and web apps done fast and cost-effectively while maintaining quality.