Validation: tools for prototyping

In recent articles I talked about MVPs and prototyping, explaining What to do. But we will need to know How to do it, and we will need some tools.

The good news is that no technical skills are required and that many of them are free or really affordable.

I consider a good investment of time learning how to use these tools because it will speed up our tests and validations.

Here is a list covering different areas and usual needs:

 

Mockups:

To create the screens and show them. It’s needed if we don’t have a product and to tell designers and programmers what we have in mind. It’s the first step before talking with designers or coders.

Web:

Creating a web is still today a challenge for many no techie entrepreneurs, but no technical skills are needed for a simple one.

  • Static: No server or hosting is needed. They are based on a template and you can simply edit them. They are perfect for basic info, contact data, in premium versions you can even create a simple e-commerce:
  • Landing pages: focused on showing specific information – text, video, photo – and get data from visitors (leads). These data can be connected with other services like MailChimp. Based on templates are easy to use. Usually, you need a premium version to use your own domain:
  • Dynamic: you can easily manage the contents and create information whenever you want.
    • WordPress: server and setup are needed. It’s based on templates form the design and look and feel. It was originally designed for blogs, but it’s possible to do anything by adding plugins. https://wordpress.com , Price: 0€-24,92€ per month. In the future you can use the version for your server https://en.wordpress.org/
    • Frontity: converts your WordPress into a mobile app. Startup from EOI Madrid Coworking. https://frontity.com/, Price: free
    • Drupal: it’s similar to WordPress but more complex. If you’re going to use any data it’s a real CMS with many options. https://www.drupal.org/, Price: free
    • Moodle: to create online courses. Similar to WordPress or Drupal, but for e-learning. It’s perfect to create an online course https://moodle.org, Price: free

E-commerce:

Many online businesses are a shop. There are many services to do it easily. Use the basic format is easy, personalize it could be more complicated.

Tools to interact with your customers:

Processes automatization: they allow you to automatize processes, connecting different web services. For example you can send an email when someone fills-in a form:

Emailing: an MVP can be a newsletter. And it’s always a good idea to contact to the leads you generate in the landing page:

  • MailChimp: great tool, easy to use and with many options to manage contacts, campaigns, and metrics: https://mailchimp.com/ 0€-10€-199€ per month
  • Acumbamail: Spanish version of MailChimp. It’s also very useful with similar options and probably better prices. https://acumbamail.com/ 0€-15€-250€ per month

Tech design:

Database structure design: a good tool to think about your data structure. (Not only for coders). Old users of Access will be familiar with it:

 

If you need more there is a very complete list of Prototyping Tools: https://www.cooper.com/prototyping-tools Very focused on mockups and design, great comparative between tools.

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