“Build something that can be scaled in different verticals but stick to the original purpose of the App.” Pratiroop Mehta, Director of Product Management at Travel Triangle

It is sometimes assumed by aspiring entrepreneurs that the process of making a product is as simple as the following three steps:

  • Developing a product on a unique and new idea.
  • Getting Feedback from all acquired customers.
  • Continuous refinement based on the feedback.

But the truth is no matter how simple and effective this method may seem right now you will be shocked to see just how much more complex the process actually is to make any great idea stand on its feet.

To figure out Product Development from the right perspective we got hold of Pratiroop Mehta and Sahil Pruthi from TravelTriangle a holiday booking Application which boasts of 100,000+ downloads and 600+ travel agents under their umbrella for 60+ destinations around the world.

Here is a snapshot of what was discussed:

What is a systematic approach to product development?

First of all be very clear about:

  • What it does specifically,
  • Its Universal Selling Points and
  • How it does the job better for the end user than existing options.

The Sketch Phase

In the beginning try to be as low-tech as possible by making pen and paper sketches or high fidelity wire-frames with web tools like Invision, Marvel or even Balsamiq simply because its easy to make major changes to something simple rather than to a fully fledged prototype.

Always have multiple iterations having contrasting features based on the feed back you will receive from friends. Keep repeating this process till you are confident that one of these versions satisfies the most of them.

The Minimum Viable Product

Make an MVP a.k.a working prototype and get valuable feedback from Google Analytics, GT Analytics, Mixpanel and a larger audience via A/B Testing. Use of surveys and direct calls are very effective in getting personal feedback.

If users are still asking for major feature changes or User Interface changes or the analytics show that the App takes way too long to load or something similar it means the sketch phase was not successful. Also if you try to make amends after the final launch then it may annoy the existing customers who are already accustomed to one type of experience.

Product Developer — The Hawk Eye view above all departments

“Think for the solution by putting yourself into the user’s shoes as well as in the developer’s.” Sahil Pruthi, Product Manager at Travel Triangle

The role of a Product Developer is variable as he takes a seat between all the departments working on the product like Marketing, Design, Front-End Development, Back-End Development, Operational etc so that he is the one who has a combined knowledge of all work going on in all the divisions which will help him in deciding the right track to move the product forward. Programming knowledge is not necessary but it does come in handy while discussing things with the tech team. Also he is the bridge between customers and the developer/tech team.

Unless you have the right set of experienced eyes to filter value out of data it can be misleading.

The years of experience is also not fixed because it depends on how quickly a person picks up skills and knowledge on how to direct a product through the different phases.

Travel Triangle — The Secret

“Its not about planning the destination or the hotel but about planning the whole holiday.” Pratiroop Mehta

The application should not be focused on giving the user a variety of options rather the user should be allowed to ask for a specific thing as most of the users open an app with that mindset. Now as you know what the user expects from the app it should provide not the product or the service rather an experience that will leave him awestruck. We let the user drive the flow of the app. This enhances the user’s experience because he doesn’t need to worry about anything. Metaphorically its like watching a movie where you take a back seat on the planning phase and just enjoy the show.

Ask the user how much intervention does he need

Valuable Questions from the Audience

Q- How to utilize notifications efficiently? How many notifications are neither too much not too little?

Ans- Notifications are of two types:

  • Mechanical Push Notifications

Mechanical notifications can be used by the marketing team to bring the user’s attention to new product launches, seasonal discounts etc.

  • Behavioral Push Notifications

Behavioral Notifications are triggered by the user’s history and actions. For Example if a user puts a product in the cart on the Amazon app but doesn’t check out a simple reminder notification can be sent to bring back the user’s attention to complete the transaction. This transaction also can be used to refer similar products to the same user.

The sweet spot of notifications!

Inferring from above the answer depends on the type of your application. If your app is related to news like inShorts then maybe 10 notifications a day would also not bother the user as the app requires the user’s retention for as along as possible but if its a travel planning app like ours then we can not afford to push too many because its the user that decides when to go for a holiday and not us and we want the user to decide quickly to go for a vacation.

Q- Which approach is better from the following: An app that does a variety of things or only one thing exceptionally.

A- Lets look at this question from Whatsapp and Evernote’s example. Whatsapp does only one thing that is messaging and by now people know that it will remain the same for the foreseeable future and they are happy with it as they use it for only that purpose. Where as Evernote does more than just taking notes. The advantage Evernote has by being more than just a simple note app is that it increases the amount of users that use the app as the reasons given to the user to open the app are many.

All in all we had fun time learning a lot! We cant think of a better way to enjoy a Sunday evening!

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  1. Android Design Library — 2nd July 2016
  2. Parse Workshop — 10th July 2016

Written by Nitin Joseph

Team HelloMeets Signing Off! :)