An exciting week to report as we are underway developing our next product.
As many of you know from following along, it’s been a weird 1-2 months because I’ve spent a lot of it exploring new opportunities.
In short, we’ve been looking for another visa to automate through Visto, and it took some time to pick the best opportunity for us.
One key takeaway that one of my advisors told me today: just because you aren’t building your next product, doesn’t mean you aren’t making progress.
I say this because I was starting to get a bit anxious while we were trying to figure out our next step. But what I didn’t realize or appreciate is that we weren’t just sitting there doing nothing – we were researching, learning, trying to decide what’s next.
And that takes time – at least it does if you want to make an educated decision.
Anyway, we’ve decided on the next Canadian visa we want to automate and spent a chunk of time this morning mapping it out. Something I hadn’t done much (at all?) as a solopreneur and until I got into tech.
By “mapping it out”, I mean what seems to be the first step of building a new tech product, outlining exactly what you want.
The features, steps, functionality, pages, etc.
It’s a pretty fun exercise to be honest, and takes a really interesting mix of creativity and expertise.
Quick caveat: I highly, highly recommend doing a decent amount of research and testing for demand before building any kind of tech. The number of stories I’ve heard – and experienced – of people building tech first, without doing any testing, then realizing nobody wants it, is a high number. So ideally start selling something or some service first, THEN build tech to automate it.
Okay, so down to business.
When we made the decision to build our next tool, Alex, our CTO (aka head techie), asked me to do a few things myself and together with him. Here they are in order (so far):
1) Map out the full process of what it is we’re looking to automate
In our case, it’s an immigration visa. So I had to map out the different steps, document requirements, etc.
2) Flesh out any key features
With the info from step 1, take a second look and think about the key features and capabilities our new tech is going to require. Things like the ability to login, to upload documents, storing info in databases, logic that the app has to do for the user, etc.
3) Map it all out
The first 2 steps were mostly me, then once Alex and I got on the same page about everything, he mapped it out as a sort of white-boarding exercise using a tool at miro.com. This took all of the info from a word doc and transformed it into a visual, outlining all of the key steps, features and requirements, in the way we are thinking of mapping it out for our users.
Now that we can see what we want to build from a step-by-step perspective, Alex started wire-framing – aka designing rough sketches of each of those pages/steps. We use a tool called Figma (figma.com) for that, which seems to be popular amongst designers.
From here, we will continue to get more granular in terms of how detailed the wireframes are, and once we’re happy with it, the devs will start coding!
Unfortunately I can’t give much detail on the coding part because that’s where my expertise ends, but I’ll keep you posted on how this all progresses and lessons I learn along the way.
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Have a great day and keep grinding.