Minimum Viable Product is an essential part of of the Lean Startup and Customer Development methodologies. According to Eric Ries "the Minimum Viable Product is that product which has just those features (and no more) that allows you to ship a product that resonates with early adopters; some of whom will pay you money or give you feedback."
With the raise of cloud computing and SaaS, the website often makes the product itself. Nevertheless, commoditization of Amazon-ish hosing services, search marketing, free and open source software such as the LAMP stack and publishing systems like WordPress - allows startups to build and market their products at a lower cost. This is a simple overview of - cut to the chase - minimum viable WordPress themes.
1. Optimize by WooThemes is a product and feature-centric theme that emphasizes a clear value statement and sense of call to action.
2.iPhone App theme by Templatic. The name speaks for itself. The theme is designed for, but not limited to marketing of iPhone apps. The call to action button is nicely positioned in the mid of the screen. Although the blue area/the header is static, I'm sure that this can be changed with ease.
3. Feature Pitch by WooThemes is an out of the box theme suitable for marketing that one compelling product of yours. Also take a notice of that lighting orange tab at the upper right. Good thinking.
4. eBook theme by Templatic. Although the name implies a focus on eBooks, its message can easily be changed to work for any product. It comes with widgets for testimonials and newsletter sign-up right out of the box.
5. Coffee Break by WooThemes has unlike the others put the call to action buttons at the leftmost side. It is clean and clearly built with usability in mind. The slider can easily be disabled.
6. iProduct Theme by Templatic. Yes it is a product-centric theme. Its layout differs from the others as its download buttons are centered underneath the product image. iProduct comes with a pricing plan module, as well as a testimonials and customer service widget by default.
7. Eminent is a simple company-product hybrid. It provides call to action along with Twitter aggregation and client list features.
8. Ignite is one dead simple theme. It is primarily a landing page, but it might make a good basis for starting the design of a minimum viable product site.
9. GetBusiness is a Web2.0-style theme more focused on company profiling. However, with slight modifications it would work as well as a minimum viable product theme. The call to action button and value proposition is at the heart of the front page.
The themes have in common the emphasis on minimum viable product techniques. Their design is built around the product rather than the other way around. There is a clear slogan and value proposition, as well as product feature listings. Call to action buttons, along with testimonials and customer service widgets are at the center of the templates. Perhaps the most important, the minimum viable theme should organize for customer feedback and simple testing of ideas.
You may have noticed that WooThemes and Templatic themes dominate the list. I believe that this is not by accident. If you have a look at their respective sites, you'll see that they make good examples of how to design a compelling reason to buy.
If you like this post you may also enjoy Business Model Press, a WordPress Plugin for Lean Startups.