In 2017, consumers downloaded 178.1 billion mobile apps to their connected devices. In 2022, this figure is projected to grow to 258.2 billion app downloads. With an expected 63.4% of internet users accessing web pages through their mobile devices in 2019, it’s no surprise that mobile applications are an extremely hot commodity right now. Businesses would be wise to take advantage of the opportunity.
That being said, the process of finding the right partner to develop a mobile app for your business is a very important undertaking. From design, development, and quality-assurance testing, to marketing and post-production support, the mobile app development process is a lengthy process that the owner needs to be heavily invested in.
There are many individuals and/or agencies that claim to “specialize” in developing mobile apps who will gladly take your money. But many of them are not necessarily very good at delivering the full range of deliverables and end results you should expect for your investment. It’s recommended that you do your due diligence and ask pertinent questions about the agency/individual, the process, the price, what happens after the app is launched, etc. With so much emphasis being placed on mobile apps for business (and entertainment), you need to know that you’re getting your money’s worth.
Selecting Your Mobile App Partner
When selecting a mobile app partner, one of the biggest challenges at the beginning is simply knowing how to choose the right app development company. There are so many options out there and they all have their “sales pitch” to get you. The key is not to rush. Take the time to find the right one that understands your project and empowers you to build a successful app together. Spending the effort upfront as you select your partner can save you a lot of headaches, time and money down the road.
The right mobile app partner can add value in more ways than just development of the app itself. A good mobile app development firm should be able to guide you through the entire process of development from concept to post-development. Additionally, they should be willing to give you creative input based on their experience with similar apps – what works and what may not. Let them tap into their experience working on other apps. Especially if you are a novice, you need to trust in them and their work. If the trust factor isn’t there, then they probably are not the right partner for you.
The Importance of the Word “Partner”
And that word is key … partner. Developing a mobile app is a true partnership. You provide your ideas and vision of what the product is and how it benefits your organization. And in turn, your mobile app developer should offer suggestions to bring that vision to life and even make your app even better for the customer or more likely to earn revenue. Don’t be afraid to delve deep in the interview stage and ask about the process as a whole.
Usually you can get a pretty good read on someone in the first few minutes of meeting them. Can you see yourself working with them for the long haul? Are they open to your idea or already shooting everything you say down? When working with any third-party company, from mobile app development to marketing to web design, communication is a critical component when creating something. Make sure your mobile app development partner has a good understanding of your needs and goals and you work together to achieve them.
6 Traits to Look for in Your Mobile App Partner
It’s easy to become overwhelmed when choosing a mobile app development partner. Focus on the goals of your business and what you want your partner to help you do. The mobile app developer has your vision in his/her hands. Choose wisely.
As you begin your search for the right mobile app development partner, here are six traits to look for as you get underway:
Experience should be a given right at the beginning of this process. You want to look for an experienced agency (or a recommended and well-vetted individual) with a strong portfolio of mobile applications. No matter if you are going with a firm or individual, be sure that they have the capability to build your application from start to finish, as well as a guarantee of post-production support.
Your prospective partner should be willing to show you apps they’ve already built and talk you through ones that may be relevant to what you want created. Seeing what they’ve produced previously is one of the best ways to tell if you’ll get a good return on your investment. You might even consider downloading their apps and see how they work. Is it easy to use? Does the design make sense? Do you like how it looks?
It is important to ensure the company you select is able to build the actual features and functionality that you want into your app – and that’s why seeing and even interacting with their previous work is so important. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the owners of apps built by a company you are considering. Ask them what it was like to work with the company. Did the company produce the expected result? Was it completed on time and budget? Did they offer something to the project that was incredibly helpful?
It’s important to know upfront the platform you want to develop your app for. If you want to develop your app for multiple platforms, be clear about this at the start and choose a company that can effectively accommodate this. When starting any project, you need to think about the customers who will use your product. To make your app work, you must know traits like who your target audience is, where these people live, what income they have, and what platform they prefer.
One way to do this is to hire a company that is well versed in cross-platform apps. Whether you are developing for Android or iOS, you should rely on a company who has a deep understanding of the guidelines for each of these platforms. Make sure you talk to the team about their skill set with these operating systems. It’s helpful to know if the team has specific credentials or certifications. Certain features like hardware, compatibility, interface, and approvals are integral in determining which interface is the right one for the application. For instance, a developer with a Linux, Windows or Mac computer can build an Android app. But developing an iOS app requires your developer to have a Mac.
Transparency in all aspects of the development process is highly important. Do not go with a company that will tell you exactly what you want to hear just to win your bid. Keep in mind that if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
Find out how the agency operates in the most critical time, which is when they’re working on your app. How long did the agency’s latest project take? Did they encounter any unexpected problems and what did they do to solve them? Ask about the estimated project timeline and how they can meet (or even beat) your expected timeline for a deliverable and launch.
With the rise in the development of mobile applications, there is a good chance that agencies/individuals could be working on multiple projects at a time. It’s not a bad thing to ask if they are able to fit your project into their scope of work. Find out how many team members will be working on your app. What the timeline is from start to finish and how the process works after launch. The more information you have at the start, the more informed decision you can make on if this is the right partner for you.
Communication is one of the most important aspects of the mobile app development process. One lapse in communication could be detrimental to the entire project. Find a partner that has a dedicated project manager to handle any and all of your needs. You don’t want to be wasting your time going from person to person and trying to track someone down who can tell you what’s happening with your app. Building a relationship with one key contact as your go to makes the process much more efficient for everyone.
Ask about their level of communication and how they work with clients. How often do you need to communicate? What are the methods of communication prior to starting a project/during the process? Do they provide updates daily, weekly? A good company will update you at every stage of the development process to make sure progress is meeting your expectations.
Effective communication between clients and developers plays an integral role in the success of a project. In that first meeting, can you gauge if they have a genuine interest in your business or project idea. If the communication is lacking right from the start, then it might be an indication of how they will perform during development. Choose a company you can easily communicate and build a collaborative relationship with.
Onshore vs Offshore
One question to ask is if your mobile app developer of choice is turning more towards proven onshore teams for their custom software solutions and application development rather than outsourcing overseas for cheaper alternatives.
Offshore development is relatively inexpensive compared to onshore development, but often times you sacrifice quality for cost. While outsourcing software solutions and application development is perceived to be more cost-effective, the potential savings come with quite a bit of risk. Those risks include hidden costs, lack of control, communication issues, and a risk of exposing confidential data.
The “onshore” model is the traditional way of doing. Aside from better quality, an onshore team also offers:
- Reliability and clear communication between all parties.
- The ability to hand off projects at any stage or provide continuous support at measurable standards so businesses can rely on the process and not have to gamble on the people.
- Onshore team members can be trained by the company to enhance their professional abilities and improve their working capacity in accordance with company policies and procedures.
While it’s easier said than done, don’t let price drive you. Sometimes the saying is true – you get what you pay for. When it comes to mobile app development it is important you get a great product, not the cheapest product.
It’s important to have a clear and flexible budget for your project before agreeing on any pricing terms – and be sure to discuss it in the initial stages. That may limit what you can feasibly do with certain agencies. Ask how they figure out their pricing. And be sure you are aware of any extra costs that may occur during the development process. No one likes surprises. Especially ones that end up costing you more money.
The competition among mobile app developers to get your business can be fierce. If they are over-promising to secure your business and offering too good to be true pricing, then you might want to take a step back.
Developing a Mobile App With Code Authority – A Client’s Perspective
Code Authority was selected by PassTime GPS, a leader in the global transportation industry, to develop a native mobile app on both Android and iOS ecosystems in order to optimize functionality while taking advantage of the same database across both platforms. Todd Goodnight, Executive Vice President of Product Management at PassTime GPS details his experience working with the Code Authority team on finding the right partner for their mobile app and what that relationship looks like today:
“PassTime had outgrown the boutique developer that had been working with us. Because our development needs are project-based and therefore not constant, we needed a partner that could scale with our design cycles and also offer a broad in-house mastery across all smartphone platforms for rapid development and deployment.
When I began looking for additional resources on a project that was lagging, I was referred to Code Authority. After my first in-person meeting and assessment of the team, I knew we were on the right track. Our project was completed on-time, within budget and with a quality app. We knew we had found a partner for all our future app development needs.
We are currently working on the development of our second project with Code Authority and could not be happier with the progress. From the development team all the way up through the leadership, we are very pleased with how our needs are received and continue to be supported.”
Code Authority doesn’t view a mobile application project as a business transaction. We view it as a partnership. With over 18 years of experience and a dedicated team of 100% onshore and in-house developers, we are ready and committed to deliver you the highest quality when it comes to mobile application products. For free and transparent pricing, contact us today.