Maybe you have a great idea for a stand-alone app, or that you’ve decided your existing business could use one. Either way, there’s a big difference between having an idea and seeing it through, especially when it comes to mobile apps.
App development is not a simple process. A successful app must perform a useful function, boast appealing design features, and be easy for users to navigate. Understanding these goals is easy; achieving them is not.
If you don’t have much experience in technical design, it’s often smart to outsource your app development project to a web design firm. While you could hire people on a full-time basis, this poses a significant risk: You can’t be completely certain that your app will excite users. If it fails, you’ll be stuck with a department that’s of little use to you, and will cost significant money.
Better to collaborate with professionals who have a track record of delivering quality products to their clients. However, in order to find the right web design firm for your needs--and to ensure that you meet your goals--it’s important to keep certain, key points in mind.
When you’re enthusiastic about a new app idea, it’s easy to forget that not everyone will share your vision exactly how you imagine it. You may have detailed plans for how the finished product will look and what it will do, but if you don’t effectively communicate those details to the people actually involved in creating it, there’s a good chance that you’ll wind up with something that misses the mark.
Before meeting with a web design agency, prepare thoroughly. Determine exactly what your app will offer users. If it resembles other popular apps, elaborate on the similarities and how you plan on differentiating.
When you plan to outsource your app development needs, it’s essential that your goals are made clear to the developers. You should also decide whether or not you want the app to be available on iOS, Android, Windows, etc. early on in the process, so you’re not stuck with a team that can’t accommodate your plans.
With the app market as highly competitive as it is currently, it is best to have your app function across multiple platforms. Try to source a development team that has expertise across more than just iOS, and have them show you how each platform will perform to meet your goals.
Establish Timelines & Communication Procedures
If you don’t know much about developing an app, you probably don’t know how long the process generally takes. Save yourself any confusion be establishing milestones and timelines with the team you hire for the job.
Agree upon communication procedures. Even though you won’t be actively working on the project, it’s still yours, and you should be kept in the loop. Know when and how you can reach out to the vendor for updates.
Using a collaborative, organization software can come in handy here or virtual communication methods (e.g. Skype). Whatever the method you choose, make sure it’s easy for you to communicate with each team member throughout the process, and be able to keep track of development goals.
When you outsource your app development work to a web design firm, you’re most likely not going to participate on a day-to-day basis. That said, along with project milestone timelines, you should put in place timelines for reviewing and testing the product at various stages in its development. This is necessary to confirm that certain key features work properly before moving forward to the next stage in the process.
During these review sessions, you should be involved, especially as the developers get closer to finishing the work. Sometimes, a potentially groundbreaking app fails because issues or problems got overlooked due to lax review processes. You want the opportunity to address these types of issues early.
Just as you may not know a lot about app development, it’s also likely that the team you hire doesn’t know a lot about your business. However, if they’re developing an app related to your brand, it’s important that they have a reasonable familiarity with it.
When considering which design agency to hire, pay attention to how clearly they seem to understand your industry. There are a number of ways to do this: You could seek out development teams that have created similar apps before. You can deliver a thorough presentation explaining the field in as much detail as possible. Or you could simply pay attention to the questions they ask when discussing your project; if they’re truly comfortable with your industry, they’ll often ask the types of questions people in that vertical would ask.
Review Previous Work
When you hire a contractor to paint your house or remodel your kitchen, you look at examples of past work to determine if they’re right for the job. It’s the same with app development.
After you’ve decided upon a list of potential candidates for the project, find out what apps they’ve created in the past and spend some time using them. Ideally, you should find apps that are reasonable similar to the one you’re planning.
Many vendors can tell a good story about their experienced programmers and dedicated approach to customer satisfaction. The ones worth your attention can also supply you with proof that they’ve delivered quality results in the past.
A good place to start are the case studies listed on a developer’s website or profile. Delve into these to really gauge what they’re capable of, and how their past experience can apply to you.
This is an especially important point to remember if you have very little experience or familiarity with the process of developing an app. In order to confirm that your design team understands your thinking and knows how to execute on a concept, it’s useful to test out other apps they’ve developed. This will give you a better idea of how their products work when they’re actually completed.
Outsourcing app development to a software design firm is frequently a better choice than sourcing in-house. In order to get the best results, you need to take the time to properly vet the developers.
Once you have, you also need to remain involved to some degree. While they’ll handle the details, you’re still the one whose vision fueled the project in the first place. With a collaborative approach, you’ll boost your odds of success.