You’ve considered the business case for developing a mobile app and decided on a unique offering for your employees or customers. The next step is partnering with a professional or company that can bring your vision to life. Choosing the wrong firm can lead to delays, unnecessary costs and even long-term dissatisfaction with the mobile app product. Taking time to ensure you’re selecting the best mobile app development vendor for you can help mitigate those risks.
Start with the following 11 questions when considering a technology partner for your next mobile app dev project.
1. Should You Go Freelance or Agency?
This is an important first question because it determines which types of partners you look at and steers how you evaluate potential partners. A freelancer is a professional app developer who works on their own and provides consulting or contract services. An agency is a business that offers app dev and design services.
If your project is small or turnkey, you might be able to find a freelancer who can handle most of it. However, when you rely on one person for your app development, you’re limited to their personal skill sets. You also increase the chances of missed deadlines because if something happens to that one person or they come up short, you don’t have anyone else to turn to.
Agencies or mobile development vendors, however, are typically staffed by multiple professionals or teams. That ensures a wider range of resources and increases the likelihood of completing your project on time.
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2. What Does Their Portfolio Tell You?
You must be sure that your prospective mobile app partner has the right experience with a strong business portfolio. Most mobile app development vendors will have a document listing their past work.
The initial step is to ask for the mobile apps that they have developed so far. Download some of them to verify their functionality, usability, reviews, and ratings. Ask them to present a walkthrough of how they built the app. Investigate whether the prospect has expertise in the platforms that you wish to support, be it iOS or Android.
Look at the previous work performed by contenders. You aren’t simply concerned that they have successfully completed mobile app dev projects in the past. Look for evidence that they’ve done work in your niche or successfully developed similar apps. After all, the requirements for a basic mobile game are very different from the requirements for a health care records app, and it pays to work with a dev team that already understands your niche.
Consider asking for:
- A list of previous clients and apps developed so you can see the company’s work for yourself
- Reference lists so you can speak to previous clients to find out whether they were happy working with the development company
- Lists of resources and skills the company can draw on so you know what types of development the teams are capable of
3. What Platforms Do They Develop For?
We mentioned this briefly in our portfolio discussion, but it’s essential enough to consider on its own. If you’re looking for someone to develop an iOS app, a vendor that works solely with Android app development won’t be helpful. Ensuring the potential tech partner supports the platforms you want to use should be a first step in the process of paring down your options. It’s not as simple as sending an app to the iOS store versus the Android store. All of these types must be coded in different languages, to start, so they require diverse skills.
You may also want to ask if the vendor supports cross-platform app development. If you plan to launch your mobile app on multiple operating systems or platforms, this can save you time and money in the long run.
4. What Does the Company’s Development Process Look Like?
A successful mobile app is a result of an excellent mobile app development strategy.
The right mobile app developer should be prepared to:
- Identify the issue that the app will solve
- Check on platforms and devices/tools to assist
- Maintain UI/UX of the application
- Chalk out methods to develop a native or hybrid app
- Convert your ideas into a prototype
- Incorporate appropriate analytics
- Beta test the app to know the persona and evaluate the user experience
- Ensure integrity while deploying the app
- Capture metrics to understand user behavior
Make sure that they have documents that list out the process of end-to-end submission and well as quality control. Also, ensure the course of action to take in case of any unprecedented delays.
5. Do They Prioritize User Experience?
A good design is all about the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). Both play essential roles in the success of mobile apps, by making the features of the app accessible and meeting user expectations. If your app lacks in design and UX, you may lose users and popularity, meaning it’s often a make-or-break factor.
Look for app development vendors that offer you an app design mockup at the time of the proposal. It will not only help you in assessing their expertise but also help you gauge how well they understand your idea or project. You can also ask them to provide you with a list of apps they have already developed (or are currently developing) to get a sense for their approach to UI and UX.
6. What Are the Company’s Data Security Standards?
As per Varonis’ 2019 Global Data Risk Report, 53% of companies have faced unprotected data and poor cybersecurity practices in the past. This results in privacy violations, system information leaks, insecure storage, and unstable deployment. It can negatively affect your mobile app’s lifespan. Therefore, choosing vendors that build mobile apps with secure code is a crucial step in the app development process.
Though several organizations claim to provide a secure app development process, you need to ensure that the one you hire, understands the value of your data, and takes measures to secure it. You’ll also want to be sure that they offer a multi-layered security solution to secure your data from major mobile app threats such as Malware programs, insecure data storage, SMS-based attacks, insufficient cryptography, user and device authentication, etc.
7. What Timeline Can Your Development Partner Support?
After narrowing down your options to mobile development vendors that have the right experience and support the right platforms, it’s time to talk about time and money budgets.
You’ll need to outline your needs and expectations for the mobile app so the vendor can give you accurate estimates, so ensure you have that mapped out before you get to this step. You don’t have to know the how of developing the mobile app. You just need to know:
- Why you need the app
- When you might need the app, if there’s a specific deadline
- What you want the app to do
- How you want to deliver the app to people or what platforms you want to use
- Who your target audience is
Most mobile developers can use that information to provide a fairly accurate timeline for development. Obviously, whether a company can meet your timeline needs helps you decide which vendor to work with.
8. What is the Pricing Structure?
While you’re discussing timelines, make sure to get the details on pricing structures. All the information you provided to help determine the timeline plays a role in pricing too.
The cost of building a mobile app can range from hundreds or thousands to tens of thousands of dollars. So, you definitely want to get this step right during consideration.
A mobile app development vendor may not be able to give you a 100% accurate quote during the consideration stage, particularly because the work requirements might change as you start digging into the project. However, you should ensure you’re getting:
- As solid an estimate as possible based on the requirements you can provide
- A detailed understanding of fee structures so you know what expenses you might incur during the project
- An understanding of how the vendor communicates pricing changes — you want to work with someone who communicates well throughout the process and doesn’t surprise you with a larger-than-expected bill at the end
9. How Do They Interact and Partner with Clients?
A mobile app development vendor could check your boxes for all of the above categories and still not be the right fit for your business if they don’t provide the type of support and communication that works for you. There’s no right or wrong answer, either; take time to consider what you’re comfortable with and what your business needs.
For example, do you want regular check-ins on the progress of your mobile app? Do you have internal IT team members who need to work alongside the development partner to ensure the app integrates with existing software? Or do you want to be more hands-off and only hear from the mobile app vendor if there’s a speed bump to attend to?
You might also consider the overall communication processes. Does the dev team use a project management software you’ll be able to access or will they use yours for convenience? Can you create a Slack channel so questions can be asked and answered easily in real time? These are just a few communication choices you might want to discuss with potential vendors.
10. What Legal Protections Do They Provide?
It is important to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) or a written contract for copyright assignment. It is a legal document that declares your ownership of the app, its content, and the source code. You cannot manage to avoid this step, particularly, if your application holds customized features or business IP.
Signing an agreement will not only guarantee that your app idea is safe but will also allow you to take legal action against the prospective vendor if they disclose your app idea in the market. If the mobile app development company you’re considering working with is uncomfortable or unfamiliar with this step, consider it a red flag.
11. What Type of Support Do You Get After Initial Development?
Finally, ask about support after development is completed. For example, if you’re creating a mobile app for use in the Android or iOS stores, does the vendor help you get it listed and optimized to ensure people can find it? Will the vendor provide troubleshooting during integration and implementation processes? How much will you pay if you want to make changes to the app in the future?
Net Solutions is a full-service technical partner that provides web and mobile app development. Our teams can develop mobile apps for multiple platforms and provide ongoing support as you test, launch and implement the app. For more information about how we can help you bring your mobile app vision to life, contact us today.
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