Mobile App Developers: How To Choose The Perfect Team

by borne . July 19, 2016

Alas, mobile app development is not always smooth sailing.  There’s only so much you and your brand new Macbook Pro can do, and unless you are highly skilled in market research, mobile app design, writing code and QA, you might need a bit of help.

Choosing a mobile app development company can be time-consuming and costly. At times you may want to throw in the towel and abandon the concept altogether. But, if you’ve got a great idea, it’s worth sticking with it. We’ve seen start ups go form zero to hero, and it looks fun.

In comparison to freelancers, mobile app development companies bring a depth of multi-disciplinary experience. The combination of specialism and size ensures the company is in a better position to deliver a large scale project…on time.

Mobile app developers will have specialist best-practices, whereas a freelancer may lack the resources and time to conduct complex and time consuming user test studies.

Anyway, we’re not here to put down freelancers. Our team have put together the ultimate guide to hiring a mobile app development company. Remember, if you put in the time, you will be rewarded with a high-quality app and maybe even some new friends.

Ask around

At Borne Digital, a number of our clients come to us via referrals. Start ups often overlook the size of their network, and there is no better way to find the best mobile app developers than through word of mouth.

Immerse yourself in the world of app development by attending some start up events (have a look at our best events for tech start ups). Meet other entrepreneurs and find our what their experiences have been with different companies. As opposed to trawling through Google’s thousands of search results, talk to your contacts. Even if they don’t have experience with mobile app developers specifically, they are still bound to have some useful insights.

Suitability works both ways

Not only do you have to make sure that the app development company are the right people to take on your project, you also have to be a good fit for them. At Borne, we only take on projects which we can see the client is passionate about, and only if they have a well thought out plan for the future. We encourage our clients to think of us as partners and work with us on a one-to-one basis. Let’s just say, if we met our clients at the pub on a Friday night, it wouldn’t be awkward.

Spend some time preparing for your initial meeting with answers to any questions you think might be asked. Bring with you a list of apps you enjoy using with reasons why, as well as designs you love. We all have a soft spot for Candy Crush and Tinder, but now it’s time to ascertain why.  

Arrive at the meeting with a clear description of what your app is going to be, how it will benefit the user, and a list of features the app must have. Arriving prepared lets the design and development team see that you have actually taken time to think through your idea properly and haven’t decided create an app after seeing off six tequila shots and announcing to everyone in the pub that your actual job sucks.

If the developers can see you are serious, they are far more likely to take on your project. Take the time to go through everything with your potential developer, ensure no stone is left unturned and the development process will run a lot more smoothly.

Take a look at previous work

It goes without saying that you should never hire mobile app developer without seeing examples of the work they have already produced.  You wouldn’t invest money in a house you haven’t seen, and with app development the stakes are far higher (well, we think so).

A good mobile app development company should have excellent UI/UX skills, but don’t just take their word for it. It’s worth downloading some of their apps to see how they actually work, as opposed to just nodding along to a selection of screenshots.

The apps should be beautifully designed with excellent user interfaces. Pay attention to the little features such as how neatly text fits into boxes and whether the buttons line up neatly. Is the app easy to use? The tone consistent? It’s all in the detail. Little inconsistencies can ruin the whole feel of your app and then no one wins.

If possible, check client references. Seek out app developers who can give you details of their previous clients. Ask clients about the developer’s ability to work to a deadline, overall value for money, general feedback and their willingness to recommend.

Be sure on what they offer

Never sign anything until you know exactly what services the company provides.  Some app development companies will only develop, others only design and some will do all the works, from brand identity to QA testing.

Most clients find they want the same development team working on all aspects of the project. It ensures they really get to know the brand, the design and the target market.

Be specific

The importance of being specific cannot be overemphasized. Without a clear understanding of the direction you want to take your project, there is very little your mobile app developers can do.

A good development company will listen intently to your project pitch, take notes and ask insightful questions.

When presented with the BRD (business requirements document), ensure you go through it thoroughly, line by line, before signing anything. This is no iTunes terms and conditions, a BRD is serious stuff and deserves your time. The more specific you are at the initial stages the better, as it means less changes will have to be made (which will cost you time and money) further down the line.

Be realistic 

App development doesn’t come cheap. It’s a huge investment which is why it’s so important to ensure you choose the right company. It is important however, not to be driven solely by price. Selecting a mobile app development company because they offer you the best price is not a good idea, and you may find that they cut corners further down the line.

Whilst budgeting is highly important, cheaper options can end up costing more in the future. Don’t get ripped off, but don’t be a cheapskate either.

Choose someone local

Although not completely necessary, choosing a development company local to you can make designing and developing your project a hell of a lot easier. We regularly have clients come in to see us, sometimes to talk about the app, sometimes just for a decent cup of coffee and a natter about how our day is going.

All to often, feedback and comments can get lost in the stream of emails, making everyone’s lives more difficult. Plus, you can never really determine anyone’s true feelings via email, and there’s always a chance that someone will throw in the most ineffectual word in the English language, ‘nice’.

Listen to feedback

App developers are friends, not foes. Your developer should give you feedback wherever possible, and it’s important that even if you don’t agree, you still take what they say onboard. Although you may disagree on certain aspects of the project and they will do their best to accommodate your preferences, remember that if you’ve hired the right app developers, they will have experience in creating successful apps. They will know the current trends in the App Store, the sorts of design that works and right colour schemes for your brand. In fact, if your mobile app developers are quiet and repeatedly accommodating throughout your project, that’s when you should worry. No one’s idea is that good.

At Borne Digital we pride ourselves on giving constructive feedback to our clients, guiding them wherever possible into making the best decisions for their project. If you have a large team of app developers, ensure they give feedback on your idea and listen to what they have to say. Actually listen, no absent-minded nodding.

Chances are, they know better than anyone what works best and will want your app to succeed as much as you do.

There is no such thing as finished software

The blood, sweat and tears have paid off and now hooray, the app is finished! Although…it’s not finished.  It’s far from finished.

Your app is never actually ‘finished’ and ensure the developers know this. There is always more to be done, whether it’s fixing bugs, developing new features for users or starting work on version two.

Ensure you discuss maintenance and updates at the beginning of the process. Then, once the app is signed off and launched, have a wild night out to celebrate (we’re fun) and get back to work on making it even better.

If you’ve dreamed up the perfect product and want to get cracking, contact our app development team today.