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, code writing and QA, you may need a bit of help!
But trawling through google trying to find the perfect mobile app development company can be time-consuming and, let’s face it, a tad boring. Perhaps there’s the temptation to throw in the towel and abandon your idea altogether. But if you’ve got something good, it’s worth sticking with. We’ve seen entrepreneurs go from zero to hero, and it looks fun.
Mobile App Agency or Freelancers?
In comparison to freelancers, app development agencies bring a depth of multi-disciplinary experience to your project. The combination of specialism and size may ensure the company is in a better position to deliver a larger scale project, however if it’s something simple like a logo design, hiring a freelancer could be more cost effective.
Our team have put together a failsafe guide to hiring a mobile app development company. Regardless of the size of your project, these top tips will help you to hire the right team for you, ensuring your product gets the best possible start in life.
Tip 1: Ask Around
A number of our own clients come to us via referrals. Start ups often overlook the size of their network, and there is no better way to find the right app development company for you than through word of mouth.
Immerse yourself in the world of tech by attending some start up events – for those of you who are London based Tech.London is a great place to start. Network with other entrepreneurs and discuss their experiences have been with different companies. Even if they don’t have experience with mobile app developers specifically, they are bound to have some useful insights.
Tip 2: Show Them You Mean Business
Not only do you have to make sure that the app developers 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.
So, we recommend spending some time preparing for your initial meeting with answers to any questions you think that you might be asked. Bring with you a list of apps you enjoy using with the reasons why in order to help the team get a sense of what you are like, as well as designs you love. We tend to know what apps we enjoy using, but working out why is a different matter. Is it the ease of use? The colour scheme? It’s worth putting some thought into these in order to make the kick off meeting as efficient and effective as possible.
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 allows the design and development team to see that you have actually taken time to think through your idea.
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 development team, ensure no stone is left unturned and the development process will run a lot more smoothly.
Tip 3: Look At Their Previous Work
It goes without saying that you should never sign an app development contract 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 (or maybe it’s only us who think that).
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 have great designs with excellent user interfaces. Pay attention to the small features, such as how neatly text fits into boxes and whether the buttons line up. 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.
If possible, check client references. Look for app developers who can give you details of their previous clients. Ask these clients about the company’s ability to work to a deadline, overall value for money, general feedback and their willingness to recommend.
Tip 4: Cover All Bases
Never sign anything until you know exactly what services you will be paying for. Some app development companies will only develop, others will only design and some will do it all, from brand identity to QA testing.
Most clients find they want the same development company working on all aspects of the project. It ensures the team really get to know the brand, the design and the target market and would be in a better position to offer help with post-launch marketing if required.
Tip 5: Be Specific
The importance of being specific cannot be overemphasised. 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, even bringing up potential problems your project may face before they arise.
When presented with a business requirement 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.
Tip 6: 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.
While 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.
Tip 6: Consider A Local Agency
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 chat about how our day is going.
All to often, feedback and comments can get lost in a 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 something will get misinterpreted.
Tip 7: Listen To Feedback
Your developers are friends, not foes. In an ideal world, the development team 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 most fitting colour scheme 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.
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.
Chances are, they know better than anyone what works best and will want your app to succeed as much as you do.
Tip 8: Have A Post-Launch Plan
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 your 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.
Be sure to discuss maintenance and updates at the beginning of the process. Then, once the app is signed off and launched, get to work on making it even better. Having a maintenance plan in place at the start of the project means no one is caught off guard.
If you’ve dreamed up the perfect product and want to get cracking, contact our app development team today.