In this edition of our App Development 101 series, Appiction CEO Spencer Forrest touches on some key points to keep in mind when choosing an app developer.
Choosing an app developer can be a daunting task, particularly for those with no tech or design background, but preparation can make the process less intimidating. Many times appreneurs and companies will find they get wildly different quotes depending on which company they visit and whether they are domestic or outsourced to places like India or the Ukraine. For app development it's particularly important to choose a reliable developer with the possibility of a long-term relationship since the operating system and hardware updates of smartphones will likely require your app to have future changes to continue to be supported. So if you find yourself presented with a handful of companies who all seem equally equipped to design your app but are presenting you with prices ranging from $5,000 to $50,000, here are some way to begin sorting the wheat from the chaff.
•Start by simply looking at the other work they have done, actually download a few of each companies' apps and play around with them to see how intuitive they are and if they are well designed and free of bugs.
•Ask the developers who will retain ownership of the code, ideally this should be you. In case your relationship with your developer does go sour, you will want to be able to take your code elsewhere.
•Find out how experienced the company is. Because app development is a young space you run the risk of having young developers who are using your app as a learning project.
•Ask if the company outsources and if so how much and to where. Some domestic companies directly turn around and have projects developed overseas and pocket the price difference, often at the cost of your app being shoddily developed. Not all outsourcing is negative and many development companies do it for easy but time heavy elements. Just find out what elements of you project will be done in-house and which will be outsourced and find out how they manage their outsourcing companies and some examples of their work.
•If you are going with a full-service company, make sure your developers are as experienced with design as they are development. The two elements go hand-in-hand.
•Find out how your development company handles pricing, generally companies run either on a flat rate or by time and materials. If you are being charged for time and materials, find out how the projects will be managed and reported back to you.
•If you think you might want your app on multiple platforms, find out if the developer is able to do this or if you will have to travel to another company when you're ready to expand to other types of devices.