Mobile apps have become an integral part of human lives – from reading digital newspapers to live music streaming, from online shopping to getting the latest weather reports. The list is endless.
Companies are also pushing sales and marketing through mobile apps knowing full well that their existing and potential customers browse online for similar products and services before coming to a purchase decision. And for any organization, regardless of whether it is a start-up or a Fortune 500 company, without a highly optimized mobile app, there will be a host of lost business opportunities.
Given that you surely need a mobile app for your business, the next point is how you go about designing and developing one. There are a lot of options open before you ranging from having it done in-house, contracting an experienced mobile app development agency or even hiring a freelancer to create a mobile app.
However, if you do decide to outsource the work to an agency or a freelance mobile app developer – the spadework to be done for both is about the same – what is the process that you should go through. Remember you are investing massive resources into structuring a mobile app and hence should be cautious from the start. When you are careful during the initial selection process for a mobile app developer, you will have less to worry about the quality of the app in future.
Here is a guide to hiring a mobile app developer in 2019.
Do your homework well
Mobile app development is a multi-dimensional task, and there are a lot of things to consider before designing one. The more complex the app, the higher should be the level of skill sets and experience of the developer you hire. An app with high-end feature-rich ones like push-notifications or multiple screens or secured payment gateways will need the services of a real pro to be designed and developed.
Further, the level of complexity also determines the time to be taken to go through the full app development cycle. For example, a simple app takes about 2 months while the complex ones need between 4 to 8 months to go live from scratch. Decide the type of app you want before hiring a developer.
A critical part at the initial stages is fixing the budget and the remuneration of the developer you will be hiring. The basic mobile apps cost around $10,000 going up to about $150,000 for the high-end ones. Determine to what extent the developer will be a part of the complete process. If you are helped till the final stages of submitting the app to the store, you have to think long term and negotiate developer remuneration accordingly.
Once these points are ironed out, the next steps will be solely focused on hiring the right developer who can stitch together an app that will be perfect for you.
The following points need to be considered in-depth.
Experience of the mobile app developer
Your objective should be to look for a developer who has years of experience and can develop the most complex and amazing apps. Interview a few of them and look into specific areas. Download apps on your device which have been previously developed by them and see how well they work. This first-hand testing by you is crucial. Look for developers who are interested in your business and can offer suggestions on how you can scale up through the apps.
Know the platform they are conversant with – Android, IOS, Windows or all – and the devices they create apps for – tablet, mobile phone or both. Finally, evaluate before hiring in 2019, whether they know about the latest app development techniques and the languages used to develop an app.
Once these aspects have been looked into, you can whittle down your choice to one developer only. If you are hiring an agency, find out if they have a team of skilled developers, designers and testers in-house to complete the project.
Portfolios of earlier works
Before you sign any contract with the developer, ask to see a few samples of previous work and review it to know whether they match even partly your present needs. Discuss your requirement and make out if they are offering innovative solutions. It is preferable that the developer has worked on various platforms such as games, events, shopping, dating and more. You can then be assured of their professional expertise in mobile app development. Finally, ask for references which a good app developer will gladly provide you. Read through the testimonials and do not be hesitant to call those clients for getting a first-hand report of the developer. After all, it’s your money that is on the line, and it pays to be careful.
Healthy relationship and communication
Mobile app development is all about close coordination and collaboration between the developer and the business owner. Hence, you should be able to build a healthy relationship with the developer and communicate freely. It increases transparency, and you can be hands-on during the app development process. If you are outsourcing the development work, especially offshore make sure that you are comfortable with their language and the working hours in that time zone. You have to maintain constant touch with the developer over Skype and face chats and flow of communication should not be hampered in any way.
Professional expertise in app development trends 2019
The exponential boom in mobile phone usage and the advancement in app development techniques and technologies mean that the developer you hire should be aware of the future trends for 2019. Developers have to create apps that run well on wearable devices linked to mobile phones, a fad that is hugely popular in the fitness industry. Artificial Intelligence and Chatbots are likely to rule mobile app development in 2019. With AI it is easy to integrate Chatbots in Apps without having to go through complex coding. Choose a developer who can give your app a futuristic look.
Long-term involvement for support and maintenance
The development cycle of an app does not stop at creating and releasing it and is not a one-off job. More than the app development process, what matters in the long run is how well you maintain and update it regularly, based on the feedback of your customers. Hence, hire an app developer who is willing to walk the road and help in app support and updates.
However, do not take things for granted. Clarify with the developer whether future support will be provided and if so, whether extra remuneration will be charged or it will be a part of the overall package. Top-of-the-line app developers will constantly keep in you in the loop of the latest developments in the field and will inform you of any attractive features that can be further added to the existing app. This close-knit relationship will be good for your app.
Intricacies of the contract
Draw up a contract and have the app developer sign it before starting work. It should be clear and precise in all respects to avoid confusion in future. The primary issue to be settled is regarding ownership of the app, design, source code and the content. A professional app developer will readily sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with you to pre-empt any litigation in future. Such a contract ensures that all confidential information and intellectual property rights are protected. Do not hire a developer who refuses to sign such an agreement.
App Testing methods
At the cost of repetition, it has to be emphasized that app development is not a one-time activity. The app has to be continually tested across various platforms and operating systems. Additionally, make sure that it is functional across all screen sizes with equal clarity and has ease of navigation. Hire a developer who can explain to you in detail the methods that will be adopted for beta-testing and fixing bugs as well as guarantee optimized consistency, functionality and usability.
Tendering the app to the App Store
The final step in the mobile app development process is submitting the app to the App Store which will then approve it. It is critical here to review the human interface once and know the store guidelines well before placing it in the Store. However, it is easier said than done. The whole task is a very complex one and comprises of multiple steps which only a seasoned developer with a high degree of professional expertise will know. Hence, before hiring a developer, make certain that the developer has gone through the exercise several times of uploading an app to the App Store.
Finalizing payment terms
When all is said and done, and a developer selected for your project, finalize the payment terms and procedures before work begins. Be transparent in this case and tell the developer to submit a breakdown of the estimated cost. This will eliminate the possibility of hidden fees that might become a source of friction between you and the developer later.
However, you have to be cautious about choosing a developer that offers to work at below-market fees. They are not the top-class, and any compromise here can lead to quality issues later with your app. When the goodwill of your business is at stake, go with the best even if it costs more. It will pay you back many times over in the long run.