If your company doesn’t have a mobile app yet, you’re missing out on a growing segment of potential customers. If your expertise isn’t in IT, adding an app to your business strategy means hiring a mobile developer. How do you pick the right person for the job? Here are 10 questions you should ask before signing an app development contract:
Ask for a list of successful apps that you can readily look up at Google Play and the iTunes App Store. Read reviews and check star ratings to get a feel for the developer’s work. It’s generally a good idea to choose a developer with solid experience.
This is a must. You’re not simply asking for a mobile-friendly version of your website. You need downloadable apps created for the two major mobile operating systems to take advantage of all the specialized features of your device.
The backend of an app gives you the ability to store your app’s information, images and user profiles in a database. Backend services can let you tag your objects with a specific location, so users can use location in their queries. You can also establish access protocols, allow users to log in via Twitter or Facebook and send push notifications to users.
Not all iOS and Android app developers are masters of the backend, which uses a completely different technology. When you’re able to find a developer with complete competency, you avoid the extra expense of a separate backend developer. At the very least, your app developer should be highly familiar with the leading BaaS (Backend as a Service) providers.
Plenty of people with just a smattering of skills can hang out their shingle and call themselves app developers. Make sure the person you’re working with is serious about the business and plans to be there all the way through your project.
Before signing any agreement with a developer, be sure to check references. Did the developer stay around and see the project to completion, including beta testing and a solid launch? Is the developer still available for future version upgrades? A good track record for follow-through is important.
One of the major perks that you’re purchasing when you hire a developer is the full rights to the source code and design. This ownership assures you of continued ability to update and revise your app in the future, even if the original developer is not available. Prepare a written work-for-hire agreement that clearly states that you own all the rights to the content of the app.
While you should expect to present a full briefing about your business, it’s important for you to feel that your developer quickly grasps the nature of your brand. You should not have to keep repeating yourself or feel worried that your app developer can’t relate to your goals.
For starters, download and use the apps that he or she has developed. How do you like the behavior of these apps? What about the user experience? What kind of reviews have they received on the app store? Next, call a couple of your developer’s previous clients and ask how they feel about the work that this developer did for them.
Make sure your developer plans to maintain responsibility for uploading the app to the app stores and seeing that it is approved. You should also work out a warranty period to make sure no major bugs emerge. This is a basic request, akin to asking that a mechanic’s guarantee that they will return a working car to you.
Be wary of developers who want their entire fee upfront. You have far more leverage if your developer is willing to accept payments in a step-by-step manner, where each payment is tied to the achievement of a certain milestone. If a problem should arise, you haven’t paid for more than you have received, and the developer has financial incentive to see your project through to completion.
Your app is essentially a communication tool, so the person designing it should show evidence of real skill in being able to convey meaning. He or she should answer your questions without getting mired down in technical jargon. You should also feel that all your concerns are being heard, and your developer should be easy to reach by phone or email.
The range of app developers available now is fairly overwhelming, and they range from inexperienced newbies to highly sophisticated mobile experts. Their costs can be equally variable, and the most expensive developers aren’t necessarily the ones with the highest skills. If you use this list of ten questions when you select an app developer, you’re certain to find a competent, dedicated professional who will add an important element to your business presence.
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