Cocoaheads Ireland and Northern Ireland
So you’ve decided that your business needs an app and the next step is to find an app development business to produce your app for you.
The app development market currently favours the app developers; there are lots of businesses wanting to have apps developed and not many good app development businesses to develop the apps. Unfortunately, like many industries that experience growth, there will always be businesses that see the opportunity to make ‘easy money’ rather than provide a valuable and reputable service.
So, how do you find the ‘diamond in the rough’? There are a number of things to look for which will help guide you to one of the few good developers.
There are lots of people who can develop apps, from the school kid down the road, the businesses who ‘also do apps’, and the dedicated app development businesses. So why should you choose a business that develops apps as their core business?
There is a big difference between being able to do something and being able to do it well. It is an industry that is always changing and a significant amount of time needs to be dedicated to staying up-to-date with changes to the development tools and SDK’s. A business that develop apps as their core business will be dedicated to ensuring that they stay up to date so that they can offer the very best service.
We have all heard of people who get tattoos that contain misspelled words; why don’t the tattoo artists tell the customer before creating a permanent salute to illiteracy? I can’t answer that question, but I can say that a similar thing happens with app developers.
There are some app developers that will create exactly what you ask for, regardless of whether it is the most appropriate solution to meet your needs or not. This could either be because of a lack of knowledge or experience on the part of the app developer, or because they are only interested in the one-off job from you and not focused on providing a service. One thing is certain; If you are not getting detailed feedback from the app developer, even at the very early stages of the app development, you will be paying for coding, and not for the benefit of the app developer’s knowledge and experience.
It is very easy to ‘talk the talk’, especially when discussing a topic with someone who does not have an in-depth knowledge. It is far more difficult to ‘walk the walk’, so it is very important that the app developer can prove that they are capable of producing the very best results when developing your app.
There are a number of ways for an app developer to prove their capability; they can show that they have developed apps already, either for themselves or for others, but preferably for others. They can provide testimonials from previous clients/customers, or even better, they can put you in touch with them directly. Finally, recommendations from other businesses that that have had apps developed can be a very useful indication of the quality of an app development business.
There are short cuts in all walks of life, both in business and in our personal lives, and very rarely do these short cuts produce good results or the outcome that we really wanted. This applies to the app development industry as much as any other; there are tools that can be used to produce very simple apps without having to write a single piece of code.
Because of this, there are people who will call themselves app developers, when in fact, they aren’t. There is more to any software development than the end result.
A software developer (as opposed to a tool user), will be able to fully understand your requirements and any potential issues or implications from implementing your requirements, they will be able to make alternative suggestions and explain a more appropriate solution, they will understand how to resolve any potential issues, and they will be able to provide exactly what you want in your app.
There is no rule that states that an app development business that charges more is better, or one that charges less is going to produce poorer results, but if an app developer is charging significantly less than the market value for the level of complexity in the app that you want developed, you should be asking questions.
There are a few reasons that an app development business may charge less than market rates for developing an app, but a business that has no long term plans to remain in the industry and is only trying to make a ‘quick buck’ from the inflated state of the market will charge a lower rate so that they can secure as many jobs in as short a time as possible.
Having your first app can be a daunting prospect and you will likely have many questions; what is the process? What do we need to do? What will the developer be doing? How does it get on the App Store? What do we do then? etc…
A good app development business will explain the entire process before it has even started, and will guide you through each step, providing clear instructions for any part of the process that needs to be completed by the client/customer.
It is easy when dealing with an outside party to lose sight of what is happening and to feel like you are not in control. A good app developer will understand this and will ensure that you are kept informed completely during the process of developing your app. They will also be open to communication from you and will never make you fell like you are inconveniencing them.
Fact: Software has bugs. If anyone tells you that the apps that they produce are ‘bug free’, you should run away; it is a clear signal that you will run into difficulties when a bug does appear (and it will), when what you need is for any issues to be dealt with quickly and as easily as possible.
When we say ‘bugs’, we mean any unexpected behavior in the app, and this can occur for a number of reasons; because of the coding, because of the initial specification of the app, and because of changes to the underlying device operating system.
A good App Development Business will correct any issues that have arisen due to their code, at their expense. They will also take part of the responsibility for any issues that have arisen due to how the initial specification of the app was developed because a good app developer will have analysed the initial specification, and should have spotted any potential issues and advised accordingly. Depending on the scale of the issue, the costs are likely to be split between the app development business and the client/customer, although if the issue is a small one, the developer will probably just fix it at their cost.
Any issues that arise because of changes to the underlying device operating system are not issues that can easily be foreseen and you should not expect the app development business to take responsibility for the costs of correcting the issue. However, any good app development business will expect these issues, in-fact, they will more than likely be aware of the issues before you, or the users of your app, are aware. They will inform you of potential issues before they arise, so that appropriate action can be taken.
There is a lot to consider when choosing an app development business to produce your app for you, but if you use the information in this article, you will be in a much better position to ask the right questions to enable you to make an informed decision.