Practically every app development company claims itself to be the ‘best’ – but not all of them are able to meet their extravagant service promises. If you are on the hunt for a reliable developer firm, you need to consider the factors mentioned in this checklist.
Mobile app development is a sub-domain in the tech sector that has witnessed amazing rates of growth over the last couple of years worldwide. In India alone, the total number of developer companies is in excess of 300000. Apart from gaming, music and entertainment purposes, business-related apps are becoming increasingly popular too. If you do not yet have a dedicated mobile application to promote your professional operations, you are, in all likelihood, missing out on a significant chunk of your potential clients. That, however, does not mean you should hire the first app developer you come across. To get customized applications at competitive rates, a certain amount of prior research is of the essence. The following checklist should serve as a handy guide:
- Check the track record – Looking for a cheap Android or iPhone app quote is not all that you should be concerned about. At the end of the day, the company you choose should be able to cater to your precise needs – and this makes hiring an experienced company vital. Always opt for a company that has a portfolio of at least 200-250 successfully created applications. Teknowledge, for instance, has already completed well over 500 mobile app projects.
- Consider the domain of expertise – With most companies specializing in cross-platform mobile app development, a bit of online research is all you need for this. Even if you need only an iPhone or an Android app at present, don’t go for a company whose operations are limited to that platform. Apart from iOS, a good mobile application development service provider should be equally at ease while working on the Blackberry, Android, Windows Phone and HTML5 platforms.
- Inquire about the team of developers – There are many companies which either employ developers on a freelance basis, or delegate projects to smaller, third-party organizations. You cannot expect any form of accountability from such firms. Make sure that the mobile apps company you have zeroed in upon has a permanent, well-trained team of developers. The entire project should be done in-house.
- Look up client testimonials – If a developer company has been able to provide complete customer-satisfaction to many clients, chances are high that its quality of service is indeed high. Check the testimonials page on the website of the companies you have shortlisted, and go for the one that has the most number of favorable reviews. Ideally, a well-established app development company should have at least a few reputed Fortune 500 organizations as clients. Ask for the contact details of a few clients too, for getting first-hand feedback. After all, fake testimonials are not particularly uncommon on the web!
- Are free quotes available? – Developing a mobile app involves expenses (at times, pretty high levels) – but a company should not charge anything for providing a service quote. Either contact app developers directly, or look on the company’s site – to find out how you can apply for a free Android or iPhone app quote/estimate. If the concerned company demands hefty advance payments, start looking for alternatives.
- Scope of interaction – Irrespective of whether you do or do not have any technical knowledge, you should always be kept in the loop – when the app project is going on. Find out at what intervals your chosen company would share (and explain) detailed mockups and wireframes of the application(s). Ideally, there should be meetings scheduled between you and the representatives of the app company on a weekly or fortnightly basis. You should have the option to call up/email the service provider whenever any emergency requirement crops up.
- Intellectual property rights – Interestingly, not many app clients pay due attention to this extremely critical factor. Make sure that you would have full rights over the source codes and other elements of intellectual property – once the app(s) is completed and delivered. There must never be any confusion over establishing your ownership on it. Of course, if you are buying an already existing app from iTunes/Google Play store, you need not worry about this issue.
- App interface designing skills – A balanced combination of technical excellence and creativity is what your selected app company should be able to provide. Remember, an over-complicated and/or bland-looking mobile application has minimal chances of becoming popular – no matter what its overall range of features might be. Select a company that has experienced, knowledgeable UI/UX and graphic designers. It’s immensely important that your app looks easy on the eye and is user-friendly.
- Read through the contract document – A free quote and a relatively reasonable final cost estimate – is that all you should be after? Far from it! Study the contract document provided by the app company carefully, and clarify all doubts from the company personnel. Be wary of hidden charges that might push up the final payment figure. Ask about the intervals at which you will need to make payments. Do not settle all dues till you have received the app and tested it properly.
- App-monetization help – Yours might be a paid app or a free app – but it should ultimately generate revenues. This, in turn, brings to light the importance of app monetization. For paid mobile applications, your chosen agency should help you in determining the correct pricing strategy. On the other hand, if you are looking to create a free app, select a firm that has the expertise to implement effective in-app advertising and additional download schemes. Story Time, our free app for kids, would serve as the perfect example.
- Reliability of the company server – In a bid to lower the total mobile app development costs by a few bucks, many people make the mistake of hiring the services of low-profile, rather obscure firms. These companies are not generally able to provide any assurance about the quality of their servers and systems. Ideally, you need to find out from beforehand whether continuous build servers would be used for creating your project. During the testing and even after delivery, the company should stay in charge of app deployment and maintenance issues.
- Check the network of the company – There can be no compromise with the quality of an app, if it has to get approved at iTunes or Google Play Store. However, it does help if the company you select has a few people who are in constant touch with the authorities at the Apple/Google stores. The app review and approval process might get expedited by just a bit.
- App testing and quality assurance – Adhering to strict quality standards is the hallmark of any decent app development company. The quality assurance (QA) statements in the contract document should include details on the mobile app testing procedures that would be undertaken. Make sure that the prototype of your app would be tested for bugs on actual devices (focus group testing) as well as in the cloud network. You should also have a password-protected virtual location, for conducting tests on your end.
- Ratings of the company’s previous apps – If a company has been in the app development business for a fairly long period and enjoys a good market goodwill, several of its apps would invariably feature in the top/featured lists at the online stores. From our 500-odd apps, around 80% do have focused presence on such lists, while a few of them have also bagged professional awards. Go for an app agency which has quite a few products that are featured at the stores. If your app becomes popular, your business would automatically receive a boost.
- Customized app creation services – There are many companies that are into marketing and selling their in-house apps only. For a brand new app, these are not the ones you should contact. Instead, get into a deal with a company where developers would listen to your exact requirements and app-concepts, and initiate the development project accordingly. Pay money for app(s) that would actually serve your needs – don’t let a company coax you into buying their own, existing apps.
- Press and media contacts – The duties of a professional app development firm do not end with delivering mobile apps to clients. It should take up the responsibility of creating an initial buzz about them too – via online press releases, events, and through their social media channels. Look for a company with active presence on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest and Behance. Proper exposure of an app is crucial for its ultimate success.
Keep a tab on all the cost elements involved in your app development project. Gather quotes from four to five firms, and compare their charges and expected quality of service – before getting in touch with any one of them. Being in a tearing hurry to hire an app developer might leave you saddled with expensive, sub-standard applications – and that’s certainly not what you want!
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