Best Questions To Ask To Find the Right App Development Company
Building an app presents incredible opportunities, and that’s not just for tech disruptors. You can sell your product, grow your business, delight and engage customers—even transform your customers’ experience.
All the above are possible with the right app development partner. But finding that partner means asking the right questions at the forefront.
To determine which app developer is the best to hire for your project, focus on these areas:
- Developer capabilities
- Developer process and communication
- Financials and legalities
For the best questions and considerations behind these areas, read on.
Questions on Developer Capabilities
What technologies do you use and why?
This question helps you understand how the development company thinks. Worry less about the specific technology they use and more about whether the development company can clearly articulate their reason for using it and the benefits to you and your product. Unless you are already a technology pro, you choose a partner for their expertise. Let them use tools they know to get great results.
Have you done anything similar to what I’m asking you to do?
You don’t need an exact match or even a company that has developed a similar app. Still, your potential development partner should be able to draw parallels to relevant work they’ve done. Shared points of connection, whether on the industry, product, or technical level, will increase the likelihood of your project’s success.
What are the riskiest parts of my project?
Asking your app development partner this question will give you insight into your project and its areas of expertise. To know whether it’s worth continuing down the development path, consider risks early on to develop a plan. The riskiest parts are those that will likely make or break the product.
Questions on Developer Process & Communication
Do you outsource or offshore any part of your development process?
Most app development projects loosely break into several stages: discovery, design, development and testing, and deployment. Some companies choose to outsource one or more parts of this process. Seek to understand how the company will work with outside contractors, if at all.
Offshoring may offer reduced hourly rates but consider other factors. Offshoring typically requires extra project management effort. It can introduce risk to the project through cultural differences. And, it can increase the total time required due to less cohesion and familiarity among team members. Do these trade-offs decrease the price?
Who will be my main point of contact once the project kicks off?
Multiple people will probably be involved in building your app, but you don’t want to be navigating who is the right contact for what. There are also times when it’s more efficient to go right to the source when you need to talk about technical or design challenges.
Make sure you will be able to talk with developers and designers as needed, but that there is a project manager keeping tabs on your project—and who is your first point of contact for any needs.
How will we communicate during the app development process?
There are significant benefits to live conversation and collaboration via regular check-in meetings or for ad hoc questions. When a developer prefers to communicate only through email, it can limit your options.
There are numerous ways to interact, from phone calls to video chat to screen sharing to face-to-face meetings. The best app development partner takes advantage of all these options. Ideally, your app development partner provides seamless interaction, whether you are working through complex issues or getting answers to quick questions.
Electronic communication is equally essential for project management and knowledge capture. Many developers will use tools such as GitHub, ZenHub, Asana, Basecamp, and others to track project progress. Teams can use these and other invaluable tools to help ensure the project is on the right track. You might already have such a tool in place, and your potential app development partner should be on board with using it to streamline project management.
How will I receive status updates, and how often?
The answer to this question should take into consideration your personal preference. You want to make sure the frequency of status updates is compatible with your desire to receive them. As noted above, there are numerous ways for you to stay connected, and your chosen app development partner should be willing to adapt to what you want.
How involved will I be in the project? When do I get to provide input?
Big reveals make for good television on home renovation shows, but it’s not how you want to receive your product. It’s best to keep an eye on your software throughout the project’s life, so you can make course corrections as needed.
The best app development shops are working with agile methodologies, building and testing small sections of code at a time. Expect to interact with the app early in the process and as your developer adds each piece of functionality.
Furthermore, you are likely the subject matter expert for your product, and your partner ought to rely on you for knowledge of your industry and customer. Your feedback, including help with testing the app during development, ensures that the best product is delivered.
What if my priorities or scope change during the project?
Successful software projects are rarely defined completely and then built to that definition. You want a software development partner who can adapt to your needs. Ideally, your developer will provide you with a central point of contact throughout the project and expect things to shift while allowing flexibility to meet your changing priorities and timelines.
Questions on Financials & Legalities
How much will my project cost?
You want to be able to plan both your time and your budget for the length of the project. Make sure your development partner provides you with a written estimate to have an explicit agreement on the expectations. Beyond the total cost, it’s essential to understand the pricing structure. The most common options are an hourly rate or a fixed cost, plus maintenance and support.
- Hourly Rates: With hourly pricing, the developer charges a rate for each hour worked and tracks the amount of time spent on your project. In the proposal, the development company estimates how many hours they believe the project will take but will charge you for every hour worked, whether that total time is below or above the approximation.
- Fixed Cost: In a fixed-price project, the developer will provide you with the project’s total cost and (hopefully) stick with that number. When work above and beyond the original scope is necessary, the developer should tell you how much extra work will cost before moving ahead.
- Maintenance & Support: Ongoing work after the app launches is almost always required to acquire new users and keep current users engaged. This type of work ranges from bug fixes (there will always be bugs!) to testing updated operating system releases and adding new functionality to the app. It’s worth understanding upfront how your partner would recommend structuring a maintenance and support program and the associated fee structure.
Who will own the app?
As the customer, you should own the finished product.
Find the Right App Developer for Your Project
For the success of your project, take the time to find the right developer—one who:
- Has the experience and capabilities for the app you want to build
- Communicates well
- Has the proper cost structure for you
Use these questions and considerations to help you learn more about potential app development partners before you choose.
For more resources, consider reading our free book, InspiringApps: A Business Perspective on Building Mobile Apps, to gain a foundational understanding of the business and technical considerations involved in building an app.
And, if you’re curious about how InspiringApps would respond to questions like the ones we’ve just shared, find our answers in Your Journey With InspiringApps.
Build a product that will delight your users & help your business thrive
Generation Z is a brilliant and forward-thinking generation making a progressive transformation in the world as we know it. Following behind Millennials, they are heavily immersed in the technical landscape and are highly app savvy. They were born into a world of expansion and innovation with creations like the Apple iPhone and Facebook. Having grown up with the ability to access knowledge at the tap of their fingertips, they’re educated individuals with great entrepreneurial goals. They expect companies to anticipate their needs and will move on when they don’t deliver. They’re looking for flawless app design, fast iterations, responsible data collection, creative outlets, and more. Some Facts About Generation Z Born between 1997 and 2012, they’re in the era of self-discovery. Since their youth, Gen Z parents have been navigating the rise of technology and the online privacy issues that come with it; for Gen Z, finding their true selves is no easy task. Due to their immense media consumption, they expect instant gratification and high-speed delivery. As the “mobile generation,” 96% of Gen Zers are reported to own a cellphone—many spend 10 hours plus connected online. They frequent social platforms like Instagram, Youtube, TikTok, Twitch, Snapchat, Pinterest, Reddit, and other platforms. Gen Zers gravitate to mobile banking apps to serve their financial needs and streamline their tasks. Consequently, email is slowly dying out among this community of users. Generation Z interacts with apps in their lives as a means of communication, to fill a need in their life, and for play and creative expression. They are true digital natives and are hyper-connected to the world around them—making them increasingly self-aware and emotionally reflective. Generation Z also reports high rates of anxiety, depression, and mental challenges—more so than in past generations. Experiencing a global pandemic has only exasperated their mental health struggles. Consequently, prioritizing and addressing mental health is of great importance. Take Oye—a creative wellness app created by singer J Balvin “to make the world feel better.” It’s an app to transform your emotions into creative actions with mind-body practices, daily emotional check-in tools, personalized goal setting, and mindful notifications. Gen Z has proven to be catalyzed citizens who want to make a difference through social responsibility. Their innate understanding of the power of social networks and their regular consumption of news and information has allowed Gen Z to move past the era of Millennial armchair activism. While navigating life in today’s world, Gen Z confidently prioritizes experiences over objects. Considerations in App Development for Generation Z The Generation Z cohort is a significant target for app developers. Being born and raised in the digital age, they are always looking for novel tech to explore. Generation Z represents much larger historical forces at play, driving progressive transformation in the workplace that will redefine the entire generational experience. As a result, this generation has experienced increased globalization, technological advancements, and a fast-paced influx of information. Generation Z is changing the way we build digital experiences. Generation Z is the first generation to merge the digital and physical worlds into one experience. They view the internet as more than just a transaction and instead see it as a human experience. What that means for development is creating intuitive experiences that Gen Zers will love—innovative, straightforward, and seamless. With this information in mind, we’ve identified vital considerations to keep in mind when developing digital products for Generation Z. What Gen Z Consumers Want in An App Obsessively Tested, Flawless Design Gen Zers value efficiency and flawless design. That is why thorough testing and gaining user feedback are paramount. Be sure to ask for feedback from this generation and integrate the user input throughout your app’s development process and in updates. “If the designer doesn’t remove themself and try to see the user’s perspective, they can overly complicate the journey.” AARON LEA, ART DIRECTOR AT INSPIRINGAPPS, BOULDER CO Glitchy user interface behaviors and poor design choices are instant turnoffs for Gen Zers. Make your app seamless and flawless from the start, or you may lose your customer. Build your app with swift and straightforward interactions, and don’t reinvent the wheel for every feature within your product—draw inspiration from apps that are already working. By sticking with best practices and standard features and anticipating your users’ desires, your users will navigate more intuitively and stick around for more. Fast Iterations Gen Z consumers have grown up in a fast-paced digital world and value convenience and efficiency. They prefer mobile apps that offer quick and uninterrupted experiences, such as fast loading times, easy checkout processes, and streamlined workflows. Keep your app low on data—fast to download and delete. Control Over Their Digital Footprint Gen Zers quickly went from a private world to everything constantly being shared online. In their formative years, they grew up with little technology at their disposal. They were thrust into a world of hyper-technology and interconnectedness as time progressed. With that in mind, here are essential factors to keep at the forefront of your app development: Privacy Settings Gen Z should be able to manage their privacy settings on apps. This type of functionality includes having the ability to choose whether their information is shared publicly or only with specific individuals and having the option to limit the usage of their personal data. Data Transparency Gen Z should have clear access and information about what data is collected, how it’s used, and to whom it gets shared. Responsible Data Collection It’s essential to ensure that Gen Zers’ personal data is protected from data breaches and cyber threats. Apps should implement robust security practices to keep user data safe. Value-Add Through Personalization You can add value with personalization by using various technologies, such as saving login information, geolocation, machine learning, and AI, to cater to the specific needs of Gen Z. It is crucial to find a proper balance in incorporating personalization that genuinely adds value, without overdoing it. Here are a few core components to adding value through personalization: Saving Login Information Gen Z is all about convenience, and one way to provide that is by saving their login information. By doing so, you not only save them time but also provide a straightforward user journey. Geolocation Gen Z consumers are constantly on the go and expect a personalized experience based on their location. Using geolocation technology, you can offer tailored recommendations, promotions, and content based on their location. Machine Learning & AI If you want to better understand your Gen Z customers, machine learning can be a potent tool. By analyzing their data, you can personalize their experience and provide the results they seek—before they even ask. AI and machine learning are great tools for automating manual tasks as well. Machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) can be used in many ways to develop apps for Gen Z. Here are some ways to incorporate ML and AI in your app to improve its performance: Personalized Recommendations: ML algorithms can provide customized recommendations to Gen Z users based on their interests, behaviors, and preferences. Chatbots & Virtual Assistants: With natural language processing (NLP) techniques, it’s now possible to create bots that can interact with Gen Z users in a way that feels just like talking to a real person. Bots can help users with tasks such as scheduling, finding information, or making purchases on their mobile devices. Image & Video Recognition: Computer vision techniques can be used to recognize images and videos, which can be helpful in apps such as social media platforms, gaming, or e-commerce. Predictive Modeling: Predictive modeling techniques can be used to forecast future behaviors and trends. For instance, a news app can predict which articles will be most popular among Gen Z users. Predictive modeling ensures your app stays ahead of the curve. Voice Recognition: Voice recognition techniques can be used to develop voice-enabled apps and devices that can be controlled with voice commands. This technology can be helpful in apps such as virtual assistants, smart home devices, or hands-free gaming. ML and AI can help app developers create more engaging, personalized, and interactive apps for Gen Z users. By leveraging these technologies, app developers can improve the user experience and stay ahead of the competition. Creative Tools More than half of Gen Zers believe they are more creative than previous generations. Most of them engage in creative activities in their free time. Gen Z is a highly creative generation that values individuality and self-expression. Therefore, niche tools enabling creativity are essential for creating apps that resonate with them. Concluding Thoughts on Developing Apps for Gen Z Gen Zers have a unique vantage point when it comes to app development. They’ve experienced the best of both worlds—an era of privacy merged with hyper-connectedness. They are vicarious app consumers, making them ideal customers for app developers. Brands that take the time to understand their Gen Z users’ behaviors, motivations, preferences, and expectations will experience significant growth. Considering the above considerations, one can ensure that their app hits the mark with this brilliant and forward-thinking generation. Gen Z wants more than just an app. They crave a unique experience that fulfills their daily needs and brings joy. The app should leave them feeling special and enhance their well-being. At InspiringApps, we stay on the pulse and ahead of the curve to bring you the most forward-thinking and trending app development insights. If you have any questions or thoughts on the above material—we’d be delighted to connect!
21 days ago
Boulder, CO—In the latest article from Built In Colorado, InspiringApps’ Creative Director, Aaron Lea, shares his advice on creating simplified user journeys within digital products. How To Simplify User Journeys When do you know it’s time to simplify your product’s user journey? When we design digital apps, we’re always looking for ways to simplify the user journey. Limiting the number of interactions users have to make is a best practice for most apps. The more users have to drill down into extra screens, the more likely they are to leave. I like to think of it this way: design the app like you’re in the Target parking lot and about to go inside the store to buy Tide Pods. As a user, I want to be in and out as quickly as possible. A quick exchange that’s easy for me to use means I’m more prone to open the app the next time I’m in that Target parking lot. It’s often the case that apps are downloaded, opened once, and then deleted. These apps are too cluttered, and people won’t reuse them. On the other hand, when users know it doesn’t take too long to accomplish a task—no guided tours they’re more likely to use the app. A simple experience is a successful experience. Unless we’re creating something like TikTok, we aren’t designing the app to keep users in it. We’re here to help users achieve something or access a specific feature. The fewer interactions it takes to accomplish that, the better the journey. What process do you use to identify opportunities for simplification? App design is an art that involves trusting your instincts. I like to think of this process as similar to editing a script. Editors are great at identifying what’s essential and getting rid of clutter. But their real goal is staying true to what makes the script great—and amplifying that by revealing only what needs to be there. For example, an app may have a component that mirrors the functionality of Slack or Youtube. These are established popular apps. And even the best digital products aren’t going to lure people away from them. Any project, whether it’s designing an app or a home improvement project, can be subject to scope creep. Is that feature really needed? Was it added at the last minute? We all get distracted in the creative journey, and the risk is that we keep getting further away from—or even lose sight of—the reason we started, the problem we wanted to solve. We need to stay true to what inspired us in the beginning to create the app. ART DIRECTOR, AARON LEA | INSPIRINGAPPS, BOULDER CO What are some common traps designers can fall into that result in an overly complicated user journey? One trap is elevating ego over empathy. If the designer doesn’t remove themself and try to see the user’s perspective, they can overly complicate the journey. Designers must constantly evolve, challenge themselves, and put themselves in others’ shoes. ART DIRECTOR, AARON LEA | INSPIRINGAPPS, BOULDER CO Another trap could be the designer finding a new design tool or method they want to use and deciding to use it in a particular product. Novelty is not a substitute for suitability. A good rule of thumb is, don’t force it if it doesn’t deserve to be there. Sometimes, designers get set in their ways. Just because it worked last time doesn’t mean it will work this time too. Or conversely, designers may reinvent the wheel. If the design worked the first time, there’s no need to rethink it. Time management is critical. With mobile apps, people remember the launch, the middle, and the endpoint. A trap could be spending too much time on incidental interstitial areas. Don’t focus all your time there. Take that time and instead pick the three most vital sections—the app’s beginning, the middle, and its exit—and make those experiences ones that keep users coming back. Meet InspiringApps’ Creative Director Aaron Lea We believe that Inspired Employees Make InspiringApps and that our diverse backgrounds, skills, hobbies, and perspectives are what make us a stronger team. Aaron Lea finds his inspiration steeped in pop culture, a tradition of art in his family, and a creative digital design process that enables him to put novel creations back into the world and inspire others as a result.
1 month ago