If you haven’t been referred to a mobile app developer by a trusted source, then you are going to have to search for one. Doing a quick Google search for mobile app developers brings up an overwhelmingly large number of choices. On the flip side, posting a project specification on a job site such as oDesk, Elance or even Craigslist isn’t any less daunting either, as you will accumulate hundreds of replies.
If you would like any advice on how to find app developers, then have a read of how to find a programmer to build your app.
Once you’ve narrowed down your search, and have a number of potential candidates, it is time to ask a few questions. Think of it like an interview, and don’t let them push you around. A lot of the questions might not have a “correct” or “wrong” answer. There are often no wrong answers. What you are really looking for though is their openness to answering.
How quickly do they reply? Do they try and confuse you with a huge amount of technical jargon? Are their answers vague and unhelpful? Do you like their replies? Could you see yourself working with them? Do you get a general good feeling?
Like any partnership, you only want to be working with people who you have an excellent relationship with. The following questions to ask a potential app developer will give you a very good start in understanding who could be your ideal developer.
#1: What experience do you have? Can I see some examples?
This is probably the easiest question to ask as it can reveal so much. If the app developer is experienced and proud of their work, they will have no hesitation showing off what they have done, this is a good thing!
If they can’t show you any examples that they have built, then why not?
Even a developer who has never had a client before should be able to show you example projects that they have built for themselves and their portfolio. If they can’t, then run a mile.
#2: On what platforms will the mobile app be available?
A “native” app is an app that is built for a specific operating system (iOS, Android, Windows, Blackberry). An iOS app can’t run on Android and vice versa etc.
A mobile website is literally a website optimized for the mobile screen. There are a large number of advantages and disadvantages for either type, which we will explore in future articles on ideatoappster.com. This article is assuming that you are looking specifically for a native app though, so by asking this question, you are clarifying with the developer that they will be building a native application for you, and not a mobile website!
#3: How do you handle updates?
The different mobile operating systems regularly update. Unless your app is doing something extremely complex, then there is a 99.99% chance that your app will be absolutely fine in future operating system updates.
However, occasionally things DO stop working for one reason or another. You may also want to add new features to the App, so is a good idea to understand how the developer will handle these requests, and also, how much it will cost.
#4: Will the code be mine?
This is a tricky one to answer in just a paragraph, and is something that will need to be in the Terms & Conditions. Usually the developer will give you a copy of the code and all Intellectual Property Rights, but is something that you need to check first, because some don’t.
If you are at all unsure about how this works, then seek legal advice before proceeding to sign any contracts.
#5: Who will my contact be? How will we communicate during the development process?
Ideally, you only want to be dealing with one person for everything. They should be responsive, helpful, and sympathetic to your requirements. They should go out of their way to ensure you are kept continually updated during the development process.
The above questions are good starter questions, which will inevitably lead onto other questions and discussions which will give you a very good feel for exactly who you are going to be working with. As mentioned in the opening paragraphs, there aren’t really any “wrong” answers, because no two developers are the same.
Everyone has different requirements and ways of working, the trick is to find the developer who gels nicely with you. With millions of developers out there in the world, there is someone who will be your ideal fit.
Photo Credit: nicola.albertini