Tessa Norton

@tessanorton

A comprehensive guide to finding your ideal Mobile App Development partner

April 16th 2019

A Comprehensive guide to finding your ideal Mobile App Development partner

With the rapid spread of the internet and the mass adoption of smartphones, having a mobile app has become a necessity for all B2C businesses. But building a mobile app takes time, effort and resources. However, things can be easier if you’re able to find a suitable place to Hire Mobile App Developers to fulfill your needs.

But how will you find and hire the most proficient app developers that can fulfill your requirements? More importantly, what will you look for while making a choice for a Mobile App Development Company?

These are some of the questions I’ll try to answer as you read ahead. So please stick with me for a while. This will be long. But I’m sure it will help you make a better choice for your mobile app development partner.

Why do you need a mobile app?

Come on, is that even a question? The number of smartphone users across the globe is expected to reach 2.87 Billion by 2020. That’s almost one-fourth of the global population! Fifty percent of these 2.87 Billion smartphone users check their notifications- the first thing they do in the morning. As if that isn’t enough, research tells that an average person- including you, spends around 4 hours a day using their smartphone.

What makes people so much addicted to smartphones? Apps, of course. For customers, an app is a platform for them to meet their needs, which may include anything from entertainment to productivity. For businesses, an app is a digital medium through which they can interact with customers, provide them the product/services they need and of course, earn revenue.

So if you’re a business owner, or plan to venture into entrepreneurship in future- you would need an app to interact with your customers and provide them a platform to access the products/services your business provides.

How do you reach customers through mobile apps?

So now you know why you need a mobile app. But how to build one? The smartphone ecosystem is dominated by two Operating Systems, Android and iOS. The Android environment is a fragmented space where myriad manufacturers use the OS with their own tweaks and variations. iOS, on the other hand, is a closed-source environment controlled by Apple.

Both operating systems have their own app market, namely the Google Play Store and the iOS App Store. This is where your app will be uploaded and listed for distribution. How your customers find your app from these app markets depends on several aspects- some of which include ASO (App Store Optimization), user ratings, user & third-party reviews and the number of downloads. These factors play a crucial role in how your app ranks on both the app stores and on search queries.

Types of mobile apps

There are 3 types of mobile apps:

  1. Progressive web apps
  2. Native apps
  3. Hybrid apps

Progressive web apps are the new buzz in the realm of mobile app development. Introduced by Google back in 2017, Progressive web apps are the middle ground between a website and a fully native app. They offer nearly all functionalities of a mobile app such as push notifications, ability to run offline, accessibility from home screen, among other functionalities- all of that without the need to install or download anything on the device.

Native apps are the apps developed exclusively for a particular operating system using the said OS’ development environment. Developing native apps offer incredible customization opportunities for mobile app developers and allow them to tailor and tune an app as per the principles of the OS and the need of the users. Unlike progressive web apps, native apps are distributed to users through an app market such as the Google Play Store, iOS app store or the Amazon app store.

Hybrid apps are basically web apps that are put on a native shell to support more than one OS simultaneously. It helps businesses and app developers create apps for all OS on a unified platform without having to work on multiple apps separately. Similar to native apps, hybrid apps also have to be downloaded/installed by users through app markets.

Which kind of mobile app is the best for your business?

Determining the best kind of mobile app for your business depends on the consideration of several factors. Some of which are:

1. Time-efficiency in mobile app development

If you want a mobile app set up and ready for distribution in the quickest possible time, then a hybrid app or a PWA (Progressive web app) would be the option to choose. While hybrid app development lets you develop an app for multiple OS platforms simultaneously, PWA app development would allow you to develop an app without having to necessarily distribute it on an app market (Although you’ll have to step up your marketing game to promote the PWA).

2. Costs

If you’re on a very-low-budget, then it’s better to invest in a PWA. Developing a mobile app through hybrid or native mobile app development isn’t a one-time process. It requires constant updates and repeating expenses too.

If budget isn’t a concern, then you can invest in building native apps as well as a PWA for your business. Why have both? Because it’s not necessary that all your customers will be installing your mobile app. There are billions of apps across both the app stores, and it will be difficult to push everyone to download your app. But progressive web apps can be accessed simply through a website URL, so that will ensure you won’t lose those customers unaware of your mobile app.

3. Long-term sustainability

If long-term sustainability is your primary concern, then once again- you should look towards building native apps. Having a native Android/iOS app would make it easier for app developers to adapt according to new design & development guidelines issued by the OS companies. In a world where technology is advancing so rapidly, you wouldn’t want to lower your pace of growth by reducing adaptability.

Do I need a mobile app for both Android and iOS?

There are a lot of differences in the process of developing and publishing an app on both these platforms.

Photo by Hardik Sharma on Unsplash

A brief overview of everything you’d need to know before publishing an app on Android:

1. Publishing an app on the Google play store is actually quite easy. You just have to build an app, publish it on the platform at a one-time cost of $25.

2. There are around 2.6 million Android apps published on the Google play store as of December 2018. Making your app stand out among such a huge crowd isn’t easy.

3. You can still establish your app on the play store by taking care of certain aspects such as keywords on app descriptions, tags, collecting good reviews, ratings, downloads and doing certain other activities related to mobile app marketing.

4. You don’t necessarily need to build a super high-quality app to get published on the play store. However, there are certain basic quality checks you will have to pass and for that, you’d require proficient Android App Developers. That said, the play store is known to host a huge number of low-quality and even malware apps. As of 2019, there are over 337,000 low-quality android apps on the google play store.

5. Most apps on android run on an advertising or freemium model for revenue. Android users generally don’t prefer to purchase paid apps.

6. Android users are far more in number in comparison to iOS users. As of Q3 2018, people have downloaded over 19.53 Billion Android apps. In comparison, iOS app downloads stand at a mere 7.6 Billion.

A brief overview of everything you’d need to know before publishing an app on iOS:

1. Publishing an app on iOS is difficult and expensive. It costs up to $99 per year to publish an iOS app.

2. Before you even manage to manage to publish the app, iOS App Developers have to ensure that the app adheres to strict quality checklists and guidelines practiced by Apple. Being a proprietary software service, iOS has certain restrictions you’ll not find in the Android ecosystem as the latter is open-source.

3. iOS makes it easier for business owners to establish their apps on the app store through guides that help them target desired keywords in advance. That said, they still do require ASO up to a certain extent.

4. Unlike Android users, iOS users don’t really mind spending money for a paid app. Thus businesses and iOS app developers also have an option to earn sustainable profits by making a paid app instead of using the advertising or freemium revenue model.

5. iOS apps are far lower in terms of the number of downloads as compared to android. But iOS users are reported to be much more engaged and loyal to the apps they use than their Android counterparts. Perhaps it is one of the reasons why iOS apps earn a significantly higher revenue than Android apps despite having a lower number of users (iOS earned a revenue of nearly $12 Billion as of Q3 2018, whereas the revenue of Android stood at a mere $6.2 Billion).

So what’s your choice?

So now you know the basic differences about publishing on both the Android and iOS platforms. The choice really depends upon your own needs as a business owner. If you’re low on budget, and the audience you target isn’t among the general audience of iOS users, then not having an iOS app and investing only in android app development would be a wise choice.

However, if you do have the budget, then it doesn’t make sense to ditch iOS app development- as the engaged users of this platform can drive a significant share of your revenue.

Why you should outsource mobile app development?

So you know why you need mobile apps, where to distribute and reach new customers through them. So then, how would you initiate mobile app development?

If you’re not a technology-based business, then the best advice would be to outsource your mobile app development to a reputed IT Outsourcing company. This advice comes out of two main reasons:

1. As a business focused on growth, focusing on core objectives is of paramount importance. Mobile app development is a complex process and requires some degree of expertise, experience, and resources. You would save a lot of time and resources by outsourcing a project to a company which already have or can hire mobile app developers for your service.

2. IT Outsourcing is the highest outsourced service and a booming $62 US Billion industry! In the current world, technologies are getting upgraded at a scale never witnessed before. Thus it is becoming even more difficult for companies to keep up with the latest technology trends aside from fulfilling their own goals. So IT Outsourcing companies help their clients remain up-to-date with the latest trends while providing them with solutions that outsmart the competition.

How to look for a mobile app development company?

So if you have decided to outsource the development of your mobile app- the next thing to do would be to look for a trustworthy mobile app development company. How would you start?

1. The easiest thing to do would be to google it up, as most people do. So if you google the terms “mobile app development company”, you may find your results with a lot of company websites. Visit some of the websites on the first page to get an idea about how these companies present themselves through their website.

But Google isn’t the source to look for a reliable company. You can also browse the listings of mobile app development companies on sites such as Clutch and Goodfirms. Though I will suggest not to rely on the ratings of these sites. Because companies mentioned in the top of the lists on these platforms are mostly sponsored.

2. Location is the next crucial factor in making your choice for a mobile app developing company, or for any IT Outsourcing company for that matter. One of the few hassles with outsourcing services is that it is difficult to maintain frequent contact. So ideally, one would prefer to work with a nearshore app development company- thereby making face-to-face interactions possible, even if only occasionally.

But here’s the thing- You can have access to a broader range of app development companies if you’re willing to compensate for face-to-face interactions with digital communication mediums such as video-conferencing. Would it be worth it to make such sacrifices? Absolutely!

Because offshore development companies offer the highest quality of app developers at the lowest costs! But that doesn’t apply to all countries though. Here are a few countries which offer the highest value-for-money for offshore mobile app development services:

  • India
  • Uruguay
  • Ukraine
  • Poland
  • Argentina

These countries are considered the best for IT Outsourcing services for the following reasons:

  • They have regions with high network bandwidth. Extremely important for video communication.
  • These countries can Hire App Developers at the lowest rates.
  • A sufficient amount of the population is proficient in the English language.
  • These countries have a huge market for software development and related outsourcing services.
  • These 5 countries offer the best cost-skill-technology balance suitable for mobile app development.

3. Once you’ve decided on a set of companies to look deeper, have a look at the company’s services page to see if there’s one related to mobile app development services.

If you find one, here’s a checklist of things you need to look for:

A- They must show the average experience of their Mobile App Developers.

B- They must have a portfolio highlighting some of their best work in mobile app development.

C- Check if they have clearly mentioned the technology stacks they use for their mobile app development services.

D- See if their development process is mentioned on the web page.

Going through this checklist will help you ascertain the credibility of the company, and give you an insight into their potential.

How to find a mobile app development company that suits your needs?

By this stage, you should have a list of companies you’ve looked up and found. You may have gone through the websites of these companies and seen if their mobile app development page covers everything as mentioned on the checklist.

1. Now is the time to know whether they fit your requirements. The best practice is to visit the contact page of these companies, then either submit a form/call/email and ask for a quote.

2. Mention your own requirements and along with that, don’t feel shy to ask for details on other projects the company may have done that are similar to yours. Most importantly, ask for their most recent projects, not the ones they completed 5 years ago!

3. If the company reverts, ask them for more details, some of which include:

A. Questions on whether they provide end-to-end support, and whether they would be helping with maintenance of the app even after completion of the project. This is highly important because you wouldn’t want to be left stranded with an app that doesn’t get updated timely once the project is complete. It ruins everything!

B. Be specific about the budget requirements. As a general rule, ask them to accept the project at a lower rate with optimum requirements (there’s a low, then a lower and then the lowest. Stick to the middle one). This is so that you can increase your budget at a later stage of the development process in case you want an additional feature you didn’t ask for before. Believe me, this happens. Always.

C. Always ask if they work with an NDA in place. Although it depends on your own needs. It is important that you ask because you haven’t agreed to work on a project at this stage, yet.

D. Ask if they can send the resume of their mobile app developers. This is very important because mobile app development is highly, highly dynamic. Some stacks and languages which were considered the norm only two years ago receive little to no attention today (Three years ago, nobody knew about Kotlin. Today it is an official programming language for android app development). You would want your Android developers to be experienced in the latest technology stacks if you want a high-quality end-product in your hands.

Kotlin Vs Java. Top Android app development languages 2019

Do the same with all the companies you selected based on your google search/Clutch/GoodFirms analysis. This definitely will take some time, but at the end of it, you may find yourself erasing most companies out of this list. The few that will remain will be the best ones. Those companies will not only be the good mobile app development companies but the ones that are most suitable for your requirements!

How to verify a company’s credibility?

So now you’re at a stage where you have a list of select few companies that made it through your research. This is the time when you put on that tinfoil hat and verify the company’s credibility.

1. To start, try to find the reviews of companies on sites such as clutch and goodfirms and see whether they’re genuine. Why have I asked about reading reviews so late? I’ll honestly tell you. It is hard, incredibly hard to find genuine reviews of most low-cap and mid-cap IT Outsourcing companies.

You may find it easier to look for reviews of large-scale IT Outsourcing companies, but the same doesn’t go for small-scale and medium-scale ones. But still, reviews are important, and you should look out for them.

2. The most genuine way of accessing reviews of a mobile app development company is to look for the app reviews of their clients! If the company you’re inspecting on is a good one, the app reviews of their client must be great too.

Finding app reviews is easy. Simply ask the app development company for a link to their client’s mobile app listing on the Play store/app store. Then click on the link and look for the app ratings and reviews. This should give you a fair idea about the response your app may receive.

3. If you’re able to find details about any clients of the companies you shortlisted. Try to find their contact details and mail/call them with your queries about their experience with the mobile app development company. Asking direct opinions is a surefire way to know how a company executes its app development operations. Your own experience may end up being fairly similar to the experiences you hear from others.

Okay, so what should I do now that I’ve found a mobile app development partner?

So this is the final stage of the entire process. After going through everything mentioned above, you may have finalized the mobile app development companies you would be willing to work with.

Evaluate the pros and cons of every company you shortlisted and select the one that suits you the best. Do not regret your choice, because all companies that made it through your research process are the best choices you could have made.

All those companies would have a good reputation, a skilled team of mobile app developers and a reliable development process. So just choose your mobile app development partner, trust their work and stay positive.

The development process may seem overwhelming at first, so it may happen that you panic at times. But the company you would be working with would definitely know what they’re doing, for they’d have already worked with many clients like you.

If anything, make sure that the project gets delivered on time with all QA & testing process completed. Try the finished product- the mobile app by yourself, and perhaps have some of your employees try the app before approving it for launch.

With this, I shall conclude. I know it is a lengthy post. But this read will definitely be worth your time if you want to launch a successful mobile app and gather more audience, along with providing an easily accessible medium for customers to access services offered by your business.

Now before you set off on your pursuit to find your ideal app development partner, I suggest that you check out these 5 mobile app development companies which may have what you’re looking for.

  1. PixelCrayons

PixelCrayons is one of the top Software Outsourcing companies based in India. With over 14 years of experience in the business and over 500 employees, the company has maintained a verified 97% client retention rate over the past 3 years. They offer end-to-end mobile app development services on both Android & iOS, along with a 100% money back guarantee if you’re not satisfied with the project.

2. ValueCoders

ValueCoders is a mobile app development company that hires dedicated app developers to fulfill their clients’ requirements. ValueCoders has been in this business since 2004 and rapidly expanded its operations within the past two years.

3. ACodez

ACodez is a mobile app development company based in India that provides mobile app development for Android & iOS devices. The company, founded in 2011 also provides other services related to branding and digital marketing.

4. Fingent Technologies

Fingent is an IT Software development company established in 2003. The company offers custom software development and mobile application development services. The company has over 275 employees and helps companies both large and small meet their business needs as and when they need it.

5. Space-O Technologies

Space-O Technologies is a mobile app development company that runs on the motto of “Getting shit done”. Based in India and established in 2010, the company dedicated itself to creating solutions for clients that solve real-life problems faced by its customers.

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