When you hire an app developer you want to have a good experience, where the process is collaborative, transparent and everyone understands their roles and responsibilities. An app developer is going on a journey with you, so they need to appreciate and understand your unique business objectives and your specific app requirements.
There are three vital steps you need to take to ensure a great customer experience working with your chosen developer and the assurance of a professionally developed app for your business.
Step 1 – Protect your idea
Before you begin discussing your project with a developer, a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) should be in place and signed by both parties. An NDA is a legally binding contract that establishes a confidential relationship between you and your developer. This ensures that sensitive information cannot be disclosed to other parties and unique ideas are respected and protected.
Some development companies provide NDAs for you or you can go to a legal firm and obtain an NDA with all the relevant clauses. If you are looking to develop an app with us here at Enterprise Monkey, you can find our NDA here.
Step 2 – Define the scope of the project
In order to get an estimate and cost for your app development, you will need a very clearly defined Project Scope. This stage in the process is vitally important to get right, as it will become the reference point to the entire development process and define what your end product will look like.
A good development company will take the time to workshop this with you, ensuring that every function, feature and backend requirement has been captured before commencing any development work.
List of mobile app features & functions you may require;
- Camera access
- Online/ Offline capabilities
- Push notifications
- Integration with Augmented Reality
- Chat support
- Payment Gateway Integration
- QR scanner Integration
High-Level Project Scope
If you haven’t already completed this to a high level, be prepared to pay for this service. For an app developer to provide a quote, they have to have a very clear and detailed understanding of the specifications of your app and the end product. This will assist you with ensuring the app will be developed exactly as you intend it to be.
MVP (Minimum Viable Product)
Throughout this process, it is a good idea to identify a minimum viable product which is a simplified version of your product. It will provide you with just enough features to be tested by your early customers and gets your app out to the market as quickly as possible.
A quick release of your MVP allows you to obtain feedback to see if the product features and functionality need fine-tuning. This way you invest in only the features that your customers want to see, reducing upfront costs. You can also gain more investors as they can see the success of your product and is no longer just an idea written on paper.
The first meeting rarely provides an accurate price for development. User stories are a simple and easy way of writing a scope from the user’s perspective. Some typical examples could be:
- “As a customer, I want to be able to look at all the options available. I want to select my option and make my purchase without logging in.
- “As a customer, I want to have multiple payment options and want my previous checkout preferences to be remembered”.
From creating these user stories, the developer has a clear understanding of the different user requirements of your app.
Wireframing and Prototyping
When a developer has defined the user story for your project, the next step is to sketch out a wireframe, which is a basic map that enables you to picture the customer journey through the app. Once the wireframing is completed and you have given your approval to proceed, the prototype phase begins.
The prototype is the design of the user interface (UI) where you can test the interaction with your app and ensure it has been designed correctly before commencing the development phase. Once the prototype has been approved, it will ensure a seamless transition into the development phase of the process.
Step 3 – Clearly documented cost breakdown
Before you commit to building your app you must obtain a clearly defined and documented description of your app’s purpose, functionality and features with an itemised cost breakdown of the scope and a timeline for each stage.
The cost will be determined by the complexity of and a number of features. Features could include push notifications, offline mode, GPS, video streaming, payment management, profile setup and editing ability. They all must be listed and agreed upon. Be aware that if you make changes out of the scope you will be charged an hourly rate. Find out what the hourly rate is and how many hours a simple change could take. Not sticking to the plan could be costly.
Other important things that need to be clearly documented and cost are the operating system (Apple and/or Android), third party services connection costs, app testing and deployment and finally ongoing maintenance costs.
Five more things to consider when making your app developer selection;
- Developer expertise. How many years of experience does the developer have? Look at their portfolio and have they developed an app like yours before? Do they have the specific technical knowledge for your project? If you are not technically savvy, bring in an impartial IT professional to examine your developer.
- What is their process? Expertise in your industry is not always required to develop a great mobile app as long as the developer has a process to learn about you, the customer and your needs. They must conduct in-depth consultations and learn about your business and determine how to develop the application for your prospects.
- Don’t focus solely on the cost. Look at what’s included in the cost and the level of service you will receive.
- Read customer testimonials and call or email the person directly and confirm the experience of the developer and how they resolved problems, their communication skills and transparency throughout the project.
- Be wary of an over-commitment. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Bringing an idea or project to life should be an exciting and rewarding experience with the right development partner. To avoid having a bad experience with an app developer follow the three vital steps so you can move on with the important things like marketing and scaling your business.
If you would like to speak with an experienced mobile app developer, with offices in Geelong and Melbourne, give our team at Enterprise Monkey a call. We look forward to discussing your app development requirements with you further.