Mark Mason
Mark Mason 15 March 2013
Categories Mobile

7 mistakes to avoid when choosing a mobile app developer

Having developed over 170 apps across a range of industry sectors, we've heard some scary stories about app development.


Does the development company outsource their work or use freelancers? Many companies do this to save money on development. Adding another party into the equation can cause a breakdown in communication. In addition to this, you cannot be sure how well written the code is, and what language it will be documented in! Our advice is to be wary of any agencies that outsource their work. A visit to their offices can be a great way to help you decide whether they are the right app developer for you.



Buy cheap, buy twice!

The cheapest quote may seem like the most appealing, but is it the best route to take? Often development companies will underprice projects to get the work and then struggle to deliver. It’s important to compare the different quotes and timescales given so you can clearly see who is underquoting. Also, ask to see their management figures, this should give you a good idea of how well they are managing their finances. With so many agencies going into liquidation, we think this is a very important factor.



Soup-to-nuts service?

Can the development company you choose actually do everything you need them to do? Aside from developing your app, can they advise you on your mobile roadmap and provide you with mobile consultancy? Are they clued up on app security? Do they have UX and UI specialists? Do they have the skills needed to integrate your app with your legacy systems? Can they advise on how you should market your app and help you continually evaluate how it’s doing?



Any previous experience?

Look at previous case studies and testimonials! This is so important and will help you decipher whether they have made a good impression with their clients. From previous projects, you can also see if they have developed any projects similar to the one you want developing.



Failure to plan

At Mubaloo, before any development starts, we go through a planning and design cycle. This results in a Functional Design Spec (FDS) which our clients will then sign off when they are happy with it. We also audit client APIs to make sure they are good for mobile. Only then do our developers start working on the project.



Never pay up front

Paying too much up front could leave you out of pocket if there are any problems down the line with your app or the development company. Projects should be broken down into a series of iterations, each of which should be delivered in full before you pay the invoice. You should also agree to own the code at the end of the project, sometimes agencies will charge extra for this, so it might be a good idea to get this cleared up before any contracts are signed.



The cross platform nirvana

There are a few development companies who are pushing a cross platform nirvana; that is, develop once, roll out across every mobile platform. Simply put, this doesn’t work. Or more accurately, it’s unlikely to give you what you’re expecting. Choosing whether to build a native, web or hybrid app is a big decision, which will largely depend on budget, target market and the functionality of your app. This is something that should be discussed in great detail with your agency.


Hopefully these points will save you from making an expensive mistake. There are great app developers out there and we hope these points will help you find one!

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