Apply put: How to Hire a Mobile App Development Company — An interview with Nauman Akbar (Part 2), founder and owner of MessageMuse
Interviewer: We continue our interview with Nauman Akbar, the founder and owner of MessageMuse, a full service digital marketing agency. Nauman, in our first interview we discussed website development companies and how to find the one that is right for your business. Today, I want to talk a bit about apps and how to go about mobile app development—preparation, selecting a company, and cost. Today I would like to focus on how to start the mobile app developer selection process.
Nauman Akbar: Mobile app development is one of those areas that has seen a lot of growth in popularity and access to more people. In effect, the number of mobile apps has increased significantly over recent years. With the wider use of smartphones, apps are tools that make our lives easier, more functional, safer, and more fun. We see more and more non-tech people coming to us with app ideas. Mobile app development no longer belongs to the geek sitting in a cubicle with time on his hands. The level of sophistication for these apps has increased as well. No longer are these one or two screen apps used to perform a single function nor are they simple games that your children play while you are waiting to be seated at a restaurant. People wanting to get into mobile app development come with some very sophisticated and complex concepts that require a great deal of functionality. For that reason, hiring a mobile app designer is tricky particularly for a non-tech person with an idea.
Interviewer: So what are some of problems with finding a company to create your app?
Nauman Akbar: There are several—all of which have to do with knowledge gaps. First, there are no rule books or standard protocols for creating apps. There are no “app creation” schools to go to. This is a skillset that is learned by doing. At MessageMuse, for example, we hire experienced mobile app developers that have specialization with either Android app development or iOS app development. We like to find the best in each arena and then team them up to do their work. Each platform has its unique ways of handling functions and their app stores have different requirements to get the app accepted. Those differences will determine whether you will have a good app development outcome or not.
Another issue that complicates the selection of a great mobile app developer is that the types of apps that are being created cover a tremendous knowledge base. At one point, MessageMuse was developing a medical app used to calculate surgical components and a social “meet-up” app meant to connect people in a close geographical area. While we look to the customer for the expected result, we still have to keep a close eye out for inconsistent outcomes and operations. It is for this reason that thorough quality control procedures be in place during every milestone in the mobile app development process. Let’s face it, QC checks are tedious and time consuming and some mobile app developers take shortcuts in this area. They look to the client to find all the bugs. Our company takes the approach that the more eyes on a problem the better.
Finally, most non-tech people who come to us with an app idea have a general concept of how the mobile app should work. But in the world of mobile app development, details, decision trees, and screen designs all have to be mapped out. This is where an experienced mobile app developer is imperative. Like the case with website designers, a customer has to partner with someone who will help them through the process and make good suggestions. Since most of my career has had its roots in design, this is something I enjoy. Some web developers don’t like this part of the process so you get rather flat graphics and screen designs. Just as website designs are competing to keep customers on your site longer, mobile app design has to keep people engaged and interacting.
Interviewer: It all seems very complicated. So how can a customer get good information about whether or not a mobile app developer is the right one?
Nauman Akbar: Discussion and some questioning are good places to start. I think for the initial interactions, I would recommend asking the following questions:
1. What types of mobile apps have you developed? Have you developed any that have the same structure or uses like the one I am proposing?
2. Can you give me some examples of the apps you have done in the past two years so that I can download them, look at the quality of the graphics and the experience you have created for the app user?
3. What are your quality control procedures that you use when building a mobile app?
4. How many Android apps and IOS apps have you created?
5. What types of assistance do you offer your customers in layout and design of app screens?
These are some of the basic questions that I would recommend starting with to vet mobile app development companies. There are still many steps that have to take place especially around defining the steps of the app and the pricing of project. We can discuss some of these components in the next part of our interview series.
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