Checklist for Mobile App Development

If you’re a regular reader of our AppMusing® blog, you know that we’re in the business of connecting entrepreneurs who have mobile app ideas with experienced app developers.  Some of the folks we connect with developers have been down the development road before and know what to expect.  For others, it’s their first time.  If you’re in the latter category, here’s a checklist of information for mobile app development you should get together before interviewing developers for your app idea.

What is your target platform/device?

  • iOS and/or Android? Handheld only or tablet as well?  We’ve posted in the past about how to choose a platform for your app idea and you might want to take a look at our posts comparing iOS and Android development.
  • If you’re planning to develop your app on multiple platforms or devices, keep in mind that most developers will give you separate quotes for each platform (or device).  Developing for two platforms or devices may not double your development costs, but it will cost more than developing for just one platform or device.

Will your app have a corresponding web-service application?

This could be:

  • a database (online or local)
  • social media interaction
  • posting features (like blog or social media)
  • collection of audio or video files

Most apps have some sort of web services connection – if yours does, are those services in place?  Be prepared to discuss with app developers any web services you have planned for your app.  If the web service does not already exist, you’ll also need to consider development of that aspect of the project, including whether you’ll ask the mobile app developer to develop the web-services application as well.

Will your app include in-app advertising or some other revenue model?

We’ve also posted several times about in-app advertising, freemium marketing, and other revenue models.  Whichever model you choose, be prepared to discuss this functionality with your developers so they can accurately quote a price for developing the app.  If you’re going to have in-app advertising, you’ll also need to set up an advertising server account at some point during development.

Do you have a payment gateway account?

If your app will collect payments using credit cards, you’re going to need a payment gateway account.  This can take a week or more to set up a payment gateway, so it’s important to get it in place early in the development.

What about branding?

Do you have a logo? A trademark?  Have you put together a style guide for your app?  What about colors?  Your developer will use branding information to set the tone of the application user interface.  Naturally, you’ll want the look and feel of the app to be consistent with the brand you have (or are building), so it’s important to let prospective developers know about your branding plans as early as possible in the development process.

What about marketing and distribution?

Most app publishers will have a website to go along with the app.  Although there are many ways to market a mobile app, having your own website (with links to the app stores) is highly recommended.  Of course, web site development is generally not included in app development cost proposals.  If you want your app developer to build a web site for the app, you’ll need to be sure to discuss this issue with prospective developers.

Has development for the app already been started?

We get a fair number of requests for app quotes from people who started development with a developer, but quit for some reason and are now looking for a new developer (we call these “shattered projects”).  Often, the original developer was an inexperienced developer who promised a much cheaper development price, bringing to mind the old adage about getting what you pay for … and which usually involves breaking our cardinal rule – don’t pay to train an app developer. In any event, if the development was started and you’re looking for someone else to finish the job, you’ll need to give the new developer the following:

  • all existing source code and version files
  • all hosting and web services administration
  • any third party software (analytics, advertising, payment processing, etc)

You should also keep in mind that when you ask a developer to take over a project the new developer is going to need some time to “untangle” what was done before and determine why it is not working.  This is going to add to your development cost.  Indeed, it can cost as much to “fix” a project someone else started than to start from scratch.

Hopefully, having the information in this checklist will help you interview prospective developers for your mobile app.  If you have not yet found a developer and would like to get three free app development from experienced app developers, just complete our quote request form and we’ll get you started!

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