Posted in Development
Asking the right questions before entrusting your iOS app project to a developer can help you determine whether you’ve indeed chosen the right developer, and can reduce costs and save you development time. While you can get a pretty good idea about the quality of a developer just by looking at their website and checking their online reputation, you will want to go a step further and ask your developer a few important questions. You can do it over the phone, but it will be more convenient for both of you if you use email instead, or even better, meet face to face.
Will I have full legal ownership of the code?
Allowing your iOS app developer to retain full or even partial rights to your app’s code can be a great blunder that will not only cost you dearly in the long-run, but also stifle your app’s ongoing improvement. If your app developer has some right over the code, they may not allow you to upgrade, fix bugs, or add new features to your app when you want to, but rather put you on hold until they find enough time for your project. Even worse, you lose ownership over your intellectual property (app), which may scare off investors or make it impossible for you to sell your app or your brand when you want to. Although ceding legal ownership to an app developer exposes you to so many risks, you may be tempted to do it if an iOS app developer offers you a special price. Resist that temptation and hold on to your code -- you will spare yourself a lot of hassle later on.
Will you use the Agile app development methodology?
Agile software development has become the norm for good-quality mobile app developers because it is more flexible and ultimately more productive than traditional project development with its rigid specifications. The Agile methodology fosters collaboration between cross-functional teams, promoting practices such as evolutionary development, adaptive planning, and continuous improvement. A developer following the Agile methodology will be able to deliver results and make progress on a weekly basis, send you regular demos and software updates, and effectively integrate your feedback into the development project through a continuous collaboration process. Agile development ensures that your iOS app gets tested and iterated on an ongoing basis, and that it can incorporate new and emerging technologies at any time.
How exactly will you estimate costs?
You shouldn’t settle for a quick estimate offer to you on the phone or sent by mail, especially if you haven’t yet discussed your app project thoroughly with your developer. A professional developer will provide an accurate cost estimate only after one or more collaborative sessions with you, and after the minimum viable product feature set has been established. Once you have an accurate cost estimate, ask for a breakdown of the total cost of development, to understand where exactly every dollar you spend on development will be going. If a developer promises you very low development costs even before they know your project, be on your guard -- they may be desperate for new customers and could introduce mounting costs later on, as the development progresses.
How will you schedule my project?
A good developer won’t hazard a deadline for your project before fully understanding your app and its scope. Even when an app is relatively straightforward and quick to develop, the testing and bug-fixing processes must be taken into account. The same collaborative approach used for determining the cost of your app is necessary for the creation of a viable app schedule. If your developer’s practices are aligned to the Agile methodology, you will receive app demos and more throughout the development phase. Depending on the app your want to build and the availability and team size of the developer your choose, developing an iOS app can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. Very simple apps can be developed in days, but you should never sacrifice testing and bug-hunting just to speed up development, or it may cost you later on.
Do you provide ongoing, long-term support for my iOS app?
An iOS app isn’t something that you can forget about after launching it in the App Store. For you app to keep up with competitors, it has to be updated and improved continually. Over time, bugs will have to be fixed, new features will have to be implemented, and device support will have to be extended to newer iPhone and iPad models. Also, your developer has to ensure your app will work with upcoming iOS releases.
Can you give me some customer references?
A successful iOS app developer will already have a portfolio and customer testimonials on their site. However, these days such things can be easily forged. Asking for references is a simple and effective way to tell whether an app developer you haven’t heard of before is for real. Going a step further, you can actually call some of the developer’s past customers and ask them whether they have indeed worked with that developer.
How many apps have you published in the App Store?
A number isn’t enough. You want links to those apps to see for yourself how many times they have been downloaded and what ratings they have received. Becoming familiar with other apps the developer has built not only assures you that they can get the job done, but also gives you an idea about whether they are the right choice for the kind of app you want to develop. Knowing how many apps the developer has published in the App Store isn’t a substitute for references - you still want references, the more, the better.
Can you develop an Android app as well?
You may have chosen to build an iOS app, but later on you may want to expand your presence to the Android mobile platform as well. If you current app developer handles Android app development effectively, they may be able to build an Android app for you at a better price than other developers, and provide better results, since they are already familiar with your requirements and have first-hand experience with your app. Ideally, you want a developer who can not only port your app, but build it from scratch on the Android framework, to achieve the best possible user experience.
What can you tell me about your testing process?
Extensive app testing is a crucial aspect of successful app development. Without testing, bugs, compatibility issues, user flow problems, and other issues may make it into your final release on App Store, and then your beautiful app idea can be ruined by a poor implementation. Good developers have a testing team at hand, or else they outsource the testing aspect of an iOS app to a specialized team.
What if I won’t be happy with how my app development is going?
It’s a good safety measure to know that you can pull out of a development contract at any time. More than that, however, you want to discuss with your developer what exactly will happen with the code of an unfinished app if you back out, and whether there will be a refund. Thanks to Agile development practices, it’s possible to hand over an unfinished app to another developer that can pick up the work for you. But in order to do this, you have to make sure you have full rights over your app, and enough money left to continue the work.
Want to Build an iOS App? We Can Help
We are an iOS app development company that believes a healthy communication with our customers is critical to developing successful and engaging iOS apps. We would be more than happy to answer the questions above and any other app development questions you may have. Get in touch with us and we will be more than happy to help.
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