Are you about to embark on the journey of creating your first app? No need to worry, you’re not alone. Thousands of people start this journey every year and educating yourself on the landscape is important if you’re looking to have a successful outcome.
When you’re looking for the right mobile app designer, developer or development team to take on your project- there are a number of questions you might want to ask to prevent yourself from any unforeseen problems:
1. Can you talk about the last 2 projects that you’ve done?
The reason: What you’re looking for with this question is what the process is like, how long their last projects took, and what were some unforeseen challenges that arose and how they solved them.
It is also recommended that you get in touch with a past client of the designer, developer or development team to ensure that they had a good experience throughout the process.
2. How many projects are you currently working on?
The reason: If it is a single developer they should only be working on your project- maybe one other if the scope isn’t that big, otherwise it is likely that your project will go over the projected timeline.
If you’re working with a development or design firm, then you should make sure that you have 1 to 2 people dedicated solely to your project.
3. What level of involvement will you need from me in creating my app?
The reason: No designer, developer or development team will be able to create wireframes, design work or a finished product without you. Your project will likely go through multiple iterations to get a product that meets your vision. If they say that you don’t need to be involved in the process, that’s a red flag.
4. How frequently do we need to communicate and how should we communicate?
The reason: You do not need to meet with a developer or designer in person to have your project come to life, however communication is key. It is important that you outline how often you need to communicate and what the methods of communication will be prior to starting the project. Typically it is best if you check in with a team once a week to make sure things are going as planned.
5. What’s the best way for me to be updated on progress?
The reason: You’ll want to be updated on the progress made at every step of the design and development process to ensure that the project is meeting your requirements. Whoever is managing your project should give you access to some project management tool such as Basecamp, Asana, etc. so that you can see how your project is progressing.
Here’s a checklist of outputs that you should expect from an app developer or development team prior to engaging with them:
1. Wireframes: Wireframes are like a blueprint for your app that explain the structure and flow, meaning how all the elements of the app work together. They also help you and your developer determine the cost of the work because they visually outline the technical needs or desired functionality for your app.
Formats: Hand drawn or .PSD (Adobe Photoshop file)
2. Style Guide: Colors, fonts, and guidelines for usage.
Format: Word or .pdf
3. Images: Icons, logo and other designed elements.
Format: .PSD (Adobe Photoshop, .AI (Adobe Illustrator)
1. User Stories: For a developer or designer, user stories explain how the end user is intended to use the app and each of its features. In other words, it’s a list of scenarios that fulfill the needs of the end user. From a technical perspective, it’s an outline to guide the creation process and inform what code is needed.
Format: Text file (a log of stories)
2. Access to live Source Code: So that you can look at daily progress and potentially get a technical advisor to review quality.
3. Install Instructions: These should be a detailed, working version.
Format: “Read Me file” or text document
4. Running Code: The running code is the working version of the program. You’ll also want to obtain all the “commits with comments,” which are the tracked changes to the code usually stored on a collaboration platform such as Github.
Format: Will be .APK file if Android or .IPA file if iOS
5. Host Server Details: Information to login to the server
6. Bugs and Issues Documentation: Bugs found during the testing phase, or other issues, are important for a developer to be aware of before making changes to your app.