Businesses come up with lots of incredible ideas for apps that solve their problems and work well for others too. These programs might enhance communication with customers, improve recordkeeping or billing, or help teams collaborate better internally. But the truth is, creating an app isn’t guaranteed to solve a business problem—and it might actually create a new one. If you’re scoping out mobile app development services, here are some of the things you need to know to make sure you get an app that meets your needs, without wasting time or money.

I Want to Create an App, Where Do I Start?

The first step to start developing an app is to thoroughly and fully understand why your business needs to create it. We don’t believe answering “why” just one time is enough to guarantee you have this understanding. We recommend the 5 Whys, or 5Y Technique. This means asking “why” multiple times, leading to increasingly specific answers about the root of your problem. This might lead to a revelation that an existing program or app could address the technical side of the issue for much less cost.

For instance, maybe your overarching reason for wanting to create the app is why #1:

Why #1: We need an app to communicate better as a remote team.

We heard that one a lot in 2020! But…why do you need to communicate better?This might lead to a few responses:

Why #2:  We are all using lots of different programs to do work. And, some individuals aren’t as available as they need to be.  

Well, why are those things happening? 

Why #3: We rely on different programs that are performing different functions. Some members of the team get very focused on individual tasks. Others have distractions at home that interrupt their work day.

And why is that?

Why #4: There isn’t one software that meets all our needs, meaning people are working in information silos. They might not check other channels or know how to communicate when there are interruptions. 

Why don’t they do that?

Why #5: There isn’t enough cross-department transparency for each individual to understand how their work affects others on the team.

Though the approach is called the “5 Whys,” you don’t really have to ask five times, just until you get to a place where valuable answers are no longer being provided. Sometimes this will be less than 5, sometimes more. Ultimately, this process will reveal which aspects of your business problem can be solved and simplified with an app…and which can’t. It might also help you dial in to how an app could help and help you see that features you didn’t anticipate would actually be the most useful. And that is why this is the place you must start defining the scope of the app and what it will achieve.

What are the Important Qualities of an App Developer?

You need a developer who is going to help you do the heavy lifting of the app creation process, from determining scope to user testing and maintenance post-launch. If you are wondering how to vet a mobile app development company, here are some of the important qualities to look for:

o   Knowledge: The best app development companies bring knowledge of multiple programming languages to the table, as well as insights about cross-platform development. This is the insight that will make sure your app works equally well on all operating systems and different devices. Additionally, an essential app development skill is User Experience and User Interface (UX/UI) Design. This makes sure the app will be easy to use…dare we say, maybe even fun?

o   Creativity: Speaking of design, you need an app developer who exhibits some creativity. If you look through their portfolio of past work and see all similar products, this can be a sign they aren’t going to actively listen to your needs and create a custom app to match. High-quality app development starts with creative thinking, problem-solving, and conversation with you about your business.

o   Teamwork: Collaboration is essential not just among the developers on the team, but in tandem with your business. If the app developer isn’t willing to compromise or take feedback, this is another red flag. Remember, this is your product, and your viewpoint should be important. At the same time, you also want experts who will educate you about why they want to make certain choices and enter into a real conversation to advocate for what they believe is in your best interest.

o   After-Care: An app developer’s work doesn’t end when the first version is launched. Look for a company that will be there to support you as your needs change and the digital world evolves.

One more thing to look for in an app developer is their willingness to create, deploy, and test a minimally viable product before they do every bit of work on the app. This is an important part of the development process because it gives the stakeholders and end users at the business a chance to use the app and give feedback while it’s still able to be applied. If a company wants to create the whole thing before anyone gets a chance to test it out, this could mean the cost will add up or that you might have to settle for something that is less than ideal.

How Much Does It Cost to Make an App For Your Business?

The cost to make an app for a business depends on the other two legs of the project management triangle—scope and time. If you want a very complex app, or want it on a tight timeline, the cost is going to increase. More simple apps that can be developed on a relaxed time frame might cost less. The total cost can vary anywhere from a few thousand dollars to a few hundred thousand.

This price tag might have you wondering, how much does it cost to make an app by yourself? Let’s set the question of applicable design, programming, and testing skills aside, because you could use a no-code platform. But there is still the cost of hosting the app on the Apple Store or Google Play Store, which would be the most straightforward way to make it available to employees and/or customers without needing to rely on a vendor. Google Play charges a one-time fee of $25, while Apple charges a yearly fee of $99 for a public app, or $299 to make the app limited availability for internal use only.

Expert Mobile App Development Services at Moser Consulting

At Moser Consulting we are focused on designing and developing technology that is centered on the human experience. That is the only way the application will actually drive results at your business. It’s our priority to start with research about your business, its challenges, and the solutions the app is meant to provide. Then, we use Agile processes to work toward a minimally viable product that is rooted in human-centered design. Once people have a chance to test the strength of the vision we agree on, we continue the Agile workflow to iterate from there and provide a final product your end users love. 

This is just the beginning of a great relationship where we take initiative to maintain a product your users love. We’d love the chance to talk with you more about leveraging an app to strengthen your bottom line.