You may be thinking “what do I need to ask or think about when it comes to mobile app development?” Building your first or maybe even your next app for your business is no small endeavor and it’s important to ask yourself all the important questions before starting the app development process. We’ve brainstormed a few questions that we find imperative to ask yourself before looking into and hiring app developers near me to build your next app. There are so many options at your fingertips nowadays that it’s important to understand all that’s out there and what will work best for your company.
What Type of App Makes Most Sense for My Use Case?
Before we get into who will build your next app, it is important to know what needs to be built. (And you’ll be surprised how many people don’t think about this first!) There are a few different types of apps to choose from and decide what makes the most sense for your brand. You can build native mobile apps, web apps, or Progressive Web Apps (PWAs). They all have their own benefits and drawbacks. Let’s take a look at each at a very high level and know that you can learn more through the links provided to learn which app is your mobile champion!
- Native Mobile Apps – Native mobile apps are what you’ve likely always thought of when referencing an app. You go to the app store and download the app to your phone. (And wait for it to finish downloading… If you have enough space.) These apps are created to be device-specific to allow superb integration with the native functionalities of the device. This is why when creating native mobile apps you must create separate apps per operating system (Android vs. iOS). The benefits of a native mobile app are they work offline, integrate with all device functionality, and are familiar to consumers. The drawbacks of a native mobile app are they can only be accessed and updated through the app store, require a decent amount of storage, and require two different builds if you want to support both iOS and Android. Native mobile apps can become extremely expensive depending on how long it takes to develop and it requires a skilled developer to build.
- Web Apps – Web apps are web-based applications that live behind a URL instead of on a device’s operating system. Most web apps need to have a connection to the internet to be used (with the exception of PWAs). If you’ve ever been in the Salesforce platform you have most likely seen what a web application looks like and acts like. It doesn’t need to be downloaded onto your device to be accessed. The downside of web apps is that you need a continual connection to the internet to access the app. (Not difficult at work, but maybe difficult if you are on the move.) Web apps also do not integrate with native functionality on devices.
- PWAs – Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are marrying the best of both worlds from native mobile apps and web apps. PWAs allow you to have an app that functions similarly to a native app (ex: geolocation, push notifications, ability to save to the home screen, etc.) but is housed behind a URL. Meaning, PWAs are bringing the native functionalities to the web! Some of the benefits are shorter load times, smaller storage space required, more economical development costs, can be used offline in some use cases, and no app store. (That means you can update your app at any time you want and push it out without app store approval.) The drawbacks are that the functionality can be inconsistent across operating systems, access offline is limited, and adoption is still growing. PWAs however, can be built much quicker and at a lower cost compared to native apps. Lumavate, for example, has been able to get PWAs up and running in a matter of days for some clients.
Should I Hire a Freelance App Developer or Hire a Company to Build My App?
This question can be answered by “well it depends.” But all kidding aside, there are a few questions to ask yourself when trying to decide to go with a freelance developer or a company to build your next app. It will depend on the functionality, the budget, the quality of work, and the security needed for your app.
- Freelance Developers – There are some amazing freelance developers you can find to build apps at a portion of the cost compared to some larger app building companies but it may come with some drawbacks. If your app is a simple app a freelance developer may be a great option. (Example, an app to help your team at the restaurant take orders to send back to the kitchen, a freelance developer may be able to help out with that.) But if you are wanting your customers to put in private or secure information into the app you need to do your due diligence up front to make sure the app is being built to secure that information properly. However, if you are on a tight budget and want a more casual approach to building your next app it may be helpful to do some research on a few developers around you. Remember though, this is one person and you will not have as much of a continual update and contact throughout the entire process.
- App Building Companies – Now, my recommendation usually is to go with a well-established company that builds apps all day, every day with clients who have ideas and have turned their requirements into secure and quality apps. Mobile app building companies have a higher potential to deliver exceptional apps. The other benefits for these companies are they will keep your application secure and compliant to its core, keep confidential information secure, be available more often to discuss progress/work, and their quality is known. The obvious drawback to this would be the cost. The top app building companies typically have a much higher price point than average ones.
What Type of App Development Software Should I Look At?
While doing your research on app development, you may have come across the citizen developer movement. This movement has begun due to app building companies creating platforms that are either low-code or no-code and allow individuals with little or no coding experience to build an app. These types of platforms or software allow you as a business person or marketer (or any non-coding individual) to build an app on your own without the need for a developer. It is worthwhile to look into a few options within the no-code or low-code realm because it could help fit into a tighter budget and enable you to actually control your own app. These platforms often start at a reasonable price and will increase as customization is added or additional integrations are needed to be developed.
Hiring a developer to build your next app is not always the answer. There are many options, from app-building companies to low-code or no-code platforms that allow you to make a decision on what price range, time to market, and development process make the most sense to you and your company.