Dare to Compare: Mobile App Providers
(May 20, 2015) – There’s no shortage of advice when it comes to choosing a mobile app provider. But trust us—we’ve been around the block, and we know what it takes to build an app. There are pros and cons to each category of providers.
But how can you know which one to choose? Here are five topics you should consider when choosing to build a mobile app:
If you don’t have the money, you can’t buy. But remember—big purchases are also about finding value. Which option is not only going to be affordable, but will also give you the highest return on your investment? At the low end of the spectrum, do-it-yourself apps are cheap—just dollars per month. But on the other end, custom apps range between $150,000 and $500,000 with basic entry costs of $20,000. Take a look at what each option provides and how much value you’ll be receiving for your investment.
It’s important to choose a provider who will meet their deadline in delivering the finished product. Of course, superior work is going to (and should) take some time—but certainly not long enough to consume your entire year. Figure out what’s reasonable for your organization (two months? six months?) and look for a provider who can deliver. (Don’t forget to discuss that up front!)
Who on your team will be managing the app after it’s done? What is his or her level of technical expertise? If you aren’t willing or able to devote the appropriate time and energy into your app project, you may as well dump your money down the drain. Without the appropriate knowledge, practice, and promotion, apps can fail before they even get off the ground. If your level of expertise is high, a custom option may be right for you because you’ll be able to adequately direct your app down the right paths and answer your developer’s technical questions. With higher expertise, you may also consider DIY if you’re up for the challenge—just remember you’ll have limited resources to work with which may result in a lower quality app. If your team doesn’t have technical expertise but you want to participate in the strategy and ongoing management of your content, a mobile app platform is the way to go. With user-friendly software, building your app is easy, yet sophisticated.
If you need an app that will act as a basic hub for your organization’s information, a cheaper option with less functionality may be the way to go. But if you need more than a media player and you want to delight your users with the kind of app experience they’re used to (think Facebook, Twitter, YouTube), you’ll want to offer them native functionality (like web views, push notifications, directories, and more) that makes it easy to navigate. But beware—don’t go overboard if you think your provider’s feature package is a little too fancy for your tastes. It’s most important to consider your users here and what they’ll expect to continually use your app.
There’s no such thing as a “one and done” job when it comes to apps. With new screen sizes, operating systems, and best practices always evolving, change in the mobile market is inevitable. With that, your app will have to adapt. But how much time and money are you willing to devote to those enhancements? If the answer is “little,” a mobile app platform is without a doubt the best way to go. With automatic enhancements rolled out to your app without any work on your part you’ll save time and money knowing your app is of the highest quality at all times.
Prefer to influence your app’s enhancement directly? You’ll want to work with a developer who knows the latest trends and mobile best practices. Just remember—that advice doesn’t come for free.
Get more advice on choosing the best mobile app provider for your organization in our 5 Questions to Ask Yourself cheat sheet!
5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Building a Mobile App
Don’t jump the gun before you buy. Know what to ask ahead of time!