Consumers need to think twice before they fork out cash for mobile apps, says Paul Linn of app development agency Buuna.
When it comes to parting with money, there are certain products and services that are approached with a degree of caution. No one wants a lemon, and whether it’s a used car or a quote from a builder – the old adage ‘buyer beware’ rings true.
However, there is now the emergence of a new type of shonky, and it doesn’t involve a second-hand salesman. Demand for corporate app development has reached staggering heights – unfortunately the level of industry-wide professionalism hasn’t quite caught up.
Many new players are getting in on the game, and worryingly a growing proportion is under qualified. Armed with technical jargon, low prices and appealing promises, they are capitalising on the lack of technical knowledge the average customer holds.
“In the past six years the industry has grown at lightning speed. We’ve gone from no smartphones circa 2008, to people checking their apps every six minutes during their waking hours,” said Paul Lin, CEO of mobile app design and development agency, Buuna.
“As a result, many businesses are identifying the need for an app, and the demand for mobile development services is higher than ever. In such a technically rich field it can be hard for a business to determine what good service is, and what they should expect as an end product.”
“Just recently, a very prominent Australian business in the entertainment and media industry came to me three weeks before an app was due to publicly launch. The app company they had previously enlisted promised a quick turnover at a low price – and had later flaked out, disappeared and ceased being contactable when they realised they didn’t have the technical knowledge and capability to complete the project. The entertainment client was left very stressed, out of pocket and desperate for a solution.”
According to Lin, when shopping around for a prospective app company there are a few things to look for. From day one an app developer needs to be asking questions and familiarising themselves with your business needs at macro level, rather than providing a quote straight off the bat.
“Do they understand your business? Are thinking about the app from the same strategic level as you? Do they understand the end purpose of your app?” he questioned.
“A mobile agency is more than just a development house doing the technical grunt work for a fixed price. Just like you wouldn’t trust a dodgy builder to architect, build and design the interior of your store, it requires more than hammering a nail or cutting plywood. In the way the a building can vary from a backyard shed to the Opera House, the functionality and complexity of business apps are unique and individual.”
Lin offered advice in engaging a mobile agency to help out with technical development.
“Treat the initial meeting with the agency like a job interview. Look at their history and ask for examples of their work. The closer you are with the developers and people who help you strategise the app, the better. Be wary of anyone who quotes a price too quickly or too cheaply, and if it seems to good to be true it probably is.
“Never base your decision on the price. It’s a tough lesson when your money is spent and you’re left with a dud app. The cost of failure is very expensive. Just like you wouldn’t hire a dodgy lawyer because he comes out $100 cheaper, a shonky app developer will always leave you disappointed.”