By: Bob Kernen
Choosing someone to help you plan and execute your mobile strategy can be daunting. If you’re like most media or agency people you mostly know about mobile as a user. You may be super-smart about digital in general, but mobile is a challenging beast. So before you make a decision about the company you want to develop your mobile strategy, you should ask them these five key questions:
- Which platforms do they develop for? This is such an important question because you want to make sure your app is widely distributed without paying a lot extra for tiny slices of the consumer market. Most developers will offer iOS (iPhone) and Android development. With these two platforms your app will be available to well over 95% of the users in North America. Some firms will also offer support for Windows Phone or even Amazon devices, but these devices make up a very small proportion of the devices in the market, so you’re paying a lot for not a lot of gain. If you’re in Europe or Asia, Windows Phone may make more sense to have.
- Where is the development being done? Lots of firms “offshore” their development to far away places like India, China, Pakistan and eastern Europe. Nothing wrong with that, inherently, but it can complicate your project, as a lot of the work will be done by people who may have little understanding of your market, and things like changes and edits may have to be done “overnight” due to time differences. The key to a successful “offshore” project is who is managing the project from “onshore.” So you should make sure that the company has the personnel and the track record of managing these types of projects.
- How do they support your apps? Mobile is a fast-changing, dynamic environment and it is anything but a set-it-and-forget-it proposition. Your mobile development partner should be capable and ready to support your app as things like operating systems and devices change. Several times a year Apple and Google will make updates to their respective OSs and those changes can cause problems with your app. The developer should be taking care of those problems without having to charge you for every minor update. Also, new devices can cause issues and your developer should be prepared to support any device with more than 5% market share.
- How does your app work with new things like cars, TVs and watches? Apps are now for more than just phones. Lots of new devices offer apps, and your app developer should be able to deliver for you on these platforms if your client needs them to. If your client has a lot of video content, a smart TV app might make sense, and extensions for watches, and cars should definitely be a part of your app’s capabilities.
- What services do they provide beyond writing code? Top notch developers are obviously a must, but it’s important that you know what else you’re getting. Does your developer have designers (user interface as well as graphic), client support people, project managers and other strategists who can make sure that you don’t just end up with an app, but with the right app.
There are surely lots of other questions, but these should help you narrow your search. If you want input on your mobile strategy contact Beth Ayers or Bob Kernen at 248-353-9030, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.