App development: Three things you need to know
Whether you’re launching an app for your business or have a great idea for one, there are three things you need to know first.
1. Functionality: What is the one thing you want your app to do?
Pick just one (or two) maximum things you want your app to do. Don’t try to make it complicated or add too many functions, especially to start with. Complexity will mean it will take more time and money to launch.
Research the market or else you could spend lots of money on something that already exists. Look to other business models and understand what sort of functionality your competition is offering, and decide on a differentiation.
Identify your target users. Understand who they are, their requirements and what technologies or devices they’re using. Ask questions like, “Will they pay bills via an app or only use it to find the nearest ATM?”
2. Development: Is your app developer going to be in Australia, overseas, or will you do it yourself?
Choosing your developer can be tricky. Scope out reviews and get recommendations of good app developers wherever possible. Website developers do not necessarily know how to code apps.
"Always remember, it’s more difficult to enforce contracts when your supplier is overseas."
Most basic apps can cost in the vicinity of $2000 – $5000 depending on functionality, but could be much more/less depending on whether you use coders in Australia or whether you manage the project yourself. But price should not be your only determinant.
Want more articles like this? Check out the business technology section.
Here are three options to consider when choosing your developer:
Australian-based developers may be more expensive than some overseas developers. However, consider that you will be working in the same time zone, which is particularly helpful if something goes wrong with your app. It’s also much easier and cheaper if you require litigation or mediation.
You may find less expensive options overseas through freelance outsourcing marketplaces, but the quality may not be as good. You may also come across disreputable providers and end up with unstable, stolen or unsupported code.
Also, your app code may be locked so that you don’t have access and cannot get another developer to apply modifications or updates. Always remember, it’s more difficult to enforce contracts when your supplier is overseas.
Module App Builders/DIY
DIY app builders are the most cost effective way to build your app. By using set modules, you may be more limited in innovation and functionality, but there are several benefits. It’s cheaper, faster, easier to manage and easier to release updates. You can also control pricing. The downside is that your customisation options are limited, and the look and feel is ‘controlled’.
3. Protect your investment: How will you protect your app now and in the future?
This is a fundamental consideration that is often overlooked. Ownership of your app software code is important. You need to be able to show you own the app software code, not only for investment or sale purposes, but also if you want to hire another developer to update or modify it. Any new developer will need to have full access to your code in order to make modifications, so ensure you have the full app code and passwords.
Once you have found the right developer to code your app, ensure you have a proper legal agreement to cover payment terms, timelines, phases for delivery (payment for each phase once it has been delivered), a grace period for free ‘fixes’ (40 days minimum), and ownership of the code so you are free to sell or upgrade the App.
Owning the code is not the only consideration, you should also protect it. Consider requiring your developer to sign a confidentiality agreement, and register the intellectual property if you have an innovative design or functionality. If you have an innovative idea that you want to protect, it’s worth ensuring it is registered so it can’t be copied.
These are three major considerations that App entrepreneurs don’t think about. But you can. Good luck!
What is your experience with business apps?