Apps differ from mobile websites and traditional online destinations because you aren’t competing with other platforms and web pages. Once you convince a user to download your brand’s app and enter it, your risk of them jumping to a new website significantly decreases, while your ability to deliver information straight to them increases, resulting in effective direct marketing.
This lack of immediate competition allows you to market precisely to your consumers within the app through clear-cut messaging and calls to action. But remember, there are many types of mobile apps -- including in-browser applications and native. Plus, don’t drop your traditional desktop website (yet) -- not every customer will have a device that is compatible with your app, so it’s in your best interest to provide a user-friendly outlet for everyone.
Well-developed and designed mobile apps give the power to consumers, enabling them to interact with a brand from the palm of their hand and with the click of a button. This strong attention to user experience encourages users to engage with a brand on a more frequent basis and with stronger loyalty.
There are several top app design features that increase user engagement. These include 24/7/365 chatbot assistance, embedded contact information, interactive maps, seamless reminders that automatically integrate with your native calendar, simple and intuitive navigation, and more. What’s better? Consumers prefer mobile apps instead of mobile websites because of their customer-centric designs, and 61 percent of consumers hold higher opinions of businesses with strong mobile experiences.
Great app design and development agencies work with brands to create stunning mobile experiences that foster trust and fill a void for consumers. This additional branded platform reinforces a business’s morals, products, services and general expertise, making the company as a while more valuable for consumers in the market.
Visibility and recognition is the key to capturing new consumers and transforming them into returning customers. Consistent and regular branding is shown to increase awareness and overall trust in a company, resulting in brand loyalty and higher revenue. Plus, up to 80 percent of consumers ignore web page ads -- and even say they diminish their trust in an overall website. In a mobile app, consumers are free from pesky ads and are able to concentrate on the information a brand wants to communicate.
Developing a new mobile app is the perfect opportunity to gather new and useful information about your customers. Through brand-new onboarding processes, gamified interfaces, and even permitted access to other apps such as contacts and calendars, businesses open up a wealth of information by created a user-friendly app.
Top app developers can help brands create a seamless experience for users that simultaneously collects data legally and unobtrusively. Then, companies can harness that user data to improve various marketing efforts, such as targeted ads and email and marketing automation campaigns, or tailor better products and services towards consumers. This new connection to customers provides long-term growth benefits to any business.
Return On Investment
Perhaps most importantly, investing in mobile apps could produce a strong return on investment for businesses -- particularly those with strong online presences or e-commerce shops. Studies predict that mobile apps will generate approximately $189 billion in revenue by 2020.
Consumers growing reliance on smartphones pushes us closer to a mobile-only world. By 2019, we’re expected to see mobile devices capable of handling 5G, which is known for super-speed and strong connections that rival desktops and traditional computers. Plus, plenty of reports increasingly speculate that we’re heading to a time reliant on smartphones alone. By developing a highly-functional mobile app that your consumers enjoy using, you’re one step closer to surpassing the competition on the way to the future.
Questions To Ask An App Design and Development Company
Remember: App design and app development are completely different, even though they help create the same product. You might find the most reputable app agency around, but you must make sure they specialize in the skills you need to bring your product to life.
Plus, top design and development agencies may offer other services that your business may need, even if it’s unrelated to this particular project. Ask the questions below to learn exactly where an agency’s expertise lies.
- Do you specialize in design or development?
- How long has the agency worked on both types of projects?
- How big is each department within the agency?
- Is there one area clients seem to gravitate towards in terms of your services?
- Do you offer any other design, development, or digital services outside of apps?
Team Of Experts
The professionals working on your mobile app are far more important than the agency at large. These are the experts who will be trusted with creating an on-brand product that is user-friendly, simple to navigate, and works well for your consumers.
So, don’t just trust a top agency’s reputation. Instead, dive into each particular team member, and request the right agency employees whom you believe will make your project a smashing success.
- Who will be working on this project?
- What will their role be?
- How dedicated to our project will they be? Will they be working on other projects?
- What is their experience?
- What similar projects have they worked on? What were their role and the overall outcome of the project?
- What unsuccessful projects have they worked on? What did they learn from them?
The best app design and development agencies adhere to a strict timeline and creative process that identifies important mobile app features, then executes them in an appropriate period.
Clients should feel confident in the agency’s ability to conduct research, communicate information, and make sure they are finalizing the deliverables you need on time. The following questions will help you determine if a great agency can back up their strong work with excellent organization.
- How will the team determine the features and app qualities that are important to our users?
- How will the designers and developers strike a balance between creative design and technical logistics?
- How will you determine the project timeline?
- How do you plan to keep to project on track?
- Will we have a project manager?
- Who will be our point of contact?
- How often can we expect prototypes, meetings, drafts, and updates? Are those capped at a certain amount?
- How do you plan to manage interdepartmental communication between designers and developers?
Well-respected app design and development firms will have plenty of success stories to share with potential clients. These previous projects showcase the actual expertise of an agency and their in-house experts and should detail the problems solved, how long the project took to execute, and how the final mobile app improved the business.
Research each potential agency’s portfolio on your own, then ask them specific questions about their experience to ensure they have business-building substance behind their beautiful designs.
- What are some similar projects you have worked on? What was the end result?
- Tell us about some of your favorite design or development projects. Why were they so enjoyable and why do you think they were successful?
- Share a project that didn’t produce the results you had hoped for. Why was that project challenging, what would you have done differently, and what have you learned to future projects?
- Do you have experience in our industry? How did you get it?
- Do you have experience achieving a similar business goal?
- What clients have you previously worked with? Would any of them be willing to speak to us directly about their experience collaborating with you?
Cost & Contract
Fostering a professional partnership with a great design and development agency is complicated, and one of the smartest things you as a client can do is to create a signed, legally binding contract.
Although this hiring step is time-consuming, detailing the price range your project will fall in, the deliverables you will be provided, and the outcomes you can expect will make the entire collaboration process smooth and positive, and breed better business results. Plus, top app agencies will have no problem telling you their price structure and signing contracts, because it protects them, too.
- What is the minimum cost of your services?
- Are your prices per hour, per month, per project, or per results?
- What costs and deliverables are outlined in our contract?
- What outcomes can we expect from the project? Will this be detailed and agreed upon within the contract? Why or why not?
- Can our legal time look over the proposed contract and suggest edits?
- Would you sign an NDA?
- Are there any programs, services, or other items that might cost extra during the project? About how much will they cost?
- What is the maximum amount this project will cost? Would you include that figure in our signed contract?
How To Choose The Best App Design and Development Agency
Top designers and developers are experienced in assimilating development processes, trends, and design elements to unique brands, which is critical for success. A consistent and cohesive brand identity across all channels improves recognition, facilitates better user experience, and ultimately increases conversions and revenue.
In fact, 77 percent of marketers say that proper branding is crucial for long-term business growth. This identity encompasses your logo, color palette, copywriting and messaging, and overall experience -- including your mobile app. For the sake of your users, it is important to find the best app design and development agency that can seamlessly integrate the many aspects of your visual identity into your new mobile app design.
Strong organization, clear communication, and a detailed timeline are the hallmarks of a great app design and development agency. By sharing their overall process, team structure, programs they use and more, an agency is telling you that they are confident in their method and trust you as clients.
Thus, the best app development agencies will be forthcoming about their creative and logistical process. Don’t waste your time with a firm that hides information or acts secretive with the trajectory and timeline of a project. Instead, invest in an agency that values you as an equal professional partner, and keeps you in the loop from start to finish.
Reputable mobile app firms have access to the best designers and developers in the world, which puts the fate of your product in capable hands. What’s more, these professionals are in tune with the latest design trends, ensuring they produce a state-of-the-art app design that still maintains high functionality.
Before you hire a specific agency, take the time to learn about their individual team members. Understand their work experience, successful projects, and even their overall design aesthetic. The best designers will engage your target demographic by transforming their style to match your brand, not creating a mobile product that fits their personal mold.
Beautiful portfolios and mobile app case studies are a great stepping stone to understand the work an agency can produce, but if you really want to understand, search for specific client referrals and testimonials.
As outside third parties, former clients will give you a more candid inside look at what a professional partnership with an agency will truly be. But be wary of firms who hesitate at giving client information -- especially without a strong reason. Although there is some client privilege, most agencies who don’t have a single client reference willing to speak on their behalf likely don’t have many happy customers that they feel confident involving, which is a sure sign you should find a better agency.
Goals & Results
Great app design and development companies also provide strong goal-setting, project management, and keep each and every team member focused on the important objectives. These goals and their results are imperative to your brand’s overarching success.
For example, if you spend thousands of dollars on a mobile app, only to give users a digital platform with poor usability, subpar functions, and constantly-crashing features, you’ll amass negative feedback and alienate many consumers -- possibly forever. Because 52 percent of consumers say a poor user experience makes them unlikely to engage with a brand in the future, it is imperative that you find a top design and development agency that can help you determine actionable objectives that your users will appreciate, then actually deliver them.
Top Value Propositions & Differentiating Factors Of The Best Mobile App Development Companies
Many people claim to have an idea for the next big iPhone or Android app, but very few of us are actually capable of executing those ideas. Mobile application development companies exist to help companies and entrepreneurs transform their ideas into living, breathing digital realities.
Partnering with the wrong mobile app development company, however, can be catastrophic for your project, resulting in lost capital and lost opportunity.
So, what differentiating factors can help signify that a certain app developer will be the right partner?
Top Mobile App Development Companies Focus On Ideas
Even a mobile app that’s been beautifully designed and developed won’t succeed if the idea at its foundation isn’t a good one. Mobile application development is different from web design and web app development in that, while just about every business needs a website, not everyone needs a mobile application. Users will only download and engage with apps they find genuinely entertaining or useful. This means that in order to be successful, you need to have genuinely exciting and workable ideas.
Top mobile application development companies differentiate themselves from lesser competition based on their ability to vet and help develop mobile app ideas. These companies have experience, they’ve seen what works and what doesn’t, and as a result, their perspective in the ideation phase of a project is invaluable.
Leading Mobile App Development Companies Have Interdisciplinary Teams
Yes, design and technology are at the center of the app development process, but they aren’t the whole story. What about strategy, branding, marketing, and content? Developing a great app requires all of these things, and that’s why top mobile app development companies work in interdisciplinary teams. Bringing a range of different skills and perspectives to the table reduces the risk that a team will develop tunnel vision and helps ensure the best outcomes for every mobile application build. You can expect leading app development companies to emphasize an interdisciplinary approach, and to assign dynamic teams to every build. Depending on your needs, you may also need to look for a cross-platform app development company that can handle both iOS and Android development.
New York-based development company, Fuzz, knows the value of an integrated team approach: “Cross-disciplinary product teams collaborate with our client partners to define the goals and tactics for each two-week sprint."
The Best Mobile App Developers Have A Process
Mobile application builds are incredibly complex projects with many stakeholders and an even greater number of moving parts. Being guided by a proven process is essential to seeing the project through to the end and ensuring things stay on track from kickoff to launch. Top mobile app development companies are happy to share their process with prospective clients and will be willing to explain the reasoning and merits of every step. A process is what ensures nothing is overlooked, no specification left by the wayside, and no opportunity left untapped. Specific processes are created to handle iOS app development versus Android app development to ensure the quirks of each platform are covered.
New York-based Dom and Tom is an agency committed to process. “Our process begins with an in-depth Research & Planning period, wherein we lay the foundation for each engagement. We start by asking questions to establish a baseline, both to align your team with ours and to understand the problem or business goal. Then, we set the stage for creative solutions.”
Reputable Mobile App Development Companies Earn Accolades
While accolades and awards should certainly not be the only factor upon which you base evaluations of potential app developers, they are one of many useful differentiation factors. Awards and industry recognition indicate that the company is well-respected in their field, and are often a signifier that the development company’s work is a cut above the rest.
Leading App Design & Development Companies Are Cutting-Edge
Web design and mobile app development move at astounding speeds. What’s relevant one day is outdated the next and consumers have incredibly high standards about what qualifies as a positive mobile experience. The best mobile app development companies stay on top of not only what’s happening in the current cultural moment, but what’s coming down the line in the near future. This perspective enables them to design future-thinking experiences for their clients. Cutting edge design and development skills are a major value proposition of the best firms in the industry.
The Best Mobile App Development Companies Act As Partners
As a client, it’s important to find a mobile application development company that will work closely with your company in a partnership. A company that dictates to you or cuts you out of the process entirely is bad news for the outcome of the project. Top mobile app development companies are invested in the success of their client projects and seek to develop long-term relationships with the business they work with. This type of arrangement ensures that both the client and the agency have a hand in guiding the project and that both teams maintain accountability every step of the way.
Service Offerings Of Top Mobile App Development Companies
Any top mobile app development company should be able to take your app idea and run with it all the way through the final phases of execution. Exceptional app developers will even work with you to define and hone your idea until everyone feels confident you’ll be bringing something unique and exciting to market. Mobile development companies should also be comfortable working with you on smaller engagements as well, offering a la carte services to fit your precise needs.
Here’s an overview of the mobile app development services you can expect to find at most major mobile app development firms:
- Brand identity - Brand identity for new businesses and apps, re-brands for existing ones, and logo design or refresh work including multiple iterations.
- Mobile strategy - In-depth research on the target audience, competitive landscape, and ideal positioning. The discovery and strategy phase establishes the blueprint that will guide every aspect of development.
- Content creation - Strategizing and creating the content that will populate the app. May include messaging, action text, videos, etc.
- User experience design - Custom mobile app design (for iOS, Android, or both) accounting for all stages of the user’s experience of and engagement with the product. Includes user journeys and visual design of the app.
- Mobile application development - (iOS app development and/or Android app development) - The technical development of the app for iPhone or Android, including a phase of testing, launch on the App Store and/or Google Play and post-launch bug fixes.
- Web development - Some development companies may also offer further web-based services including web design and web development.
- Support - Ongoing maintenance, support, and iteration to keep the app optimized and running smoothly. May also include App Store optimization services to help iPhone apps be more readily discovered in the App Store.
How The Best Web Mobile App Design & Development Companies Market Themselves
Top mobile app development companies are complete digital natives. They live and breathe digital, and their approach to marketing reflects this mentality.
You should expect that any development company you’re considering working with has a stellar web presence and a sophisticated showcase of their value propositions and previous work, including both iPhone app development and Android application development.
They’re most likely also very active on social media where they can showcase thought leadership and engage with the broader design community. Look for companies that are open and interested in sharing knowledge, and those that generate quality content regularly and are quoted as sources by relevant media outlets. They may also appear as guest speakers on panels and at conferences.
Many development companies also run paid search and display campaigns advertising their app development services, as well as put in the work to appear organically for search results in relevant categories (better known as search engine optimization).
Mobile app development is a technical field that requires a high level of expertise. Because the app space is a crowded one, businesses looking to make the kind of splash that will justify the large expenditure required for development need to make sure they’re partnering with a reliable, reputable company. Understanding what sets the best app development services companies apart from the merely competent ones is key to making sure your app is launched with the best possible chance for success.
Here’s an overview of the key differentiators to keep your eyes peeled for:
- Focused on ideas - Does the application development company build any project that comes their way, regardless of its merit? Or are they committed to using their experience in the industry to help guide their clients and hone their ideas?
- Interdisciplinary team approach - Does the agency have a range of skill sets in-house? Do they bring a number of different team members to the table to take a collective approach to their projects? Are they fluent in iOS (iPhone and iPad) and Android technologies? Do they do cross-platform mobile app development? Can they develop a partnering web app, or will you need to go elsewhere for that?
- Process-oriented - Is there a clear process in place governing the way the project will be run? What is the client’s role in the process?
- Award-winning - Has the agency’s work won them recognition in their industry? Are they regarded as thought leaders and innovators in the mobile app space?
- Cutting edge design - Does the agency push the envelope in terms of the design work they do for clients? Do they keep one eye focused on the future at all times? Are they experimenting with developing trends like augmented reality, for example?
- Partnership - Will your relationship with the agency be a true partnership? How often will they keep you updated, and what do they expect your involvement in the project to be?
Top Qualities of the Best Mobile App Design Companies
The best app design companies will not only take an idea for a mobile app and bring it to life, they’ll also do the necessary competitive research to determine how the app compares in the marketplace. For an app to be successful, it needs to be differentiated from the competition. True industry experts will take the time to make sure the mobile apps they design for clients fill a gap in the current marketplace, giving it the strongest possible chance of success.
For a mobile app to be successful there must be something about it that encourages the user to engage on a regular, ongoing basis. If you’re working with a top app development agency, they will work to ensure that the app gives users a compelling reason to return to it often. Doing so could mean adding a sticky functionality or including an area of the app that houses compelling, frequently-updated content. Getting a user to download an app is only half the battle. Encouraging them to return to it routinely is key to making sure it doesn’t get deleted as quickly as it was installed.
A major part of the mobile app process at any top app design company is quality assurance (QA). The QA phase of the project entails rigorous testing of the app prototype, where every aspect of the app experience is tested for errors, bugs, and usability problems. Before entering an agreement with an agency to build an app, make sure that a quality assurance phase is accounted for and that the agency’s QA process is clear. Failing to engage in a rigorous QA phase can result in endless usability issues which will ultimately dissuade users from engaging with the app.
There are thousands of useful apps out there in the mobile marketplace, but most of them simply never get discovered by their intended audiences. The best app development companies understand that marketability is key to an app’s success, and many will offer marketing services to ensure the app is getting out in front of the right users. App marketing helps customers discover new apps they’ll love and with boost both discoverability and ROI in the long run. Having built the app from scratch, there are few other companies better positioned to market it than the team that helped bring it to fruition.
User-friendliness is one of the most essential qualities in a mobile app design. The best app design companies know which elements align with a positive user experience and which do not. Today’s mobile apps exist in an incredibly competitive marketplace, so offering the best experience possible is crucial if you don’t want to risk losing users to a competitor. The right team will make the user experience a primary focus of their design process and will strive to provide innovative solutions to usability problems.