Your app development partner matters. For many businesses, an app is now one of the principal points of contact between their products or services and their customers or clients. This makes choosing the right app development agency a key strategic decision – because your partner will shape what that key resource will look like.

This means that price isn’t the only key consideration when choosing an app development partner – because not all agencies are created equal. This isn’t always merely a “you get what you pay for” question, either: cost is important, and finding the best deal is crucial. But a business also needs to consider a range of other factors in deciding which app development agency at what price point is best for them.

At ImagePlus, we offer app development and design services to Coventry, the West Midlands and beyond from a buzzing and creative canal-side office. We specialise in designing apps that solve persistent business problems in clean, comprehensive and cost-effective ways. 

But we don’t want just to sell ourselves here. What we’ll try to do below is offer an honest assessment of what we think a business needs to look for in an app development partner … and let you make up your own mind. Let’s go.

1. Track Record

Experience makes all the difference. Naturally, a business will be on the look-out for an app development agency with a demonstrable history of building successful apps. Decision-makers should ask to see examples, enquire as to what ROI the agency’s apps have achieved for the businesses involved, and look for testimonials or case studies. Your partner’s portfolio is also their calling card.

It’s worth thinking more deeply, though. A record of success matters, of course – but how that success has been achieved, and in what sectors, matters just as much. Let’s take the sectors question first. 

You may wish to find an app development agency that specialises in your size or type of business, or the particular kind of app you’re seeking to build: are you a customer-facing or B2B company? Is your app intended for an internal or external audience? Your needs should influence your choices here: apps come in many shapes and sizes, and understanding how yours needs to look will help inform your decision.

Of course, one purpose of finding an app development partner is to work together to design an app – you may not quite know what type you need until you’ve acquired an agency. This means you need to consider very closely how each agency on your shortlist approaches building apps: are they as consultative and open as you need, do they build bespoke apps or native apps, what skill-sets can they offer? 

The right agency will be willing to talk you through the frameworks and techniques they use. Expertise counts when it comes to tailoring your app exactly: find a partner with the latest technical skills and the right design approach, and you’ll be half-way to success already.

‍2. Communication

Finding an app development partner that takes the right approach to designing an app will often mean finding one that is clear and transparent, too. You want to achieve a finished product on-time and on-budget, and for this you’ll need not just technical expertise but openness and trust, too.

No app development project will reach a satisfying conclusion without good lines of communication. When choosing an app development partner, a business should select the candidate that “speaks their language”: understanding what your agency intends to do, and how, will make a big difference as you proceed. Is the agency accessible, do they answer questions readily, do they keep you updated in plain English? 

Good communication inspires confidence – and confidence enables a project to achieve its most maximal objectives. A good app development partner is one with whom a business builds a relationship in which timescales, costs and other factors are discussed openly and regularly. Like any other project, monitoring is key.

3. Responsiveness

With the right expertise and good communication comes another key characteristic of a great app development agency: flexibility. App development is not always a straightforward business. Maybe the technical requirements of a project will throw you a curveball, or a problem will be revealed in user-testing: how will your agency respond?

The best app development companies are adaptable. They set goals and propose solutions – but they’re also able to keep a project on the road when there are bumps in it. Perhaps a business requirement changes half-way through, or an urgent meeting requires a prototype to be ready for presentation. If you’ve chosen wisely, your agency will be able to flex to respond.

Responsiveness derives from experience, but it’s also about attitude. You should have chosen a partner at step one of this list that knew how to build the right type of app for your business. To paraphrase a famous quote, at this stage of selection you need to consider how well your app development partner will navigate not those known knowns – but the unknown unknowns!

4. Focused On The User

One key variable factor in app design is the user themselves. All the app design in the world is only useful insofar as it appeals to the people who will install and open your app every day. That’s why we’d always recommend selecting an agency with a user-centric approach.

What does this mean? Put simply, user experience (UX) is one of the clearest contributors to an app’s success. If the app is easy to use and solves a real problem for the user, they will keep coming back – and your app will derive value for the business. To ensure the UX of your app is all it can and should be, your app development agency will need specialists on the team who understand how people interact with apps – and will need to put that understanding at the centre of their designs.

User testing at the end of the process is obviously important – it’s how you ensure that all your work has achieved what it should. But it’s not a substitute for putting the user at the heart of the design process all the way through. Navigation, user interfaces, compatibility – all these factors and more will super-charge your app’s success. Find an agency that understands this and has a plan for achieving maximum user buy-in.

5. Reliability

This last factor may seem a little obvious: of course a business needs to find reliable partners. But how to measure this when it comes to app design?

First and foremost, an app should work. It should do so without fail, on every possible platform and for every user. This requires rigorous testing and an understanding of the underlying technologies across a suite of devices and operating systems. Ask your candidates about their approach to compatibility.

Beyond functionality, accessibility, and performance testing, you want an app development partner that is in it for the long haul – and will support you after launch. The nature of technology is that it changes over time – there will always be bugs to iron out and new features to add. Maintenance matters – an app should always work at its best if it is to retain its user base. Find an agency willing to commit to you … and to the project.

In Conclusion

Ultimately, you’re looking for an app development partner with a plan. They should know how to deliver projects – and how to maintain them. They should understand the technologies involved and how to develop and deepen customer relationships. And they should be able to do all this within agreed timescales and costs. 

You’ll ask for quotes and proposals from a number of agencies. Consider each in the light of the factors above. At ImagePlus, we’re always here to offer our thoughts and propose a solution – but we’re also just as keen to hear your feedback in return! An expert partner is essential to building an app that can deliver the right returns. We think our experience in app development puts us in a good position to be one of your candidates – drop us a line today.

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