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This article is part of the Step-By-Step Guide To Validating And Launching Your App Idea post, originally published on Y Media Labs blog.
Okay, so you’re a skilled designer and you already follow the big, three secrets of any killer app designer. You still have to find an effective development partner to build your app.
Even if you know how to write an app yourself, sometimes an opportunity to work with a stellar partner during your app-development phase comes along. If it does, then take the opportunity. If you have to go looking for the right developer yourself, it’s well worth it to have an experienced team supporting your process.
This is because even if you do have a great idea for an app, as well as the design skills to create an intelligent mockup, you may not have the back-end skills that great developer firms have. It’s smart to keep an open mind about working with a helpful partner.
How to Find That Great Partner
Any company can call itself an app developer, but there are some characteristics that make excellent partners truly stand out. In your hunt for the ideal partner, look for these qualities:
- A stellar portfolio: Their portfolio should have attractive apps with highly usable interfaces, which is a sign of their user-experience design skills.
- Authentic interest in your business: They should have worked with a plethora of different app entrepreneurs so that they’re able to provide additional creative input from all their work experience.
- Client references: Development companies should unhesitatingly offer their client contact info, so you can double check what working with them will be like.
- Not the cheapest: Your biggest concern shouldn’t be saving money — it should be designing a magnificent app, and this will cost a bit more if you want to avoid having to fix problems.
- A knack for strategic planning: They should start with a detailed product discovery, craft relevant user personas, look at the competitive environment, and from there create a roadmap to building that fantastic app.
- Willing to collaborate: Working with a partner shouldn’t be a dictatorship or a one-way street: A great partner will always hold regular meetings with clients to promote insight, brainstorming and problem solving.
It’s important to note that you could always try coding your app yourself…but only if you’re sure the ROI is there.
Still, that’s a risky gamble, so I wouldn’t recommend it.
Creating Mockups to Help Your Partner
You can make your developer-selection process more efficient by using the aforementioned prototyping tools. This will reduce confusion when you’re describing your app idea to prospective developers.
You can also make things a lot clearer and easier for whichever partner you end up choosing by getting a head start in the development process. By using simple prototyping tools that are widely available on the web — and which don’t require that you know how to code — you can design your own mockups to show to prospective partners. This gives them a solid idea of your app vision.
When you’ve found a great partner who understands your app idea vision, provides insightful input to make it better, and can shepherd you through the development process, you’re ready to move on! Now that there’s a prototype in place and guidance from a developer, it’s time to really test out just how much demand your app has.