Over last few years I have worked with many clients and communicated with even more potential clients about mobile app development. As in every industry, each client is different and have a different technical background. Here are a few things that I have learned that every customer should prepare before contacting an outsourcing agency.
Give as much thoughts as you can to describing your app idea. It can be as clear as day to you, but for other people it can be hard to understand. In my experience it is much better to provide too much detail rather than not enough, so don’t be too brief in your explanation and go into as much detail as possible.
Being clear about what platforms (i.e. Android, iOS, Windows Phone etc) you want your new app to support is incredibly important. My previous article “How to Pick the Right Platform” goes into more detail about the factors that influence this choice.
3. Think like a user
Imagine yourself using your app – how it should feel and what flow it should have. Try to imagine and describe each screen, what it should do and where it should lead to. You don’t need to have it drawn out if your description is detailed enough, but a picture is worth a thousand words and can help articulate your concept much better. Remember that these drawings don’t need to look great, they are just there to facilitate understanding of your requirements, so dont spend any time making them look pretty!
There are some great and easy to use tools available for creating mock-ups, such as Balsamiq or Gliffy. This way you ensure that your idea is well understood and you will be satisfied with final product.
4. Consider the bigger picture
Try to think about connections and relations between your app and the world. Internet connection is must to have in any smartphone these days and if you plan to connect to some social networks, or you plan to provide the same experience across all devices for one user with shared settings and such, this is something you should know in beginning.
Even if those features won’t be in first release of your app, it is good to know there will be some so we developers can prepare everything necessary for future implementation. This way you can save yourself lot of troubles in the future.
App Design and Development Brief
In order to make this process a little easier I’ve created a simple app design and development brief which you can download. The brief just steps you through some of the key questions I ask my clients when doing an estimate. Please feel free to use this for your own projects:
Those are only few basic things that you should have described before you contact someone and ask him for price estimation. More question can follow, especially with more complicated apps, but those 4 are the very minimum you will have to provide, and it’s better to have answers prepared up front.