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How to Search for an App Development Partner and Not go Crazy

The following article is the first installment of a two-part series. Part two can be found here.

Whether you’re an early stage startup or a Fortune 500 company, searching for and choosing the right app or software development partner can be a daunting task.

With so many sources of information, and so many development firms claiming to be the best, it’s possible that you don’t even know where to begin in terms of identifying the team that’s best suited for your needs.

Choosing the right development partner to build your website or mobile app is the most important business decision you can make. After all, these digital solutions serve as direct representations of your product vision.

There’s no shortage of detrimental consequences that come from choosing the wrong development partner — wasted capital and stress resulting from unreliable partners are just the beginning.

But have no fear! Read on to learn how to search for a development partner without losing your sanity.

Red Flags to Avoid in an App Development Partner

Your search for the ideal development partner should start with keeping your eyes peeled for the following red flags as you evaluate different teams:

  • Not all development partners will be able to build the unique, game-changing features that you want included in your product. If this is the case, then you want to know this before you sign a contract. Ask for references from the development partner’s previous clients, and ensure that the team has a proven track record of creating innovatively powerful solutions.
  • Not all development partners are UI/UX experts. Some teams might be able to build the features you want, but they may do so by sacrificing intuitiveness and ease of use. This will leave you with a product that your users don’t enjoy interacting with, so ask about any potential partner’s UI/UX competency early on in the conversation to ensure that they prioritize ease-of-use during each stage of development.
  • Contrastly, some development partners are able to create beautifully intuitive solutions, but don’t possess the technical proficiency to deliver all of the features and functionalities that will set you apart from the competition. Ask questions that are relative to the nuts and bolts of your potential solution early and often so that you can test a developer’s knowledge.
  • Not all development partners are fully proficient with mobile. If this is the case, you’ll have to find a new partner somewhere else to bring the mobile version of your solution to life, and to worry about your web and mobile product design matching.

How to Find the Perfect App Development Partner

1. Use social networks like Dribbble, CSSMania, and CSSDesign during your search.

If you’re looking for superior web design for your product, then using these sites is key.

Sites like Dribbble are phenomenal because if you see a product design that you like, you can click on it and not only find out the agency that designed it, but you can also view that particular agency and their work.

Dribbble even has a Hire button, so you can hire any agency you’re interested in right from the Dribbble web platform.

2. Find nearshore app development agencies and get quotes.

Many development agencies outsource to countries scattered all over the world.

If you’re looking to build a relatively simple solution, and your timeline is flexible, then these agencies might be able to fulfill your needs.

However, if you’re in search of a team that’s able to work efficiently, and collaborate with you to build a unique and powerful application, complete with an intuitive UI, it’s preferable to work with a nearshore agency.

When you work with a development partner that doesn’t outsource all their labor, it means that there are less middlemen involved, and the project typically goes much smoother.

Nearshore agencies can provide expertise from previous projects, and have teams that have been able to establish chemistry, which results in quicker working cycles.

3. Pick an app development partner does Ruby on Rails.

Should you use, Java, Python, or Ruby? Which is the fastest way to develop your app?

We aren’t ones to be biased, but Ruby on Rails really is the best if your product fits its parameters.

Business Insider puts it simply: “Ruby on Rails is an open-source web application framework for the Ruby programming language. The growing demand for Ruby on Rails has been driven by successful companies who benefit from the speed and agility of building applications in Rails, which results in increased productivity and company growth.”

Some of today’s most successful businesses use Ruby on Rails, including Amazon, BBC, CNET, and Yahoo. Follow their example.

4. Find out the development agencies that built your favorite apps.

Do you have an app that you love using, and that inspired your own product ideas? Is it a perfect example of technical functionality combined with intuitive ease-of-use?

If so, perform research into who actually made that app, and get in touch with the development team. You can usually find contact information for development partners on their websites, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to get the ball rolling and start emulating your favorite apps during the build of your own solution.

5. For a nifty trick, Google search “similar.”

Let’s say that you found an agency that you know could help you build the digital solution you’ve been dreaming of.

Google the agency, and then use the little dropdown area on Google, and click “similar”.

This useful little trick will present agencies that are similar to what you’re looking for, or that are at least in the ballpark of what you’re looking for. It’s a great way to begin your search for the perfect app development partner.

Final Thoughts

If you follow the steps and best practices listed above, then you should end up with a list of potential app development partners that fit the general criteria you’ve established for your search.

Next, you’ll need to look deeper at this pool of development partner candidates, and pick the one that best suits your needs.

Stay tuned for Part Two of this series, which will cover everything you need to know about evaluating, and ultimately picking the right app development partner.

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