Software outsourcing broadens your choice of providers to millions of available options all over the world. These teams specialize in multiple tech stacks, work with various methodologies, and offer different approaches to software development testing. How to choose a reliable provider of web and mobile development services? We prepared a full guide and checklist that will get you started.
The selection starts with the product
Web and mobile development have their quality criteria that a professional mobile and web app development company has to meet. You need to familiarize yourself with these standards to know what to look for on websites and during one-on-one consults.
The criteria for a successful web app
The standards are defined by several principal criteria — elegance, usability, security, reliability, performance, scalability, testability, interoperability, product growth, and deployability. Let’s examine these aspects one by one.
Elegance refers to an application’s consistency and simplicity. The app is based on the wholesome strategy that’s followed across the entire functionality and interface — an overarching theme.
- The essential functionality is the simplest and the most accessible one: both for the end-users and development team;
- The application’s code is well structured: simple syntax, low coupling, high readability.
Usability determines if users feel comfortable on the web page. A visitor should be able to navigate the website with no additional help and remember the primary pathways.
- Responsive UI: low page-load intervals, clear menus, minimalistic design;
- Graphics and animation: development companies can use images and animation to visualize the offer and stand out from the competition;
- Support of analytics and A/B testing: the website should be connected to data collection tools that provide business owners with statistics on conversion, page visits, average visit time.
The web application should protect users’ data, functionality, and operational information from hacking attacks and data breaches. If you work with the European market, the solution should also be GDPR-compliant. Some fields, like healthcare, have additional security standards, like HIPAA.
- The solution should be able to pass multiple penetration tests;
- Mobile app and web development company should secure the web app from the most common threats: injection flows, DDoS attacks, unfiltered redirects, and broken redirects;
- Following encryption standards: the application should use end-to-end encryption, which means no one can access the application, except for the information sender and receiver.
The application should deliver the expected output in the shortest amount of time. This is also known as the app’s latency — the time required to respond to actions. Another essential metric is throughput — the number of processes that an application can carry on in a single instant.
- Responsive UI or compensation mechanisms: users should be rewarded for their waiting time with additional content;
- The app should pass load testing: this is the type of testing that calculates the number of requests that a solution is capable of processing.
The application should be changeable — development teams should be able to add new features, fixes, and improvements anytime.
- Organized structure: developers should be able to isolate a feature or a block of them and make changes without affecting the entire application;
- Powerful technology: if an application uses a third-party API or environment, it’s important to choose the one that allows adding new features anytime.
The criteria of a successful mobile application
Overall, the requirements for the web app fit well into the framework of developing a mobile app because best practices are usually universal. However, mobile development presents product owners and development teams with unique challenges that should be addressed with a different strategy. What are the priorities for developing a successful mobile app? Let’s explore.
Mobile applications are expected to be instant and user-friendly. If on the website, users can tolerate extensive menus and multiple pages, on the mobile app, they prefer to work with 3-4 pages and buttons.
- The compliance with design guidelines: Android and Apple have native interface standards that help to develop a simple solution;
- Filtered functionality: development team should encourage you to pick the key possibilities that the app will focus on;
- Clear purpose: the application should solve a particular problem and target a clearly defined target audience.
Similarly to a web app, a mobile application should meet users’ expectations of fast responsiveness and data processing capacities.
- Mobile app’s performance should be tested on different devices and OSs if the solution is cross-platform;
- User testing: QA specialists should collect feedback of actual users to see where they experience performance issues;
- The use of native APIs: mobile apps should make use of native smartphone’s capacities — GPS, web camera, calendar — to enable richer functionality.
Mobile applications should be secured with multi-step authentication and encryption, especially if the phone is lost.
- End-to-end encryption: the data should be ciphered during its storage and transfer and displayed in the original version only to the senders and receivers of data;
- Getting user permission: if the software uses the device’s data and APIs, the app should request users’ agreement.
An offline mode
The purpose of the mobile application is to be available at hand’s reach, anytime and anywhere. Ideally, users should have access to the app’s functionality and data even when there is no connection.
- Storing data locally: even if the app uses Cloud for data storage, the essential files can be transferred to the local storage, so it’s possible to access them offline;
- Additional features: an offline version can present users with a slightly different menu and interface if the original one is impossible to accommodate.
The application should be constantly changing in regard to users’ feedback. The first release can rarely cover all pain points in error-free fashion.
- Multiple development iterations: development and testing teams should be ready to release new editions of the project;
- Post-release maintenance: you need to monitor the app’s performance and fix bugs, reduce tech debt, and analyze customer reactions.
7 steps of choosing a software development company
After you know what to expect from a successful solution, you need to pick a tech partner that’s capable of delivering these features. Here are easy steps that you can follow to assure an efficient collaboration with web and mobile app development companies.
1. Analytical expertise
When you analyze the company’s website, the clients’ reviews on Clutch and GoodFirms, and participate in individual consults, look for providers that participate in the product’s ideation. The provider should become your tech partner. The team should be connected to your business goals, audiences, and understand your needs.
- Experience in MVP development and business model validation;
- Out-of-the-box thinking: developers shouldn’t do what you tell them, but offer fresh creative solutions;
- Established vision: developers should be able to articulate what solution is the best for you.
The web design and mobile app development company should adapt to your company’s needs and organization processes. If you have an in-house marketing or development team, the provider should integrate into your workflow.
- No language barrier: developers should have high English-speaking proficiency;
- Experience in handling time zone differences: ask developers about their off-shore cooperation practices;
- Adaptability: developers should be ready to use your tools and comply with your organizational processes.
A web and mobile app development company can use several models for software development — you should pick the one that fits your product’s purpose, functionality, timing, and budgetary constraints. Let’s take a look at the most common methodologies.
- Waterfall: the team defines the hours required for development and follows pre-established requirements. This model is perfect for small products with a low budget.
- Agile: the flexible development process where the development requirements are changing dynamically according to user feedback, market trends, and project needs. There are estimated standards, but they aren’t as established as in Waterfall.
- Kanban: the team defines development priorities and performs tasks in order from more to less urgent ones. The work scope is established beforehand but can be updated.
4. Tech stacks
Web applications require front-end and back-end technology stacks — one for the client-side of the app, and the other for internal operations. Mobile applications’ stacks are defined from the used OSs: there are separate instruments for native Android and iOS development and cross-platform hybrid apps.
- The tech team should analyze your needs and determine what aspects are the priority for your development: speed, rich functionality, intuitive development, and maintenance, or accessibility.
- Choosing not just technology but ecosystem: developers should present you with the set of frameworks, testing tools, and design instruments, available for a particular tech stack.
5. Innovative expertise
If you consider implementing AI, IoT, or blockchain, you should find a team with experienced specialists in the field. Ideally, they should know how to implement innovation in the context of your industry.
- Check client reviews to see if developers are proficient in the technology;
- Take a look at their blog: analyzing company’s materials is a good way to understand their focus;
- Ask them to examine existing solutions: you can present your competitors’ cases for a review.
Before the start of the development project, mobile and web app development company should ask you to sign an SLA and possibly an NDA agreement.
- A service-level agreement is a document that defines the expectations from the cooperation, deliverables, budgetary and time constraints, and explains how client data is shared with team members.
- Non-disclosure agreement specifies the data disclosure practices and established the conditions of your information confidential. The NDA assures that the company won’t share information about the project publicly.
When you start the development, you need to make sure that the team possesses tools and practices for communicating the project’s progress. This includes Kanban organization, Scrum team management, and seamless reporting
- Transparent visualization: the web and mobile app development companies should maintain a regularly updated visual report for story-tracking (each task is a story).
- Regular meetings: you should communicate with the team at least 2-3 times a week, possibly more, if the project enters pre-release stages.
- Code quality analysis: the software development team should provide you with reports on functionality performance, UI tests, and results of user tests.
Syndicode’s experience in developing web & mobile applications
At Syndicode, we start web and mobile development from analyzing users’ needs and evaluating the business model. Refining a business model is a key stage because it directly influences the success of the product: for that, we analyze the audience’s needs, market trends, and competing solutions.
After we have a clear vision of the product, we will form an optimal tech stack for project execution. Usually, Syndicode’s team keeps things simple and writes reusable code that can be run both on web and mobile versions — this saves a lot of resources in the long-run. Clients are always aware of the potential of chosen tools and ecosystems.
For development and testing, transparency is the key. We make sure that the client is updated on our goals, daily tasks, and progress. One of Syndicode’s must-implement practices is to provide regular visual reports, quantitative data on our workloads and code quality, and communicate via voice and video calls. Clients have a direct say in everything that’s happening in the project — but they can also minimize their involvement if there are other business priorities.
If you have an idea for a mobile or web application, contact our developers. We will take a more in-depth look into your concept, market, and audience, and apply our expertise to develop the most efficient solution — the one that delivers results to you and end-users.