An average user will have spent three years with their thumb on the glass screen of a smartphone by the end of their life. IT folks like us would have double that record, I believe.
Mobile Apps Stole The Show
Applications and mobile version of websites have become the premier source of contemporary information and trends that everybody today feels obliged to stick to. Whenever we get off our devices, we feel like the life is passing us by and catching up with it becomes an obsession.
Social media and their concept of disappearing stories and snaps contribute to the urge of staying in the mix big time. Truth is, you make a more in-tune and sociable/likable human being if you are deeply engaged in the modern digital trends mediated mostly by mobile phone applications.
The times of mobile apps being a delicious add-on to the website of a business are long gone. Today, applications are solid standalone platforms that often times have websites doing the PR for them! And it makes perfect sense, as people bring helpful and usable things to the top. You can’t strategize that. If it works – it works. So apps do work. But not all of them.
The Product Hunt’s library of failed startups has all sorts of app ideas, designs, even achievements that for whatever reason did not end up so good. It’s been proven time and time again that execution can exalt even the most ordinary idea, while even the greatest idea can be nullified by poor performance. In the words of Don Marquis:
Ideas pull the trigger, but instinct loads the gun.
What instincts are we talking about here? I think this goes beyond what an app does. It’s all about how it does it. And this is a direct responsibility of a technical team behind the application.
The cost of a mobile application design is covered in one of our recent articles, here we’ll take a closer look at the key figures behind the design and development process that might help you identify the people to work with.
Who Makes These Apps?
Whenever we install a new app on our phones, we barely can tell where it comes from. I mean it me be an official Apple or Google app and it is an instant draw, but about the rest 2 million apps on iOS and 2.2 million apps on Android?
Behind most of the emerging apps stand startups. Ranging in size and contesting each other in their company names’ wit, they can be either a dorm room company or a professional development agency. What’s common for all of them is that behind the curtain there is a team of developers operating on different levels of creation to come up with an app that will hopefully go viral.
The team might consist of a few people with multiple roles or a huge team with shared roles. Let’s take a detailed look at one of the roles, as hiring a company to develop your app means hiring a complex crew of specialists. Recognizing the role might be the key to understanding the development process broadly.
Hire An App Developer
The critical role in the app-building team is the developer. A lot of actual startups are founded by former developers. In that case, the product owner is like a fish in the water, the experience and practical knowledge is a huge advantage, but what if the startup is founded by a non-tech person?
Well here’s what you want to see in a developer you can trust:
Nothing speaks of a master better than their work. The Hattori Hanzō reputation was built on the basis of the swords he crafted. So the more and the better projects under a developer’s belt, the more likely the chances to succeed. Hiring a developer to make an app with a background in similar cases is the best case scenario.
The number of years of coding in one of the older programming languages and, perhaps the lower stack of newer ones does not mean a developer is outdated. On the contrary, a strong base in one of the fundamental languages provides better opportunities to gain proficiency in new languages. The perfect balance would be a long-established expertise in some solid language plus a stack of newest technologies. In our analogy, the technique of forging a sword has to be augmented by the new tools and materials.
It’s not only about writing code, it’s the way the code is handled in terms of debugging and applying fixes. Stopgaps and workarounds in code cannot remain as permanent solutions, the complete knowledge of the product you create makes you an expert and a trustworthy source of weapons to confide your life in.
Grace under pressure
A stressful situation of dealing with a project deadline, bug fixing, feature behavior, etc might put the claw on the product. Performing in a heart-pounding scenario and not bending under pressure when things get hot is a trace you would want to see in your developer. On the other hand, when things are going smooth, you want to see them rise to the occasion and never stop perfecting the craft.
In the world of contractual workers and freelancers this skill might not be that significant. But when dealing with multiple people and numerous projects, the teamwork mentality plays a huge role. The extremes are out there and you might agree to deal with some BS coming from a rockstar programmer as long as the code they deliver sells out the show. But in the long run, your goal is to have a well-adjusted team, capable of further cooperation.
Not everything goes as planned. Sometimes projects fail or get abandoned. Mistakes can teach and season developers, instigate their growth, and thicken their skin. These errors, however, can’t define you and stop you from pushing further. Instead, they must be a challenge and provoke the passion to win and better make the next time count.
Dominant user focus
A UX designer appeals to a user on multiple levels, while a developer does what they have to to galvanize the experience. However, what separates a good developer from a great one is their focus on the user. Being aware of user problems and committing to solving it through the number of tools available and on the critical sector they are in charge for, is what determines success in a lot of ways. Hiring a programmer to make your app with delightful UX focus is feather in a cap of a product owner.
As much as technical proficiency and impressive expertise are important, they should not be considered the sole main factor of hiring a developer for your app startup. What’s more dangerous is ending up with a person in a key role of the project, so full of themselves, it harms the entire enterprise.
Avoid that by putting things into perspective and maybe investing into a less ego-affected team members willing to spend more energy for the development of the project as well as their own.