We can't count how many times we've seen the following scenario played out. We'll bid on an app development project, and the client (or partner, as we prefer to call them) will take a look at our bid, then at their budget, then back to our bid, and over to their budget again. Then they ask the dreaded question: “Why so much? I mean, Company X gave us a much lower bid.”
The short answer? We're worth it, and we've got the confidence and expertise to back it up. However, we know—and understand—that such a brief reply isn't going to suffice when a chunk of your budget's on the line. That's why we'd like to go into point-by-point detail on this subject, and spell out why going by price alone isn't necessarily the best bargain when it comes to mobile app creation.
Before we dig down into details, however, we'd like to address the overall situation briefly. Yes, there are companies who offer app development services for as little as $9 per hour. Here's the catch, though: Those companies contract the majority of their work to programmers overseas who live in areas where the economy isn't as robust as it is here. Ultimately, the price is lower, but the cultural and logistical problems such an arrangement can create often offsets the savings. We've broken these issues down into two categories, and we'll go over them in detail below.
Getting What You Want. Communication between different cultures can be difficult at times. Offshore programmers will often work from an initial set of directions, and are often hesitant to ask any additional questions as the process moves forward. They consider asking too many questions rude or a possible sign of incompetence, so any issues that arise are worked out without asking the client—they do what they think you want, rather than asking you directly. At AppsAustin, we aren't afraid to ask questions; we want to make sure the apps we create are exactly what our clients want.
Anybody Home? Don't be fooled by a US address. Many app development companies have a small office—or a P.O. box—in the United States, which is manned by a sales rep who passes the information overseas, where the actual work is done. AppsAustin has an office suite in the hill country of Austin, Texas—and you can drop by and visit our people anytime.
Where's My Code? Overseas developers will often “farm out” the coding for their apps among multiple programmers, often in different countries. When it comes to getting copies of your app code once it's done, it can be like pulling teeth—or downright impossible. AppsAustin delivers the full code for every app to our clients once the app's been launched.
Wait...It IS My Code, Right? Well, maybe not. The cold reality is that many overseas programmers (as well as some that are located in the US) sell the code from the apps they create to other parties because they know they can get away with it. For a client to take legal action to retain code that should be theirs—if they find out the code has been sold out from under them at all—it takes a lot of time, manpower and money. With AppsAustin, your code is yours—as is your artwork, wireframes, and everything else related to your app. We never resell or reuse proprietary app materials.
Who's In Charge? As we touched upon earlier, many companies spread duties among several different people, some in different countries. When you factor in the high employee turnover rate in many overseas countries, and that some folks take extended vacations—during which time nothing may get done on your project—well, it can turn into a mess in a hurry. AppsAustin will assign one developer to your app, and one dedicated Project Manager will be available as your point of contact through the entire process.
Creative Consulting Session. Here's where a culture clash can really become an issue. If you've got an app in mind for an American audience, you really want a developer who's part of the culture, and understands it inside and out. This goes both ways, of course; most American app developers wouldn't know the nuances of the cultures in India or Russia, for example. With AppsAustin, your first brainstorming session with us will be with our CEO, and all our developers are not only experts in their field, but well aware of the culture to which the app will be introduced.
Strong Communication. When you work with overseas developers, you're often dealing with a time difference of up to 14 hours. That means working very early or late hours in order to communicate. Additionally, communication turnaround with offshore companies can often be two to three days; that's quite a delay. AppsAustin responds to all communication within 24 hours guaranteed, and we're available around-the-clock in cases that require immediate assistance.
Return on Investment (ROI) Consulting. When it comes to monetizing a mobile app, you want a developer who has their finger on the pulse of not only the app marketplace, but the spending habits of the customers you're trying to reach. AppsAustin is not only local, but we have the experience to find features and pricing strategies that work in the American market.
App Architecture. Apple has a set of guidelines called HIG, which stands for “Human Interface Guidelines.” They cover all the facets of app development, including tech, creative, and user experience (UX) standards for developers to follow. Though they are officially only guidelines, failure to adhere to them could result in the app's rejection from the Apple Apps Store—which can be disastrous for an app's success. Not only do we follow the HIG faithfully, but we also know how to set up app architecture in ways that make the app easier to learn and use for American audiences.
Creative Design. Different color schemes and imagery exist between cultures, and while they're appropriate in one location, they may not be in another. For example, wild and bright colors are the norm in some places, whereas in other locations the scheme is more subdued. We're attuned to that at AppsAustin, and we make it a point to integrate creative design that suits the culture for which the app is intended.
Multi-Platform App Development. Some countries don't have access to the latest mobile device technology like we do here in the United States. Therefore, when overseas developers create apps, sometimes they aren't for the most up-to-date devices. We keep our pulse on the latest technology, and make sure our apps work on the newest models.
App Testing. Most overseas developers use what is called ad hoc app testing, which is more informal and can be a hassle to get the app installed on a device in order to test it. Indeed, some bypass this step altogether, and untested apps are released to the market, loaded with bugs and glitches. Appvisors uses a QR code testing deployment model, which installs to devices easily and instantly, and our testing process has a provision that all members of the development team—especially including the client—must be satisfied with all aspects of the app before launch.
Social Media Marketing. The ways people interact are unique to every culture. There's slang to consider, as well as social mores and taboos. This can be a tricky tightrope to walk if you aren't careful; just as we wouldn't profess to know all the social interaction details in, say, China, nor would we expect someone overseas to understand all the nuances here. We're part of the culture here in the US, and we study its shifts and changes constantly. We fully realize one seemingly innocent social slip-up can ruin an app's potential.
App Launching and Store Listings. It's been our experience that many offshore developers skip this step entirely; once the app is in the hands of the client, they're on their own when it comes to its release, app store listing and marketing. Often, they realize the language barrier between cultures can be tricky—even between cultures that speak the same basic language. Where “bonnet” and “boot” are common automotive terms in England, Australia and India, in the US we use “hood” and “trunk.” That's one simple example, but there are hundreds of others that can be overlooked when it comes to cross-cultural proofreading. With AppsAustin, we understand these steps are crucial to an app's success, and they're included in our price. We do our best to use the right language, keywords and other triggers that appeal best to your app's audience.
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