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Giacomo Balli

Innovation consultant specializing in mobile strategy

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How to convey your mobile app idea to a developer

plan your appThis is the main point about deciding to go with a developer from eLance, oDesk, Freelancer or any other website. You will definitely find someone willing to develop your app for a very low price but unfortunately, 99% of the times both the experience and the product will reflect this.



Especially if this is one of your first apps, you will need someone who is willing, and able, to give you the extra attention you need... and it comes from a freelancer. Offshore developers will feel not paid enough (and to be honest probably do not know much outside of the programming realm). Bigger companies do not have times to take you by the hand and educate you (they rather just do everything for you). A freelance is the best of both worlds: they will do the work and guide you for a reasonable price.

Regardless of the level of "attention" you decide to go for, your communication should be at its best. You have an idea for something new and it's understandable it might be difficult to convey it, especially if the process of making it come to life has many details.

Unless you're just trying to "feel" the developer in front of you, any technical communication should happen via email. Not chat, not Skype, not phone, not face to face; via email. This will make things easier for both of you.

The first document you need to produce is a list of all the functionality needed. Basically what the app does so the developer can have a better idea of the project and you're both on the same page.

design your appSecond step is to provide more details about the flow and the different sections of the app. Ideally you will sketch something (definitely no need for it to be in Photoshop or similar), just a visual representation of what you have in mind. Again, it will be good for both. If you have no clue, this a good time to ask for the developers first input, odds are he has down many apps and will be able to explain and advise which approach will be best. A good "shortcut" I like to use is also ask for a a list of apps already in the store that have either the same functionality or visual style you're going for.

Now there will be several back and forth exchanges to make sure all the issues are clarified and there are no further doubts. This is the final spec-sheet and will be given a quote. Unless both sides agree there are no (major) changes that can be made. If the developer is passionate, like I am, this is when I voice ideas and suggestions for things that could make the app better (both improvements and additions).

Agreeing on a "final" spec-sheet is very important on both sides: it will allow the developer to have a 180° view of the project to best architecture it and also force you to keep focus and get things going.

I'm not a gamer myself therefore have always steered away from being involved with games (a part from Coin Toss Extreme). However, there is certainly a lot of many to be made there. Good man Trey Smith recently posted a video from his presentation at Chad Mureta's App Empire event and describes very nicely how to go about finding developers (Chad also talks about it here).

#app design, #app development
Published: Fri, 08 Feb 2013 17:52:27 +0000