Mobile Apps

Some Insights to the Fall of App Giants

Posted on
When it comes to mobile app development, names such as Hedgehog and Zco are prominent ones that come into our minds. While these big players usually promise quality and veteran experience, there have been some unfortunate incidents that have left the business grounds with some genuine trust issues to be battled with. Relating back locally, it is also important to keep up with mobile app development in Singapore, to keep a keen eye out to make a wise choice when it becomes personal.

Just over the recent two years, two of Australia’s application improvement industry’s greatest players have crumpled into liquidation, leaving clients with incomplete applications and payment issues. In 2017, the promising youthful dev house with a swathe of honours, Buzinga, collapsed into liquidation. Presently, as 2018 rounds up, a similar mishap has come to pass for Appster, one of the business’ greatest names and most discussed examples of overcoming adversity.

So how could it occur? How did two of the most astounding profile application advancement organizations go under so all of a sudden and in such short progression? Here is a possible interpretation.

Before Buzinga went under, there were already issues that have been bugging it that were recognisable, but not all that easy to settle: the company depended on a ‘virtual’ workforce an ocean away; a quick development ethos that favoured swelled deals focuses over the conveyance of value applications; and an over-dependence on custom from the unstable startup advertise.

These 3 issues and the regularly aggravating issues that accompany them appear to be the plain same issues that pushed Appster over the edge.

Seaward is a luring recommendation. Low wages and an almost boundless ability pool should make it an easy decision, but the truth of the matter is far less ruddy. Time zone contrasts, correspondence issues, code quality irregularities, an absence of straightforwardness and responsibility and the dangers of contending plans all make it an untidy business to be in.

Appster’s forceful deals system was intelligent of their fast development ethos. Through the span of eight years, they purportedly developed their group to 400 staff crosswise over four workplaces, focusing on primarily new businesses. Past the glamour and pride of this rapid expansion, we realize that this development wasn’t economical.

Startups are good targets for smooth application deals staff that know the application language however they aren’t the most steady target group. The nature of the startup market is highly seasonal and unpredictable due to their presence being strongly influenced by economic conditions. While startups can be very fulfilling to work with, SMEs and corporate customers add steadiness to an application office’s capital and diminish the effect of market vacillations.

Startups usually take the hardest hit when things go south. A family who puts their life investment funds in building up an application, just to have their designer go into liquidation mid-advancement is, lamentably, an undeniable situation. Appster’s crumple has likely brought about huge numbers of these situations.

When Buzinga went under in 2017, Appster immediately ventured in with Google advertisements focusing on those influenced, planning to take advantage of their rival’s death. Presently, in the wake of Appster’s fall, a trove of juvenile youthful dev houses have jumped up, focusing on clients who have been ‘Appstered’. This could be viewed as a diverting serve of graceful equity to Appster on the off chance that it wasn’t such a disaster for the individuals who have lost everything.

Some in the business will see Appster’s crumple as a chance, or just another addition to the disintegration of trust in an industry.

Will the business endure the fall of these mammoths? Obviously it will. Versatile first business procedures are picking up prominence and applications are currently a business need as opposed to the curiosity they used to be.

The genuine inquiry is in what capacity will the business adjust to oblige an increasingly wary client base. In Singapore, some of the better-known app developers such as Originally US and Rainmaker Labs. An interesting differentiating factor of the former is that the design and development team are all in-source, which gives the clients a much more substantiated promise of quality control given the various setbacks that offshore app developers have experienced.

What do you think the app industry needs to foster back trust between the developers and clients? Share with us your thoughts in the comments!

Mobile Apps

8 Tips to Outsourcing Mobile App Development

Posted on

Thinking of building your own mobile app? Businesses are now outsourcing design, content, and development needs, a cheaper and more efficient method. In 2016, 72% of businesses worldwide outsourced their IT-related requirements, a number that continues to grow.

Outsourcing cuts down costs significantly, reduce risk, and produce exceptional results. But managing your mobile app development halfway across the globe can be a tall order. To manage the process effectively and maximize the outcome, here are 8 tips:
• Knowing Your Requirements
• Find Relevant Experience
• Ask Questions
• Lay Out Clear Expectations
• Request a Project Plan
• Collaborate with Your Partner
• Communication is Key

1. Setting Requirements

First and foremost, you need to be clear of the value and outcome you want to extract out of the app and thereafter, communicate your requirements clearly to your developer. Hazy expectations can result in a product that doesn’t match up with dissatisfactory performance. Furthermore, the more revisions it demands, the more precious time and money are wasted.

Here are some questions to consider in the initial phase:
• Who is your target audience?
• What’s the purpose of your app?
• What’s the differentiating factor of your app?
• What is the key/other features?
• Is the app free or paid?
• What is the profit strategy?
• Do you want a native or a hybrid app?

2. Pick the Right Development Option

There is no one size fit all for business or app – all is dependent on your requirements and, of course, your budget.
Agencies and specialized firms can guarantee an expert team that delivers with both efficient results and a strategy-focused approach. However, this option tends to be on the costly end, which will not be practical for small businesses running on a tight budget.
Independent/freelance developers are cheaper, but the market research and strategy aspect of the development process are often sacrificed, and are hence better for a less complex app, to execute decent customization and technically sound product.
Other options include offshore developers or firms and using drag-and-drop mobile app builders. While offshore developers offer an attractive rate that is much lighter on your wallet, they might not match as well with your culture, target market needs, and quality standards. Drag-and-drop builders, on the other hand, are great for simple, generic apps with minimal need for customization.

3. Find Relevant Experience
The experience and portfolio are the first things we look out for in a developer. However, beyond general experience, looking out for experience relevant to your project will help to determine an even better match.
Such as creating similar apps in the past, experience in working in the same industry, or involved in designing similar solutions in different markets.

4. Remember: Communication is Key
Never underestimate the role of communication, especially when it comes to outsourcing app development. Excellent communication skills and responsiveness are key characteristics to look out for in the decision-making process of choosing the right developer.
A smooth development is maintained by a mutual willingness to ask questions, clear up any confusions, and timely responses to each other.
This leads to fewer mistakes, revisions, costs, and conflicts.
Establish the channels of communication right at the start. Should the developer ask questions through email or chat? Where should they send you the deliverables?
Another common issue clients and developers face is the lack of proactive communication. Anticipate potential points of confusion and attempt to address them before they arise.
Listen to what your partner has to say instead of just dictating them. The communication should be a two-way conversation, with a teammate instead of a mere subordinate.

5. Ask Questions
Don’t be afraid to ask questions, especially for offshore app development relationships. Ask the developer anything and everything that makes you feel comfortable enough to work with them. Ask them to tell you about their experience, if you can see their portfolio and testimonials from previous clients, and even about their work process.
Remember, you need to hire a partner that is responsive and open to communication. If a developer can’t answer your questions properly, it’s a red flag.

6. Set Clear Expectation
Clear expectations ensure that you both know what, why, and when you’re doing it. Unclear expectations will lead to conflicts in the middle of your project, like confusion over payment terms, requirements, revisions, and more that spends both time and money. Some of these have to be determined before even embarking on the project, such as payment terms, deliverables, and the time frame of the project.

7. Request a Project Plan
Ask your developer for a project plan if you’re not crafting one. A timeline helps streamline the development process and break down the project into smaller pieces. Following a series of tasks helps to minimize errors and missed steps, ensuring a smoother completion.
A project plan can be requested from the developers before the commencement of the development, so you can tweak the timeline according to your requirements and send it back. Setting milestones throughout the length of the project might also be helpful to divide workload and payment into manageable chunks.

8. Collaborate with Your Partner
You have to trust in the skills and expertise of your hire – outsourcing is not a one-sided project that promises a magically perfect product.
Let your development partner pitch in their own thoughts, opinions, and suggestions on your strategy and requirements. After all, they likely have more technical expertise than you. They can even help you get rid of irrelevant or unnecessary features that may waste money.
The more you trust the developer with doing the right thing, the more they will feel involved. And that will make them more likely to treat your app as their own and deliver better results.

Maximize Your Mobile App Outsourcing
Now that you know these tips and tricks to make a better-informed choice for a top mobile app developer agency.

Each business will come with its unique set of challenges and requirements, and you need to figure out the solutions that work best for you.

Mobile Apps

Hybrid, Native or Web?

Posted on

Web Apps

The thing with web apps is that they resides in web browsers. This can be either a good or bad thing, depending on how you look at it.

As web browsers are ubiquitous, this means that whatever is created for web browsers can run almost everywhere, from mobile devices to desktops.

However, the fact that the app is controlled by web browsers also has its own disadvantages.

For example, developer seldom have full control over how a web app could look or feel. Different versions of web browsers and web browsers running on different platforms could interpret the code differently. As a result of that, the web app may not consistently look good or work well across all web browsers.

Additionally, because web apps do not run directly on the devices; hardware as they are only interpreted by web browsers, the performance is often slow or sluggish, and can never be as good as ‘native’ apps that are meant to run directly on the devices’ hardware.

Native Mobile Apps

Native apps imply that the apps written run directly on the mobile devices (hence the word ‘Native’). This means that developers generally have full control over the function and performance of the app, allowing developers to build really powerful apps and look and feel good.

However, because there are a wide variety of hardware, the app may sometimes function differently on different devices. At the same time, iOS and Android are two completely different operating systems, so in order to deliver apps for both iOS and Android, two different sets of code has to be written. This drives up cost and development time as we typically require double the amount of mobile app development man power.

What are Hybrids?

Now that we understand the advantages and disadvantages of web vs native mobile apps, is there anything out in the market that gives us the best of both worlds?

Recently, new technologies such as Xamarin and React Native has been developed that tries to marries the advantages of both Web and Native app while avoiding most of the disadvantages.

Xamarin is created by Microsoft and it lets developers build one app that runs on many platforms in C#. With a C#-shared codebase, developers can use Xamarin tools to write native Android, iOS, and Windows apps with native user interfaces and share code across multiple platforms.

React Native is built by Facebook and lets developers build real, native iOS and Android apps with one codebase. With React Native, you build a mobile app that is the same as an app built using Objective-C or Java. With React Native, however, you use JavaScript and React.

Hybrid Mobile App

In general, Hybrid apps has the following characteristics: Native-like performance, while allowing the same set of code to run on multiple platforms.

Theoretically, this means that we can cut our development time and cost down while still having good performance.

But in reality, it is not so.

Hybrid technologies are still relatively new and they have their limitations. They are also always playing catch up with the technologies available to their native counterparts, so Hybrid technologies will never be as advance or as mature as native technologies.

At the same time, because developers familiar with hybrid technologies are rarer, development costs are not necessarily lower. Also, due to the lack of maturity of hybrid technologies, apps created with such technologies may cost more to maintain and enhance.

Finally, despite its promises, Hybrid apps can never have the level of performance and flexibility that only native apps can enjoy. 

So which mobile app development approach is best?

This decision lies mostly with your business objectives. Do you simply want something cheap and fast? Or do you prefer to build for the longer term and have something that will generate large ROI for years to come?

There is no right or wrong to the matter. Think of the points below when deciding which mobile app development technology you would like to adopt.

  • How fast you need the app
  • The quality of the user experience you want your app to have
  • The complexity of the features you need for your app to work
  • Your Budget

Whichever approach you pick, if you want to impress your users, careful design and user experience (UX) planning is the most crucial to your success. This is a topic we will discuss in another post. At the same time, it is also very important to pick the right mobile app development company to start your mobile app development journey otherwise you may not get the right kind of mileage or returns from your investments.

You may check out our recent article on picking the right mobile app development company here.

Mobile Apps

How Much Does It Cost To Build A Mobile App?

Posted on

If you are looking to develop a mobile app, then app development costs is an important topic to you. Note that all the costs I’ve mentioned below are in Singapore dollars as the context of our discussion is Singapore.

Here are some of the items that affects the cost.

  • Features, complexity of each of those features, and the number of different features in the app can drive up the cost
  • Apps with back-end servers will almost always cost more.
  • Simple apps for one platform will start around $10,000.
  • More complex apps cost six figures. Some even over $1,000,000.
  • Costs will also vary based on who builds it – some companies can get things done cheaply, but without quality. Some companies can invest their best talents in building your app, but don’t come cheap.
  • High end agencies that spend time on research and study as well as building a killer user experience will cost more, as they don’t only write codes.

What kind of app development firms do you prefer?

The first thing you may consider is vendor selection. Not all the vendors are the same. If you go for a higher end vendor, the prices will be higher but in most cases quality will also go up.

At the same time, there are many companies in Singapore who are actually just a front for off-shore development shops. They can charge you half the price others quote you for building a mobile app, but they just offshore it to a cheap overseas sweatshop and earn perhaps a margin of 70%.

Compare that to getting a higher end mobile app developer to do the job. Maybe their price is higher, but they actually don’t profit that much off your project in most case. This means that a larger percent of your cash goes into doing the actual work, rather than lining a salesman’s pocket.

What about the price range? Typically, most development houses charge by something we call the “man-days”. Basically, they take a look at your requirements, estimate the number of days it takes for them to build what you need, and multiple that number by their “man-day rate”. 

For example, if the man-day rate is $800 and they estimate they need to spend a total of 100 man-days spread out across iOS, Android, CMS, Backend development and design, then the project costs $80,000.

The ‘big boys’ in Singapore, such as big consultancy firms like KPMG and Accenture, charges anywhere between $ 1,500 to $ 2,200 per man day. They also do not typically work on your project unless it is a high 6 figures or 7 figure project. Typically, these firms are enabled by government organisations or other big MNCs.

The higher-end development houses in Singapore such as Originally USCodigo, Rainmaker-Labs and Buuuk  charges anywhere between $700 to $ 1,000 per man day. Their rates a good trade-off between affordability and quality. Like the big boys, their typical clients can include big MNC firms and government organisations. At the same time, most of the higher-end development houses in Singapore also occasionally design and develop mobile apps for SMEs and startups.

The low-end development houses in Singapore typically charges between $ 500 to $ 800. I will not be listing them here as they can be easily found when searching via Google. They invest strongly in search engine hacks and optimization to be featured prominently in order to earn new businesses.

While they are only slightly cheaper than the higher end companies, their quality is a lot less as they typically earn from project quantity – close as many sales as possible to make profit. This means they may not pay as much attention and level of detail to your project due to the low costs.

Additionally, such companies are typically a front for off-shore development firms, simply outsourcing the project to be built by the cheapest off-shore company that charges typically between $ 80- $300 per man day.

Cheap Now May Be Expensive Later

Unless a development shop is a scam, money buys quality. When investing in something like mobile apps, it is important to pay attention to quality as quality of the app represents your brand and reputation. At the same time, you want your investment to continue to work for many years to come.

What happened to many mobile app projects in Singapore is that many projects fail as the apps don’t work very well. Either the users hate them due to poor design and usability, or the features flat out don’t work and crashes all the time.

Instead of going for the lowest bidding and risking your reputation and the success of the project on lower end company, sometimes it may be crucial to compare invest a little bit more upfront (painful now), and enjoy a well built mobile app and great returns on investment in future (happy forever), rather than enjoy a cheap deal now (happy now), and face issues with the development company or mobile app and possibly have to scrape the whole thing later (painful forever).

If you are an employee in an organisation sourcing for a mobile app development firm, it is worth nothing that if you source for the cheapest development company, your bosses may be happy that you “saved” some money but they definitely will not thank you if the project fail later. 

On the other hand, if you can select a reliable and trusted mobile app developer from the start and justify the costs to your boss, you will enjoy the fruits of your decisions if the project is a success. I’ve also heard many cases where executives get promoted very quickly because they have successfully rolled out mobile app projects for their organisations.

How To Estimate The Cost?

If you select a higher end developer in Singapore, here are some baselines which you can reference in terms of mobile app development costs.

To build an app that shows the latest 4D numbers on iOS & Android – $ 20,000

To build an app similar to Carousell – $250,000 to $ 600,000

To build an app similar to Parking @SG – $ 50,000 – $ 100,000

To help you understand the ballpark better, there are various online mobile app price estimates tools. However, most of them are developed for the US market and have much higher prices as compared to when engaging Singapore mobile app development companies.

However, from Google search, I have found a mobile app price estimate calculator developed by Originally US, one of the higher end mobile app developer mentioned above. You can try this tool out here: How Much To Build An App.

Cover Image from PEXELS.

Business Insights

A/B Testing For Mobile Apps

Posted on

A/B testing, otherwise called split testing or form testing, is an evaluation apparatus that means to choose which variant ought to be utilized to accomplish a venture’s objectives all the more successfully. Usually utilized for websites, A/B testing has been gaining traction in the reign of mobile application design.

In the A/B testing we often put a first version, version A, as the control and version B as the variant. When we conduct the test, we give a set portion the users access to the first version, while the remaining test participants are given version B. This helps to see if the changes have a measurable impact.

Nowadays, A/B testing is fundamental. Almost everyone can conduct an A/B testing to understand if the changes made to the application has a positive impact on the users. However, it does not mean that it is easy to get it done right. In order to see the most success from A/B testing, one has to consider the following:

  1. Statistics and data is your best friend. A/B testing is similar to conducting an experiment. You do not want to conduct the test without proper data tracking and statistical analysis. Without being able to measure the results quantitatively, the A/B testing is as good as nought.
  2. Use the results. This may seem redundant, but many times, developers or project owners simply ignore the results of the A/B testing because the result is different from expected. It is important to bear in mind that unless there is a fundamental error in how the testing was conducted, the results from the test should not be ignored.
  3. Have the strategy ready first. When conducting A/B testing, one should already have a specific objective in mind. The project owner or developer should already know what he or she wants to test, before planning the test. Otherwise, it will be hard to make sense of the test outcome
  4. Unless we are testing for design preferences, we should not change the design when doing A/B testing. This is to make sure that the test result is consistent and not skewed by differences in preference in design of the participants.
  5. Patience is important because sometimes it takes a while before A/B testing results can be gathered. A/B testing is not a short term exercise but a long term strategy that can go a long way in improving your mobile apps.

How has A/B testing helped you or your organisation deliver higher quality mobile applications? Share with us below!