Tips On Outsourcing Your App Development

This post is written by Uma Pandit, founder of Bubulu Labs and creator of our recently promoted iYuva for the iPhone.  Uma shares some important tactics to keep in mind when outsourcing your app development. This article furthers the discussion we started last month in “Looking for an App Developer” by outlining key topics to consider if you are not doing the programming yourself.

So let’s say you have a great “app” idea, and did your homework on its viability, usefulness and niche in the marketplace.  The very first step is to sketch out a rough draft of the app and assess the design (there is a wonderful post here on how to design the user experience of your app). Assuming you are not a software developer yourself, it is a good idea to start looking for a developer early in the app development process so you can overlap discussions with your designer and programmer. For example, if you need some animation or some modifications done to your app based on either technical difficulties or feasibility, you can get that done within the contractual obligations from your designer/illustrator.

There are several good places to find a developer such as elance.com or odesk.com.  I like elance.com for its feedback mechanism and its escrow service – so you are not left wondering whether the developer will deliver the app after the money exchange.

Here are a few tips about short listing and finalizing an app developer:

  • Steer clear of developers who give canned responses to your job listing (i.e., I’m even irked by developer shops referring to me as “Sir”).
  • Look for developers who have created similar applications to the one you are building. By similar, I mean common programming elements like sounds on touch, animation on touch, etc. Be sure to download and play around with the apps they have built before signing them on.
  • Prepare a list of “techie” questions for interviewing potential developers, and if possible, invite a friend on the call who is familiar with software development. Chances are, even if that friend doesn’t know iOS programming, he or she will be able to sniff out a questionable programmer pretty quickly. A call is also a good way to get some virtual face time with a developer who might be thousands of miles away.
  • Ask about milestones. If the developer claims he has done big assignments for publishers such as Disney, ask if he will be able to devote time to your app. The last thing you want is to be lowest priority when Disney has a new movie (and promotional app) coming out.
  • Make sure the delivery of the project will include the entire documented code and builds for working on all of specified devices. For example, if you want a universal app, make sure that is what you get.
  • Ask for frequent (weekly or even bi-weekly) builds on your device after the initial framework of the app is programmed – this is also a good time to evaluate your user interface, engage in testing, and report bugs. Keep an excel spreadsheet of some basic tests, and make sure the next build addresses those bugs and doesn’t bring back old bugs (this is called regression testing in geek-speak).
  • If this is your first app, or if you’re still fuzzy about how to upload to the iTunes Connect portal, ask the developers to help you out with creating certificates, defining your AppID, creating your provisioning profiles and uploading to iTunes Connect. This can be a rather painful process, so it’s valuable to have them help you out the first time around.

I hope these tips are helpful in making your decision to outsource a little less painful. Looking forward to comments on this post. –Uma

App Friday: iYuva

Welcome to App Friday, our weekly link exchange of family-friendly apps. This week Bubulu Labs  debuts their creative canvas for the iPhone and iPod touch. iYuva, with a custom update made just for Halloween, is an art studio that lets your own imagination drive the output. iYuva does require registration since the creations are accessible and sharable with friends and family members (on the device and the web), but once you register there is a quick login for returning users. Also, take some time to familiarize yourself and your child with the menu options. Understanding how the app works first (changing colors, sizes and shapes) will ease you into play.

What is your app about? iYuva (Yuva means “youth” in Sanskrit) is an app your child will love to play and immerse herself in. It has lots of shapes and lots of colors to choose from. This app gives you 3 sets of abstract shapes to drag, resize, rotate and color with. The results are delightful drawings limited only by your imagination. Our regular updates to the app keep the drawings fresh and thematic.

Why is it special? iYuva encourages all parents and caregivers a platform to share and seek responses to the child’s artwork. Once your child has created his masterpiece, these drawings are available on the accompanying website for you to share on Facebook, Twitter or via ecards. So the drawings can be accessed anywhere, not just on the device. The latest iYuva update is boo-tiful – it is a “Halloween” swatch to make spooky spiders and goofy pumpkins.

What’s in it for me? For App Friday, October 29th, iYuva for iPhone and iPod touch will be FREE on the iTunes App Store. Download before 8pm US Pacific Time before app reverts back to original pricing.

MORE Apps This Week!

FREE for App Friday, Oct. 29th: Matching Game Memory Pairs (iPhone & iPad) Matching Game Memory Pairs or Match Pairs is a Memory game designed to be kid friendly with baby animal artwork and baby animal sounds. The game is fun animated and easy to play. It is customizable to grow with your child but also offers an easy way to turn menus off while they play so younger kids don’t get lost the buttons and options. When they are ready to learn words you can set it so the names of the animals show after each match.

FREE for App Friday, Oct. 29th: Zombies vs. Literacy (iPhone & iPod touch) Stop zombies from eating your brain by learning early reading skills. Practice word families and sight words and you’ll discover that your brain is too big to be eaten! Fun, interactive application to practice early reading skills. Swipe through the alphabet, word families and sight words. Touch letters to hear them spoken. Watch our for the zombie stampede…they’re looking for brains.

FREE ALWAYS MathSpinK by iHome Educator Kindergarten and Pre-K counting: Finger Counting 1 to 10; 12 Days of Christmas Counting 1 to 12 with graphics of each of the 12 days; Train Car counting 1 to 5 with cute graphics of a train; Princess Counting – 1 to 10 with shiny pretty things. All audio recorded and produced by the family at iHomeEducator!

FEATURED (regular price): Apps for the Witching Hour for more Trick-or-Treat Fun! Our developers have reached into their treat bags for an array of apps for Halloween fun. Choose from books, games, educational and creative activities to help transition from that sugar high – all made right here by the family-friendly crew at Moms With Apps.

App Friday Link Exchange Our goal at Moms With Apps is to spread the word about family-friendly apps. Do YOU have a favorite app to share? Please participate in our link exchange and post it down below. Include the app name in the Link Title, your email, and a URL to the app. Thanks for your participation!