What should you know before you hire a software development agency
You’re an entrepreneur, you have an idea for your next ground-breaking web application, but you don’t have enough coding experience to make it work? Hiring a software development agency is a right thing to do. To make things work smoothly between the agency and yourself, think about six important things:
1. What’s the budget for your web application?
How much money do you want to invest in your application or website? It might be tempting to hire the cheapest person on a freelancing website but think again. There’s a saying “a poor man pays twice”. If you will pay poor money for a job, it’s quite likely you will receive poor quality work. Poor quality work will require rewriting later on. We’re speaking from experience. Our software developer had many jobs where they had to fix clumsy, unreadable code into something workable. Quite often the only way to do it was to write new code from scratch.
The cost of a project depends on the scope and amount of effort required to make it work. It might be anything from 1000€ to 100 000€. If you’re not sure how much money you can invest, try at least writing your requirements. Think about what you’d like your application to have.
Do you need two dashboards? One for admin, one for the user? Or just one?
What can the admin do on their website?
What should the user be allowed to do?
Will your application require a password? Two-factor authentication?
Do you need multiple language versions?
Will you store any sensitive data? If so, do you need to put in place GDPR rules?
If you answer all those questions, it will be easier for the agency to prepare a budget for you.
2. How complex will your web application be?
People have a tendency to be extra optimistic about their projects. Because of that, it’s easy to miscalculate the scope of the app without realizing how complex the project might become. To be as close to reality as possible, open a spreadsheet or a notebook, focus, and write it all down:
Do you want your users to be able to save the website to their home screen? If the answer is YES, then you need PWA.
Do you want to have a dedicated Android or iOS application? If the answer is YES, it’s a completely different development process.
Are you familiar with some technologies? If so, would you prefer a software developer to guide you when you're stuck at some point? Or would you rather offer them to do most of the work and fix some minor bugs yourself?
Do you need support in a coding language that you feel you're not experienced enough to use it on your own?
It’s important that you, as the owner of the product, and your software developer be on the same page. This way, you won’t double each other’s work and you won’t get in each other’s way.
Also, it’s crucial for your web application to be tested straight away with end-to-end tests. As a result, in the future, it will be easier to catch minor bugs early and implement updates without fear that one change will crash the entire system.
You might be hesitant about the tests, but think about them as your insurance policy: you pay some money earlier to be safe in the future. It’s the same with testing. With properly performed tests, you will find and fix problems long before your users might encounter them. Their experience on the website will therefore be smooth and pleasant.
3. Do you want to handle the hosting and domain yourself?
You might already have an established domain on your hosting provider of choice, but if you don’t, we can choose the right domain and sort the hosting for you. This way you can focus on the business part of your project without worrying about technical stuff.
4. What’s your vision for your web app?
How did you come up with your idea? Have you seen any other applications that inspired you? Do you have any colour or mood boards? Any particular styles that you’re fond of? All that information will help us create your web app's look that will work best for you.
Do you already have a plan for how your app is going to function? Do you have its wireframes already prepared? That's great news! You can show them as well, even if that's just a quick sketch in a notebook. It will make it much easier to understand how you envision your application's workflow.
Do you need some extra help with the styles? It’s not something you feel comfortable with? That's understandable! We work with an experienced and very likeable designer who can help you develop your branding. Our designer will take care of your logo and colour stories, and make sure that the user experience of your web app is top-notch.
5. Do you plan to update an old application? Think again.
Legacy code might not be as easy to update as you might think. In our fast-paced times, software gets outdated quite quickly and using an old code might create a bunch of issues. Some of them are security-related. Over time your application may have become troublesome for any of your future software developers to work on.
Sometimes the most suitable option for an upgrade is actually rewriting an entire application. It might sound scary and expensive, but think about it as an investment in your future. Old code might need a lot of maintenance, in the long term resulting in a significant loss of money.
6. Accessibility of your web app
Take a while to think if you might have users who will browse your app through screen readers? Or perhaps they might use only a keyboard and no mouse at all? Would you like to give them an option to skip navigation?
Taking care of all your customers depending on their abilities and disabilities should be one of your highest priorities if not the top one. The revenue loss due to lack of accessibility in retail shops only in the UK resulted in 75£ billion (read more on Level Access website).
After encountering difficulties in navigating your app, the physically challenged users will quite possibly click away and most likely they won't even let you know about their unpleasant experience. Keep in mind that a silent customer equals an unhappy customer.
Taking care of them first hand is therefore in your best interest.
On top of that, imagine that in 2019 there were two massive accessibility lawsuits. One was against Beyonce (read more on Fortune website). The other one was agains pizza chain Domino’s who has been sued over its website's accessibility with Supreme Court handing victory to the visually impaired man who started the process (read more on CNBC website).
As you can clearly see now, it’s crucial to implement accessibility improvements in your application. Not to mention that they will improve your user experience level and search engine optimization. It’s a win-win for you and for all of your future customers.
Remember, the key questions you have to ask yourself before hiring a software development agency are:
- What’s your budget?
- How complex is your project?
- Do you need help with hosting and domain?
- What’s your vision for the final product?
- Do you wish to upgrade an outdated code?
- What are your needs in terms of accessibility?
It’s OK if you don’t know all the answers, but the more you know, the easier it is for the agency to assess the budget and the scope of your project.
We are here to help you ff you still have questions! Just contact us at email@example.com.
We will get back to you in 24 hours from Monday to Friday.