Frequently Asked Questions

What is involved in developing an app?

Through our experience developing iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows mobile apps for a wide range of customers we have been able to continually refined our app development process. This is to ensure we maintain our high standards and deliver the best possible product for the client.

We are big believers in agile development and the lean startup approach, however there are a few variations depending on whether we are developing a mobile app for a startup or an established business.

When working with a startup business there are a lot of unknowns. Not just technical unknowns but who are the customers, what is the market opportunity, what is the problem you are solving and will your customers pay to solve that problem. With established businesses the end customer and problem you are solving is pretty well understood and defined. This results in slightly different approaches to developing an app.

No matter if you are a startup or an established business we believe in working with you to define clear requirements and goals before starting any development. Once the app development is underway we provide regular builds of the app and review progress with you regularly to allow ongoing opportunities for providing feedback. We believe that having real feedback, from real end users, throughout the process is essential to delivering the best product possible. Click here for more information on our process

How much does it cost to develop a mobile app?

This is something we get asked everyday and we could use numerous clichéd analogies to answer this question – but we won’t.

The long answer is that app development is a complex process that requires a lot of a planning and a wide variety of skilled and experienced people to deliver a quality result. With startup app’s you are generally creating something that hasn’t been done before, so a lot of time needs to go in to research and planning. We are also big believers in startups validating their idea and customers before commencing any development. If you haven’t read The Lean Startup by Eric Ries we highly recommend you do so.

Unlike a lot of other agencies our aim is to help you define what is really the Minimum Viable Product (MVP). The aim of an MVP is to test your idea as quickly and cheaply as possible, it isn’t just the first release of your app. In some cases your MVP could be a video, or a one page website with a Facebook ad campaign. Once we have helped you to validate your ideas we will scope the requirements for the first stage of your product and get to work. On average getting an app to market will require an investment of $40,000-$50,000.

If you are an established business we still recommend developing an MVP, however this is more to test usability and get feedback from the end users as quickly as possible. No matter how much planning you put in to your app development as soon as that app lands in the hands of your end users they will provide feedback and identify processes and issues that you hadn’t considered. This is completely normal and is why we follow an agile development process.

The biggest unknown when completing an enterprise app project is integration with existing systems, which is really important but hard to quote in advance. However, a budget of $40,000-$50,000 is realistic if you want to deliver a high performing system that will add value to your business.
So the short answer is you will need to allow at least $40,000-$50,000 to develop your app for one platform (iPhone/iPad, Android or Windows) but this could be up to $150,000+ depending on the complexity, range of features and platforms.

Native app vs mobile web

Another consideration is whether you should build a native app or can your objectives be achieved through a mobile optimized website.

The main advantages of a mobile website are:

  • Quicker and cheaper to developer
  • Available across all platforms

The main advantages of a native iPhone, Android or Windows app are:

  • Better UI and UX
  • Can deliver more complex features
  • More opportunities to generate revenue (ie paid downloads, in-app purchases)
  • Better performance

In short a mobile website is a good option if you don’t have complex features and are on a limited budget. But a native iPhone, Android or Windows app will deliver better results and has superior capabilities.

During the initial discussions with Dapper Apps we will help you to decide if you need a native app or a mobile website.

iPhone vs. Android

There is a lot of debate about whether you should go with an iPhone app or an Android app (at this stage Windows doesn’t even enter the conversation, apart from the enterprise market). In the Australian market our recommendation is that unless there is a very specific reason for developing an Android app you should always go iPhone first.

From our experience iPhone app’s outperform Android app’s significantly in terms of total downloads (we see about an 80/20 split) and revenue generated.

If you are launching a new product you want to get to market as quickly and cheaply as possible, which almost always means iPhone first. There is a lot of device fragmentation in the Android market – which introduces more variables for development and testing. By developing an iPhone app first the development is a lot more controlled and with every app development project things will change, that is absolutely guaranteed. So instead of making changes to two apps we recommend making sure you and your customers are happy with the iPhone app and then use that as the perfect template for the Android app.

There is still a lot of value in developing an Android app as well, because when your app is successful you will have a large percentage of the market that will be unhappy that they can’t download it. This is a good position to be in. We would suggest that the Android app is released in the second stage of the product development. At this point you will have feedback from customers that will allow you to refine the Android offering further. A good approach would be to release this along with an updated version of the iPhone app.

If you are developing an enterprise app there are different considerations. If you are planning on your workforce being BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) then developing for both iPhone and Android will be essential. If you are planning on providing the devices then Android can be a good option, there are some great Android phones and tablets and they can be cheaper than iPhones and iPads. Dapper Apps will help you evaluate the options and choose the right approach for your business and app development project.

How long does it take to develop an app?

The development timeframe varies based on the range of features, complexity and whether you are just building the mobile app for one of iPhone/iPad, Android, Windows, Web or multiple platforms.

In general you should allow at least 3 months from the time you commence the app development process to have a commercial product in the market or integrated in to your business.

With our agile development process you will receive a test build of the app every 2 weeks (at the end of what we call a development sprint). This is your opportunity to test your app, test it with real users and provide feedback. Encouraging feedback and having a high level of involvement from the client delivers the best app possible.

How do I protect my app idea?

When you are just starting to look for a development partner it is normal to want to protect your idea. The reality is that it is very rare for someone to steal an idea, and even if they did a business needs to have a strong understanding of the industry and problem they are solving to be successful. Instead of being concerned about discussing your idea, for fear of it being stolen, we recommend talking to as many people as possible. To build a great product you need to speak to potential customers and potential partners early and often. This will give you the best background to create an app that your customers want.

If you do feel like you want some legal protection you can ask people to sign a Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA), which will allow you to confidentially share your startup app idea.

Startups are often new and innovative businesses, so it is quite common for founders to investigate obtaining a patent for their mobile app. Dapper Apps would always recommend contacting a patent lawyer for expert advice, however our tips for obtaining a patent are:

  • Do it early, because once your idea is out in the public you can no longer patent it
  • Obtaining a patent for software is difficult, but not impossible
  • Allow at least $5,000 for the initial stage of your patent
  • A patent can’t stop someone from copying your idea, but if they do it gives you the ability to prosecute them
  • Speak to an expert, Dapper Apps are happy to refer you to experienced lawyers if you need
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