When looking at client reviews of the top-rated app development agencies on Clutch, some key descriptors stand out:

“… a true business partner …”

“… working hard to solve our problems …”

“… very talented people …”

“… professionalism and knowledge…”

Those are the same phrases we like to see popping up in reviews from our own clients. It means we’re succeeding in several key areas that set great app agencies apart from the rest.

So what exactly are those factors that differentiate the great companies from the rest? Here’s what to look for when shopping for an app development agency to build your app:

1. They Have A Foolproof Process

The preparation for a new app build sets the tone for the rest of the project. When talking to a prospective app agency, inquire about their end-to-end process. You want to feel confident from the start about the direction and duration of the build. Be sure to ask:

How long is the build expected to take?

Do they have a designer on their team?

What happens after the app is built?

These are just some of the questions that should be on your radar in your initial meeting with a potential development agency.

At MindSea, we start every new build with our Mobile App Blueprint. The blueprint guides us as we define your business goals, target audience and ideal app features so that we know what direction to go with your app. From there, we delve into design planning and UX research.

The point of this process is to give you very clear expectations about timeline and budget as well as answers to all the other pressing questions we’d expect you to have. We want to be as up front as possible on what the actual cost to build an app is, and what the process to get there is going to look like. The key here is transparency.

2. They Do Thorough Research And Testing

When you’re thinking about how to build an app, you should never take the research portion of a new project lightly.

Before writing even a single line of code, you have to know who you’re designing for.

That means collecting a lot of data on your users, including demographics, behavioural patterns, likes and dislikes. Research goes far beyond a simple survey or focus group and must include some form of user testing—most likely, multiple stages of testing. You’ll also want info on your competitors and industry trends.

UX research typically goes through three stages: observation, understanding and analysis, each with a different objective. The main purpose, however, is to learn what works and what doesn’t regarding features and functionality before the app goes public.

Investing ample time to learn what will deliver the most value to your users will only help your long-term success. Find yourself an agency that knows the importance of research and how to do it well.

3. They Have A Solid Portfolio

One of the easiest ways to tell if an agency will be a good fit is to check out their reputation in the industry.

That’s why forums like Dribbble, Clutch and Agency Spotter offer so much value—they allow you to really get a sense of the big players in the app development world.

Other avenues to leverage are case studies, where you can see what the agency’s end-to-end process looks like in action; client reviews and testimonials, typically found on the agency’s website as well as public ratings sites; and personal recommendations from people who have recently hired the agency to create their app.

If an agency doesn’t have this type of evidence to back them up, sit down for a conversation anyway—if they’re legit, you should see the other characteristics we’ve covered in this post come through and get a sense of how knowledgeable they are through your chat.

Finally, give their past apps a once-over by downloading and testing them out yourself.

4. They Have Great Relationships With Their Clients

When outsourcing your app build, you definitely want to work with an app development agency that puts your needs first and has your best interests at heart.

If you don’t trust the team you’re thinking of hiring, then the app build will be a rough go.

How do they communicate? Do they talk more than they listen? Do they ask the right questions? How many people are involved?

The best developers and designers will take time to learn about you and your brand, your customer, and your organization’s goals and vision for the app before getting started. And at MindSea, we like to have the people who will actually be building the app lead meetings and conversations with clients so the clients can get to know the team who will be handling the project.  

At the end of the day, the collaboration has to be a good fit on both sides, so if the agency is doing it right, they’ll be prospecting you as well.

5. They Have Strong Organizational Values

When implemented correctly, organizational values guide a business’s daily operations and activities. Shared values keep all team members on track and set a standard for the way they do their jobs.

At MindSea, our values really do guide us in everything we do.

Our values are as follows:

  • Empowerment
  • Mutual Respect
  • Total Well-Being
  • Do No Harm
  • Integrity

These are thoroughly communicated with all new members joining our team, and we reflect on these values when deciding whether a new project is right for us.

Ready to build your app? At MindSea, we wear our passion on our sleeves. We care for our clients and put our best foot forward at every step. And we do it all—design, development, launch, maintenance and support. Get in touch with one of our Product Specialists today to find out how we can help bring your vision to life!

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