What are some tips for building a mobile app?

I am looking at venturing into the world of mobile apps. Does anyone has any ideas or tips that they can share?

Top voted answer
Sebastien Tremblay

Sebastien Tremblay, Managing Director at EmpireOne Group

Haaaa, mobile technologies! The question is not whether you are jumping in, but when! The ABS plans that by 2015, Australia will no longer sell "non" smartphones, and by 2017 (which really, is only around the block) 99% of Aussies will be running a smart device or two (tabs + phones).


Where do I start...


The app itself; 

My advice (and Wendy went the same direction was also) is to make sure you look at solving a problem. Why would people use your app. The reason for that is that you could be sinking quite a bit of time (and indirectly, $$) into an app without a direction. There's also an argument for looking into a lean/iterative approach and hitting the market with an most valuable product (MVP) which in essence, is the one or two features that just make your app, and thereafter, users can provide feedback as to what other features they would like to see (and indirectly, pay for, also..!)


The build - offshore;

Both Peter and Wendy have mentioned outsourcing offshore. They are both right from a cost perspective (the AUD is just to high, and the rest of the world needing the work) and hourly rate will go very low. The usual challenge is down to communications. Offshoring is easier if you're a little technical. Outsourcing is easier if you are communicating well with the vendor. Outsourcing offshore, from a non-technical English speaker, in my opinion, would require a little bit of help (a vitual CTO, or a tech right hand you can count on) for anything above 5-7k. I have dealt with over a dozen developers and companies overseas and I'd say none is perfect, it's all down to how much management you're wiling to put in. In terms of cost, I'm willing to be the same RFP will fetch you completely different prices. Again, have someone to look at what you're buying before shipping dollars overseas! No sollicitors will get you your money back if things go wrong!


The build - locally;

Wages are high here, so is rent. And so are skills too! You can also expect good value for your dollar and someone local to deal with. Many will outsource some parts, but will manage it for you. I've written a "cost your own app" article on our blog if it helps. see link 1, below.


The technologies;

Depending on the features you are after, it's worth understanding the basic options which are available to you (mobile vs native apps) and also the pros and cons for each, including cost implications. I'm of the ones who like thinking noting is impossible with technologies (anything can be achieved) however certain technologies do have strenghts.. I have written a piece on our blog to clearly (I hope!) explain the difference. see link 2 below. If you decided to go "native", there are also frameworks allowing to build both apple and android software in one go.

As Wendy mentioned, you will also get "generators" out there which will do it all for you, a few clicks and hop you go, at a recurrent or branding (their name in your app) fee, however these are limited in features - you can't for instance, have the conduit.com app to search through your database and return results on a maps based on proximity..


Links - sorry for the self promo, not even sure that's allowed here, but hey - they are relevant and I'm not selling anything!!

1 - startups-and-smbs/how-much-does-an-app-cost (http://bit.ly/12FqZRs)

2 - bytes-of-technologies/understanding-apps-mobile-native-or-responsive (http://bit.ly/Xq9B2Q)


Sorry, long reply, hopeful, I hope!



Bridget Holland

Bridget Holland, Director at

Start by getting your answers to some very basic questions:

- why do you want an app?

- what is it going to achieve for you / your business?  How are you going to measure that?

- what is it doing to deliver to (potential) users?

- how are users doing that now?  Do they really need or want to change?

- how are you going to promote / distribute it?  There are so many apps already it really needs to stand out.

I'm not saying no, I'm just saying be very careful upfront about why you want an app.  My sense is that most business apps at the moment are defensive (about locking existing customers more closely into you) than offensive (gain new business) plays.  And that's because marketing the app to anyone outside your current userbase is a challenge.

Michael Reid CA

Michael Reid CA, Do All The Things! at Michael L Reid CA

Is it for your business ThoughtSpot PR or for another idea that you have?

Linda Reed-Enever

Linda Reed-Enever, Director at

Michael I actually am crazy enough to have 3 but this app is for www.mediaconnections.com.au and we are also looking at one for www.familycapers.com.au.

Thanks for asking :)

Michael Cindric

Michael Cindric, Software Developer / Founder at

Hi Linda, Yes l have. My company Sentia has built many apps for our clients with a number of them in top 10 on apple store. We are a sydney based company and would be glad to chat about your needs we also specialise in web development as well some of our work includes Airtasker.com Onebigswitch.com.au Regards Michael

Peter Jones

Peter Jones, Founder at LinkSmart

Hi Linda,

I have just joined Savvysms after a meetup.

If you are looking for someone to do the apps I have a great company in India that does a great job and very, very resasonable, just give me a post and I will forward the information.

The other way (and I found my company) via freelancer.com


Baktash Fazelzadeh

Baktash Fazelzadeh, Marketing Consultant at

Hi Peter, I would be interested to know the App company that you have mentioned Thank you

Peter Jones

Peter Jones, Founder at LinkSmart

Hi, email Hement at hemant@hemantech.com. Tell him Peter from LinkSmart sent you. If you go ahead let me know and I will give you an update on how it all works. Peter

Wendy Huang

Wendy Huang, Full Time Blogger and YouTuber at A Custom Blog in 4 Minutes

Hi Linda,

The world of the mobile app is becoming more competitive and a decent budget needs to be put aside to build and most importantly market the app.

Think of who will use this and how much money you need to spend to get it to those people and factor it into the cost. I've seen many people build apps but they don't go anywhere and the cost of building and fixing bugs on top is a huge drain on resources you could have spent else where.

If you are looking for a simple app, you can find free services that will turn your website into an app and such. I used one myself called: Conduit http://www.conduit.com/  

If you're looking to build a more custom one I know a developer in Ukraine that has done a good job. But they do it well and a lead time to a final app being made can be up to a year depending on the complexity.

Gregory Ferrett

Gregory Ferrett, Editor at Monday Motivational Moment

Top 10% Selling Online

Yes - done with the University of Ballarat and launched yesterday. here is the link - https://play.google.com/store - and then search for 'Sales Analyzer' (yes - with a Z). Many if the University and TAFE schools are looking for projects for their students. The coast is low (usually zero - just your time) but the development time is long - usually a full term or semester as the app is their assignment.


Shoaib Khanzada

Shoaib Khanzada, Director at Ingress Solutions

Hi Linda,

Good to see your message, I have joined SavvySME today and I have 12 years programming experience and certified mobile application developer. I also run an offshore software development company and we do both web and mobile application development, with my local presence in Sydney, I can certainly help you to "transform your ideas into working solutions" and provide you very valuable suggestions on the product you are looking to develop in near future.

Feel free, to reach me at shoaib@gmail.com for further discussion.




Anup D

Anup D, Director-Strategic alliances at Nways

We have built 400+ apps , we are local based in sydney and do also have our offshore development centre to provide cost synergies to clients here. Do get in touch anupdutta@gmail.com