In his final blog in this series Exploding Phone’s MD, Andy Long, discusses the app maintenance and some marketing/commercial considerations:

On-going maintenance: What happens when the platform provider release an update?

Once the app is live it is likely to require ongoing maintenance to keep it both relevant to user expectations and functioning correctly. Exploding Phone offers a three-month warranty on all apps so any bugs discovered after go-live will be addressed free of charge. Issues may occur when platform vendors release a new version of their mobile operating system and users upgrade their devices. While we design your app to the highest standards of resilience it remains possible that an upgrade could cause issues such as crashes, display problems and functionality not working as designed. Exploding Phone receives pre-release versions of the new mobile operating systems so we can test and rectify these issues before they are released for general usage. Apple and Google currently adopt an annual release cycle for the major release of their mobile operating systems so this is a predictable event.

Ongoing Support Options

We recommend a support package subscription, under which Exploding Phone will proactively check the apps for any issues with the new version of the mobile. In addition we’ll address any bug fixes required outside of warranty and minor content changes in the app. Another option is for ad-hoc support. We’ll deal with any issue on a chargeable ad-hoc basis. However, at busy times (e.g., when there’s a mobile operating system upgrade) priority is given to customers with a support package. Marketing Your App: If you build it, will they come? Many people assume that once you create an app and place it into the App Store it will be discovered and tens of thousands of people will naturally download it. Sadly the truth is quite different and unless you your app is backed up by a household the chances of mass adoption are very low. It’s therefore important to consider marketing your app once it’s live. This could include links on websites, social media, including the app in existing campaigns, etc. Exploding Phone is able to provide consulting advice in this area if required.

Freelancer vs. Studio?

Generally a freelancer will be less expensive than using a team of developers, however you are then at the mercy of an individual. There are fantastic freelancers but there are also very unreliable freelancers so it’s inevitably a risk to be weighed against the strategic importance of the app to your business’ needs. If using a freelancer we recommend you insist they make the source code available to you at least once a week during development. That way if they do disappear before the project is completed you’re not left high and dry and can hopefully continue the project with another supplier.

Developer contractual options

Most app developers will work on a fixed-price basis to a specification. This makes it essential to create a highly detailed specification at the beginning of the project because:

  1. Where there’s uncertainty, there’s risk. When pricing a project and there is some ambiguity around an area of the requirements, Exploding Phone will always err on the side of caution, i.e., the most complex and time consuming scenario. By removing as much ambiguity as possible the pricing estimate will be more accurate and possibly lower.
  2. Everyone understands what is being delivered and the end product is therefore what the client is expecting. When there is room for interpretation the other party will almost always interpret it slightly differently, potentially resulting in frustration, delay and additional costs.

Exploding Phone can assist clients’ development of specifications as it benefits both parties.

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