a dynamic entrepreneur & CEO, specialist in startup support, innovation & investment
Developers are in short supply and everyone has the next big thing and wants a developer to join them for free or an equity share. Finding developers is never easy but I planned to pay for them that way you get delivery on time and on budget (well if managed well). I have used Guru.com and elance.com before to hire freelance developers and designers so understood the process and how hit and miss it can be. This time I opted to use oDesk.com because I had worked with a few startups that had used it and found some great people via it.
My general advice is you seem to get good quality developers from Eastern Europe and developers from India & China are a bit more miss than hit. Because of this I filtered the people via location and invited a bunch of people who I thought based on their profile and example work could deliver what I was asking for. This process takes several weeks so don’t expect to signup on day 1 and have a team working for you on day 2. I needed an iOS developer then a backed developer who could write the API, database connect and do the scraping of car data I was going to need.
After a couple of weeks I had Yuriy from the Ukraine who was an iOS developer & Michael who was based in the UK and a php developer. I shared with them the FluidUI mock ups and a trello board with a list of features to be developed.
First job was to list out a bunch of features I thought the app should have in the first version
– Find Vehicle details (Reg, Make, Model, Colour, Fuel Type, engine size, BHP)
– TAX renewal reminder
– MOT renewal reminder
– Insurance renewal reminder
– Breakdown recovery details (AA, RAC, GreenFlag)
Next was to start to produce wireframes for the app. For the wire framing I used FluidUI to map out the various iPhone screens and the user journey through the app. Once in Fluid you can then push it to an iPhone to test it on an actual device, although the backend functionality is not there it massively helps you work out what works and what doesn’t. I was also able to push it to other people’s phones to then peer over their shoulder why they tried things out. Once I was happy with the layout I then shared it with a designer for him to design the individual screens, I was then able to go back and add them to FluidUI so it looked as close to the real thing as possible.
Finding a designer?
I felt that the design of the app was critical to it being adopted and used by users, if it looked good it was going to be much easier to sell. I therefore decided that I wanted to use someone I trusted and could sit with to go over the designs and my vision for the product. Luckily I new just the chap and we set to work. It only took him a few days to come up with the concept which I loved he then took a few more days to complete all the various screen layouts.
I am always having ideas for mobile apps but don’t have the time to learn to code to create one. I also spend lots of time with startups who are creating mobile apps and I have no direct experience of publishing and promoting an app which means I am relying on stuff I have read and stuff I have learn’t second hand. It was time to get some real world experience by building and publishing my own app. I will document my journey via blog posts.
Mobile App Idea?
My idea was a simple one, all car owners have a bunch of things they need to remember to do each year like MOT, TAX, Insure and service the car and lots of people forget. So the app automates reminders for all your cars, you never forget those important things again.
Which Mobile platform to launch on?
First choice was what platform do I build the app for to launch upon. Most startups publish iOS first and Android second with Windows and Blackberry not even a consideration, but when you look at the number of handsets using Android versus iOS there is no comparison, Android has significantly more.
The challenge with Android is that you have over 12,000 different devices to support which makes it almost impossible to test your app across all these devices. The biggest reason people don’t start with Android is that monetization of an app is much simpler on iOS. A Distimo report said that in April 2013, the Google Play vs. iOS app revenue balance stood at 27% to 73%, that is hugely significant.
The other factors that influenced my decision were iOS/iPhone’s are expensive devices and my app was for car owners so my assumption is that more iPhone owners will also be car owners than Android users. The second factor is that I have an iPhone so if I want to test it then it would need to be iOS. Decision made it would be iOS.
Next step was to get the app designed.