11 Crucial Questions to Ask Your Mobile Web Developer

What questions should you ask a mobile web developer?

The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC promotes entrepreneurship as a solution to unemployment and underemployment and provides entrepreneurs with access to tools, mentorship, and resources that support each stage of their business’s development and growth.

1. Show Off Some Success

Laura Roeder

What accomplishment are you most proud of? Ask a developer how they overcame a tought problem and made it into a big win. What projects are they proud to show off to the world, and why?

Laura Roeder, LKR

2. Apps or Mobile Site?

Patrick Curtis

Personally, I think developing apps for multiple platforms is a nightmare. Not only is it costly the first time around, but can also cost thousands down the road for updates and maintenance. I prefer to ask a mobile developer if they are able to develop a mobile version of the site through a dynamic theme that changes based on the screen width of the device. It is a much cleaner solution.

Patrick Curtis, WallStreetOasis.com

3. Location, Location, Location

George Mavromaras

Being heavily involved in the mobile app market as a consultant, I often find myself coming across new developers. My basic question to ask is, “Where are your engineers?” Just because their office is located in the nearby city doesn’t mean their app/mobile developer is conveniently located as well. This is a major concern, especially when it comes to communication and understanding of a project.

George Mavromaras, Mavro Inc.

4. Don’t Get Outdated

Thursday Bram

How will we be able to update the app? A great app today is obsolete six months from now. If you’re working with a mobile developer who may not be around six months out, you need to have a clear picture of what it will take to update your app. Will you have source files? Support? Anything at all to work with? Find out now, rather than having to build a whole new app down the road.

Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting

5. Ask for Others’ Opinions

Matthew Ackerson

Ask for references, preferably at least two or three of past clients whom they built mobile apps for. Get phone numbers, not emails. Ask those references questions like “Did the developer, when you worked with him/her, set clear expectations and then fulfill or exceed those expectations?” Listen closely for any hesitation and dig into that to see if there’s a bad (or good) story behind it.

Matthew Ackerson, PetoVera

6. Let Past Clients Preach

Josh Weiss

Ask the developer for past clients that you can call and discuss prior work with. Speaking to these people is the best way to really get a sense of the quality of work the developer provides.

Josh Weiss, Bluegala

7. Guarantee the Real Deal

Roger Bryan

If your mobile developer does not guarantee that your app will get approved for iTunes sales, then move on to the next developer. Just as a good mechanic guarantees the repairs on your car, a good developer will guarantee to get your app into the largest mobile marketplace.

Roger Bryan, RCBryan & Associates

8. From Fan to Contractor

Aaron Schwartz

What do they love about your brand and customers? It’s very easy to get caught up in the details with any developer. One thing that is often lost is the developer’s understanding of your customers, their needs and their desires. The more the mobile web developer knows about your business, the better their work product will be (and the faster they will be able to iterate!).

Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches

9. Design Is King

Bhavin Parikh

With mobile apps, each pixel is critical. There’s less real estate on the screen, and users will be pressing buttons with their fingers or thumbs — not a mouse. Ask prospective developers about their mobile design experience, and ask to see prior apps that they’ve designed. Designing a great mobile app is often harder than coding one.

Bhavin Parikh, Magoosh, Inc.

10. Triple Interrogation

Angela Pan

There are three basic questions you should ask: Can you develop for both the iPhone and Android? What type of analytics are possible in the app? Will sensitive user data be handled securely?

Angela Pan, Angela B. Pan Photography

11. Don’t Let Yourself Be Fooled

Derek Shanahan

Ask them where their developers are located. There’s a trend for outsourced development to put a person on the ground near you to act as business development and present a team as “local.” This may not be the case! Also, ask their position on mobile web versus native, and look for a thoughtful answer.

Derek Shanahan, Foodtree


About Young Entrepreneur Council

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.