When you meet with a mobile app development vendor to get a quote, you can expect to talk about your business goals and their expertise. But a major part of your initial meeting will be hashing out some basic requirements for the app. Come prepared to discuss these questions.

 iOS app or Android app?

When you have a great idea for an app, you’ll need to decide if you want to launch on iOS or Android or both. But how do you choose? Which one is better? It depends on who your audience is and what your budget looks like. Don’t make a guess, do some research. Who is your target audience for the app? What devices do they use? You can look up general statistics to make a guess, or use a survey to gather information. If you are launching to an existing audience, then your IT or marketing department will probably have information on the types of devices your audience uses. If you want to start with one platform and then add another later on, plan for the cost of two apps. Although duplicating the app on a second platform might seem simple, it’s still a lot of work to build because iOS and Android run on different programming languages. Some things will be the same, like your audience demographics, the general functionality, and some of the design work (although Google and Apple have different icons and animations that may need to be changed). So do some research and make a plan based on your audience and current budget.

 Are user accounts needed?

Some apps require user account sign-up and login. If your app concept requires storing preferences, settings, favorites, or customization by the user, you will probably need some kind of user account registration. If you plan to charge users for premium features, then you’ll also need account creation. This matters because it means more extensive data collection and storage, probably an admin dashboard and a back-end management system, and more complex logic in the programming. If your app requires storing any kind of personal or payment information, then you’ll also have to think about security and best practices.

 What data will be collected?

Some apps accept data input from the user. This could include commenting on locations or products, gathering field data, surveys or quizzes, or virtually any other kind of data input and storage. Will your users need to enter any information OTHER than setting up an account or payment methods? The developer will want to know this because it will affect both the front end (what fields and screens need to show up for the user) and the back end (where the data is stored and how it is used and calculated).

 What device features will be used?

One of the best things about mobile apps is all the functionality within the phone itself. You can take advantage of the camera, GPS, microphone/speakers, touch gestures, contacts and calendar, and more. Your developer will want to know which of these features you want to use because it takes, you guessed it, more programming to integrate those features. Don’t assume that the phone’s functionality will be rolled into the app, as it still takes some specific code-writing to make it happen.

 What third-party integrations will be used?

Not every piece of every app will be coded by hand. There are a lot of excellent third-party tools that can be plugged in through an API. The developer will still need to do some work to integrate it, but they can be a great way to save on costs and use reliable technology. Some examples are social media platforms, PayPal and other payment processing services, and many others. Your developer will want to know if you plan to use any of these tools, and they can offer suggestions for third-party options.

If you want to see how the answers to these questions affect the cost of your app development, check out our free mobile app calculator! It walks you through these questions and more, and at the end you can download a PDF with a ballpark estimate of what your app might cost to build. It’s not an official quote, but it’s a good starting place.

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