The two largest app stores, Google Play Store, and Apple App store are home to over 4.8 billion apps. If you want to stand out among the fierce competition, you have to make sure you hire one of the top-notch app development companies. To help you along the way, we devised a methodology that evaluates multiple angles of the companies starting with the services they offer and all the way to customer satisfaction.
Every company included on our list is the result of comprehensive research. We engaged in a thorough step-by-step process that helped us remove the chaff and deliver the best options to you. Along with featuring some relevant technical information, the following sections will focus on everything we considered while evaluating the top app development companies. All this together should help you understand the decisions you’ll have to make as you choose the right company for your needs.
Our first step is to discover how long a company has been on the market. This not only reveals the company’s experience, but it also shows how likely it is to stay in business, as the app development market is quite competitive. Most top-performing app development companies have been on the market for about a decade, so they’re doing something right if they can thrive in this harsh, challenging environment.
An in-depth look at a company’s past projects and case studies is another crucial aspect of our evaluation. By analyzing the company’s clients and the projects they’ve worked on in the past, we get practical examples of their work, as well as how they handled each unique task. How well did the app programming companies communicate with their clients? Did they deliver the product on time? Is the value of the delivered project proportional to the project cost?
When looking for app development agencies, we focus on discovering the types of apps these agencies specialize in. Depending on the expected app performance, you can choose between native, cross-platform, and web apps. Additionally, you can opt for an Android or iOS app, or have an app for both of these operating systems. We strive to provide you with the companies that specialize in different app types, so your choices aren’t limited.
To find the best app development companies, we also explore the programming languages and frameworks the company can work with. To be more precise, we look at both front-end and back-end languages. The former are client-oriented, as developers use them to create what users see in their browsers, while the latter focus on servers. Together, they create a perfect user experience.
Knowing front-end or back-end languages isn’t enough. It’s just a starting point. To better evaluate the competency of these mobile app development agencies, we also check the skills developers use to build their apps. Producing the best apps requires a combination of knowledge and creativity, so we check if the development team thinks outside the box and implements innovative solutions.
Good communication skills are essential both within the development team and with clients. Lastly, we check how transparent these companies are: whether they present clients with the app development strategies they plan on using, whether the deadlines are clear, and what the project will cost.
Before recommending an app development company, we always check if the company has app design specialists in-house. Having an app with an attractive and intuitive design is nearly as important as having a fully functional app. Ideally, you want your app to be designed and developed by the same team. If the same team adds a specific design to your app, the chances of the app encountering technical problems are nearly impossible.
That said, our research extends to discovering if an app development company is also an app designing company. However, we don’t just want to find a company that offers app design—we also want to make sure that the services provided are of the highest quality. To do so, we always hit every point in our methodology system, including looking at user reviews and taking a closer look at the websites in a company’s portfolio.
To narrow down our list of the best app developers, we take the following aspects into account:
The two main approaches to app development are the Waterfall and Agile approaches. The Waterfall approach is considered a traditional approach to building mobile apps. With it, the app development process is divided into several phases in sequential order. If you’re considering app development firms that use the Waterfall approach, you should know that only after they’ve finished a particular project phase can they move onto the next one.
From a client’s perspective, the Waterfall approach offers project estimates in terms of cost and deadlines. However, the Waterfall strategy doesn’t allow you to return to previous project phases until the entire project is finished. Additionally, the test phase is the last phase, so if technical problems of some kind arise in the middle of the project, it’s impossible to spot them early on. Finally, any change to the project returns the entire project to the beginning.
A mobile application developer that relies on the Agile approach follows an entirely different tactic. After developing a particular functionality, they immediately test it, which reduces the chances of technical issues in the future. Unlike the Waterfall approach, where developing a product is one of the last phases, the Agile approach offers a demo product after integrating several functions. Then, based on clients’ feedback, developers make changes and test them right after that. The primary drawback of this approach is that it’s difficult to determine a project’s deadline.
The unwritten rule is that app development companies using the Agile approach deliver better results than Waterfall-oriented companies.
Whether an app development company relies on traditional development or low-code development platforms is another part of our comprehensive analysis. The option of using both is on the table. The question is, how do these two methods affect app development projects?
A mobile app development company with a traditional approach uses different programming languages across various operating systems and device formats. The goal is to find neutral languages for creating an app that will function in different environments. Additionally, special functionalities require writing separate code. With the traditional method, there’s a lot of repetition and manual coding.
In contrast, low-code development platforms have pre-made modules designed to work in different environments. They simplify the entire app development process. However, low-code development has its limitations, which is why it’s best to supplement traditional programming with low-code programming. This way, low-code development can be used to streamline some processes in app development. Meanwhile, mobile app developers can use their expertise in writing code that requires unique app functionalities.
We then determine the type of mobile apps these companies specialize in. The three main types of apps are native, web-based, and hybrid. How do you know which of these three is best for you? First, let’s see the differences between them.
Native apps are designed to work on a specific mobile operating system. Windows phones run on Windows OS, while Samsung combines two operating systems: Bada and Android. Nokia devices have changed three operating systems throughout the years, starting with Symbian OS, then changing to Windows OS, and now they run on Android One OS. However, most app development companies are actually specialized Android development companies or iOS-focused outfits since Android and iOS-powered devices hold 97.7% of the mobile OS market share.
Next, we have web-based apps. These apps run within a mobile web browser and require an internet connection. They can’t be classified as real apps, as they’re actually websites that act like native apps. Additionally, unlike native apps that use native programming languages, web-based apps use web app frameworks such as CSS3 and HTML5.
Lastly, some app programming companies specialize in developing hybrid apps. These apps are a combination of native and web-based apps. They have access to a device’s APIs, but unlike web-based apps, they don’t require a mobile web browser.
Additionally, some sources put hybrid and cross-platform apps in the same category, as these two types of apps are quite similar. However, the difference between the two is that cross-platform apps run directly on a smartphone’s hardware, while hybrid apps require a web view.
Each type of mobile application development has its benefits, so we took that into consideration for our ranking of app developers.
Native apps use all the capabilities of a mobile platform. To put it simply, they provide a superb user experience. Additionally, since they are written for a specific OS, their performance is unparalleled. Users don’t need an internet connection to access native apps. They’re also fairly easy to find and install from app stores.
But native apps also have their downsides. When you begin working with your mobile app development agency, keep in mind that native apps are more expensive to develop. Also, if you build a native Android app, you’ll need a native iOS app as well. After all, your customers will want the right app for the operating system they use.
Hybrid apps are much simpler to build than native apps. Hybrid mobile app development uses a single codebase, and the app can be used on different operating systems. This type of app is usually less expensive. It also takes less time to develop than native apps.
On the other hand, hybrid apps use plugins to provide all the functionalities on a user’s mobile device. This is why hybrid apps can’t offer native features. Plus, hybrid apps don’t work without the internet.
If you opt to have your mobile app developer create a mobile app that runs within a web browser, the app will, much like hybrid apps, offer limited functionalities. The advantage of building a web-based app is that they’re easy to build and maintain, and they’re budget-friendly.
Next, we pay attention to the database and hosting solutions they use. Most companies rely on back-end cloud solutions and the Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) model. The most popular choices include Google App Engine, Microsoft Azure, Heroku, and Amazon AWS.
When looking for the leading app development companies, how each company secures the apps is also an essential part of our evaluation process. We employ the criteria designed specifically for finding the best cyber security firms, to take account of each company’s security services.
This type of app uses an intermediate language that isn’t native to a particular mobile platform’s operating system. This allows cross-platform apps to work with different operating systems, while native Android apps, for instance, can only use Android as their operating system. Still, cross-platform apps cannot perform as fast as native apps. Additionally, they don’t offer all the same features a native operating system can.
The coding process behind cross-platform apps is much simpler than with native apps. Cross-platform app development firms can build an app by reusing parts of the code from multiple devices. This means that this type of app development is usually less expensive. It also takes less time.
However, cross-platform apps can never perform as well as native apps. They rely on frameworks and plugins to offer the features available with different mobile platforms. Cross-platform apps are therefore more limited in what they can do. Still, having a cross-platform app is always desirable which is why we look into cross-platform options as well. We also check out the methods they use.
A company has a greater chance of being placed on our mobile app development companies list if it also offers app marketing services.
Customer reviews and testimonials represent two of the main ranking factors in our methodology. A neat portfolio doesn’t tell us all that much, which is why we focus on these additional elements when compiling our list. Whether customers were satisfied with the final product or not tells us about the quality of service a company offers.
Keep in mind, a company’s website isn’t our only source of customer reviews. To find the top mobile app developers, we look for customer reviews and testimonials on multiple platforms to get the whole picture. After all, there are few companies that will put negative reviews on their main website.
One of the crucial factors for choosing an app development company is pricing. These services aren’t exactly cheap. However, this type of service shouldn’t be overly inexpensive, as building an app takes a lot of time and effort. When looking at different app development agency rates, we cross-tabulate the prices based on market price and the quality of the services these developers provide.
Once you narrow down your top choices among the mobile app building companies, here are some of the key points you should go through:
If they do, they probably already have insights into that market’s demands and preferences. Additionally, you can check the portfolios these mobile app developers provide for a glimpse into what an app from your vertical should look like.
Your next step is to check how the agency goes about UX/UI design. An app can have some really great features, but if it’s not intuitive, clean, and flexible, users might not recognize its potential. With that in mind, be sure to check if the same app development agency can both build and design your app.
Look for an agency that follows coding standards. These standards aren’t created only to make a developer’s life difficult—just the opposite. Imagine having your app developed by a mobile app development firm that writes its own code and then choosing one of the many app design companies that follow coding standards. The second team of developers would probably have trouble deciphering the code written by the first one.
The answer to this question should be yes. The app documentation contains app features, maintenance, and development instructions. It is vital to find a company that will provide you with detailed documentation about your app.
A company that offers app development services should be able to explain to their clients the process of adding in its monetization features. Let’s say you wanted to add paid ads to your app. The app development company should let you know how they plan on implementing this monetization technique.
The testing process is an inevitable part of app development. Testing an app doesn’t leave any room for bugs or any other technical issues. There are various tools and platforms for testing used by app development companies, so one of the things you should look into before you decide to hire a mobile app developer is how they test their apps.
Once your app is finished, and you’re satisfied with the results, it should be submitted to app stores and marketplaces. The question is, who is responsible for app distribution? Should you or the company that built your app do it? Don’t forget to ask your app developer this.
When we talk about the best mobile app developers, we talk about organized teams of developers, designers, etc. A web development company should be transparent about the responsibilities of each of its teams. You, as a client, should know who to contact to get a project estimate, who you should talk to about making changes to your app, and so on. Apart from this, companies from this vertical should be responsive and not allow their clients to wait too long for answers.
Let’s say you’ve built an iOS app with one of the iOS app development companies. Do you know who owns the app’s code, you or the company? It’s best to find a company that allows you to own the app code. Otherwise, you’ll be tied to a team of developers that built your app, and whenever you want to update or upgrade the app, you’ll have to contact that same team.
When it comes to app development companies, USA-based ones make up a large part of the app development market. However, because the competition in this market is fierce, the companies have to go one step further than their competitors to gain an advantage. One example of having a better offer than the rest is providing clients with post-launch monitoring and support after developing an app. Many companies include this in their services, and we recommend working with a company that does so.
Before looking into the best app developers, you should research your market to see if there’s a demand for your app. As we’ve already mentioned, app development isn’t cheap, so test your market to determine if your app is a good business move. Additionally, make sure to define your target audience. This way, you’ll know what group to focus on once it launches.
The next step is to choose the type of app you want to build. Will this be a native, hybrid, or web app? Each of these apps has its advantages and disadvantages, and it’s up to you to decide which of these apps is most suitable for your business. You can also ask your mobile app developer to help you make this decision.
There are many ways to monetize your app. Advertising, paid or freemium apps, subscriptions, etc.—these are all ways to earn money through it. Take the time to research each of these options, and choose the one you like the most.
With custom app development, it’s essential to know how to optimize your app for higher visibility in app stores, as well as for increasing organic app downloads. So, prior to choosing a mobile app development agency, do your own keyword research, and once you find the right keywords for your app, add them to your app title and its description. You can also add user reviews, app videos, screenshots, and images to your app page.
Building an app is often pricey, so before contacting an app development company, make sure to set your budget.
Once you get the answers to all of these questions, you’ll have yourself a list of the app development companies that would work best for you. Narrow that list down to several companies and get in touch with them to see which of them suits your needs best. If you’re looking for dedicated Android development outfits or specialized iOS development firms, make sure to check our top picks.
The price of building an app varies depending on the type of app you want to build. On average, the cost is in the $100000 to $500000 range. However, if you want a basic app with just a few features, this will cost you much less ($10000 to $50000). Additionally, the cost of an app depends on the company you choose, and its approach to building apps.
Most of these companies need about one and a half months to build an app. However, this is just one of the app development stages. Researching and generating ideas usually takes 2–3 weeks. An app also needs to be tested, and any technical issues will make this process longer. Generally, developers can finish an app in 4–6 months, while about one-fourth of apps are launched in 1–3 months. The percentage of apps that take more than 10 months to build is low.
Whether you decide to work with Android or iOS developers, hybrid, or web app development firms, testing is a must. If the app doesn’t go through the testing phase, it’s impossible to spot bugs or any other technical issues. So the answer is yes.
Ideally, you want to have an app for both iOS and Android devices. However, it all comes down to your target audience, the devices they’re using, and your budget. Additionally, you can’t predict if users will like your app, so you might start with either one and see how it goes from there.
To find some of the best companies out there, you should know several things about these companies. Do they have an app development strategy? Are they easy to contact and communicate with? Do they stick to code standards or write their own code? Do they provide app documentation? What about their experience in your niche? Are they experienced in building cross-platform apps?
Outsourcing app development is one of the rising trends in the app development market. Some companies choose to outsource their projects to mobile app developers due to, among other reasons, a lack of time and resources. While one of the biggest advantages of outsourcing includes lowering your costs, a third party in the app development process can endanger your data’s confidentiality. The choice is, however, yours.