What an app development company’s website can tell you about them

The first thing most people do when they need to evaluate a vendor is to see their website. A visit to their actual office isn’t needed anymore. Today’s dev shops have websites that can showcase all their past work, experience level and in some cases even give you a tour of their office(if they do VR, why not?!).

But ever so often, fancy websites can cover up a lack of substance and make you overestimate a dev shop’s worth. On the other hand,you could overlook a really talented and hardworking team simply because there wasn’t enough aesthetic appeal to make a good first impression. Here are some things you should look out for in a website:

AESTHETICS

This is the first impression the vendor makes on a customer even before the sales staff or the founder speak with the customer. It’s proof of the company’s UI/UX capabilities. There are a number of factors at play here:

  • A logo that means something and is relatable to the company’s name, goal,etc.
  • Choice of colors to make the site presentable and easy on the reader’s eyes.
  • If the site has been optimized for viewing on all devices – PCs, phones, tablets.
  • The choice of content. The best sites say the most with the least number of words

The list is pretty long but these 4 would be apparent from a first look.

Vendor websites aren’t very content-heavy, so a nice website doesn’t mean that the team is very development-savvy  and would someday scale your app for a million users, but it’s a start. It shows that they at least know what looks good.

NAVIGATION

Someone who lands up on the vendor’s site usually does only a few main things – see how the site looks, go through the portfolio and find contact details or leave a note in order to get a response. Good websites are always built with the assumption that the reader doesn’t have an attention span of more than a minute.

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The navigation is made easier by the quality of the content as well. The way the site directs you to toward that content is also something that talks about the team’s experience in building successful products. Using generic button logos and having a 90s website look are clear signs that the team hasn’t kept itself updated on the latest website UX guidelines.

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These are some of the generic icons and call to action buttons that you might see on some sites. An Indian dev shop having pics of an American employee who clearly doesn’t work for them doesn’t build much trust in any customer. Photos of actual team members with their current designation is always better in this regard.

SOCIAL & BLOG PRESENCE

A firm’s presence on social media and their blog activity shows to some degree, their technical and business savviness. An active presence on LinkedIn would include a detailed description on their LinkedIn page and an accurate number of current employees with many employees’ accounts linked to that firm.

Reading their blog would definitely give insight into their interests and views about startups, enterprises and the current landscape of the app development market. Apart from this, it would also throw light on how relevant they might be for a project. Be sure to see if the blog is still active and that the last post wasn’t two years ago.

Dev shop websites must contain links to their social media accounts and blog content. The ease with which you find these would reflect the care the team would’ve taken to put their social presence out there.

REVIEWS & RATINGS

It’s nice to have customers say good things about their experience with a certain firm and dev shops are no exception to this. Since almost all teams have reviews from customers on their page, it’s hard to say which ones are definitely a positive sign in the context of your project. It can be even harder to say if the reviews and ratings are genuine.

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Take the above highly generic customer review. The review doesn’t make anyone understand the way this customer was benefitted by the team and how it could work for them. Reviews need to at least breach the surface of that particular story and make sense about how a top-class product was made.

A team’s website says a lot about the way they present themselves and look at product development. Aesthetic sense, ease of navigation are all indications of their design sensibilities and savviness in building successful product. A good website is a start but validating their worth and evaluating their relevance to your project requires looking at their work, meeting them in person or over video conference and even doing reference calls with their customers.

Reference calls are important. Watch this space for more on that!

About the author: Pravir Ramasundaram is our in-house content editor here at ContractIQ. Keep coming back to read more of his articles on mobility & outsourcing.

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