Bringing Mobile App Ideas to Life

Bringing Mobile App Ideas to Life

Local spike in demand for development expertise

Scottsdale Airpark News checked in with J Belfore, Widely Interactive cofounder and software director, on how the local market has changed in the last year in terms of entrepreneurs looking to develop apps.

What does Widely Interactive do?

We develop and market websites and mobile apps. Recently we’ve seen a huge spike in the demand for our mobile app development. The reason being, everyone’s got a mobile app idea and not many companies around here are building them.

Who is your typical mobile app client?

We don’t have a particular niche we target. Generally, our clients are start-ups with a business model centered on a mobile app. They come to our office with sketches and notes and we brainstorm for a few hours until we have a really good sense of the purpose the app is fulfilling, how it will function and how it will be deployed. From there we deliver a quote and discuss next steps.

What’s the difference between a mobile app and a web app?

Simply put, a web app is accessed by a browser, and a mobile app is downloaded from an app site. Both can look and feel the same on a phone. Web apps, however, are cheaper to build and more widely accessible, while mobile apps can be more interactive. Mobile apps have the ability to utilize the phone’s features such as camera, contacts and GPS.

What’s the hottest new trend in apps?

From an app publisher perspective, in-app purchases are big right now. The idea is you give the app away for free and charge a few dollars for upgrades. It’s being implemented commonly in gaming apps, but also now in business and utility apps as well. Most people don’t mind spending a few bucks here and there, and if you have tens of thousands of users, those bucks can really add up.

What are the keys to success for a mobile app?

If success is measured by installs, it comes down to three primary components: value, marketing and usability. The app must offer a perceived value to the end user. The greater the perceived value, the better the word-of-mouth power your app will have. You cannot, however, assume your app will go viral. This happens to an extremely select and lucky few. Rather, there should be a solid marketing plan in play that will drive awareness. Once users understand what the app is supposed to do and have it on their phones, the app must perform well and be easy to use. That’s where you need an experienced app developer.

What advice do you have for our readers seeking an app developer?

Find a company that‘s local, make sure they develop for both iOS and Android, download or demo their apps, meet the developers, and get a list of references. The No. 1 complaint we’ve heard from clients that have had bad experiences in our industry is their developer has gone dark on them and can’t be reached. Much of the time, this happens when the developer is unqualified for the project and can’t complete it to spec. Properly vetting the company will reveal any red flags before you engage them.

Why choose a local company?

So you can walk right in their office and shake hands. You want to have a relationship with the company you’re spending thousands of dollars with to help build your business. And there’s no better way to do that than to sit down with them face-to-face and have a conversation. Again, we’ve heard horror stories about developers not completing projects on time, not completing to spec, not returning calls, and not refunding money. If they’re operating several states away, it’s much more difficult to get their attention when you need it.

Ryan Belfore and J Belfore are the cofounders of Widely Interactive, an Airpark company that specializes in the building and marketing of mobile apps and websites. They have been creating digital initiatives in the Valley for more than 13 years. More: