5 Questions Your Church Needs to Ask a Mobile Developer

5 Questions Your Church Needs to Ask a Mobile Developer

March 24, 2014 by

So let’s say you’ve read through the other posts in this series (parts 1, 2 & 3) and you’re ready to invest in a mobile app for your church. Congratulations! The decision is worth absolutely worth celebrating.

The next step is choosing a company to develop your app. Because the developer of your choice will work closely with you from the initial meeting to the app launch and beyond, be sure to consider five categories:

1. What kind of technical support and regular maintenance does the company offer?
No one ever plans for tools to break, but unfortunately, Murphy’s Law is merciless. Therefore, knowing the developer’s policies on support and updates is crucial for the app’s long-term success. What will happen if the app breaks? Will the developer wait for your complaints before updating the app, or will the app be continuously updated? The developer should be thinking ahead and preparing for the “what ifs” so you don’t have to.

2. What branding and personalization features are included?
Your church has a unique personality and appearance, reflected in your methods of communication. An app should enhance the brand, not detract from it. Can your church logo be integrated into the app? Are the icon and splash screen customizable, or does the developer operate from a “one size fits all” approach? Can the developer integrate your color scheme? Do you have multiple design options, or control over your app’s menu? Continuity is crucial to a church’s messaging strategy, so the app should fit seamlessly into your current branding efforts.

3. What is offered in terms of push notifications?
Push notifications offer an opportunity for two-way communication unlike any other. These messages “pop” onto the screen as reminders and announcements for important church happenings, even when the app is not in use. Can a member of your staff “push” notifications easily? Will the user have the ability to choose the information they want “pushed” to their phones? Push notifications are a key differentiator from other digital communication forms, so be sure to confirm the developer offers them.

4. What does it cost? (And what does it really cost?)
Churches generally operate under tight budgets, and you want a developer who is mindful of that. Can the developer adequately explain the value the app will bring to your church in exchange for the cost? Besides the actual app itself, what services are included in the total package? Is maintenance, optimization and updates included or extra? Does the company charge an up-front price, a monthly/annual subscription, or both? Is the advertised cost the same as the actual cost?  You want the best for your church, so make sure to clarify exactly what benefits you will gain from the purchase.

5. What does timeline for an app looks like, from start to launch?
The process of getting an app from idea to live in the app store involves many steps. If you purchase an app now, you don’t want to wait three to six months until it’s in your congregation’s hands. Ask the developer for a realistic estimate in terms of timing. What will be expected of you to ensure a timely delivery? Does the developer foresee any complications that would delay the process? Knowing the project timeline is necessary to keeping up with deadlines for both you and the developer, as well as planning for app marketing campaigns as the launch date approaches.

Whether your church body is 15,000 strong or 100 and growing, a mobile app can be a big leap forward, and the right technology company can be a big help.

What are you looking for in working with a mobile developer?

Editor’s Note: Bluebridge has helped churches all over the country better connect and engage with their members from start, to app launch and beyond. We’re partnering with them to share some mobile insights, and if you decide to work with Bluebridge, we get a referral fee. You can get started with mobile technology and help us continue to help churches communicate better. Contact Bluebridge ChurchApps to take advantage of the mobile opportunity.

Read our previous posts in this series on mobile:

Photo by Yutaka Tsutano
Post By:

Santiago Jaramillo

Santiago Jaramillo is the CEO of Bluebridge Digital (parent company to Bluebridge ChurchApps), a mobile app company that helps organizations like churches engage through compelling mobile apps. Santiago was named to Inc. magazine’s prestigious “30 Under 30 World’s Coolest Entrepreneurs” list in 2013.
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