Mobile App Strategy, Design, and Development
Please introduce your company and give a brief about your role within the company?
CitrusBits is firmly planted at the intersection of user-focused design, mobile app development, digital strategy, and emerging technologies. We’re passionate about leveraging mobile technology – including iOS, Android, augmented/virtual reality, artificial intelligence, blockchain and The Internet of Things (IoT) – to help businesses disrupt entire industries and reach their loftiest goals.
As CEO of CitrusBits, I drive strategy and execution for CitrusBits and its clients. I see every client project as an opportunity not just to deliver a great app but also to help clients implement game-changing mobile strategies. Internally, I work on nurturing the high-energy and collaborative work culture that CitrusBits is known for.
What was the idea behind starting this organization?
CitrusBits was originally founded to provide web expertise to businesses who didn’t know how to go about creating a professional web presence in the mid-2000’s. Shortly after that, smartphones became a huge thing, and we pivoted to mobile applications. We’ve now been building mobile applications for more than a decade and have successfully delivered hundreds of mobile applications for businesses ranging from startups to Fortune 500 brands.
What are your company’s business model–in-house team or third party vendors/ outsourcing?
We have an in-house team of around 70 employees worldwide. We pride ourselves on co-location of our most important dev resources, which is increasingly a rarity in the marketplace. We also have a roster of specialist consultants we work with for more niche needs.
How is your business model beneficial from a value-added perspective to the clients compared to other companies' models?
We bring world-class execution to all phases of mobile app creation: discovery/strategy, UI and UX design, and development. Unlike many other companies in the space, CitrusBits delivers predictably superior results from one engagement to the next, regardless of client size or project scope.
What industries do you generally cater to? Are your customers repetitive? If yes, what ratio of clients has been repetitive to you?
We serve many industries, though we do have a slight lean towards industries with strong representation in California: high tech, entertainment, health & fitness, food & drink, and startups, to name a few. We do have several clients who have continued to work with us on multiple engagements. Overall, about 50% of our business is from repeat customers.
Mention the objectives or the parameters critical in determining the time frame of developing a mobile app.
We look at the scope of work and evaluate, item by item, the resources required to implement each item from a design, development, and delivery standpoint. Other factors that go into determining the time frame include the work or preparation a client has done beforehand. If a client has already done significant product planning, user testing, competitor analysis, etc… we can anticipate that there will be substantially less scope creep or changes after the fact. This helps us solidify a reliable timeline for such clients.
How much effort in terms of time goes into developing the front end and back end of a mobile app?
The time investment can vary tremendously, depending on a mobile app’s complexity. We’ve done mobile apps where full design and development was completed in two months. Others can take a year or longer. In the estimation process, we strive to be as upfront with time-based expectations as possible, as this is critical to our own resource planning.
What are the key parameters to be considered before selecting the right platform for a mobile application?
Such decisions usually depend on the end user. As a business, you want to build an experience that will be engaging and valuable to as many of your target end users as possible. If your end users are predominantly on a single platform, let’s say iOS, it makes sense to prioritize development on that platform. Ultimately, you might decide to build on all (or as many as possible) platforms your target users are on.
Which platform do you suggest your clients to begin with when they approach you with an idea (Android or iOS) and why?
CitrusBits is an ideal go-to-market mobile partner and excels in building mobile apps to boost up business and bolster customer retention rate. We’ve designed user-centric Android as well as iOS apps for more than a decade. We’ve delivered more than 300 successful apps for businesses of all sizes and across all industry verticals. Regarding your question, it really does depend upon the end user preferences and device ownership, because at the end of the day, you’re building an app to address market demand.
Android or iOS, Native or Hybrid — which platform is best to use to build your app? What are your recommendations?
Currently, native apps provide better performance, scalability, and flexibility than a hybrid approach. Whether you’re talking about iOS or Android applications, apps created natively for these platforms are better positioned to make use of a device’s hardware components, execute code more efficiently (resulting in better performance), and provide vastly more options when it comes to APIs, advanced functionality, and updates. A hybrid approach isn’t as strong in these areas but can be considered for some more straightforward applications. Doing so can provide moderate cost savings as well. However, I recommend pursuing a native approach whenever possible.
What are the key factors that you consider before deciding the cost of a mobile application?
As with most vendors in our space, a project’s cost is a function of the resources we put into a project. In other words, staffing and the amount of time each team member will be spending on the project are the key factors we consider the most.
What kind of payment structure do you follow to bill your clients? Is it Pay per Feature, Fixed Cost, Pay per Milestone (could be in phases, months, versions etc.)
We have a range of payment options and payment schedules, including Pay per Feature, Fixed Cost and Pay per Milestone.
Do you take in projects which meet your basic budget requirement? If yes, what is the minimum requirement? If no, on what minimum budget you have worked for?
While we don’t strictly adhere to a minimum budget threshold, we typically advise prospective clients to budget at least $50,000 (USD) to design and develop a mobile app on a single platform (iOS or Android). Each potential project is evaluated on its merits, according to our interest in the project and the resource commitment we would be making in accepting the project.
What is the price range (min and max) of the projects that you catered to in 2018?
The approximate price range for the past year was $50k to $300k+. The range varies year to year.
Which business model do you suggest to your clients enabling them to generate revenue from mobile applications? Why?
While there is no one-size-fits-all as far as prescribing business models to clients, I generally recommend that our clients focus on providing value to their users first and foremost. This is a critical precursor to any sort of value creation on the client’s side, and as obvious as it might sound, many entrepreneurs do make the mistake of prioritizing monetization above providing value to their end users.