App FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions about Apps

Apps – Basic

What is an app?

In general, an app – short for “application” – is simply a computer program. However the term is used more specifically to refer to mobile apps, and sometimes web apps and desktop apps.

What is the difference between a website and a mobile app?

A website runs in a web browser. Since a web browser is already a software program, websites are limited to the abilities of the web browser. Mobile apps by comparison are software programs in their own right, and as such they run directly on the device. They are more stable, more secure, more efficient, and have access to special hardware features such as the camera, gyroscope, sensors, GPS, accelerometer, address book, calendar, and phone.

What is a mobile app?

A mobile app is a computer program designed to run specifically on a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet.

What is a web app?

A web app is software that runs on a web server, as opposed to mobile apps or desktop apps which run on the user’s device.

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

From the user’s point of view web apps differ from mobile or desktop apps in that they are accessed via a web browser such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Edge.

What are some examples of web apps?

  • Facebook.com
  • Gmail.com
  • Google Docs
  • WhatsApp web
  • Trello

What are the different types of apps?

  • Game apps
  • Entertainment apps
  • Lifestyle apps
  • Social media apps
  • Educational apps
  • Business apps
  • Utility apps
  • Travel apps
  • Productivity apps
  • News apps

Apps – Pricing

How much does an app cost?

It really depends on the features required. An app can range from between R20 000 to R500 000 with a median price of R150 000.

Why are apps so much more expensive than websites?

Apps are much more advanced than websites. They can achieve advanced  functionality not possible with websites.

Apps – Advanced

What is involved in developing an app?

From the client’s side you mostly just need to have an idea. We can help you flesh it out and identify functionality and possible pitfalls to arrive at a complete spec we can use to start working on your app.

From our side, developing an app involves careful planning, wireframing, prototyping, coding, testing, and deployment.

How are mobile apps built?

Mobile apps are coded in the language of the software development kit (SDK) of the device’s operating system, in most cases  iOS or Android.

How are web apps built?

The front end of web apps are coded using web technologies such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. The back end and database can be built using any available server-side technology, such as PHP, Ruby or Python.

How long does it take to develop an app?

It depends on the scope, but it takes around 3 to 9 months to develop an app.

How do I protect my app idea?

It is advisable to copyright the name, patent the idea, and create non-disclosure agreements for anyone involved – including us – in your app project.

Apps – Project Management and Tools

What is the Waterfall methodology?

The Waterfall methodology is a linear, sequential development process. Each phase follows on from the previous phase like a waterfall.

What is the Agile methodology?

The Agile methodology is a non-linear, cyclical methodology involving constant collaboration with stakeholders and continuous adaptation and improvement.

Which is better? Waterfall or Agile?

Both methodologies have their benefits and drawbacks. Thankfully in smaller teams it is possible to use a hybrid approach to project management.

What is a functional specification?

The functional specification is a detailed document defining the full functionality of the app.

What is a persona?

A persona is a description of the identity of a fictional typical user of your app.

What is a user flow?

A user flow is the path taken by the typical user of your app. The user flow can be illustrated by means of a flow diagram.

What is a wireframe?

A wireframe is a two dimensional diagram of each screen of your app describing the structural layout without inferring any design aspects. As such, a wireframe is like a blueprint, and can even be drawn by hand.

What is a mockup?

A mockup is a static design representing the screens of your app. Mockups are usually supplied as images.

What is a prototype?

A prototype is a working sample of your app. Although prototypes may consist of a series of images, certain functionality is demonstrated, such as clicking, scrolling, animations, and context.

What is UI (user interface) design?

UI stands for user interface. User interface design is the practice of designing a user interface. In the case of an app this would involve the design of the app screens and user interface elements such as buttons, range sliders, spinners, input fields etc.

What is UX (user experience) design?

UX stands for user experience. It is the entire experience a user has when using your app. User experience design is a deeply-involved process which takes into account your user’s persona, and creates the most ideal experience for them.

What is an MVP (minimum viable product)?

MVP stands for minimum viable product. An MVP is an early-release version of your app with a minimum set of features used for testing, or to ascertain interest.

What is kanban?

Although the full definition of kanban is fairly long and complicated, the term kanban has become synonymous with the kanban board. A kanban board is a series of columns, representing stages in the development process. Cards – representing tasks – can be added to the columns, sorted vertically by priority, and moved from one column to another to represent their progress through the stages.

What is Trello?

Trello is the most popular kanban software, offering many enhancements to the original kanban board concept.

What is Slack?

Slack is a ​​communication platform. Team members can be added to channels, and to groups within channels. As such, a channel may represent a development team, and a group can define an aspect of the development process.

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