Creating an app on the cheap.

Jason Hofsess

May 8th, 2013

My team is looking to create a simple app that would allow people to take photos via a smartphone. My team would then take the photos and create a slideshow in real time. Any recommendations where I should seek out this and any specific questions I should ask the engineer to ensure that this will be done right the first time (especially if we go overseas).

Andrew Donoho President at Donoho Design Group, LLC

May 8th, 2013


Judging by your question, you haven't done this before. I think you've got this backwards. It isn't really about what questions you need to ask the engineer to make sure it is done "right" but rather what you think right is?

1) Do you have a set of scenarios that that your customer is going to inhabit to use your app?
2) Do you have a set of wireframe drawings of your app?
3) Do you have a set of transitions between your drawings?

How do you know that you have it right before you start any implementation work?

You will need to negotiate with your engineer about not just a schedule but really a deployment, user test and reimplementation schedule. Your biggest problem is going to be your design and how it misses what a random, uninvolved user would want to do with your app. Then you will need to revise your design and then reimplement. This cycle could take three or four iterations.

Hence, ask yourself first. Ask trusted technical advisors second. Ask uninvolved potential users third. Iterate that last bit a few times. Then ask an engineer to get involved. And get ready to do this loop multiple times.


Elan Dekel Googler

May 8th, 2013

Check this out: https://www.parse.com/tutorials/anypic

Janice Mandel Writer, Communications Strategist, Advisor

May 8th, 2013

Not "cheap" but right the first time and reasonable compared to reputable shops Apollo Matrix in DC uses hybrid model managing programmers with a longstanding relationship in the Republic of Belarus. Sent from my iPhone


May 8th, 2013

Have you tried infinite monkeys? james b weiss +1 215 300 0928 jimweiss@alumni.princeton.edu read: http://careandfeedingofstartups.com Sent from iPhone so ignore the typos, enjoy the mistakes

Jay Cahill Tech Advisers Network - WPI School of Business at Worcester Polytechnic Institute

May 8th, 2013

Jason - 

If you have a set of well defined specs or wire frames (as recommended above), I have access to a mobile development team in China that have built lots of mobile apps that might be able to do something reasonably priced.  

But definitely heed the advice of all above in making sure you know what you want first.

Cheers -

Jason Hofsess

May 8th, 2013

Helen, that would be the cheapest way. Unfortunately, we don't have the time to do that. 

Wesley Lorenzini

May 8th, 2013

If you go overseas make sure to be extremely detailed with what you are looking for. Have your UX workflow ironed out (to the best of your ability before development starts) and make sure the team you work with is available to make changes. Some teams will stick with what you give them and are harder to make changes on the fly vs others who see the value in changes while sending out beta versions of the app.

If the app has minimal functionality (Just sending photos to a server for slideshow creation on web?) then it could be a really easy project to delegate out to a overseas team. I would highly recommend making sure they do not cut corners by using cross platform tools (phonegap, titanium, etc) unless that is a need for your product. 

If the app needs to display the slideshow on the app look at some plugins (for ideas mainly)  here http://codecanyon.net/category/mobile/ios this site has the best themes, plugins, graphics I've found thus far. 

If you have any other questions, feel free to message me and I can give some guidance. 


Helen Adeosun

May 8th, 2013

Well the cheapest would be honestly to code it yourself you will save yourself headaches, be relatively fluent, and you will be more valuable because of it. I'm quitting my job to code my product for a month then bringing on a developer. Thank you, HA

Amal Graafstra Founder @ Dangerous Things LLC

May 8th, 2013

http://appinventor.mit.edu/ Thanks, Amal Graafstra am-logo-grey-100 www.atomicmobile.com amal@atomicmobile.com +1-206-673-2748

Drew Shepard General Manager at Reserve

May 13th, 2013


I just went to this meetup this morning and really enjoyed it. They do it every Monday in La Jolla and Downtown.  a