Preparation is key

If you're a frequent reader (which at this point probably means you're either one of the STAMP team or my Mum), you'll have probably realised that I'm pretty new to this whole app development/startup stuff. I'm basically learning on the job, rolling with the mistakes and trying to feign a thin veil of competence. 

So far so good. 

As I'm sure you're aware, we're currently using a freelance front developer. She's great. Budget constraints meant we had to look abroad for someone with a cheaper hourly rate, but so far she's communicating with us well and producing some solid work. I'll keep you updated with how that all goes. 

What are the challenges? Well she's based in Pakistan, so theres the time difference. And if you're the sort of person who prefers speaking face-to-face with someone (like me), then the medium of Skype, although very convenient, is a poor surrogate for a regular chin-wag. Regardless, we're making do. 

She deserves a lot more credit though. Trying to communicate your designs effectively to someone who has no idea what the whole concept is...challenging. What did we have going into this process? InVision mock-ups, a top down button map diagram and some written documentation to try and explain our app as best we could. 

Its not that this stuff wasn't adequate, but our front end dev material package was far from complete. Your motto for working with any developer (especially ones on the clock) should be: "Make their life a easy as possible". Do you have your logo available in an appropriate format and resolutions? sort it. Do you have icons to hand for your navigation bar? get them. Do you have PSD of screen mock ups that they can have access to? Export that shit. 

You might be shouting at your screen telling me I'm a f**king idiot, but cut me some slack. I had initially thought that general design concepts would be sufficient for a talented dev who would be able to add their own flare to our concept. I know now that its much better to be specific about what you want and how you want it doing. Provide them with the tools they need and if they come back with some useful suggestions on UI/UX, well thats just an added bonus. 

Several sessions with a family member who also doubles as a talented designer ensured I was able to get my hands on the necessary assets. So all is now good (family connections FTW). But I guess if you're in a similar situation to me, with little prior experience of all this, take note and make sure you're prepared to work with a freelancer, dev or otherwise. It'll save you a bunch of time and money. Only one of which I have a lot of. 

Till next time. 

S x 

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