How is Skytz Software Labsdifferent from its competitors?
First, we live and breathe cutting-edge/bleeding-edge technology, so your app will similarly be cutting-edge/bleeding edge with a long “shelf-life”.
Second, with a perfect mix of local, domestic and international talent you are guaranteed to get the optimal mix of a high-quality product and a fair price.
Third, After establishing a contract with Skytz Software Labs, you will be assigned a dedicated Program Manager (PM) who will serve as your primary point of contact for all your needs and questions. This PM will remain with you throughout your engagement with us and will connect you to all the resources available, making communication more efficient and preventing the need to repeat yourself to multiple people. Our PMs are highly skilled and experienced, and we are eager to introduce you to your projected PM and project team once we have provided you with an estimate to review.
Fifth,With a team size of 64 people, Skytz Software Labs can alleviate concerns about the "single point of failure" issue that arises with smaller shops that have only one or two developers. At the same time, you won't have to bear the burden of paying the high overhead cost associated with larger shops.
Fifth, At Skytz Software Labs, we prioritize design for our clients. Our design team is split into two specialized functions: Product/User Experience and User Interface. This division allows us to focus on both the flow and product decisions, as well as the branding, colors, logos, and overall User Interface. We believe that a rare unicorn designer is good at both aspects, and by staffing each project team with both a UX Designer and a UI Designer, we ensure that our clients receive top-notch design. This is just one of the many ways we provide exceptional service and expertise to our clients.
Sixth, At Skytz Software Labs, we have over 7 years of experience and have completed over 250 apps. This extensive experience, coupled with our re-usable code base, means that we can build your app as efficiently and inexpensively as possible."
Seventh, Our QA and Testing methodology is a top priority at Skytz Software Labs. We have a dedicated QA Engineer staffed on every project, ensuring that your app is thoroughly tested for bugs and errors. The QA Engineer is not the original author of the code, which further ensures the highest quality results from the testing process. With our rigorous QA and Testing methodology, your app will be as bug-free as possible. For more details on our QA and Testing process, please refer to the sections below.
How does Skytz Software Labswork with clients?
At Skytz Software Labs, we begin most projects with a Discovery, & Planning & Design Phase (Phase One). This phase includes multiple steps to ensure that we're building the app as efficiently as possible. First, we determine the proper technologies and development schedule. Second, the Design teams inherit the User Stories that were drafted during the sales process, which outline the activities your users will need to be able to accomplish within the app. Third, our design team creates greyscale wireframes to illustrate the user experience (UX). Fourth, we transition to full color illustrations/designs that have the final look and feel of the app (UI). Fifth, the app designs are uploaded into a prototyping platform called Invision, which allows our team to create tappable and swipeable “hotspots”. We also draft a Functional Specification document that details the technical hows and whys of the project for the development team.
Once the Discovery, Planning & Design Phase (Phase One) is complete, we move on to the Development Phase (Phase Two). The Agile development/engineering team, led by the Program Manager, works according to the wireframes and the Functional Specifications to build the app. Our first development goal is the First Deliverable milestone, known as D1. This is a highly functional build of the app that contains a subset of features agreed upon by Skytz Software Labsand the client. We then begin an iterative process of finalizing the remaining features. During this time, the QA Team builds a full test plan for the app, continually performing functional and regression testing on the app and reporting issues to the Project Manager. Learn more about our process. here.
How long does it take to complete the average app?
Typically, for our average 4 to 5-month project, the Phase One: Discovery & Planning and Design lasts for approximately 4 to 6 weeks, with Phase Two: Development and Testing Phase occupying the remaining 3 to 4 months. At the end of the Phase Two, the final app is prepared for Deployment. Deployment involves moving any web services and server side components to a production environment and submitting the app to the relevant app store(s).
How much does the average app cost?
If a client is interested in estimating the cost of a new project, they can expect a range of $5,000 to $10,000 per two-week sprint ($10,000 to $30,000 per month), typically billed bi-weekly. For end-to-end service from Discovery, Planning & Design to Deployment in an app store, the average cost for one “platform”– (iOS, Android, Web, etc.) is around $50,000 and more . However, this cost can vary depending on the complexity of the app's design and development. We've completed apps ranging from $50,000 for a simple MVP/prototype to $2,000,000 for a full-featured enterprise app. At Skytz Software Labs, we provide free estimates without any commitment from our clients.
After the app is submitted to an app store(s) or pushed live on the web, the Skytz Software Labsteam monitors the app store and customer reviews and deals with any issues, questions, delays or approvals that arise. We have a great track record with app submissions and make sure that the app submitted is highly likely to be approved without issue. Post approval, a maintenance agreement can be put into place to cover and small issues, minor app edits (e.g., color, image or text changes) and any bugs that might linger.
We provide the following services after project completion. First, we transfer all source code and project files to you, making you the sole owner of all intellectual property in the app. Second, we offer ad-hoc updates at an hourly rate of $70/hour. Alternatively, we provide a 6-month retainer at a mutually agreed upon set number of hours, billed at an hourly rate of $70/hour. Finally, for ongoing maintenance, the average app requires a monthly retainer of $2,000/month. This equates to 20 hours of service per month at $70 per hour, ensuring expedited service compared to ad-hoc requests.
What does Skytz Software Labsneed from a client to get started? Is there anything a client can do to speed up the design and development process?
The usefulness of client-provided materials in clarifying the project vision varies depending on the project. However, anything and everything that helps to clarify the vision is useful. Examples of helpful materials include a text outline of features, drawings, wireframes, mock-ups, full and layered design assets such as Photoshop, Illustrator, or Sketch, and even a mood board. The more documentation available in advance, the faster the Discovery, Planning, and Design Phase typically goes. For projects that involve working with pre-existing software or partnering with an internal development team, the most pressing item is any technical documentation, including API documentation and access to a development environment/code base.
What is the difference between a Native App, a Hybrid App and an HTML5 App?
A Native App is a platform-specific app written in the coding language used for development on that specific platform. This means Objective-C or Swift for iOS and Java for Android. By building a Native App, you gain access to all the hardware features exposed by the native code APIs and SDKs. For instance, Apple iOS Push Notifications is a feature that an HTML5 App cannot support. The graphics and user interface of a Native App are significantly superior to Hybrid or HTML5 apps. Choosing this option means you want to use user interface components from Apple's proprietary user interface libraries to improve usability. You also want full device hardware access to cameras, microphone, and geo-location for the best performance with no lag. Additionally, you want users to access the app offline, be able to use push notifications and in-app purchases, and discover your app in the app store. However, your code is less portable across operating systems, and it is often the most expensive development option. Our recommendation is that if you plan to start a genuine, revenue-generating, app-based business, this is the only viable option.
A Hybrid App is a form of web app that is deployed to a native platform like an iPhone or Android phone inside a native shell. These shells can be hand-written, but can also be generated automatically by tools in the marketplace like React Native, PhoneGap, Cordova, or Xamarin. These tools allow a developer to push the app out to multiple platforms (e.g., iOS, Android, Windows Mobile) quickly by generating the shell and packages required to do so automatically. However, because these third-party hybrid platforms need to support so many device types, there are always implementation and usability issues to work out. In practice, testing and hacking of special cases will be required by the developer to get proper functionality. This option is suitable if you want a balance between cost and usability, want access to some (but not all) of the phone’s native APIs/SDKs and hardware, want to be able to quickly deploy across multiple device types, and are not worried about high-end graphics. On the downside, you will only have access to the features of a new operating system 6+ months AFTER it is released by Apple, Google, or Microsoft. In this way, your app will never be able to cutting-edge technology. While Skytz Software Labs is fully capable of building Hybrid Apps, it is recommended that this option is only viable for simple, lo-fi apps that are heavy on text and images but don’t need much in the way of functionality or user interface.
An HTML5 Web App:
Has Skytz Software Labsever transitioned an app the firm has built to a client’s internal development team? What is the typical process and how long does it usually take? Is there a fee for this?
Skytz Software Labs often helps clients transition their apps to their in-house development teams. As part of this process, they transfer all functional specs, wireframes, UI design resources, screen flow maps, passwords, certificates, credentials, and source code to the client. The company has extensive experience working with clients' existing engineering teams, building the front-end experience of an app on top of their backend web service and databases. These transitions are usually quick, averaging only a few days, as the Skytz Software Labs team and the client team have been working together for months. However, if they are handing over a complete project with no prior engagement, the transition can take longer, ranging from a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on the support needed. The transition is typically free, unless engineering resources are needed, or the Program Manager has to spend more than a week on the transition and training. Skytz Software Labs has even helped companies interview potential new technical team members, such as developers and CTOs.
How does Skytz Software Labsprovide training to a client’s development team so that they could make app enhancements and how much would that training cost?
We are happy to provide hands-on training to in-house developers/team members as part of the transition, along with all the project documentation and support mentioned in the previous answer. If only a few hours of training are required, there is typically no extra charge. However, if ongoing training is necessary, such as providing a crash course on app development, we’ offer our services at our hourly rate of $70/hour for training. In addition, we have helped our partners in hiring their own technical/development team, when the time is right.
How many designers and developers does Skytz Software Labshave on staff? How many work on each client project? Where is the team located? Can the client talk directly to whomever will work on the app?
The Skytz Software Labs team consists of 64 individuals across various departments, including UX Design/Product, UI Design, Development, Program Management, Quality Assurance, Sales, Marketing and Leadership. Within these departments, there are 6 Designers, 10 Program Managers, 35 Developers, and 3 App Marketers, with the remaining staff comprising the Sales, Marketing, Operations & Leadership Teams. For each project, a team of at least 7 Skytz Software Labs staff members is assigned, including 1 Program Manager, 1 UX Designer, 1 UI Designer, 1 Technical Architect, 1 Front-End Developer, 1 Back-End Developer, and 1 Quality Assurance Engineer. The majority of our Design and Program Manager teams are located in Chandigarh and USA. Our Developers and Quality Assurance Testers are based in these locations as well as in India. The Program Manager is the primary point of contact and liaison for all other Skytz Software Labs team members associated with your project. However, clients are welcome to speak directly with any individual team member as needed. Depending on the project size, the team members may vary, but Skytz Software Labs leadership always provides technical and strategic oversight. We offer hands-on training as part of the transition, with no extra charge for a few hours of training, and ongoing training at our hourly rate of $70/hour. We have also aided our partners in hiring their own technical/development team when the time is right.
Are projects priced based on “time-and-material” (i.e., hourly) estimate or a “fixed-price” quote?
With 7 years and 250+ apps of experience to our credit, we are able to produce very accurate estimates for projects, which are priced on a “time-and-material” basis. We do our best to stay within budget and will provide ample warning if we think we may exceed our initial estimate, so we can coordinate how to move forward together with you. Prior client references can vouch for the accuracy of our estimates and can be provided to you upon request.
Is Skytz Software Labsable to guarantee that our app will be published in an app store?
What is Skytz Software Labs’ policy regarding correcting defects and publishing an update in the app store?
For clients seeking ongoing support, we offer two pricing options. The first is ad-hoc updates, which are billed at a blended hourly rate of $70/hour. These requests are handled on a first come, first serve basis across all of our clients, and development begins when our team is available. The second option is a 6-month retainer, which guarantees expedited service and a faster turnaround time. With this option, clients agree to a set number of hours per month at a blended hourly rate of $70/hour. or we can work on fixed per developer cost is around $2,000/month. This monthly retainer functions like an extension of the warranty period, and issues are addressed within 24-48 hours. Additionally, development begins as soon as the scope of the issue is defined. If a guaranteed 24 to 48-hour turnaround time on maintenance issues is important, we recommend the 6-month retainer.
What level of Quality Assurance is included and provided by you in your proposal?
During the Discovery, Planning & Design Phase, a Quality Assurance (QA) Engineer is assigned to every project to build a custom test plan. The QA Engineer continues testing throughout the Development & Testing Phase using functional and regression testing, utilizing a range of physical devices as required for each project. If we are developing a backend web service and databases as part of the project, we also run a set of automated unit tests regularly to ensure functionality.
What is Skytz Software Labs’ quality assurance (QA) and testing methodology?
WAt Skytz Software Labs, we believe that our competitive differentiation lies in our QA and testing methodology. Unlike other development shops where testing is simply an afterthought, we dedicate resources solely to this function. QA is handled at all levels of development, and there are generally three layers of QA/testing that happen for every project:
1.) Internal Development Team Testing
Prior to builds being released to the broader Project Manager and QA team, each Development Team at Skytz Software Labs has an internal QA Tester along with the Developer Lead who perform basic validation on bug fixes. Their validation ensures that items within JIRA, which we use alongside Trello, to coordinate team efforts and communicate with clients, are properly remedied according to their descriptions prior to “checking-in” or committing code. Once items are resolved by the Development Team, they are pulled into the “Testing Done by Dev Team” stack of Trello cards and/or within JIRA. This helps to ensure that each project has an organized and efficient workflow that prioritizes quality assurance at every step of the development process.
The Skytz Software Labs Development Team is responsible for creating "unit tests" for the code during the development of new projects. These tests enable the team to quickly run a basic set of verifications. The majority of testing is performed by the dev team using iOS and Android app simulators.
2.) Dedicated QA Engineer
The Skytz Software Labs approach to testing is a key factor in their competitive edge. They dedicate resources to testing at all levels of development, which sets them apart from other development shops where testing is an afterthought. Each project has a dedicated QA Engineer who drafts a milestone-based test plan, performs smoke and full test pass runs against weekly and milestone builds, verifies and closes bugs marked as complete by the Development Team, and reports issues and regressions to the team. The QA Engineer also takes items from the “Testing Done by Dev Team” Trello stack and verifies whether they are fixed. They generally perform their tests on 2-3 devices, depending on project requirements. The Development Team creates “unit tests” for their code to quickly run a basic set of verifications, mostly using iOS and Android app simulators.
The PM is responsible for the quality of the entire product and acts as the final QA gate. Working closely with the dedicated QA Engineer, they will verify that items have been fixed properly and triage new issues from the client and QA Engineer. The PM schedules the resolution of issues based on their severity and importance. To ensure the product meets the highest quality standards, the PM conducts testing on actual devices.
Can Skytz Software Labshelp me with Marketing and PR?
Absolutely. We aim to be your full-service app partner, and our Marketing & PR Offering is designed to help you launch your app and gain marketing exposure. Learn more about our Marketing & PR Offering here.