The Pros and Cons of Mobile App Builder Tools

So, you and your team have decided to build a mobile app for your business. You recognize that mobile devices have truly become the bridge between the digital and physical worlds – placing orders without leaving the couch, reliving past vacations without traveling, navigating to that new coffee shop you saw on Instagram, booking a kickboxing class at the gym and more is all possible with a phone. Having a functional app for your business isn’t just about following mobile trends, it’s about transforming and elevating the experience your customer has. So where do you start? Should you do-it-yourself or hire a team? There are many low cost or free mobile app builder tools out there to choose from. Before jumping in you’ll want to understand the advantages and disadvantages of taking the DIY route so you can make the best decision to support your business goals.

Pros and Cons of Mobile App Builder Tools

Before You Make the DIY Decision, Consider the Following:

  • Features: Does your app need profiles, rewards systems, or other customized user experiences? Consider what will solve your client’s problems and provide the best UX (user experience) when they are interacting with your app. Although certain DIY tools allow you to build with your own branding, some complex features require customized coding which isn’t always possible without a developer. If that’s where you’re headed, find a professional team so your app will launch with the features that align with your vision.
  • Evolving with your business: Do you want your app to be able to support new extensions as your business grows? Unfortunately, with many self-building tools, it’s difficult to make changes or add new elements to your app after you launch. If you’re looking for a way to build a simple and low cost app that will help you test out your ideas, a tool might be the best way for you to start! However, if you have long term business goals that include the possibility of adding extensions to your app as you grow, consider finding a developer so you’ll have partner by your side for the long run.
  • Web or mobile: Do you need a mobile app? Web app? Both? Are your target audience and clients likely going to download an app to their phone, or would they be more comfortable using a responsive web app from their phone’s browser or laptop? Many builder tools allow businesses to create and launch apps for both iOS and Android but, sometimes it’s difficult to convert a web app to a mobile version (or vice versa) with a low cost builder. Also, if you think you’ll want to try a different tool or have a developer add on to what you’ve started, many DIY builders lock you into their platform so you’ll likely have to start from scratch if you want to change.
  • Cost: It’s not always possible to pinpoint an exact cost to building an app with a hired team. The biggest factor when calculating cost is time- developers consider how much time will it take to build the features you’re looking for. Many hired teams calculate the total price differently (various contract lengths, per-hour cost, etc). At 3Advance, we believe agile is the best way to support our clients. Our sprints allow our clients to make design and feature decisions collaboratively while paying monthly. When using a builder tool, the time is yours, so it’s important to decide how much you’re able to give to the project to see it through. Although it’s often a lower cost up front, you’ll also want to do some research and factor in any hidden costs a tool might have before starting.

A Different Approach

A great way to begin is to find a developer company that can work with what you’ve already started with. For example, at 3Advance, if you have your app backend configured we can take what you’ve done and likely launch your app much faster. Already have user stories? No problem! App developers can take what you have and create an app prototype to help you gain insights and product validation before going to build.

Some DIY Tools We Recommend

If you’re still interested in using a builder tool, we’ve listed a few we think are trustworthy for you to consider:

No matter which route you choose to take, know your goals, do your research, and compare your options! If you are thinking a developer is the best way to for your business to move forward, learn about how 3Advance can support your tech, design, and product needs- check out some of the work we’ve done or reach out to chat with us and let’s build something!