The mobile development field has become a tough landscape for the independent developer.
Average monthly per-app revenue ranges from $5,000 to $11,000, depending on the platform, but 55 percent of developers earn just $1,000 a month, according to InMobi's "State of Mobile App Developers 2016" report.
Part of that finding is due to the fact that mobile app development is such a "young and growing industry." Indeed, the report showed that nearly 75 percent of all mobile developers possessed less than three years of industry experience, InMobi found.
On the other hand, InMobi noted that large mobile app developers may be able to earn more than independent developers. The report showed that independent developers earn an average of $1,500 in revenue monthly, while large app development studios frequently earn up to 30 times this amount.
"Making mobile apps is still a risky business," InMobi wrote in its report. "Despite the fact that many technical types are flocking to mobile apps with the hopes of developing the next 'Angry Birds,' monetary success is still very difficult to find."
Navigating the mobile app landscape can therefore be exceedingly difficult, particularly for those who hope to earn immediate revenues. But some mobile app developers remain committed to their craft and will only accept projects that match their expertise.
Consider Coalesce, a New York-based app developer. The company features a team of eight employees and offers support in a number of areas, including:
Coalesce chooses projects based on fit – something that has helped the company stand out in a highly competitive mobile developer marketplace.
"We typically we choose projects based on fit – meaning how well our workshop's capabilities and approach will match and compliment that of our clients'," Coalesce Coalesce co-founder and Director of Product Staton Piercey. told FierceDeveloper. "So we often end up choosing projects that excite our team and allow us to work with interesting clients and products. We also jump at opportunities that let us use and explore emerging technology solutions for unique challenges."
Coalesce and the app development cycle
Over the past few years, Coalesce has grown from a design shop in central Florida to an app developer that can offer client support from locations around the globe.
Piercey noted that Coalesce "started by accident" eight years ago. Since that time, the company has evolved into a "full-stack product shop with a focus on agile product strategy and human-centered design," Piercey stated. Coalesce even boasts designers and strategists around the world, Piercey said, to ensure the company is able to provide support to clients globally.
For Coalesce, all app development projects require client collaboration.
The company understands that its clients demand apps that provide engaging digital experiences and strives to produce apps that "captivate and inspire action." Coalesce also works with a range of clients, including:
- Brands – Coalesce offers a product partner for brands and will use real-time data to ensure an app fulfills a client's needs consistently.
- Startups – Coalesce provides "cost-effective sprints" for startup companies, ensuring those businesses can enjoy return on investment (ROI) on these sprints in weeks instead of months.
- Agencies – Coalesce empowers agencies to "fill in the gaps" by augmenting an agency's existing team and providing an app on schedule and above expectations.
Piercey pointed out that Coalesce uses an app development process that emphasizes product testing and end user feedback.
Coalesce will typically build and test an app. Next, the Coalesce quality assurance (QA) will evaluate the app on a physical or virtual device, Piercey stated. After the QA process is completed, the app will be submitted to the Google Play or App Store for approval.
"Once (an app is) approved, well, we celebrate! Then, we'll repeat the process for the next development sprint," Piercey added.
Furthermore, Coalesce strives to incorporate end user feedback throughout the app development process. This feedback enables Coalesce to understand an app's strengths and weaknesses and respond accordingly.
"Real and honest user feedback is the most important factor during ongoing product management of any kind," Piercey stated. "Our early-stage goals are centered around getting the product in front of users as fast as possible. Once we have a feedback flow in place, we will parse through user behavior and funnel the key metrics back to the product strategy and design phases for high-speed iterative development."
The Future of Coalesce
Although Coalesce may be small compared to other app developers, the company goes above and beyond the call of duty to remain agile. Coalesce relishes challenges, and the company is constantly exploring ways to work with new clients to ensure they can reap the benefits of superior apps for years to come.
"We love building amazing products with fantastic partners. It's what we do best," Piercey noted. "We also love a good challenge – whether that's building a physical product or working globally with international teams."
Going forward, Coalesce will continue to collaborate with clients and appears ready to explore challenges in the augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) markets as well.
"Keep an eye on us as we continue to expand our internal Coalesce labs products and experiment with augmented/virtual reality tech," Piercey said.