Dear Citra: Do you develop mobile apps in-house or do you outsource?

What technology do you use for mobile apps? Do you outsource to a 3rd party or do you do it in-house with your own developers?
Scott Simpson
Scott Simpson
May 30, 2019
Dear Citra: Do you develop mobile apps in-house or do you outsource?
We do build our own mobile apps! Citra now has 12 developers across three offices, and we do both web and mobile development in-house. We have worked on all kinds of mobile applications, consumer apps, internal apps, high fidelity prototypes and more.
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The Technology We Use

We use React for web development and for the last year or so we have been using React Native for mobile apps. We use React Native because it allows us to work in a language and framework we’re familiar with from our web work.
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Having a starter kit enforces best practices, increases quality and encourages consistency. Based on our experience and lessons learned on previous projects, we built our own React Native Starter Kit that we use for all of our mobile app projects.
If you are interested, you can read about why we like React Native, and about recent updates we’ve made to our starter kit.

Why We Don't Outsource

Citra is probably best known for design, but we do a lot more than that. We do research, strategy, branding, photography, video, copywriting, and more. We also do both front- and backend development. In fact, Citra's second employee was a developer.
Citra Pattern
When we take on any project, we do as much as possible in-house. This lets us put together a team of people who are used to working together, and it gives us better control over the end result. Our designers and developers work very closely together, because we believe that having a cohesive team leads to a better end result for our partners.
At Citra, development isn’t something that starts once the designers have finished designing. The two are interlinked throughout the whole process. We don’t like having designers and developers in their silos with big “hand-offs” from one to the other. It tends to create knowledge gaps that later on can lead to misunderstanding and misinterpretations. We prefer a back-and-forth approach, encouraging designer-developer communication and collaboration early on in the project.
For example, when we start a design project we have a technical director involved from the very beginning. This leads to sharing of ideas, discussions and problem solving. Designers get to run things by a developer, who can give immediate feedback, spot potential issues and propose other ways to solve.
Our developers are a part of the creative process, and we see them as an extension to our design team, taking the design one step further. An example: our designers rarely have to provide our developers with mobile designs since they know the developers, how they work and what is expected, saving both time and money.
Scott Simpson
Scott Simpson
May 30, 2019
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