How Much Dev Work Will Your Mobile App Need?

Business.com / Marketing Strategy / Last Modified: March 29, 2018
Image credit: LDprod/Shutterstock

How much development your app requires directly affects the final cost. Before you hire the services of an app builder, take the time to map out your app, including its purpose, your goals, the app's features, etc.

You have a great idea for a mobile app, but do you know what it will take to create it? Some ideas seem simple but are more complex than you might think.

How much development your app requires directly affects the cost. When you're asking companies to develop a mobile app, you are, naturally, asking for a cost estimate. To figure that out, they need to know a lot more about your app: its purpose, your goals, features and more.

There are four types of apps: basic consumer, simple enterprise, medium enterprise, and complex enterprise. A simple app is your phone's calculator, while the app you use to log in to your bank account is far more complicated, as are social media apps and many games. Apps that rely on basic tables are at the lower end, while apps that require a database require more development.

To determine how much development will go into your app, consider the following: 

  • The platform – iOS (Apple) or Android?  Mobile app developers may specialize in one or the other operating, or they may offer to create an app for both.

  • Native/Web/Hybrid – Whether you build a native app (an app developed for a specific device or platform), a web app (one you can access from web browsers) or a hybrid ( a web app "wrapped inside" a native app) will affect your costs. Native apps cost more to make than hybrid apps and take a little longer.

  • The number of pages – Will your app be large with several pages people click through or will it only consist of a few pages. Also, are those pages all similar templates or is each one unique?

  • User interface – Designers must create each button and each page in an app. If you choose a custom design, those pages and images are customized just for you. Many people prefer to rely on templates for at least some of their app design. This saves dev time and reduces overall cost. However, those options are limited, which is why most apps require at least some custom design work. If and when you collaborate with an app team, ask the designer for examples of his or her work so you can get a feel for your options.

  • Content – Is there a user dashboard? Can people upload files? Do people have profiles or are they leaving reviews? Will your app feature a calendar, a scheduling or booking tool, or will it use an individual's location? All of this is the content of your app. The more and varied types of content you offer, the more development your app requires.

  • Billing/E-commerce – If you're building an app in which people will purchase items or services, expect extra development time. App creators have to factor in payment processing, shopping carts, subscription plans and product management.
     
  • Administration – Many people don't think about the back end of the app, but with most apps, you (the administrator) need some control. You might need to control features or moderate content. Most people require access to analytics so they can monitor usage, crash data and performance. Some people opt to skip including this feature, but analytics are critical to see who uses your app and how.

  • Integration –  Are you connecting to other services or allowing them to connect to you?

  • Security – If your app is asking people for their data, you need additional security, such as an SSL certificate or two-factor authentication. 

Other factors

While the app's features are a large part of mobile app development, other aspects of the construction process affect development time and costs. For example, the more complicated your app, the more project management time is required. Also, the team you select to build your app will affect the cost and development time. Cheaper services may promise a quick turnaround for a low price, but you often get what you pay for.

Mockup and testing are two other parts of app construction. Many people skip them to save money, and some app creators and companies segment these services so you can do just that. This allows them to offer you a lower estimate. However, both are critical to the success of your app.

Mockups and a full working prototype give you a complete look at your app before coding begins. These tools give you a sense of how each page and button appear and what happens when you click on things. During that process, you might discover flaws or realize buttons need to be moved for a better user experience. It's much easier to make these changes before coding begins.

Testing, too, uncovers issues that may turn early customers away, dooming your launch and creating a backlog of fixes. Testers should use the app on different devices with different versions of the operating system. Your mobile app development team should have access to all relevant devices or use a universal platform, which enables them to test on all models. 

Some apps require more testing than others, and if your app contains user information, you should run additional tests to check the security. Finally, have real people try out the app before you launch to make sure everything functions properly.

 
 

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