Factors that Affects the Mobile App Development Cost & Process

Mobile App Development

23Jun
2017

One of the most common questions I get asked is “How much does it cost to make an app?”

Mobile App Development = Requirements analysis + Design + Development + Testing and Verification

Here's the list of different factors which influence app development cost, including features, platforms, external services and server costs.

App Platforms and Environment

Building for all platforms substantially increases the cost. This is because each platform has its own programming language

App Platform

Programming

Apple- iOS

Xcode IDE and Objective-C or Swift Programming

Android

uses Java Programming Language

Windows

C# Programming Language.

 

If the developer needs to build the app for all platforms, and the app needs to be built using the native programming language of each platform, the cost of development will be doubled or tripled because of the amount of time that is needed to build the app using different programming languages of each platform.

If the app can be built using hybrid development technology, the developer can build it once using, for example, HTML5, CSS and JavaScript and use Phone Gap to prepare the app for all platforms. This can reduce the cost substantially, of building for all platforms. 

As web service is common for all platforms and has to be coded keeping in mind all Platforms – iOS, Android or windows

Features and Functionality 

What functionality does the app have? What does it need to do, and what services does it need to achieve this? , what are the types of Apps – Games, Database, Dynamic, table/list.

There is a whole spectrum of potential features an app can have, for example:

Features

Description

Examples

Social Logins

Log in with Facebook/Google Plus/LinkedIn

Buffer, Hootsuite

Camera/video/photos Integration

Integration of existing camera application

Camera FV-5, Camera JB+

User Registration

users register their own accounts, by entering an email and password

Amazon

Augmented reality

a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world, thus providing a composite view.

Antomy 4D, , Star walk 2

Calculator

will your app perform calculations based on user inputs

Soulver, Calca

Payment for goods or services

Way to make mobile payments

Apple Pay, Samsung Pay

Loyalty programs

Using an automated rewards app is one of the best ways for small businesses to easily set up a loyalty program to reward long-term customers.

Spring Rewards, Spendgo

Online Reservations

Manage all your reservations from a single device using real-time data . Allow your customers to book directly from App

Zomato

Calendar integration

saving events to the calendar

Apple Calendar

Integration with wearable device(s)

Integration with Apple Watch

Smartwatch

Social features

Commenting, liking, sharing, reviews

Facebook

Game Center Integration

Game Center enables your users to track their best scores on a leaderboard, compare their achievements, invite friends to play a game, and start a multiplayer game through auto-matching.

Temple Run

HealthKit integration

A user can easily track measurable fitness and health data over a period of time like -

Nike+Running

Location based services

A location-based service (LBS) is a software application for a IP-capable mobile device that requires knowledge about where the mobile device is located.

Yelp

Chat/instant messaging

Instant messaging service that allows users to chat back and forth -- with individuals and in groups.

Whats App, HI Messenger

 

So, the more features an app has, the more costly it will be to develop. However some features can be provided by 3rd party APIs/service providers, which means they don’t have to be coded from scratch, which will save development time and cost. 

Integration with enterprise systems

An app can either be stand-alone or integrated within an enterprise system. If your app won't need enterprise data, enterprise system or corporate access, or central business logic, the cost will be significantly lower and restricted to app development only.

On the other hand, with enterprise integration, development costs extend to enterprise web services and data access, third-party APIs or other integration tools, and host system app modifications. Your organization's enterprise architects will advise you about the integration requirements for supporting a mobile app and whether your infrastructure is mature enough to support it.

Devices and operating systems

When it comes to an iOS app development, it should ideally be compatible with the latest and the previous versions of iPhone (e.g. iPhone 7, 6S) and support the latest and previous iOS versions (e.g. iOS 10)

For the Android app development the world looks much more diverse. When we decide which devices to support, there are three factors that influence the decision:

  • the size of the market share for each Android device manufacturer
  • devices specific to a given market
  • client’s preferences

This also applies to the Android OS versions. So, more devices will mean more time spent on adapting the application for various screen sizes, resolutions, hardware specifications, and testing. 

Number and complexity of App Screens

Generally, the more screens an app has, the more design and user experience work is needed. Also, more screens can mean there are more ways to navigate through the app – a particular screen may be accessed in more than one way, and in more than one set of conditions. 

An increased number of possible “paths” through the app generally means more programming time is required to cater for all the possible paths or journeys that can be taken by a user through the app. 

Developer Licenses/App Distribution

Finally in order to release an app to the Apple app store under your own or your company’s name, you need to have an Apple developer account. This costs £69 a year. 

Likewise, a Google Play account costs $25 (approx. £16) a year. If your app is an “internal” app to be used only by your organization and won’t appear on the App Stores. You don’t have to pay for your internal app. Upload the app on your server and your employees can download from there.

Other options include a corporate app store, typically administered through an enterprise mobility management (EMM) platform. The mobile apps are deployed to the corporate storefront for installation to authorized users and devices.

Maintenance, support, and enhancements

Mobile app development costs don't end with deployment.

User feedback is usually immediate and includes problems, suggestions, and enhancement requests. It's a good idea to retain the development team for a period after deployment so there's rapid response to negative feedback, which may even include releasing fixes and enhancements.

Best Customer Feedback Tools for Your Website

 

#1Mixpanel- https://mixpanel.com/

Mixpanel

Mixpanel

#2 Hellobar- https://www.hellobar.com/

Hellobar

Hellobar

#3 IdeaScale- https://ideascale.com/de/

IdeaScale

IdeaScale

#4 ClickTale - https://www.clicktale.com/

ClickTale

ClickTale

#5 Olark- https://www.olark.com/

Olark

Olark

Responding to feedback channels is essential to avoid user attrition due to poor performance, which defeats the business case for developing the app in the first place. We can monitor for user feedback in the app store reviews also and implement tools for monitoring the app store rating, review and ranking. 

Mobile App Development Process

Below items show the typical process of mobile app development:

Wireframing – It is an important process of building an app; this is because it will build the foundation of how the app needs to be designed and function. During the wireframing, an app UX specialist and an app developer need to have discovery sessions with the project owner to find out how the app is going to be designed and function. The more complexity, or the more screens the project has, the longer it will take to complete the wireframing. To complete the wireframing, an app UX specialist will draw up the navigation, screens, and all of the elements that go into the app screens and noting the functionalities for each screen.

Some Popular tools for Wireframing

#1 Wireframe.cc

Wireframe.cc

Wireframe.cc

#2 Moqups

Moqups

Moqups

#3 UXPIN

Moqups

Moqups

#4 Fluid UI

Fluid UI

Fluid UI

#5 Pidoco

Pidoco

Pidoco

App Screen Design - Designing the app screens (front-end) for both iOS and Android.

App Programming - Programming the app screens (front-end) for both iOS and Android.

Application / Database Framework - Setting up the application's server-side framework (cloud / back-end) and creating the database structure.

Server-side Application Programming - Writing all of the server-side code for implementing the back-end functionality.

APIs Development Writing all of the APIs that connect the app screens to the server-side application and database.

Usability QA - Testing the app screens for bugs and fixing any issues. Multi-platforms, Multi-devices, OS versions, Resolutions QA  Testing the app on all different platforms (iPhone, Android, Windows Phone) and different OS versions of each platform. Different resolutions of different mobile devices.

Back-end QA Testing the back-end code for performance and security.

Cloud Setup - Deploy the server-side application to the server / cloud.

Submit to App Stores - Deploy the app to the App Stores.

Team needed to build a Quality Mobile App

Building a quality mobile app requires many steps and requires different talents with different specialties:

For wireframing - a UX (User Experience) Specialist who has experience in building app screens with the best user experience. A UX Specialist should know the app conventions and rules of showcasing the navigation and elements on the screens making it easy for users to better navigate the app and find what they need, in the right priority.

For designing the app screens - the Designer needs to know how to design for different devices: iPhone, Android and Windows phone screens. In short, the Designer should have the experience and the vision of how different objects or graphic elements are going to look on small phone screens and different resolutions. The Designer also needs to use the right size, right graphics and icons, and themes for the app.

For programming the app screens - the Programmer needs to have experience in using Xcode environment with Objective-C or Swift for iOS, and Java for Android. Usually, programmers become specialized in either iOS development or Android Development.

For writing the server side application and APIs - the Programmer needs to have experience in writing maintainable code with best security and performance.

For QA - the Quality Assurance Specialist and Tester needs to be detailed oriented and have experience in looking for the functionality and design issues that are usually not easy to see by the Developers.

Deployment of the server-side application - It goes beyond being a Developer or Programmer; it requires an experienced Programmer and a Cloud Specialist, sometimes referred to as DevOps. The DevOps needs to have experience in installing the application, create a reliable server environment, database redundancy, backup, security, performance and scalability of the application.

Conclusion:  Mobile app development is a great way to create and increase business value by improving productivity, driving sales and traffic, and increasing brand awareness. It's more important than ever for businesses to develop a comprehensive mobile strategy to capitalize on the power of mobile app technology. Understanding the cost factors in the design and development process can help inform your mobile app business case.

Do you have an app idea that you’d like a quote for?

Then, browse www.edeskhub.com for the top mobile app development companies in Middle East.

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