Mobile App development involves a set of procedures and processes to write software capable of running or executing tasks on a smart device. Development of apps depend on various factors including;
- The device functionality;
- Application features;
- Level of skills required;
- Resources available.
Mobile App Development Process
Making an App is a process that integrates;
- Idea conception and understanding of the problem to be solved;
- Laying of strategy and roadmap to execute your ideas and learning about your app and the market space;
- Designing your mobile App using wireframes and workflows to come up with the user interface and back-end features;
- Technical development process using different programming languages to develop and integrate the front-end and back-end features to come up with a prototype;
- Testing the app which involves beta or alpha testers to check the functionality, usability, fit and finish testing, performance testing and many more;
- Refinement stage; the weaknesses and problems identified are fixed in readiness for deployment.
- Deployment of your application web API servers and Appstore roll out.
The most valuable resources in creating an App are Time and finance. These resources vary greatly depending on the application and project type. The following is an analysis and resource estimate required in building an Android or iPhone application.
Mobile applications are usually developed in phases which take a varying amount of time depending on the type of app being developed. The following is an estimation of the time required at each defining stage.
- Research and planning phase;
This is the first stage where you seek to understand the purpose of the App, the attributes, the targeted users and market research to determine whether there are applications that offer the same functionality and how to differentiate it from the rest. Generally, it takes about 1 to 2 months to research adequately.
- Functions and feature phase;
Identify the features of your application, putting into consideration the OS platform it will be based. Cross-platform applications take longer. Compared to iOS, Android applications take 20%-30% longer time to develop. This Takes about 1 to 2 months.
- Technical feasibility, design and development phase;
This stage involves the confirmation of the compatibility of your app features, design of the front-end (client interface) and the back-end systems (server side) like the database. It is the actual development stage where wireframing, coding and Prototyping. It takes about 1 to 2 months.
- Testing and refinement stage;
At this stage, you submit your application to alpha and beta testers to uncover weaknesses, bugs, and glitches. It takes about 3 to 4 weeks to complete the app testing process.
Generally, creating an android or iOS App is a process that takes 3 to 6 months to complete a standard app. Other larger applications may take 12 to 18 months to complete depending on the type of project.
This refers to the total cost of creating and Android or iOS app. The total cost depends on various factors including time. The longer it takes to develop an app, the costlier it will be. The following factors determine how much it costs to create an App;
- The purpose and functionality of the app;
- The inclusion of visual objects;
- Engagement o0f the smartphone hardware features such as GPU, GPS Navigation or motion sensors.
- The maintenance plans;
- App Integration with third-party applications.
It is important to have an estimate of the cost of each development stage of an application. The planning and research phase averagely cost $5,000 to $25,000 plus depending on the size of the application. Most applications cost less than $10,000 at this initial stage. The functions and feature phase costs about $5,000 to $50,000 plus depending on the size and project type according to 2017 publication by GoodFirms,. The development stage averagely costs about $5000 to $30,000 plus as determine by 2013 survey by Kinvey. Testing and refinement stage costs about $5,000 to $ 25,0000 plus. It is important to note that different applications have different development costs and vary depending on the economic zone and the OS platform it will be based
Figure 1: Diagram showing the estimated regional cost of developing an app.
Application Development Cost Calculators
The cost of creating an app does not stay constant, Cost calculators have been developed to help businesses in the cost estimation and are available online. They include;
- Ostrava calculator;
- Imason calculator;
- Kinvey calculator;
- Enterprise mobile app calculator.
These calculators provide you with steps that require you to fill the specifications of your application to help you in the cost estimation such as;
- The OS platform;
- Authentication process;
- Push notification features;
- Data sources and data storage;
- Use of cloud technology.
Other factors that determine the total cost of an application include, maintenance and update cost, costing cost, monitoring cost, engagement, monitoring and licensing cost.
Creating an application for free
The advancement of technology has eased the application development process and made it possible to develop applications without strain on resources. However, it is impossible to create an app for free. These applications are simple to use and make it easier and cheaper to build Android and iOS applications without coding skills or experience. With drag and drop features and queries to answer about your app.
You can use the following applications to create your own mobile apps;
- Appy Pie
Components of A Great Application
To create an App and make money, your application must have the following instrumental attributes;
- App Utility; your application must be serving a particular need or offering a solution to a given market need.
- Offer connectivity; allows users to tap into the internet resource.
- Your application should be addictive; make an exciting app that draws users and makes them stick to using it.
- Great design; invest in quality aesthetics. The interface, icons, imagery should be appealing and well thought.
Local Development Vs. Outsourcing
The decision to develop an application in-house or outsource developer depend on the advantages or disadvantages that either offers and choosing the most appropriate based on your own convenience and the availability of determining factors. Outsourcing refers to the process of procuring developers for your app outside your organization while in-house development, the process is undertaken within the organization.
Advantages or in-house;
- Aligned interest;
- Long-term product development;
- Ensures Alignment with organizations culture and standards;
- Shorter turnaround time.
Disadvantages of In-house;
- Increased the side costs
- Overload of IT resources;
- Inadequate talent;
Advantages of Outsourcing;
- Flexibility and scalability
- Short term commitment hence reduced costs.
Disadvantages of Outsourcing;
- Limited collaboration and commitment of developers
- Logistical challenges
- Security and confidentiality.
Outsourcing can is recommended based on the cost factors and quality results it achieves. The security challenges can be sorted out using a Non-disclosure agreement.