Research shows that there are over 3 billion smartphone users globally– and that number only continues to increase.
Building an app on your own might have sounded like a pipedream a couple of years ago but so did building your own website. Now, custom web development is a piece of cake with custom web development platforms such as Velo by Wix. Fast, easy, cutting-edge.
Let's go back to apps. When you factor in the number of users of other mobile devices — such as wearable technology or the over 1 billion tablet users globally — the value of a professional mobile app increases exponentially.
But how can businesses learn how to develop an app that suits their business needs without breaking the bank, blowing their budget, or overhauling their entire revenue model?
It turns out that there are several best practices that the best software development companies adhere to when creating reliable mobile apps for clients (such as yourself).
By following these guidelines, developers are able to stretch budgets, keep projects within their projected timelines, and ensure that the finished platform works properly and achieves the desired objective.
Now, it might seem like businesses don’t need to know these best practices — after all, if you aren’t the one who will actually be designing and developing the mobile app, what’s the point?
Well, if you thought that, that’s where you’re wrong. Understanding the process of how to develop an app that mobile app software developers follow throughout each software development life cycle — particularly for mobile platforms — is crucial for businesses.
This will empower you to choose the best partner for your company, choose a solution that fits within your budget, and better understand how your app development project is progressing.
And when you understand a project’s ins and outs, you set yourself up for far better success in the long run.
This new platform needs to reflect consistent brand identity, match your website and responsive mobile site, and encourage consumers to both download the application and convert within it.
It may seem daunting to know where to begin.
1. Create A Concept For Your Mobile App
The first step in how to develop an app is determining the overall concept of your app. Ask yourself what objectives you want to reach and how the mobile app will help you do so.
This will create a vision for the project and inform the functionalities and design needed to reach your business goals.
2. Determine How Your App Will Make Money
This may seem like a later step, but you should actually begin thinking about how your mobile app will make money pretty early on, as this will influence the user interface design. The most common ways to make money include:
In-app purchases and upgrades
A fully eCommerce app
In-app advertisements from third-parties
3. Understand The Features You Need And The Features You Want
Many businesses make the grave mistake of trying to cram too many features into their mobile app –especially in the first version.
A better option would be to pare down the desired features into desired features and necessary features. Only include the necessary features in V1 of your app. Believe it or not, user feedback will let you know the other features that customers are looking for later.
4. Sketch The Wireframe And User Journey
After you have honed in on your app’s goal and desired features, a user experience designer — with the help of other experts, such as a digital strategist or an information architect — will create a wireframe and layout the user journey that customers will take in order to complete the desired action.
5. Design The User Interface
Once the wireframe and customer journey are approved, an app designer will design the interface, adding graphics, colors, designs and more to create a compelling and well-branded experience.
In other words, the designer will create a mockup (a mid- or high-fidelity visualization of the product) to be able to evaluate the look and feel of the design.
Additionally, mockups can help with evaluating the accessibility and visual consistency of the design, allowing designers to improve the design’s appearance in terms of appearance but also functionality.
Our industry analysts determined the best mockup tools on the market that designers use to convert their ideas into concepts. They are the following:
After the mobile app is designed, the heavy lifting begins — meaning, app developers begin coding the platform. They should do this in a test environment so it can be tested throughout the entire development process.
In addition, app development firms will develop both the frontend — or forward-facing aspect of an app that customers interact with — as well as a backend that allows team members to manage content.
When developing an app, it is advisable to keep your working files secure with a password management tool that not only contributes to a safer working environment but also lets your collaborators access files remotely when they need them.
7. Test/QA Every Feature And Function Within The App
As we mentioned, every mobile app should be tested dozens — if not, hundreds! — of times throughout development.
In fact, a dedicated quality assurance expert should conduct thorough QA tests, which will ensure every single feature works the way that it is supposed to.
If they catch a bug within the test environment, developers will be able to fix it before the app is launched, ensuring users are none the wiser.
These are some of the best app testing tools on the market that app developers use to ensure the quality of their products:
8. Make Your App Available For Download In Applicable App Stores
Once V1 of your app is completed, an app development agency will launch it in the applicable app stores so users can begin downloading and using the app. The most popular are the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
9. Market The Mobile Application To Your Target Demographic
Did you know that app stores allow companies to input photos, videos, and content that can help target appropriate audiences?
Well, it’s true! Luckily, reliable app design and development firms will help businesses market their app successfully, both on the app stores and on other platforms, such as their website or social media channels.
This is particularly imperative because 61% of users won’t install a new app. Plus, it will increase downloads — and that means more revenue for you and more visibility within the app stores, too.
10. Continually Improve The App Through Feedback And Updates
An important rule of thumb to remember is that app development is never truly done. Users will provide targeted feedback, customers will leave reviews in the app stores, bugs will occur, and organizations will want to add new features from time to time.
All of these items mean that a new version of the app — whether it’s a small fix or a major update — needs to be developed and released to existing users and the app stores.
We’ll find qualified app development agencies for your project, for free.
All in all, it can be difficult to pinpoint how much it will cost to build an app.
After all, the pricing is greatly affected by the timeline of the deliverables, how many features and functionalities you might need, what actions users will be allowed to take within the mobile app, and what long-term support you desire from a software development company.
In general, organizations pay about $200,000 to $350,000 for a mobile app with several features. But don’t let that price tag scare you!
Extremely simple app development projects can dip into the lower five figures. Meanwhile, extremely complex mobile apps — such as those with innovative AR/VR features or robust eCommerce shops — can skyrocket to $500,000 or more.
How Do App Developers Charge For Their Services?
Businesses can expect to pay hourly for results for mobile app development. That is because app development requires a lot of timely, active tasks — and those are more easily tracked and billed for by the hour.
Mobile app software developers in the United States tend to cost somewhere between $100 and $175 per person per hour — although, of course, that can fluctuate quite a bit depending on their expertise, location, and reputation.
Outsourcing an app design and development project is another valid option — one that will save you big bucks during the software life cycle. Outsourcing software development companies that can build mobile apps generally charge between $55 and $75 per person per hour.
Pro Tip: Both outsourcing and hiring a U.S.-based app development company are valid options that can deliver excellent results. However, the right direction depends solely on your particular needs.
Take the time to understand each development firm’s experience, case studies, service offerings, and pricing structure.
This will help you determine how much help you’ll need throughout the entire project and whether or not an agency can meet those requirements.
And remember — paying more money upfront will usually save you thousands of dollars — if not more — in the long run. This is because you end up with a better project that needs less long-term maintenance and fewer updates over time.
How Long Does It Take To Build An App?
Much like the cost of a mobile app development project is hard to pinpoint, so is the timeline. That is because — yet again — this is so dependent on a business’s personalized needs.
When do they need the app live by? What is their budget? How many features do they need the app to have?
Typical software development projects take 9 to 12 months to compete at least, and businesses who are investing in developing a mobile app should allocate the same amount of time, on average.
However, there are a few items that can affect how long it takes to build an app. These include:
1. The Various App Versions And Their Features
Most mobile apps have several versions throughout their entire life. If a business is willing to lessen the number of features they want in their first version, and simply add them in a later version, they could speed up the app development process.
2. A Bigger Budget May Mean Faster Development Time
Brands with more money to spend can afford more designers, developers, and hours that an agency spends on their project. Therefore, a larger budget typically speeds up app development projects noticeably.
3. Does The Agency Also Need To Design The App?
Most organizations utilize the same app design and development agency to, well, design and develop their app. Thus, if your app needs to be conceptualized, wireframed, and designed before it is actually coded, the timeline may increase by quite a bit.
3 Reasons Why App Developers Need A Project Management Tool
You’ve probably heard the phrase that building an app is like building a house. The saying goes like this because there are so many small tasks to manage to complete the whole app development project.
However, overlooking or forgetting even a single small task can affect the app functionality and project delivery.
This is where project management tools can come in handy.
They carry multiple benefits for developers, including:
Categorizing complex tasks: Most app development projects require detailed planning. However, this can be quite a complex and time-consuming process. Using project management software can make all the difference. These tools usually have columns for different projects where developers can create various tasks and they can include features, priorities, complexity levels, progress and more.
Establishing better team collaboration: Project management tools allow developers to establish clear and concise communication with their colleagues. They enable a coordinated workflow where developers can share files, store documents, assign tasks and even chat in a single place. Having all the project-related information in one place allows developers to stay in the loop and keeps them concentrated on the work.
Tracking time: Time tracking is especially important for developers who get paid by the hour as they need to provide their clients with details on how they spend each hour working on their project. Project management tools automatically store time records so using them, developers can easily create daily, weekly or monthly reports.
Looking for great project management software? Here are some of the most powerful tools for app developers on the market:
iOS App Development vs. Android App Development: What’s The Difference?
Although most mobile app software development companies are well-versed in creating applications for both Apple and Android devices, those development processes do look different.
Therefore, it is in every organization’s best interest to understand how to develop an app for both iOS and Android operating systems so they can be sure to select the best development partner and release a successful product to the public.
iOS app development companies speak wither Objective-C or Swift, which are two different programming languages — although they are compatible with one another.
Both programming languages are almost exclusively used by Apple. Although they are scalable within Apple products — which is why Apple items have such strong inter-device cohesion — they don’t operate well outside of the Apple realm.
Apple mobile applications have a few notable qualities. These include:
Sharper, better animations
A faster testing/QA process, which leads to a quicker market release
How DesignRush Marketplace Can Help You Develop Your Own App
DesignRush Marketplace connects businesses with relevant agencies that can complete a project or provide a certain service that a company needs.
If your company is looking to develop and market a mobile app, we can find the right agency for the job!
Tell us about your project and we will curate a list of up to 5 most qualified agencies out of 15,000+ in our directory that can create an app to your requirements and for any platform. The best of all - it's free!