How Long Should Mobile Application Development Take?
Developing one or more mobile apps is a smart choice for many companies. Apps help you engage directly with consumers, perform market research, and enhance brand loyalty. Because of the specialized skill set required, many businesses find it more cost-effective to hire a specialized app development company rather than going it alone. For people who are new to app development, one of the most common questions is, “How long will it take?” The truth is that it depends on numerous factors, but a good benchmark estimate is 2 to 4 months. Here is a look at some of the key factors that affect how long your app will take.
A good mobile app developer can turn the most basic idea into a fully-formed application. However, each stage of the design process takes time. The more comprehensive and fully-developed your idea is when the project begins, the less time it will take to design and develop the app. The caveat is that if you are unfamiliar with app design, you might inadvertently add things to the project plan that are difficult and time-consuming to create. If you want to streamline the process, approach the developer with a well-thought out idea, but express your openness to cutting or changing certain aspects based on his or her expertise.
Mobile apps run the gamut in purpose, layout, design, and end user experience. All else being equal, a highly technical app with high-end graphics and layers of user options is generally more time-consuming to develop. Very simple apps with a minimum number of choices and few graphics are often speedier. However, it is important to find the right level of complexity for the goal you have in mind. It will end up costing you more in both money and time to try to update an existing app or start over from scratch, when compared to building what you actually need the first time. This is an area in which a good developer can really help you focus your ideas. He or she can look at the end goal you have in mind and make suggestions for finding the most efficient ways to produce your desired results.
Many developers argue that building apps for Apple products takes longer than for Android, due to Apple’s tightly controlled marketplace. Others feel that Android products take more time because of the vast number of Android devices, each of which could potentially require tweaking for the app to run properly. This is a case in which it really pays to listen to your developer. He or she knows the ins and outs of the available platforms, key areas of different designs that are prone to weaknesses, and how to best work around those weaknesses to showcase your product. Many businesses choose to release apps for multiple platforms rather than risk alienating a segment of their customer base. While this can be a smart strategy, keep in mind that developing multiple versions of your app will increase the total development time.
As with most highly skilled workers, app developers tend to hone and refine their skills over time. Those who are fresh out of school, or self-taught hobbyists turned professionals, often have their fingers on the pulse of the latest and greatest technology, which can add some truly unique magic to your app design. The tradeoff, however, is in speed. Those who have significant experience often know tips and techniques for streamlining each portion of the process without skimping on the results. Look for a designer whose experience matches the goals you have in mind, from your desired platforms to the look and feel of the final product.
Testing and Bug Reporting
Thoroughly testing and verifying a mobile app across numerous devices takes time, but it is essential to creating a high-quality finished product. Companies and developers deal with this in various ways. If it is critical to you for the first release to be as close to perfection as possible, you will need to plan for extra time in the testing phase. If your app is time-sensitive, consider releasing a beta version, or at least providing users with a place to report bugs, and releasing a new version after testing and bug reporting are complete.