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5 Ways to Save Money When Building a Mobile App

Mobile apps have become a necessity for small business owners in today’s world. According to 2014 data from Nielsen, the TV ratings company, the typical American adult spends more than 30 hours per month using apps. Mobile apps are a terrific way to ensure a streamlined user experience across different devices, to engage with customers, and to build brand loyalty. Yet they can be expensive to design and build. Here are 5 key ways to save money while building an app that makes you proud.

Infographic on how to save money on mobile apps

1. Hire a Professional

Many small business owners think they can save money by building their own apps. Yet the old saying, “Time is money,” is particularly true for small companies. With a lean staff and an endless list of projects, taking time out to design, build, debug, and launch an app can significantly cut into your bottom line. If you don’t have an experienced mobile app team on board, then the costs can continue to spiral as your general IT team struggles to learn all the nuances. Hiring a professional lets you know upfront what the cost will be, and a good team can suggest ways to keep prices low without sacrificing quality. Let the mobile app team do what it does best, while your company focuses on building your business.

2. Keep It Simple

While a certain amount of customization can help set your app apart from the crowd, too much customization can cause costs to spiral out of control. Pick your developer’s brain to find out which of your desired elements are quick and inexpensive to execute, and which could easily turn into budget busters. Aim for a middle ground that is fun and exciting for your users at a price you can reasonably afford.

3. Map It Out

Sit down with your mobile app team and map out your entire app before the process ever begins. Building in elements initially is almost always quicker and less expensive than adding them later in the process. Although paying your development team to create storyboards, animation mockups, and other planning tools may seem like a waste of money, it will pay major dividends later in the process. This also gives the team as complete a picture as possible of what you want, and creates opportunities for them to suggest cost-saving changes.

4. Minimize Configurability

Although global configurability of such elements as color and text is generally considered a best practice in mobile app design, it is not always necessary. A good development team can help you understand the pros and cons of making each element configurable, and narrow your focus to those elements that really matter for your particular app.

5. Consider a Hybrid Mobile App

Building separate apps for iOS and Android can be prohibitively expensive for small businesses. Yet both platforms have passionate fans that should not be excluded. The best solution is often to build a hybrid mobile app that works across multiple platforms. Developed in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, these apps are built similarly to websites, but wrapped in a native wrapper and submitted to the app stores as normal. Well-done hybrid apps look and feel just like native apps in every way.

Of course, hybrid apps are not native apps, and they do have some known shortcomings including a slight sluggishness in animations and difficulty in customizing them for native functionality. A hybrid mobile app is not as cheap as building a native app for a single platform, but it is often 30 to 40 percent less expensive than building a separate native app for each platform. This can vary, however, depending on the specifics of the app. Talk to your development team about whether a hybrid mobile app is the best choice for your project.

Balancing costs versus functionality and customization is complex and highly personal. Choose a mobile app development team that you trust, and work together to find just the right balance for your project. With a bit of compromise and creativity, there is no reason for budget to prevent you from obtaining the app of your dreams.

Do you need an expert in mobile app development? With a team of specialists covering a wide range of skill sets and backgrounds, The BHW Group is prepared to bring your vision to life. Contact us today to discuss your ideas.

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Paul serves as the primary point of contact for many of BHW’s clients. He assists app owners in making high-level decisions and guides them through the design, development, and deployment processes. As a developer, Paul has worked on numerous web and mobile projects, including several of BHW’s flagship applications. When not at the office, he can often be found at the Alamo Drafthouse, the Flying Saucer, The Ballpark in Arlington, or The New Movement.