Mobile Apps – almost every business owner needs to have one in order to get a competitive edge in the market. According to StatCounter, an independent web analytics firm, the mobile internet usage has exceeded the desktop internet usage worldwide. Consequently, the M-commerce and sales have also seen a massive upsurge. Looking at the exponential growth, it is absolutely essential (and worthy) to get into the mobile app game.
In order to have a successful application, you need to consider certain important aspects, namely, the type of product or service you offer, your targeted audience, the platforms you choose, and your marketing strategy.
In this write-up, I will highlight a few things that you need to know before you embark on your mobile app development endeavor.
1. The Mobile App Development Cost
“How much money does it take to develop a mobile app?” is a very common question. Well, such a question is almost similar to asking “what will it cost to build a house?” The answer to this question is – it depends! The cost of app development depends upon the platform you choose and the different features that go into your app. Further, it varies from project to project.
If you are going to build the app by yourself or with your own in-house development team, then the cost would depend on the time you or your team put into the project. If you are building an app on your own in your spare time, it will cost nothing but your time and skill. Keep in mind, however, that in order to build a successful mobile app, a collective team effort of project manager, app designer, app developers, app testers, and marketing specialists, is required.
A survey for the Cost to Build a Mobile App (iPhone app) by Clutch revealed that “the median cost range is between $37,913 and $171,450, but could climb up to $500,000 or higher.” The figure could be high, but the best way to find out how much it will take to develop your app is by obtaining the price quotes from several companies. The survey by Clutch contained the data, obtained from the 12 leading mobile application development companies. You do not necessarily need to go to one of such 12 leading companies! Obtain quotes from other good and experienced app development companies and you will see what roughly your app will cost.
If you are going to hire a mobile app development company, then choose the one that is competent and experienced, and the one that considers you as a partner. Such a company will work with you to bring your idea to life.
If you need some funds, then you can consider crowdfunding. Innovative app ideas can easily raise funds from platforms like Kickstarter or Indiegogo. Be sure to strongly pitch your app idea on the crowdfunding platforms to improve your chances of raising enough money.
2. The Mobile App Development Process
Ideas can form in minutes, but realizing them takes time. The same is true with mobile apps, and the app development takes time. You need to reveal your idea to your mobile app developers and discuss it. While discussing with the developers, be sure you understand the entire app development process. Here are the areas you should know about the app development process:
- Project Scope
- Wireframe Design
- Visual Design
- UX Design
- App Architecture
- Coding / Programming
- Data Storage
- Data Encryption
- Third Party Integration
- App Testing
Once you have an app developed, you must go through an exhaustive testing and QA phase to discover any bugs and the areas where you can improve your app. For that reason, it will be in your best interest to develop a beta version of your app (MVP or Minimum Viable Product) and make it available to a certain group of people to receive genuine feedback, based on which, you can further improve your app.
3. The Mobile App Platforms (Native / Hybrid / Mobile Web)
You need to first decide the mobile platforms before building your revolutionary app. Choosing a mobile platform could depend upon your budget and app requirements. If you decide to go for the native platform, then you will have to get the same app build again and again for different mobile operating systems, i.e. iOS, Android, and Windows. As a result, your cost for native app development will significantly go higher. One of the benefits of a native app, however, is that such an app can access all the platform features, which ultimately helps deliver the best user experience to your consumers.
If you consider hybrid platform or cross platform, then you can save substantially on your app development cost, because with a single hybrid app, you can reach out to users on different mobile operating systems. With hybrid app development, you actually eliminate the need to develop individual apps for iOS, Android, and Windows. Such an app can help you save on development cost and at the same time help you reach out to users across diverse mobile platforms, but delivering a decent user experience can be very difficult.
Mobile web could be very affordable compared to the native app and hybrid app. It is nothing but mobile-ready (responsive) or mobile website that mobile users can access via their device’s browsers. Such an approach will not be able to utilize any mobile OS features and will be more suitable if you only want to deliver your business information to your mobile customers.
To discover more about these platforms, and what you should consider when choosing one, check out this informative article from Clutch.
4. The Mobile OS Ecosystems (iOS / Android / Windows)
Which mobile OS ecosystem can be beneficial depends on your targeted users. It is always rewarding to deploy your app on all the popular mobile OS platforms. When you are starting out, however, you often have to start with a single ecosystem unless you have enough funds to go for all other popular ecosystems. The apparent choices are generally between Android, iOS, and to some extent, Windows. In order to select the right ecosystem, consider your purpose of the mobile app and the type of your audience. Also, consider your brand and your monetization strategy. Take a look at the following differences between iOS ecosystem and Android ecosystem:
When developing any app, you need to have your audience in mind as well as the purpose of the app. Does the targeted audience prefer better privacy or more customization? Do you expect your app to generate revenue or create brand value?
5. The Mobile App Updates
Before you embark on your mobile app development endeavor, you need to keep the future updates of your app in mind. These updates may include adding new features, improving the user experience, fixing bugs, or simply modernizing your app to stay in harmony with the trend. Planning for such updates should be from the onset so that you will be well prepared when the appropriate time comes. Remember, updates should not be frequent because this will frustrate users or make an impression on them that the app is unstable and needs too many “fixes.”
Having a nice mobile app is certainly beneficial. In order to have a successful mobile app, however, you need to keep a lot of factors in mind. The above factors are not exhaustive, but they are very important to consider, especially if it is your first mobile app development endeavor. Basically, you must carry out enough research to discover if your app will be of any value, select the right platform, collaborate with a reliable mobile app development company and try to understand the app development process.