How long does it take to build an app?
One of the most common questions about app development is: how long will it take me to build an app?
It’s 100% OK that you want to estimate your time and resources, draft business strategy and write a marketing plan. So we have written a post on the minimal app building duration (considering the fact that the app is very simple) and we hope it will help you in your future work!
The stages of application development
As you can see on the infographics, it will take you about 2-3 months to build a very basic application. However, there are lots of nuances to consider, such as: app complexity, desired components, etc. So before starting to build an app, sit down and list all the features and components that you wish your app to have. This will make your further work easier and ensure you won’t miss anything.
Overall, we highly recommend that you build an MVP - minimum viable product, or prototype in other words and present it to a group of users. The MVP allows to identify strong and weak points of the app and fix everything before the actual app release. The app creation process is all about iterating and releasing the versions that are better than previous ones - and it takes quite a while to reach the state of perfection. So further on all time periods that we mention will be referred to the MVP.
Stage 1: Design
During this stage you and your designer (or team of designers) will be drafting the desirable look of your app, think of UI & UX and also create a mockup of your app. The mockup will serve as a reference for developers and will let you get an idea of how your app will look.
The design stage usually takes about 1-2 weeks in case the app is simple or up to a whole month if it’s more big and complex. During this stage, business analysis is performed as well. It is normally done by the development company in order to gain all the client requirements, consider all possible work peculiarities and outline the development plan.
Stage 2: Development
This is where the actual app building happens in correspondence with the outlined plan and the tasks. This stage requires a lot of attention. During the development process it is crucial to perform testing in order to identify any bugs and fix them. A lot of developers are now switching to Agile development process, meaning the app is built piece by piece and next part is built only after the previous one has no bugs and was carefully checked.
The development will take you about 5 weeks but it depends a lot on app complexity, QA performance and your requirements. On average, the creation of a good-quality MVP will take you about 3-4 months starting from the moment your business analysis is confirmed alongside tech and graphic design.
Stage 3: Submission
After your app is built, it will take you about 1-2 weeks to get ready for app submission to the store and its actual submission. App stores have strict guidelines so take your time to read them (preferably with your lawyer) and make sure your app corresponds to them.
An important thing to plan and consider is the app monetization strategy. Depending on what you choose (free or paid app, subscription options, etc.), you have to learn about commissions and fees for each store and fee policies for in-app purchases. Actually, the sooner you plan your monetization strategy the better - you can even start researching during the app designing stage.
Types of applications
The app development time also depends on the type of an application.
The most basic standalone app with no Internet backend support will require about 2-3 months - but it’s a really rare case. If you want to have an app with server backend in order to store everything on your server and monitor the app work, it would result in 3-4 months of work.
In addition, if your app will have a lot of intensive graphics, interaction with complex third party API's, databases, or it will act as a part of complicated business system, get ready for 6-8 months!
Actually almost any company, based on previous experience, can roughly estimate the future cost of the project, even if the description lacks in details. So once you have the description ready, you can contact the development companies and learn more about time, resources and costs needed.
Things to keep in mind
There are still a few things to remember even if your app seems ready to be uploaded and shared among users.
Integrate social media
In modern world social media is a must-have because people are used to sharing everything with friends and the whole world. We are living in a transparent international society so obviously your app needs to have some social media buttons.
You will also need social media not for sharing only but also as a way to login. It’s quicker and easier to login via the preferable social media rather than entering your password and thinking of a fancy email - and today’s world is all about immediate response and minimum of effort!
But the most important thing about social media for you as an app owner is its ability to gather the data about users in order to use it for your marketing. So don’t underestimate the power of social media in modern business world - it possesses more value than we think.
We have already spoken about the importance of design but let’s talk about it once again. Of course, basic design takes little time - but think about your users. The competition on app market is tight and there are hundreds of applications out there that have smooth performance and attractive appeal. So in order to stay competitive and keep your app unique, spend some time and money on good-looking design. It doesn’t have to be custom because nowadays modern frameworks offer great variety of UX/UI solutions in order to quickly assemble an efficient and attractive app. So it’s up to you whether to choose ready o custom solution - but it still has to be of high quality.
The question of platform
This one is a bit complex. With iOS everything is rather simple: it runs on iPhone and iPad, that’s it. But with Android it’s more complicated because there is a whole variety of devices supporting Android and all of them have different requirements to design and the way app looks and performs. So if you opt for Android, it may take you a bit longer time to make compatibility QA testing and related corrections.
In this article we tried to give you an approximate amount of time needed to create an application. However, everything depends so we recommend you to consult with app development company and talk with developers about your requirements, desired time and costs. For sure you will be able to find an option that suits you the best.