May 23rd, 2019
The Ultimate Guide To Mobile App Development 
If you have decided on building an app for your business, the next thing to do is to find a vendor who can bring your product idea to life within the specified time and budget.
There are a lot of app development companies out there who claim big but are not able to deliver according to your desired expectations. Having answers to a few critical questions will benefit you immensely when it comes to finalizing the vendor.
Let’s dig deeper into a few areas that you should get acquainted with to get the upper hand when negotiating with your vendor.
How much does an app cost? The is the first question that everyone wants to get an answer to. The problem is that there is no simple & straightforward answer to this question and you need to keep this in mind. To get a realistic answer, you must have answers to the following:
- How complicated your app is
This depends on the type of your app and the industry you operate in. While a simple app with minimalist design can cost less than $50K, an e-commerce app where users have to place orders and you need to process payments, the cost can go as high as $1 million.
- The most expensive features
There are some common features that most apps have and that take very little time to code. But the features with advanced functionalities will take more development time that will ultimately add to the cost.
- Android and iOS options
Native apps i-e apps that are platform specific are always going to be more expensive to build but will have better performance. This is a dilemma that most businesses face and yes, there is a trade off involved. Many businesses opt for cross-platform/hybrid apps which reduce development costs but might not function the way you would expect them to in certain scenarios.
- Ongoing costs and updates
Never underestimate the importance of having post launch support because let’s face it, you are going to need it and you should incorporate that cost in your initial budget planning. From OS updates to bug fixes, from feature enhancements to major app overhauls, support and maintenance costs will be incurred as your app eveloves.
How much time will it take to build my app? This is the second question on top of people’s minds after cost. Again, it depends on the scope of your project, how complicated your app is and the expertise of your vendor in delivering projects on time. On average, it can take anywhere from three to nine months to develop an app.
Further breaking it down into the various stages involved in developing an app, here’s what a normal timeline would look like:
- App Development Brief
This will take from 1-2 weeks and is meant to give your vendor a holistic view of your product idea. Your vendor should get a clear understanding of what you are aiming to achieve with your app and the metrics that you would measure to gauge your success after reading the app development brief.
- MVP Design
This is extremely important to chalk out the core features that you would like to get developed first to get user feedback at an early stage. This can take anywhere from 4-6 weeks and includes detailed user stories, prototypes to mimic your core features and then the final MVP design.
This is when you go all in with the development and the developers get their hands dirty, developing features in sprints and get feedback from real users. On average, the development time frame lasts for 12-14 weeks but again, the exact duration will depend on the scope and nature of your app.
- App Store Deployment
Submitting your app and getting it reviewed can take upto 2 weeks. Apple App Store has a more rigorous process in place to check an app than Google App Store.
3. Platform- iOS, Android or both?
Deciding which platform to build your app on is extremely important beforehand. As mentioned earlier, native apps are more expensive but yield better performance. There are three aspects that you should be aware of when deciding whether to go iOS, Android or Hybrid: users, devices and development.
Being greater in number also poses a challenge for android app development. Due to the wide ranging devices available in the market, it becomes difficult to get the app running seamlessly on every device. Hence, android app development takes more time.
4. Project Management- Agile VS Waterfall
The two most commonly used frameworks for app development are agile and waterfall. Agile means the process is iterative and that changes can be made with minimal time and resources. Waterfall on the other hand ensures the project is highly structured and everyone involved is clear of what needs to be accomplished. involved Majority of the companies use a mix of the two frameworks.
Agile VS Waterfall in terms of
In terms of value, the agile projects reveal increments of value throughout the time period of the project. This means that the implementation team can observe the value from their implementation fairly quickly
On the other hand, the waterfall implementation reveals all value at the ending stage of the project. This means that if the initial requirements do not match the outcome, the whole project will incur waste and shall have to be repeated.
In the Agile methodology, there is continuous visibility of the progress and outcomes of the implementation as the managers continuously inspect the outcomes with each sprint.
Alternatively, in the waterfall implementation plan, the outcome is delivered at the end of the project which means that the visibility is only evident at the end stage of the project.
In the agile process implementation, there is continuous testing which means that with each sprint, the outcome and value are visible. If risk is felt, there is space and time to invent measures to tackle it.
On the contrary, in the waterfall implementation, the risks are only recognized at the final stage. Most often by that time, it is too late to tackle the problem.
Agile VS Waterfall? Which One Should You Choose?
Agile is targeted towards implementations with ever-changing requirements. Waterfall methodology on the other hand is utilized when the scope of the project is quite clear.
5. App Testing
From wireframes to clickable prototypes and high-fidelity designs, your app needs to be tested at each stage of the development lifecycle.
- Source Code Analyzers
This is the first stage that every piece of code has to pass through to meet specific guidelines and conform to industry standards. Static code analyzers look for patterns in code, whether they are for code style, complexity or security vulnerabilities. Although it is a very basic technique to measure code complexity and verify compliance with coding standards, it proves to be highly effective in preventing defects from the early stages and accelerating the application delivery.It can generate detailed reports for:
- coding standards
- duplicate code
- code coverage
- code complexity
- Unit Testing
A unit is the smallest possible testable software component which makes it easier to design, execute, record, and analyze test results for than larger chunks of code.
Proper unit testing is required during the development stage to create a fully functional, bug-free application.
- End to End Testing
With the help of a computer, End to End testing simulates real user scenarios, ensuring that all the modules of an application function as expected. The motive behind E2E testing is to identify dependencies and ensure that the right information is passed between various system components.
Having end to end testing in place ensures that the entire application and not just the individual components works seamlessly from start to finish.
6. Mobile App Marketing
You must start marketing your app before development is complete if you want to take advantage of pre-launch excitement and hit the ground running once your app is available.
Running an awareness campaign before your product launch should be a part of your marketing strategy. Marketing is an ongoing process that should usually start a few months before the launch of your app and continue far past the original release date.
- Social Media
- Paid Advertising
- Sign-up pages
- Website/Landing Page
While pre-launch marketing is important, don’t forget that post-launch marketing is just as important. Pre-launch activities generate buzz and keep your app from fading, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t fly under the radar of possible users at a later date if you don’t keep up with your marketing efforts.
- Burst Campaigns
- App Store Optimization
- User feedback & reviews
More on App Store Optimization
App Store Optimization (ASO) is a great way to boost your app’s visibility. ASO is the means of optimizing varied elements of your product listing to achieve a higher ranking in an app store’s search results. Here are some factors that will affect your ASO strategy:
- Keyword Search
- App Name
- Screenshots & Video Preview
7. App Evolution
After launch, your app will evolve over time. It would need continuous updates, feature enhancements and even major overhauls based on user feedback.
A good app development company would ask you to provide them with your definition of success for your app right at the start. That’s why it’s extremely important to have a clear end goal in mind of why you are developing an app in the first place. You should have well defined metrics and KPI’s to measure the success of your app.
A few examples of metrics to measure:
Engagement metrics: How people use your app. This covers things like how many pages they view and how much time they spend using the app per session.
Outcome metrics: Tracking users’ actions. From sending contact forms to making appointments or visiting websites, these are the events users take that indicate a conversion.
Behavioural metrics: This type of metric is less common but plays a large role in defining your audience and user-base. Reporting on the locations and times of day people interact with your app the most.
Retention metrics: This refers to how many times people come back to your app and although is similar to engagement, usually involves active users who open/use the app several times per day.
Developing a mobile app can be overwhelming. It’s extremely important to set the expectations right at the beginning. If you don’t know where to start, just give us a call. We offer a 1 day free discovery workshop to help businesses articulate their needs better, diagnose any technical success blockers and chalk out a detailed roadmap.