Mobile applications dominate every sphere of our life. In fact, a smartphone owner spends about 89% of their mobile time using mobile apps. The popularity and necessity of these apps cannot be overemphasized. So, apps need to be made by the dozen of resources within a super-quick time and at a relatively low cost.
It is the cost factor, that proves to be a hiccup for many app developers and mobile app development companies. They have realized that random development is not the answer. If users are to be lured with low-cost apps, planning out the budget beforehand is necessary.
Some guidelines on factors that affect development cost are listed here:
Complexity of business model
Algorithms in the backend tend to get more complex as the business model tries to address more and more issues of computation, data processing with an enhanced user experience.
For example, a music mobile app could simply stream music of different genres for the users’ listening pleasure or could, include algorithms to collect data from the user’s preferences and push them through appropriate recommendations. Collecting data, storing them for developing a history on the basis of past activities would obviously involve more complex algorithm and hence would be costlier to make.
The complexity of the business model also determines the number of hours spent on development. Simple apps could take approximately 600 hours while highly complicated apps could take more than 800 hours hence, cost varies accordingly.
Designing is essential and is the make-or-break factor in mobile app development. The development comes only after the design phase. Designing an app involves professional knowledge of colors, icons, fonts and advanced pictorial sense.
Once the business model is decided, designing takes over. Fundamental design elements like a number of screens, buttons, tabs, icons, themes and splash screens give an approximation of costs as well.
Related Blog: Mobile App UX / UI Design Trends to Look For in 2017
The next question that arises is that on which platform app will be running – whether it will only be iOS or will it run on Android too. One would imagine that choosing the platform would not make much of a difference, but yes it obviously matters.
Android apps require a lot of testing because of the ample devices that are available in the market. A report by OpenSignal in 2015 suggested that there are more than 24,000 different kinds of Android devices that people use. Consequently, testing takes longer time for Android apps as it has to be tested on all the different Android operating systems, screen sizes each having a different manufacturing variation.
Compared to this, Apple has only a few variations to test on and is usually released much before Android apps.
But an app manufacturer will always prefer to make his apps cross platform to create a bigger user base. This is where development cost needs to be worked out well.
Backend or not
Another option to consider before going into development is whether to have a backend or not. Usually, apps that require users to register or sign-Up would need a backend to store the user data. Thus, there is a substantial increase in web-based programming skills and as a result, On-boarding related concerns are affected that probably augments the price of an app.
Not only development cost, but also hosting the data in the cloud would also increase expenses. With the rise in cloud-based services, it has now become easier to rent space on a server instead of buying one. For instance, Amazon Cloud Services could be utilized for this purpose.
Functionality and technical issues
Some apps cater to multiple features, so as to make it more appealing to the user. The more an app does, the more functionality it needs to incorporate.
Some popular features like social logins, camera/photo gallery/calendar integration, payment gateways, chat/messaging facilities, in-app purchases, online reservations and location-based services require more development expertise and skills, thus leading to a rise in the price of an app.
CMS (Content Management System)
When an app needs to be frequently updated or edited then, CMS becomes a necessity.
To get this done, CMS needs to be built over the database so that an updation can be easily inculcated in-app via the backend. For example, a retailer can have a CMS built to change the items and their prices displayed on a page.
So the Bottom line is, app development is a long and costly process. Knowing the areas that incur maximum costs, helps mobile app development companies get a realistic view of what to expect as the project progresses.