As more and more consumers are switching to mobile over desktop computers, companies are struggling to keep pace with the rapid transformation. But, regardless of the efficiency of the project management methodologies used, most developers need four to six months to develop an app.
There are a lot of factors that could slow down or speed up the process. Let’s look at a more detailed timeline to understand what it takes to build an app from inception to completion.
Scope of the Project
One of the most important steps in the process of making an app is identifying the exact needs that the app addresses. This key factor defines everything that follows.
Nobody wants a sloppy app that crashes constantly. You want the chances for it to become part of people’s daily lives to be as high as possible.
A good developer will know to dig deep by asking questions to reach the real core of the client’s ideas. Once the need is determined, you can move to planning and create a detailed outline of the project goals, costs, deliverables, tasks, and deadlines.
The time required to implement this plan depends on what integrations you need to include with the backend.
Features play a vital role in the timeframe and costs of the project. The more features you need, the more complex the app will be. That could translate into more time and money required to complete the project.
You need to keep in mind that more is not always better. In fact, by looking at what the most successful apps offer, you’ll see that those that are more focused do better. Nevertheless, no matter the features, they all need to blend perfectly. If you are attached to the complexity of your app, start small, with one feature and, in time, add the other ones.
User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX)
Nowadays, the seamless experience is the end goal of every product or service on the market. With apps, people are looking for those that are easy and fast to use, provide the best results, are aesthetically pleasing and intuitive.
You need to focus on both UI and UX if you want to deliver a seamless experience to your users. One without the other (or one that is weaker than the other, for what matters) sets you up for failure.
Again, in terms of time needed, it depends on the level and complexity of the visual elements of your app.
Integration with Third Party Systems
There’s no app out there that not connected to a website, a CRM system or a social sharing platform. Each and every one of these integrations implies the development of an Application Program Interface (API), and that can take some time.
There are two leading mobile operating systems in the world: Android and iOS. Other operating systems are slowly fading out if not close to extinction.
It’s a difficult decision whether to develop an app for both Android and iOS or to focus solely on just one platform. They have different languages and design standards. Developers state that building for iOS is much faster, profitable and cost-efficient, so it should also be the first option for businesses. Building for both platforms simultaneously requires more time and money.
Testing is critical in the process of developing an app. You need to make sure it works correctly under any circumstances before launching. Otherwise, people lose their trust in your product and won’t take a second look at it after you’ve fixed the problems. And if that happens, your investment will be all for nothing.
It shouldn’t take more than a couple of weeks to test the app if you had a great team developing it. So, make sure to include it in the app development process.
App Changes and Maintenance
Your job isn’t completed once you’ve finished the app. You can’t just upload it to the app store and leave it there (or, you could, but it would be a waste of everybody’s time and money.) You need to collect feedback from your users and adapt. You will need to fix bugs /issues, maintain it, and constantly upgrade it if you want it to last on the market.
The App store registered 641 new apps per day from September 2012 to January 2013. The number could fool you into thinking that developing an app is easy. It is not, though. Yes, you can create something in just a couple of months, but it’s definitely not the way to go if you want a successful and sustainable product.