It’s recently been estimated that over 200 billion apps have been downloaded throughout the world. And there are good reasons for that. Mobile apps:
- Save customers a lot of time and money
- Give consumers fingertip access to services, goods, and products
- Are efficient, quick and are with you at all times
This is why it is necessary for your business or organization to take advantage of this seemingly-endless trend.
When you’re ready to develop a mobile app, your first question is probably related to development costs. In this article, we’ll look at what influences the cost of mobile app development. This will help you estimate app investments that’ll be required for the project.
The Platform You Choose
Let’s say you’re ready to launch a symptom tracker app. You’ve got cutting-edge new ideas on how users can track their health symptoms on-the-go and you want to get it to market.
The first decision you’ll need to make is what platform you want to launch your app on. This is an important decision as it relates to mobile app development costs, especially for new ventures where budgets are tight and capital is low.
The platform options you’ll need to choose your initial development practices for are Android and iOS. There are advantages to both.
First, it’s faster, cheaper and easier to develop an app for the iOS platform. It’s estimated that it can take between 30-40% longer to develop for the Android platform.
However, the Android platform has more users than iOS.
A smart idea to save costs for your app development project is to first have the app made for the iOS environment. Launch it on iOS and test the market. If it’s performing well on iOS, start development on the Android app.
App Features and Functions
Your app features and functions are vitally important to the success of the app. They’re also a heavy influencer in development costs.
When deciding on what features and functions to include, consider:
- The niche you’re targeting
- What functions and features will allow your app to stand out from the competition
- What service does the app deliver to the user
You can’t begin app development until you’ve answered these questions. And your overall development costs will be heavily influenced by these decisions.
Obviously, the more features you include, the higher the cost will be. The more custom development that’s required, the more you’ll end up spending.
For example, a simple application that’s designed to inform users on location-based information will be relatively inexpensive to develop. However, an app that requires a large, complex data management system will cost more. You’d be surprised to know that a healthcare app developer who is experienced with HIPAA and patient data security charges a whole lot more compared with app developers who work on apps that are not plagued with compliance issues.
Here are some other features and functions that will add cost to your project include:
- Instant messaging
- Virtual assistants
- Cognitive technology
- Internet of Things products
- Complex visuals
- 3D objects
While useful to most designs, they will add to your budget. You can always use online app estimate tools to find out whether the features you require will significantly add costs to your project.
Choosing a Host
You’ve been working through the development process of your new iOS symptom tracker app. Now it’s time to choose a host to send it out into the world. The host you choose definitely influences your cost.
To start out, use these parameters to compare hosting platforms:
- Their bandwidth per user
- Bandwidth per MAU
- Backend API requests
It’s also important to choose a host that makes it simple and inexpensive to make upgrades when higher volumes of traffic begin to show up.
Starting out, a shared hosting plan will be more budget-friendly than dedicated hosting. But as you grow, you’ll want to move into a dedicated hosting account.
Apps need to be updated on a regular basis. Users count on updates for increased app speed, bug fixes, new features, and increased security. Of course, these updates don’t come for free.
You’ll also need to talk to your developers about what you’ll need to budget for daily maintenance and backend support.
App Integrations From Third-Parties
There are many third-party technologies you’ll want to incorporate into your app. Some of these could include:
- GPS location-based services
- Social media widgets and integrations
- Analytics integrations like MixPanel
- E-commerce integrations
- Payment gateway integrations
The third-party technologies you choose to utilize in your app will influence your total cost for development and potential on-going service fees.
Cross-Platform vs. Native
Cross-platform app development is more cost-effective than native development. For example, if you’re building a relatively simple app to launch simultaneously on iOS and Android, cross-platform development is the way to go.
However, if your app has more complex features such as augmented reality, it’s best to develop your app in a native environment. Build-out the app natively for iOS, then decide later if you want to build it for Android.
Hiring a Firm vs. Hiring a Freelancer
Who are you going to choose to turn your vision into an app reality?
In most cases, the two major options you have are firms or freelancers. Before making a decision on which to choose, there are several options to consider.
The pros of hiring a freelancer include:
- No overhead costs
- Work with an independent mind
However, the cons include:
- Limited (or no) face-to-face interaction
- Lack of technical knowledge or expertise
- Less stringent deadlines
- Maintenance and support aren’t guaranteed
The pros of hiring a firm include:
- You get an entire team of experts
- Typically higher-quality work
- Maintenance and support after the app is launched
- More face-to-face interaction
But the cons are:
- Typically more expensive
- Potential of idea conflicts
- Talent may be spread thin on too many projects
- Difficulty in choosing the right firm
The decision you make will depend on where you find yourself most comfortable.
User Interface and User Experience (UI/UX)
Effective UI/UX design is what will bring in, and keep, app users. Your design can include anything that users will find appealing, such as a particular service, special animations, unique icons and color combinations.
What’s important is that your UI/UX design targets your audience at a cost that fits in your budget.
UI and UX are the pillars that will make or break the success of your app. Some wise spending on design features today could pay off many-fold after you launch.
This is the key area to sink as many resources as you possibly can.
Estimate App Costs With This Information
These are eight of the most important factors that will influence the cost of your mobile app development project. Remember, there will be minor costs involved when you’re ready to launch your app. But these factors are what you need to consider during development.
As you move forward with your project, keep close tabs on how your decisions in each of these categories impact the final result. It’s smart to invest more in some areas than others. These will become obvious to you as your project progresses.
Good luck with your app development project. Here’s wishing you much success.