According to the statistics data, people spend around 90% of their time in various applications when using mobile phones. As of 2019, users downloaded different apps 194 billion times. These are some phenomenal numbers, aren’t they?
Truth to be told, mobile applications have changed the way a person lives. There’s a wide array of different applications for different purposes from common ones like Facebook that helps you communicate with friends and learn what’s new in the world to frankly weird apps like the one that says “Yo” to someone else instead of you. There are literally millions of mobile applications out there.
Without having a feature-rich, engaging and high-quality app, it is impossible for a business to survive in the realities of the modern world. Since the competition is high, it is crucial to launch an application before your competitors do that and get ahead of you. Due to this, questions like “How long does it take to make an app?” aren’t something out of ordinary.
While there is no universal answer to this question, the approximate amount of time required to develop an app from scratch would be 4 to 6 months. It is not that the team of mobile developers like ours hasn’t ever built an app faster or longer since it depends from project to project, it is that this is the average amount of time spent on the development of a good product. It should also be noted that the average time you may need to create a fully-functional app will depend on resources available, the scope of the desired app and of course the level of skills your team possesses.
This article will give you an insight into what the process of app development is in general and what factors affect the time needed to create an app.
To have a better understanding concerning how long it will take you to build an app, take the following factors that influence the app development time into account.
It won’t come out as a surprise to you that the smaller an app, the lesser time it will take you to build one. Thus, when questioning how long does it take to make an app, it makes sense to decide on the scope of the app first. The size of an app depends on the number of features, so you need to define the functionality part during the first stage of development. What we are trying to say here is, if a planned app is objectively small with a few features integrated, chances are you will need less time than on average (just think of the “Yo” app we have been talking about earlier). Bigger and more complex applications, on the other hand, might take much longer.
Everything is exactly as is written. You have to make calculations and make sure you have enough resources for creating an app you think of. Are you a developer yourself who search for help with adding a few more features or mapping out a product strategy? Or are you a business owner who has got an idea and needs to craft an app from scratch? These are completely different situations that require different resources and therefore timeframes.
Let’s say you are a small company or a start-up and don’t have an in-house team of developers, you will outsource the task of building an app to an agency. Thus, you have to have enough money to cover all the costs. Although working with outsourcing companies is less expensive, it is more time-consuming. Or you are a huge enterprise that can hire more specialists for one project and consequently fit an app development process into tighter deadlines. As you can see, it depends.
To be able to establish a reasonable timeline for app development, you need to get acquainted with the stages of the app creation. Let us guess, the process of building an app seems to be an easy task for you right now? It is like that. An idea is born and the next thing you know an app is ready. But the thing is, there’s a lot more to this than meets the eye. Forewarned is forearmed as they say. So, take your time and go through each stage to be objective with your time requirements and overall expectations.
As with anything else, any amazing application has had no less amazing idea first. But the thing is, what you see as “a progressive application solving tons of tasks” others might see as “another useless app wasting my phone memory”. For this reason, it is necessary to conduct thorough research before starting the app development process.
What is the purpose of the app? It is the question you are recommended to ask yourself. There are hundreds of crappy apps that are installed and instantly deleted. Of course, you don’t want to be among them. To avoid such a miserable destiny, take time and think everything to the last detail.
To begin with, figure out who might be interested in your app and how vast your target group is. Applications like Instagram are used by different people despite their age or gender. TikTok, on the contrary, is preferred mainly by people who are under 24 years old. Spotify is an audio streaming platform and is directed to a certain group of individuals who enjoy listening to music online.
Investigate the needs of your target audience and figure out what kind of app they would like to download and use. Study the marketplace you want your app to be launched on, inspect whether there are other applications that offer the same functionalities and solutions beforehand. You can download apps similar to yours to find out whether you have something more to offer. Doing such research is time-consuming but in the long run, it will save you money and effort.
Now that you know what your app is going to be like and who it is going to be targeted at, start working on a plan.
Usually, the planning stage begins with deciding whether it will be an Android app, an iOS app or both. Or maybe you want your app to support some other mobile operating system. A decision concerning which platform to with also depends on the target group and the resources you have. Of course, going both platforms would be a win-win option, but it doubles the time you need to spend on development as well as doubles the costs.
Once you got that figured out, move on to the functionalities your app will have. Think of all the features you want your mobile applications to incorporate. It will take you some time since it is a rare case when an app includes just a few key features and that’s it. From primal features like login options to more complex ones like adding videos and messaging functionalities, everything has to be thought through. Here’s when UX design enters the game. It stands for user experience and implies prototyping of the future app layout to see whether or not the application will be easy to use.
Because of the scope and complexity of work that has to be done, this stage might take a few months.
Here comes the most difficult and time-consuming stage of app development. We’re talking about the actual process of development that includes the work of UI designers, Front-end, and Back-end developers. Being determined by the overall complexity of the app, this stage might take more than a month or two.
Since UX designers have taken care of the functional part of the app, UI designers now have to take care of the visual part and create an intuitive interface design that would be appealing to your consumers.
However, it is worth mentioning that without mobile front-end and back-end, the product made by UI and UX designers can’t be clickable. So, when the latter is ready, codes enter the game and make the design into an app by the means of programming languages. It goes without saying that during this stage all participants of the project have to interact with each other on a regular basis. If not, misunderstandings might appear that will slow down the process significantly.
The painful truth is, no matter how good your application seems at first there are always bugs to be fixed and improvements to be made. Needless to say, the testing stage is crucial before you launch your applications on the app stores.
There are two types of testing carried out:
- Alpha testing (it is when the team of developers tests the application during its development searching for mistakes in the code and fixing them)
- Beta testing (several representatives of the target group download and test the app to make sure everything works in accordance with the plan)
With a good mobile application, most of the flaws are found and removed at the stage of alpha testing therefore beta testing takes less time. All in all, the whole process of testing takes about a month. During this time all major errors have to be detected and debugged.
Before you actually launch your app on whatever app store, you have to come up with a catchy and relevant app’s name, compose descriptions (short and extended versions), and think of the promotional part. Chances are, you have come across things like SEO and SMM, there’s an analog of them in the world of app marketplaces and it is called App Store Optimization. This basically means that you have to find important keywords and include them in your product descriptions, which, in turn, will increase the chances of your app to be downloaded.
The last thing to do would be getting approval for your app from the marketplace. With Google Play Market, it won’t take more than just a couple of hours. Apple might make you wait for a day or more.
You have been approved? Congratulations! But it doesn’t mean that all the work is done. Your app is a live organism, believe it or not, and it has to grow and expand in order to keep your users satisfied. Due to this, it is required to keep working on updates, adding new features, fixing the bugs, etc.
So, how many hours will it take to develop a good app?
Now that you have a full grasp of how complicated the app development process is, you will be able to calculate how much time you will need to build a fully-fledged app from scratch. Without a doubt it will be an approximate number, but still. Simpler and smaller apps with a limited number of core features take somewhere 2 to 3 months, while big apps packed with advanced functionalities might take more than half a year.
There’s one thing to remember though! Time saves time. No matter how strange it sounds, it is true. The less time you save while planning the app and doing research, the less time you will need to put in developing.
Finally, if you have a great idea, there’s no need to waste precious time on overthinking. Start acting! Yojji is here to help you bring your ideas to life! Our team consists of creative UI and UX designers, front-end and back-developers who have vast experience in modern technologies and thirst for learning new things. We work together to build high-quality apps in no time.