How long does it take to build a mobile app?
Questions like these are not uncommon. In fact, time is a major factor when a company decides to hire someone for mobile app development. When one considers the investment of both time and money for app development, the scale of the decision becomes immense. Thus, questions like “how long does it take to build a mobile app” are understandable.
So, how long does it take to develop a mobile app?
There is no universal answer to a question like this. Generally, it takes anywhere between three to eight months to develop a mobile app. However, a range as wide as 3-8 months is not sustainable for most companies. There is a natural need for a more accurate timeline.
To get a more accurate timeline of app development, there are many factors one has to consider. Not all apps involve the same level of complexity. In the end, the answer to how long does it take to build a mobile app is a summation of many different factors.
In this piece, we will try to sum up the different factors which decide the timeline of app development. How long does it take to develop a mobile app? We will answer this question. Furthermore, we will discuss the time each stage of app development normally takes.
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The Factors – What Affects the Process to Build a Mobile App?
As mentioned earlier, it difficult to provide an accurate timeline for app development. This is because there is a real gulf in the level of complexity when developing apps. Some apps are easy to develop, some are hard, and others just require long hours of grafting.
Many factors end up playing a role in deciding the time needed to create a mobile app. Generally, these factors first come into the picture when a company decides to create a mobile app for its audience and customers.
What are the factors which govern how long does it take to create a mobile app?
Here are the factors –
The first factor which determines the timeline of app development is the domain to which the app belongs. This is an important factor because it determines the time developers have to invest in researching and validating an app idea.
For instance, someone at a company has an idea for a new app. However, this is not the end of the road. The idea is documented and send to the development team.
The team then researches all the different apps which already exist in the domain. They conduct thorough audience analysis to validate the viability of the idea. It’s not as if someone has an idea for an app and some developers start coding.
Thus, the domain to which the app idea belongs end up playing a very crucial role. This is because researching a small domain or niche takes relatively less time compared to a larger domain.
It is generally advisable to choose a small domain as it’s easier to compete in a niche with less competition. However, big companies interested in app development don’t have the luxury of choosing a small niche.
Thus, the domain a company chooses governs how long does it take to build a mobile app.
Another obvious factor in deciding how long does it take to make a mobile app is the number of platforms. There are two major mobile app platforms most people in the world use, Android and iOS. There is also the option of choosing an additional third option in the form of a progressive web app.
The number of platforms a client wishes to see the mobile app on plays a remarkably important role. If a company only needs a mobile app for one platform, the time it takes to develop is considerably low. However, cross-platform development is a more challenging process and naturally takes much more time.
How long does it take to build a mobile app? The answer often becomes clear when a company decides the number of platform it wishes to see its app on.
How does a company make this decision? For this, the company must study the audience it wishes to reach. If the audience overwhelmingly uses either Android or iOS, it becomes easy to make a decision. However, if the audience is more evenly distributed, it becomes necessary to take a more strategic call.
Naturally, if a company chooses to build an app for multiple platforms, the timeline goes beyond the usual three months.
How long does it take to make a mobile app? Much longer than the standard time taken if a company choose to make an app for both Android and iOS.
This one is easy. If a company wants more features and functionality, the developers will naturally need more time.
Firstly, there is a need to understand what features exactly mean. Generally, features refer to all actions a mobile app can perform. From scanning a QR code to sharing something on Facebook, all these are essentially examples of features.
The more features a company wants for its mobile app, the more time developers will take to complete the app. This is something most companies understand which is why they choose their features very carefully.
In the app development circuit, developers generally encourage management to think about developing a minimum viable product or MVP. This simply refers to a version of the app which contains the least number of features possible while also providing real value to the audience.
For instance, let’s assume a company wants to launch a smooth ePub reader for its target audience. The MVP version of this reader would probably contain the reader only. The final version may later have all types of features such as social sharing, open source book reading, and so on. However, the MVP version will only contain one feature – loading ePub files to a reader.
It is important for companies to identify these core features and first try to build an MVP version of the mobile app. How long does it take to make a mobile app? The answer depends on the number of features a company want in its mobile app.
Number of Users
Not all apps are meant to be used by ten million people simultaneously. Sometimes, companies want to develop apps for internal use only.
The point here is this – the number of users expected to use the app also plays a key role.
All rookies to app dev asking how long does it take to learn mobile app development must first understand this – every app is made for a purpose. Some apps are meant to be used by millions. Others are for a niche audience.
Generally, apps made for a larger audience take more time to develop. This is because these apps require many additional resources that normal apps don’t. This includes greater investment in app architecture, performance tuning, testing, and hosting infrastructure.
To bring all these things together takes time.
Companies tend to ask a lot of questions before app development.
How long does it take to make an Android app?
How long does it take to build an iOS app?
The answer often depends on the number of users expected to use the app. If the numbers of users will be low, a lot of time is saved on practices which take up a lot of time. These include performance tuning and testing.
In knowing the number of users for an app, one can predict how long does it take to build a mobile app.
What is complexity? When used in the context of app development, complexity can be a very ambiguous term. However, developers would relate to the importance of complexity as a factor in deciding the timeline of app development.
For example, let’s consider a mobile app in which developers have to create a text search option. Generally, developing a text search option is an easy task and involves little to no complexity.
Now consider adding a voice search option. The complexity of the feature is now much higher. While the voice search option will definitely improve the user experience, it will also increase the time a company takes to develop the app.
When companies decide to build an app symbolizing their own brand, they try thinking long term and don’t compromise on user experience. Usually, top notch user experience comes at the price of high complexity.
Boring apps with no flying graphics or engaging buttons generally have a very low level of complexity. This is especially true when juxtaposed with app development. Less engaging apps often involve little to no complexity during development. On the other hand, apps which have a great UI/UX setup generally have a very complex development process.
How long does it take to build a mobile app? Good things take time. This is why companies must see the value in giving the app development process the time it needs.
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The Steps – How Long Does it Take to Build a Mobile App?
App development takes place in many stages. Each stages takes a varying number of weeks or months. Depending on the specific needs of the project, the time each stage takes can vary. For instance, the testing stage can take two weeks for one project while six weeks for another. These kinds of variances are natural.
Thus, we will discuss the time it takes to complete each stage of the app development process. The sum of all the time periods will tell us how long does it take to build a mobile app. However, the time periods we discuss in the following points are based on standard projects. It is very likely the time could change on a project-to-project basis.
Build a Mobile App Step #1 – Research
Research is a fundamental part of the app development process. It helps developers and clients see the viability of the app idea. Furthermore, it gives developers a good idea about the kind of app they have to develop.
The time period of research varies. A large part of the equation generally is the domain and niche of the app. It is best to set aside two to three weeks for research purposes. This also includes researching the audience and identifying their pressing needs.
Build a Mobile App Step #2 – Project Deliverables Finalization
Once the research is complete, developers get a good idea about the kind of app they should develop. Thus, they are able to visualize the final app. This is a good place to decide what the final app must contain. Furthermore, companies must also decide the features an MVP version of the app will contain.
It should take one week to finalize all the deliverables in a given app project.
Build a Mobile App Step #3 – App Design and Idea Validation
At this stage, companies set up design sprints for every part and feature of the app. This is a crucial stage because nailing the aesthetic of the app is essential to make sure the audience likes it. Generally, one design sprint takes a week. Depending on the number of designers and developers in a team, the time it takes to complete a design sprint can vary.
There is also the need to address whether the design is working with the target audience. Thus, developers have to test each design with real people. This helps ensure each part and feature of an app is designed to perfection.
Generally, this step of the app development process takes six to eight weeks.
Build a Mobile App Step #4– Rapid Prototyping and Development
It is important to work simultaneously on rapid prototyping and app development. This is because it is crucial to get real feedback for every prototype before going into development.
Generally, this part of the process takes eight to ten weeks.
Build a Mobile App Step #5 – App Store Submission
If the app is only developed for Android, it will go live on the Google Play Store within a day or two. Google checks each submitted app with its own algorithm. The Apple App Store takes more time, however. If an app is developed for both Android and iOS, app store submission can take up to two weeks.
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In Conclusion: How Long Does It Take to Build a Mobile App?
How long does it take to build an Android app? How long does it take to build a mobile app?
These questions never end because app development is a tech heavy process. Companies are right to have questions and doubts, especially when it comes to the time it takes to build and deliver an app.
In this piece, we covered the different factors which decide how long it takes to build a mobile app. We also covered the time each stage of the app development process takes.
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