Mobile apps are everywhere now: almost everyone uses a smartphone for communication and solving their problems. Businesses can create them to connect with customers and help them solve their problems quickly online. Therefore, you can consider creating an app for your business; before that, you need to calculate possible benefits and costs and understand the development process.
Mobile App Development: Essentials
Before planning the development and calculating costs, it’s wise to evaluate the benefits. Your app can bring:
- Attract new customers worldwide, increasing your sales.
- Help you implement new features which will efficiently solve your business problems, such as data analysis features.
- Retain your customers, especially if you’ll have a good UI/UX design.
You can see that all these three points can potentially enhance your profits.
Now that you know the mobile app’s relevance for businesses let’s see how you can develop an app. Before, we see which essential features your app should have. Then, provide you with the development algorithm. Finally, evaluate the mobile app development cost, according to the excellent guide with several examples.
How to understand the essential features of your app? Let’s divide them into two parts: basic features, similar to all business apps, and examples of features that may be specific to your industry.
Basic Features of an App
No matter which app you’ll develop, these features absolutely must-have:
- User interface: user profile, settings, and all app features are carefully listed. It is the foremost and the most essential part of your app, and the user experience will define how well your app will be received.
- Data privacy and security are essential, so invest in data encrypting, as your app will probably imply that at least some of your user data will be stored, such as app permissions.
- Offline capabilities will enable your customer to solve their problems even if they are without the Internet, making your app much more useful.
- Feedback and support with quick responses are essential, as users should be able to ask what to do in case of any problem or inconvenience.
- Notifications are important to call your customer when necessary. Remember that they should be fully adjustable so as not to become irritating.
As you see, these features are connected with the contact establishment between your user and your mobile app’s functionality. The next part contains this functionality.
These features are your app’s value. They solve your user’s problems or provide them with some benefits. According to the guide mentioned, we can provide several examples:
- User profiles and messaging interfaces for communication apps of any type.
- Recognizing the user’s location, for example, in the case of a dating app or to show the closest shop.
- Lists of useful content, for example, such as for educational or fitness apps.
- Interactive interface for games and apps with gamification; a good example is Duolinguo with its game-like language learning.
- Data analysis and statistics if your app solves some business problems, for example, work with logistics or marketing stats.
Planning the Development Process
As now you have an idea of which features should be present in your app, let’s move to the development process.
- Define what is required for your app. Determine your goals, conduct market research, create your own development plan, and estimate costs and benefits. These steps will ensure that your app will be useful for you and your customers.
- Define which framework you’ll use for the development. We recommend using React Native, as it will build your app initially cross-platform, suitable for both Android and iOS, saving you time and money.
- Start planning the app design and development. Any mobile app has two crucial parts: front-end and back-end development. Below, you can see the typical app development scheme. Design and development stages roughly correspond to front- and back-end parts creation.
- We recommend starting with a minimum viable product (MVP) and first releasing the app with only essential features. It’ll be much cheaper and safer for you to see how it will be accepted and obtain valuable feedback.
- In case of MVP success, release the full app and monitor feedback to understand what should be adjusted.
Three essential parts of the development process, front-end, back-end development, and app release, will be described below in detail.
Image of how your mobile app should look. Then, draw the scheme of various app parts: user profile, payment page, list of available insurance policies, list of yoga practices, educational videos, and animations, etc., depending on your app’s type. It will be the beginning of your app’s design.
Be sure to work with the user experience (UX) to ensure your users will be comfortable accessing the app and its features. For that, the interface should be clear, attractive, and the user should be able to reach all its elements with minimum taps.
Lastly, design the buttons, color scheme, fonts, text fields, animation, navigation, and transitions between the app’s screens. After that, you’ll have your front-end part ready.
After you define your app’s appearance, it’s time to work with the back-end part, which will realize its features.
Examples of back-end features are:
- User profile management, which is essential for all apps.
- Data security and integration are similarly crucial features.
- Notification services to facilitate user experience.
- Storing all data and providing them on-demand.
- Specific services such as GPS or connection with phone sensors.
- Data analysis tools, including AI, chatbots, and machine learning systems.
As you see, the back-end part is about data proceeding to solve certain user problems. Even if you’re developing a game, you must store and process a lot of user and game mechanics data.
So, this part is building the core of your app, its inner driver. As mentioned, it is efficient to code on React Native, which enables the creation of cross-platform apps.
After both parts are ready, you can release your app and start to perform post-release actions.
QA (Quality Assurance) testing is an essential part of mobile app development. It means creating specific tests, which should be passed by various people to elucidate bugs, inconveniences, and other problems, so you can solve them.
Feedback monitoring enables you to improve the app according to the customer’s suggestions, constructive critiques, or experience stories. Always use this opportunity each day if possible.
Regular updating is essential, too, as you need to be sure that your app remains efficient and solves customers’ problems. In some cases, you can add new features (don’t forget to test them!) and even consider the app’s redesign.
Calculating Costs and Timing
How to understand how much you need to invest in your mobile app?
It can be estimated on the first stage: the app planning. According to Purrweb, the average price will be $56,000, and the average time is 15 weeks, from which the most part is the coding. You can see it in the table below.
If your app is basic and contains only one or several features, it will be much cheaper, up to $20,000. Conversely, suppose it uses advanced technologies like AI and cloud computing. In that case, more efforts are necessary to develop them, and investments in research are necessary too, and such an app can cost up to $200,000.
Remember, app development also contains hidden costs! They are usually in the range of hundreds to thousands of dollars in total and can rise constantly. Examples are:
- Maintenance costs include API updates, bug fixes, and new feature development.
- Marketing costs to promote the app.
- Subscriptions and infrastructure: servers, hosting, cloud, email, analytics services, all of that can be necessary for your app’s functionality, and these subscriptions should be calculated as your monthly expenses.
The most important, however, is that you see all development stages now and can easily estimate your costs based on the specialists’ hourly rates.
If you have a business but have no mobile app connected to it, it’s time to fix it. They are important for helping your customers reach their goals and provide you with opportunities to expand your business. Before development, it’s wise to evaluate your expected profits and compare them with development costs.
Don’t forget about hidden costs and post-release maintenance, such as QA testing and working with feedback. Also, remember to use MVP. This option will cost you 3-4 times less, be ready 2-3 times quicker, and will be beneficial, enabling you to see the customers’ responses and feedback.