If you have ever considered building a mobile app with an agency, we're willing to bet there was a bit confusion as to how the timelines and costs are calculated.
For the most part, building a piece of software from scratch takes a fair amount of time (1- 6 months) and a sizeable amount of money ($10k - $500k). To help make sense of the work that goes into building your app, listed below are six high level steps that most agencies use to structure your partnership.
1. Strategy - more often than not, most app development projects start with some form of a strategy engagement. Depending on the agency you select, this will either be a paid engagement or part of a partner selection process.
- Determine the high-level goals of the app. Decide what business problem or opportunity the app is solving for
- Start to build a feature and functionality outline. This is a detailed outline of the functions that will make up your app. This part of the process helps to better outline a timeline and cost
- Create a Prototype. Building a clickable prototype is a key step to see your app come to life on paper before any true development begins
- Show your ideas off as early as possible to customers. If a prototype is created, take the time to test and validate your early feature set with a group of users
- Your app design should cater to the needs of your customer. Take the time to think through the people and the situations in which the app will be used
- App designs will often work through a progression of wireframes that slowly transition into final designs. The final designs should show full color and branding elements within the app
- Development of your app will be completed and tested in time-boxed sprints
- You should see a working version of your app at the end of each sprint. The goal is to test and give feedback during development
- Automated tests - developers will write automated tests to help ensure the app is working properly
- Manual tests - it's important that you and your team are manually testing through the app and recording feedback
- Your development partner will work with you to get marketing content ready for the iOS and Android app stores
- There are short but important approval steps to get your app listed in the respective app stores. Each take only a few days at the most. If your app does not get approved, you will need to make changes and re-submit to the app store
6. Support, Maintenance & Updates - releasing the first verion of your app is only a small portion of your responsibility as an app owner.
- Support - make sure you and your development partner are available to support the requests, questions and concerns of your users
- Maintenance - it's rare for a piece of software to be entirely bug free. There will be small fixes, operating system updates and changes that need to be made once your app is live
- Updates - you should always be learning from your users. Take their feedback into consideration when thinking about ways to enhance the experience of your app
Overall, there is a quite a bit of work that goes into building a mobile app. While the steps above certainly aren't exhaustive, some form of the outline above should be part of your plan to develop an app. As you can imagine, the effort and time it takes to complete the above steps will ultimately dictate the price of your app.
If you are interested to learn more about building a mobile app for your business, please feel free to click the link below. Our team at SnapMobile builds mobile business apps in 4 weeks for a flat fee. Reach out today and schedule a strategy and prototype session at no cost.