App development costs range widely. Do you have an idea for an app and don't know where to start? We’ll delve into the factors that influence cost, the types of apps, and the cost of development itself. At the same time, we won't forget the importance of good design, how working with an agency can affect your budget, and choosing a platform to build on.
Types of App Development
Building an app can mean different things to different companies. The scale of the app’s functionality, complexity, and type of technology used will affect how much it costs to develop. Generally, there are two main types of app development:
- Native apps are built for specific platforms, such as iOS for Apple devices, Android for all Android devices, or Windows Phone for Microsoft devices. When you build a native app, you are coding it to the specifications of the platform it’s intended to be used on.
- Hybrid apps are relatively cheaper to produce faster and need to be coded only once. A hybrid app is a website packaged into a mobile app, so it can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play. However, they may be slower and less reliable because they’re not specifically designed for a specific platform.
Deciding which type of application development is best for you will be discussed in greater detail later on in this guide.
Number of Platforms
The first step to figuring out the cost of development is selecting the platforms you intend to build for. Although most people only think of the App Store and Google Play, there are other app stores to consider.
- iOS apps are those coded exclusively for iPhones and iPads. iOS apps must adhere to Apple’s stringent code and design guidelines. They typically use the Swift and Objective-C programming languages.
- Android apps must be coded in Java and must also adhere to Google’s design guidelines. Knowing both Java and XML can be advantageous.
- Windows apps are slightly different from iOS and Android in that they must adhere to Microsoft’s guidelines. To code for Windows apps, you'd need some familiarity with C#.
Each of these platforms provides its own set of considerations. Supporting multiple platforms might require you to invest in additional resources, technology and time. This can affect your app’s total cost.
Choosing a range of platforms also introduces device capabilities. APIs, hardware sensors, camera access, NFC and GPS navigation technologies, as well as media and web services, can each raise the price. Do you plan on delivering content securely, quickly and with a good user experience? Do you need to access a user’s contacts, calendar, or microphone? If you are creating a game, do you plan on using 3D graphics? How many devices do you plan on supporting? All of these questions should be taken into consideration before starting the development process.
Your app design is of utmost importance. A good UX stands out from the competition, makes your app easier to use, helps with user adoption, and will ultimately lead to higher customer retention. Of course, this comes with a price tag — app design typically accounts for up to 40% of the total cost of development. Factors such as the number of screens, device resolutions, and design complexity can all affect its cost.
When it comes to creating an app, you’ll also need a logo and/or any other branding assets, such as icons or audio files. It’s best to work with a designer who specializes in mobile app design. Their experience and understanding of the user experience will go a long way.
Agencies and In-House Developers
This is likely the biggest factor in deciding between cost and quality of your app. Working with a
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