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How Much Does It Cost To Design a Mobile App?

By Sudeep Srivastav
October 24, 2019 2. min read
Last update on: August 21, 2020

In the mobile app sector, every effort you take to make your application disruptive and innovative ultimately boils down to its design. 

There is a lot that rides on the all-encompassing term “mobile app design”. It single-handedly decides whether users would spend any time in the application and if at all your months long efforts would result into a profitable solution that the world would interact with. 

For a process that the entire soon to be $311,249 million industry is dependent on, there are a number of things that a design-centric mobile app development company has to consider:

  • User research
  • Competitor analysis
  • User Experience design
  • Interaction design
  • Graphics design
  • Logo and app icons designs, etc. 

These considerations, in turn, come with a cost. The cost of app design

While lower than the engineering cost, the mobile app design cost nonetheless hold a good portion in the detailing of the overall mobile app cost. 

In this article, we are going to look into the elements that make up for the mobile app design cost in detail. 

Table Of Content:

  1. The Importance of App Design in Mobile App Development Process
  2. Phases of App Design Process
  3. How Much Does it Cost to Design a Mobile App?
  4. How to Optimize the Mobile App Design Cost
  5. FAQs About Mobile App Design Cost

The Importance of App Design in Mobile App Development Process

Every design element is devised to solve specific issues. It doesn’t matter whether you are developing an application from scratch or redesigning an app, the end goal of every single process of your designing efforts should remain the same – solving an issue in the most minimal manner as possible. 

A well-crafted mobile application UI and UX design usually provides the following benefits:

  • Simplifies the interaction with the interface 
  • Converts users into consumers 
  • Enables users to reach their objective faster 
  • Streamlines the development part of the application

Phases of App Design Process 

Idea Evaluation

This part of the mobile app design process deals with understanding the project to its entirety – what issues does the customers face and how would the app solve those issues for them. One method through which the idea can be evaluated is through the creation of a lean model canvas. 

App Design Process : Phases

Problem: This part of the model defines the issues which the app solves. 

Customer Segments: This is where you enter the details of your prospective users and create a segmentation. 

USP: This is where you will have to fill in the details of what your application does best and most uniquely compared to the competitors. 

Solutions: Here the probable solutions that the app can offer to the best of problem, customer type, and USP combination are identified. 

Channels: this is where you should enlist the platforms where your users will be present 

Revenue Streams:  The goal of this section is to create a business model that seems to be an answer to your question around how much money you can earn money through an app.

Expense structure: Here, the expenses you will have to incur to develop the application are enlisted. 

Key Metrics: These are the KPIs you will measure your app’s success against.

Unfair Advantage: This is the detail of advantages that your app has but not your competitors – a disruptive technology, financial aid, partnership, or something else. 

Market Research 

Analysis of the market your application is a three tier process – competitive research, market trends analysis, and customer analysis. 

We start the market research process by first analyzing the competitors – not to copy them but to find out the opportunities in the market. Doing this gives a benchmark that we have to cross, on the features and design grounds. 

Next, we study the market and find out what is in trend and what elements are users interacting with most. 

Deliverables: Use case, user stories, and behavioral sciences

Tools: A/B tests, user persona, interviews

Mind map

App Design Process Mind Map 

This part of the mobile app design process takes you back to the lean model canvas components. It takes into account all the different requirements of your application to help you visualize the logical structure or connection between the main parts of the app. 

When we create mind maps, we place the goal of the app at the center and create segments of the goal around it. Then, we create requirements/features for all these segments

User Persona 

The next step of our mobile app design process is the creation of user persona. This section of the design details who you are designing the app for. 

Ideally, the user persona portrait should be made of:

  • Their demographics
  • The social stature
  • Their behavioral model 

This part of the mobile app design process have helped our development team numerous times to gather an understanding of who they are developing the app for and what all they would appreciate/ not appreciate. 

User Journey Mapping 

User Journey of App Design Process 

Once you have identified who your users are, you will have to gather the understanding of how will they use the application. This is where the user journey mapping element of the app design comes into the picture. 

This app design deliverable deals with the creation of how users would move inside the app – the features they would interact with, where it would lead them, and the steps they would take if they hit a wall. 

Prototype 

App Design Process Prototype

The next part of the process is app prototype. Here, we structure the ideas into delightful experiences for users who would interact with the application. At this stage, it is ensured that the flow between features and screens should be so natural that users should not even notice. 

In order to create an ideal prototype, it is very important that iterations are made until the flow is nailed on the basis of the feedback. The level of iterations is what defines the app prototype cost.

At Appinventiv, our teams work on the prototypes collectively. Everyone: Developers, Business Analysts, and Clients work together to create an application which everyone can agree on. This, in turn, helps in identifying issues and confusions that could occur at the development stage. 

Deliverables: App screen wireframe, interactive prototypes

User Interface Design 

User Interface design is all about telling a story of how the user would feel as they move from one screen to another. 

This is where the look and feel of the app is created – its colours, shapes, typography, elements, etc. Our mobile app developers do not just look into what the users will see when they use the app but also what they would feel. Thus, we concentrate our efforts on not just static design but also animated versions. User interface design primarily encompasses three elements – Logo, App Icons, and Screens. These are the elements which then get added into the numeric value of mobile app design cost

Deliverables: App logo, app icons, screenshots for the stores, and animations. 

How Much Does it Cost to Design a Mobile App?

With the need and stages of mobile app design part covered, let’s talk about the monetary part of mobile app design, a.k.a The App Designing Cost Breakdown.

The cost of app design is majorly dependent on three factors – Complexity of the app, the country wise app design cost, and the platforms on which it would be made live on. Let us dissect every part of what goes into app design cost in detail. 

A. Cost of Mobile App Design on the Basis of Platforms

Mobile App Design Cost based on Platforms

Platforms like Android and iOS differ in how they look and operate. While on one side, Android application has to be matched with different resolutions and formats, the same is not the case with iOS for everything is finalized. This is the reason why Android app design is more expensive than iOS app design cost. 

Android vs iOS App Design Cost

Although the app design cost might not vary greatly between iOS and Android apps, there are some points’ difference. 

There was a time when iOS app UI and UX designers used to charge because of the stringent store guidelines, the situation has changed. Google too has come strives ahead to ensure high quality in terms of what goes into the store and thus, they too have started following a stringent approval process. 

So the comparison between iOS and Android application design cost has come down to the number of platforms and the device type. 

Let us look at it from iOS App Design Cost front first:

iPhone only – The entry models doesn’t require designers to create images specifically for retina display. So, the approximate designing cost falls in the range of $3,000 to $10,000. 

iPhone 6 Plus and ahead – Designing apps for iPhone 6 and ahead adds 25% to the cost. These devices come with retina display which call for high resolution files, which in turn, comes with an attached cost. 

iPad – iPad app design adds 50% to the cost. They don’t just require high resolution but also product designing solution to meet the speed and size of the iPads.

Now talking of Android app design cost:

The Android devices are constantly changing and changing with them are the rules of designing in the Google Material Design process. The Android app designers constantly have to adapt to new frameworks and design ideologies to keep up with the changes, which comes attached with a cost. 

Additionally, since the number of platforms that a designer has to work on is much greater than iOS, the Android app design cost automatically increases. 

B. Mobile App Design Cost by App Complexity

Whether we talk about the mobile app design cost or the cost of mobile app development, there are three complexity levels that are considered when the app design cost estimate has to be drawn. 

Simple Apps:

These are the applications which are maximum 3 screens long and use next to zero animations and interactive design elements. Apps like Calculators and Alarm fall under this category. These apps usually are not designed to meet the requirement of individual platforms for they look alike on all screens. 

Medium Complexity Apps:

These apps are the one which make use of multiple interactive elements and animations along with several screens. They are usually designed individually for Android and iOS platforms and are made to meet the native look and feel of the platform and heavily relies on Human Interface design guidelines and Google Material design principles. 

Most of the apps that you use on an everyday basis like WhatsApp and Uber etc are examples of what a medium complexity app looks like. 

High Complexity Apps:

These are the applications which are highly dependent on designs to serve their purpose. Here, a lot of animations and transitions are used to help users move from one screen to another and ultimately convert into a regular user. 

These apps make use of a huge number of screens and usually work on multiple screens – all demanding a device centric native UI design

c. Mobile App Design Cost by Country

The work performed keeping the same quality intact might vary greatly between a designer in the USA and a designer in India. 

For example, a USA based UI/User Experience designer might charge $200 per hour, while an eastern nation design might charge around $80 – $100 on average per hour. 

Hourly Rates Worldwide

How to Optimize the Mobile App Design Cost

There are a number of proven strategies we use for our startup clients, who are particular about quality but work with limited budget. 

  • Work around a strategy – a set strategy can be a great way to cut back the app design cost. 
  • Concentrate on the must-have features – we always recommend our clients to work on the must-have feature set of the application to start with instead of designing a full-fledged application which could be kept for the phase two of the project. 
  • Use templates – while not ideal, using templates can be a great way to cut back high app designing cost for very minimal efforts are required from the designers’ end. 

FAQs About Mobile App Design Cost

Q. What Can Make App Design Cost More or Less?

There are a number of factors that can sway the answer to How Much Does It Cost to Design an App to a great extent. 

  • Use of interactive elements and animation
  • Native vs cross-platform design
  • Number of screens
  • Use of templates
  • UX review process

Apart from these factors that influence app design cost, the price can also vary greatly on the basis of where your mobile app design company is housed.

Q. What is the Cost of Designing An App Logo and Icon?

App logo holds a very low place in the overall app UI design cost.  In fact, most of the app design and development companies do not even charge anything for the app logo design. 

Q. How much do UI designers charge?

The price of UI and UX designers vary greatly on the basis of the locality they are housed out of. While designers in USA or Australia would charge $120 – $150 per hour, Eastern nation designers would charge around $50 to $80 per hour as their mobile app design price. 

Sudeep Srivastav
Sudeep Srivastav
CEO, Appinventiv
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