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How Long Does it Take to Build a Mobile App?

By Dileep Gupta
March 5, 2019 8. min read
Last update on: June 29, 2020

TL;DR

  1. All the different app development processes take their individual development time. 
  2. Although research stages take up around 2 to 3 weeks of development time, when done right, they can not just save time on a later stage but also aid the smooth sailing of processes. 
  3. Factors that slow down the app development timeline are changes made mid-project inexperienced developers and  use of complex technologies 
  4. RFPs, MVPs, and Cross-platform development tend to speed up the app development process.
  •  

There is no doubt about the fact that with 350 billion app downloads worldwide, businesses are looking to get the same attention. It’s very normal for a business to inquire about the app development process and the app development cost.

Usually, businesses like to know how long does it take to create an app, the cost of app development and all the efforts involved. As soon as they learn the benefits of having a mobile application for their business, they wish to get on with it. Hence, the question how long does it take to develop an app.

{Also read our article on – How much Does it Cost to Develop an App Like Careem & Uber}

Now, usually, the average time to develop an app looks like this

Average app development Time before launch

But there is no definitive-ness. And thus this article.

In this blog, we will not only look at the mobile app development process, factors affecting the average time to build an app but also will determine how long it takes to create a mobile app.

Key Stages of The App Development Process

The app development process has different stages and all of these stages require different time slots. From the planning process until the launch of the application, the entire process is interdependent on each other and requires proper attendance. It is quite obvious that apps with different sizes and different features have different app development time.

Each development stage is discussed below to answer the question ‘How long does it take to make an app?’.

How long does it take to make an app in each development stage

This is one of the main documents that entrepreneurs and app developers often miss out on. Ideally, the better the brief the lesser time it would take to understand the software project and the requirements. In fact, this one step can have a HUGE impact on the time required to develop an app.

There are some things that you have to include in the brief which you are working with such as the company information. But to help give your app development agency a detailed understanding of the project and the mobile application development services they will have to deploy. 

The outcome of this stage is usually:The Brief of an App Development Before we look into the different design and development related phases, let us first look into the time it takes to set the basis of all the design and development processes that follow.

Project 

  1. Project goals and the success metrics
  2. RFP
  3. NDA
  4. The budget range 
  5. Delivery date

Stage 1: Forming ideas and research

Average cost of app development - Discovery stage

It’s easy to get great ideas but it’s not necessary that everyone will agree to it being great. The idea formation and research part very much affect how long it takes to build an app. This stage involves starting with an idea and then researching it for more improvements.

Even if the idea of the app seems right, a test must be run to keep things as real as possible. This can prove to be a very important step taken in the initial stage. Testing application ideas also ensure that when the app is launched in the market, the users are going to love it.

Another thing that this stage involves is targeting the right audience. It is in this initial stage that the right audience is targeted for the app. Defining the target audience not only helps in boosting the app after its launch but also in shaping the app in the right direction.

Different apps have different size and ages of the target audience. For instance, Facebook has all ages of people on its platform whereas Tinder has a younger target audience. Targeting has made these apps so successful therefore is suggested that proper targeting and research should be done.

Analyzing the competitiveness of the market and the app is also necessary. During the research about the app, one should also gather information about the competitors and potential threats. This will prepare the app owners for any difficulties after the app launch.Schedule a Call

The entire research takes several weeks. By the end of the research, you should know all the strengths and weaknesses of the competitors, the app strategies and defined target audience.

By the end of this stage, you should get these outcomes:

  1. Minimum Viable Product 
  2. User Stories 
  3. App Prototypes

Stage 2: Planning it all out

The next stage is the planning stage. Once you know all about your market, its time to plan out the app development process. The planning stage involves decisions regarding the configuration of the app. These decisions include making a choice between iOS and Android, native or hybrid, cross-platform or not, web-based app or mobile app, etc.

Once these plans are made, its time to add on the features. Now the features of an app should be such that neither does it complicate the app nor slows it down. There are many basic features that an app should have such as search bar, social media sharing buttons, profile building, login option, etc. These features make a basic app much convenient for users.

As the app size increases, the features are more and more directed towards the type of app. For instance, any e-commerce app will have the ‘Add to cart’ feature. Similarly, social media apps have the option of media sharing and various other features for engagement on the app.

All these planning is quite complex and will require a month or so.

Stage 3: Design Sprints and Idea Validation 

Design sprints processes are being used for testing different aspects of an application. It takes around a week to complete the whole design sprint. The idea of the stage is to test different aspects of the idea and get them validated by a pool of prospective users. 

Design Sprint helps businesses understand if users value a feature, how they use it, when they would be using it, how easy or difficult do they think it is to navigate the application, etc. 

Design Sprints and Idea Validation

Stage 4: Development stage

In the development stage, there are three elements that need to be built: the UI, Front End and Back End. Once all the planning is done, the developers and designers will work their magic and start building the app. So how long does it take to build an app? Well, the development and designing stage takes about six weeks.

The UI of an app is taken care of by graphic designers. This gives the apps an appearance to enhance the user experience. UI is important for any app to flourish in the market because the users seem to like visually appealing apps more.

The Frontend and the Backend are also very important components of the app development process. The Front End is what users see and how they act in an app but nothing will make sense until the Back End is developed. The Backend connects the UI with the system and allows the proper functioning of the app. So, how to make a mobile app without either of these? Well, you cannot.

Let us deep dive a little to know what both the engineering processes consist of:

Backend Engineering

  1. Data storage
  2. Users management
  3. Server-side logic 
  4. Data Integration
  5. Versioning 

Frontend Engineering:

  1. Frontend logic
  2. Caching
  3. Synchronization
  4. Wireframing 
  5. UI Design 
  6. UI development

Stage 5: Testing

What does it take to run an app? To know whether the app is even going to run after the development is finished, we need to do test runs. We cannot deny the fact that the app will have some or the other bugs that need to be fixed before the final launch. These bugs can be identified with the help of tests.

There are many ways to test a mobile app’s performance and functioning. We, at Appinventiv, have our own strategies for testing mobile apps. The quality assurance tests are run so that users don’t find any issues when they first use the app making the app more likable.

Alpha and Beta testing are done on the app to make the app error-free. After the testing, the app is launched. Post-launch whatever feedback is gathered from the users, the necessary changes are made.

Stage 6: Deployment on Stores

The time that it takes to deploy the app can be divided in two sections: submission & review. When you submit an application, either on the Apple App Store or on the Google Play Store, there are some guidelines you will have to follow, such as:

  1. Screenshots
  2. App Descriptions 
  3. Icons
  4. Video or Image demonstration 
  5. App Store Optimization

The time stores take for deploying your applications. 

When you compare the time it takes to launch apps on App Store compared to publishing them on Play Store, Apple follows a very detailed reviewing process – which increases the launch time to some extent. On the other hand, Google makes use of algorithms for pre-analyzing your apps, thus lowering the app launch time.

What Slows Down The App Development Process?

As seen in the section before, the app development process usually takes about 2-3 months. But there are some things that delay the overall process and the answer of how long does it take to develop a mobile app.

Mid-project changes

App development is a continuous process where all the stages are connected to each other in some ways. If there are sudden changes in the plan in the middle then the process is bound to get slower. These mid-project changes can also affect the app’s performance since too many changes in an already built code base can do that to the app.

Unexperienced developers

What does it take to build an app that is successful? Great ideas, proper budget and a good developer, for sure. Often business especially start-ups make the mistake of hiring developers that aren’t up to the mark with the work. This results in slowing down the process as well as a poor app for the business. Our team of app developers is highly skilled with good experience at hand which has allowed us to launch high performing apps one after another. We also have helped our clients with their app ideas so that they get the best outcome for their business.

Complex technologies

Technologies like machine learning, artificial intelligence, VR, AR, etc. cause the slow down of the mobile app development process. There’s no doubt that these technologies make the app a better experience but everything good comes at a price. And the price of using the latest technology is that they might slow down the app development process.

The reason why this happens is that the technologies are a bit complex and takes time to fit in the app.

Industry-wise difference

The industry for which the app is being built also plays an important role in the mobile app development time. The answer to the question of how long does it take to make a social media app is 1-2 month(s). Whereas on-demand apps take more time to be developed. Therefore, the industry is another factor that affects the time of app development.

How to Speed Up The Time of Application Development?

With the fast growth of mobile apps, one cannot afford to slow down in the development process. Businesses, be it startups or enterprises, are looking for mobile app developers who can develop apps faster without compromising the quality of the app.

There are no problems without solutions and the same goes with time required to develop an app. When it comes to startups, then gathering a massive crowd is a survival goal and for that mobile apps are the solution.

By now we know how long it takes to create an app and what factors affect the time to make an app. It’s time to see how we can reduce the time of application development.

Speed up the time of application management

MVPs and prototyping

MVPs or prototypes are a great way to save time. They can be built easily and resemble the original idea of the application. Once the MVPs are out in public, the actual app can be built by adding features and making improvements.  Many businesses like Airbnb, MailChimp, etc. started as MVPs before the actual implementation.

Go for cross-platform

Android vs iOS is the biggest debate of all times and sometimes people get so confused that they don’t know which to choose. The timeline and cost of app development of both the platforms individually are relatively high. But cross-platform app development is a solution for this. With tools like Xamarin and PhoneGap, great multi-platform apps can be built which take less time.

Looking for a Quick go-to Market Time

Hire a professional developer

A professional app developer for your app is the best you can do. Not only will the app have amazing UI/UX design but also will take less time to develop. In fact, the hours will only lower if you choose to outsource. Being one of the top reasons why you should outsource, when you choose a professional app development company off-shore, you’ll not just get a good experience but will basically make your work easier. Appinventiv is also a professional app development company that has developed several successful apps for clients.

White label solutions

White label solutions are products that were produced by one company and then is rebranded and made to look like other company’s. This will save a lot of time since there will be no need to build anything from scratch. However, this will not result in a good application especially not the one that generates huge traffic or sales.

This was our take on the mobile application development process timelines and some ways to reduce app development timeframe. Feel free to contact our app developers at Appinventiv for any further queries on how to reduce yours.

Dileep Gupta
Dileep Gupta
Chief Delivery Officer
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