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31 March

How long does it take to build a mobile app?

By Julianna Sykutera

The popularity of mobile applications has been growing over the years. In 2017, when the number of worldwide mobile app downloads reached 178 billion, it was obvious that the smartphone era came. That’s why even non-technical people started to ask how long does it take to build a mobile app? According to the statistics, this figure is still increasing and soon may reach over 250 billion. The projection leads us to a subject of the phenomena of mobile apps and what are the features that attract so many users. 

What are the benefits of having a mobile app?

First of all, your potential clients spend less time on finding your website. Instead of typing the URL address and waiting for the site to be loaded, they click on the icon of your app.

What is more, an app makes your brand more visible. Having it on your mobile phone makes you unintentionally pay attention to its visual aspects (as it is located on the phone screen). It stays in your mind even though you may not use. Result? The identity of the brand is remembered.

An application can also be used as a sales channel. It is convenient to use an app as place where you could offer your digital products. In comparison to websites, apps are just more accessible to customers. Moreover, they reduce costs as there is no need for SMS messages or facebook ads. The communication between a client and the brand is simplified and constant via app notifications.

Another feature that makes apps user-friendly is that the majority of them don’t need Internet access since PWA websites can work in offline mode as well. They are built in a way that the basic content is stored inside. As a result, they can work in offline mode.

What do we want?

To define time needed to create an app first you have to think about its functionalities and features. Let’s suppose, we plan to make a perfectly working tool for fitness training. It would be based on 5 fundamental functionalities. It’s good to write them down as the first version of the documentation.

  • For sure the app has to register GPS data and be able to show a map in real time.
  • Also, a finished workout should be saved in a history of one’s training.
  • When it comes to sports disciplines, we focus on walking, running and cycling.
  • The app has to possess functions like auto pause on track and counting before a start.
  • What is more, it should be equipped with Bluetooth to integrate the app on other devices like a smartwatch or fit band.

All of the above enable users to download the app on their device and start training. During running or cycling parameters like pulse and time are measured so people can monitor their progress. To build such an app a developer needs to devour approximately 380 hours (47 days).

men coding on a laptop

Try what you have and add some more…

Then when you have the MVP you can think of expanding your app. Adding some additional functionalities will encourage more users to try it and find it valuable.

  • More sports disciplines – i.e, swimming, climbing and maybe water or winter sports too
  • Voice assistant – which inform people about a track that they finished so far and motivate them during a workout
  • Social platforms –  in today’s society most of the applications are connected to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. A sports app would be more popular if it has a small community inside. Also, access to people from all over the world who can motivate each other and share their progress is something that will attract users
  • Adjust option – gives people choice what they want to monitor during training. Is it a distance, time or calories that they want to keep an eye on
  • Heart rate sensor – a possibility to connect the app with a pulsometer
  • Music – integrate your app with those made for streaming of music and podcasts. There is nothing more pleasant than listening to your favourite playlist during a workout

Monetization model

To make profits we can add premium accounts that would be billed monthly and have special functions. This way customers can choose between two versions. For more experienced runners the premium account is favourable as it would include, for example, advanced statistics of their training along with interactive diagrams showing their pulse, speed etc. This way they can compare the workouts and improve their results. A good move is also to expand the account with an option to set a training program with a goal of 5 or 10km. It can be the interval, burning calories or improving condition training. Also, the premium account can have access to weather conditions.

What should you consider before making the app?

If you decide on developing your business, do it wisely. First focus on the standard version of the app with basic functionality. Don’t try to expand it too quickly before thinking it through. Here making a model of the app is helpful as it will guide UX, so the way people interact with your product.

A budget should be another thing in your mind

Low funds will make you less open adding some favourable features, whereas higher may generate a problem of adding too many unnecessary functions. That’s why, having a lower budget, pay attention to only essential features because then you see if users are admitting your app. This strategy is called MVP – you want to know more about it? Read our article here.

Find potential customers

Knowing to whom the app is dedicated is crucial. Define your target group so the group of people who will likely get the most benefit from your product.

Include social media platforms

Nowadays, social media is the quickest way to publicity. The popularity gained through such platforms will lead to more downloads.
Perform research to assure yourself that your project won’t be a worse version of already existing one. At the same time, check what is your competition on the market.

Finally, what’s the point?

Ask yourself, what is the purpose of the app? And will it be helpful to those in the target group?

How long does it take to build a mobile app?

When it comes to the development and testing of your product, you already know that a good developer needs an average of 380 hours (47 days). However, you cannot forget about UX and UI design.

User experience (UX) focuses on improving the interaction between a customer and an app. The app should work intuitively and be as user-friendly as possible. For instance, a designer predicts the placement of the register button. Bear in mind that poorly designed UX may ruin the developers’ work along with all funds intended on marketing.
On that segment, the time spent would be +- 90 hours.

User-interface is basically the graphical layout of your project. It includes all the texts, images and buttons the customers will interact with. Here a designer works on the presentation of the app so that it would look appealing to the eye.
This part may take another 100 hours dedicated to preparing the right key visual so it would correspond with the taste of your audience and increase the usability of your app.

Summing up, the whole process of making the simplified version of the sports app would take more or less 560 – 600 hours. It depends on many factors such as the size of the working team and their working schedule. Remember that even though making a mobile app can cost your brand some funds, it is something worth spending on. Surely you will gain a possibility of expanding the community, having another sales channel and, what comes after that, an increase in popularity and profits.

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