An innovative app is one of the best assets your company can have as it improves a user’s experience and engagement with your brand. However, taking an app from the drawing board to the app store can be a long process. Managing application development timelines is important because it helps you plan marketing activities that can increase the number of downloads once the app is live. If you are outsourcing your app development, then it will also help you forecast how much you will actually need to spend for the duration of the app development.
The actual time for an app to be developed depends upon the complexity of the features, the design, platform it’s being developed for and numerous other factors. But you can get an estimation of how long it will take to develop your app using a general web app development timeline.
The mobile app development process steps can be broken down into the following phases.
1. Conceptualizing the app
You might have a broad idea of what you want your app to do, but before you invest in developing it, it’s important to understand if your audience actually has a need for it. If you have a clearly defined target audience, then you should conduct extensive market research to understand their challenges and pain points and check if your app idea actually solves it. It’s also useful to do a competitor analysis on apps that are similar to yours and are already being used by your target audience. Delve deep into competitor apps to identify their shortcomings and find ways that your app can overcome it. This is critical to developing an app that audiences will choose over others in the market. This will also ultimately become the main communication in all your marketing activities in the future.
This stage can last for around 30 days but can extend to longer depending upon how in-depth you want your market research study to be.
2. Planning the development
Once your app concept is finalized, it’s time to decide exactly what features you want to include in it. This is important because the complexity of the features you want to include will determine the cost and web app development timeline. The more features and the higher complexity of these features your app has, the greater the cost and the longer it will take the develop the app. In this stage, it’s also important to set aside a fixed budget for developing the app. This helps you include only the features you need so as to not exceed the budget. You will also need to put together the team that will be responsible for the project management and actual app development.
If you are planning to outsource the development, then you will need to research the best app development companies and finalize on the one you would like to partner with.
This stage can last for about 21 days on an average.
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3. Designing the UX
The UX is arguably one of the most important facets of your app and can determine whether users enjoy using the app or decide to uninstall it. UI and UX experts will first draw up wireframes of what the final app interface will look like. This skeleton of the app will pull together all the elements of your app, how a user will navigate through the app and the overall layout of the screen. The wireframe acts as a base for the design and development of the final app.
Creation of the wireframe can take anywhere between 15-20 days depending upon the functionality and complexity of the app.
4. Development of the app
The actual app development process will account for the most number of days in the web app development timeline. There are two facets to app development, both of which usually take place simultaneously. The front-end development refers to development of the client side of the app i.e., what a user can actually see while using the app. It brings to life elements of the app design that were set in place by the wireframe. Backend development involves the server side development of the app. It is responsible for the speed of the app, server hosting and data transfer. Frontend and backend development of the app can happen simultaneously to save on time.
The exact amount of time this stage takes will depend upon the complexity of the app. It will also depend upon whether you choose to build a native app (one for Android and iOS) or a hybrid app. This stage can last between 4-6 months, but can extend longer if there are a variety of features on the app which need to be integrated.
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5. Testing of the app
Once the app is developed, it needs to be put through a rigorous round of testing to identify and resolve any bugs before they hamper a user’s experience. Testing will be done to check if the app’s features are working properly, whether it offers the same experience on a range of devices and device sizes, how it works on various connections and more. Many companies also choose to involve users in testing the app to understand the point of view of the end user. An app is considered ready for launch only once each issue identified by testing is resolved.
The total time taken for testing the app and resolving errors can range between 3-4 weeks.
6. Launch of the app
Once the app is ready, it can be officially launched into the Google Play Store, the App Store or both. After your app listing is live, you need to implement App Store Optimization (ASO) strategies to improve visibility of your app and increase the number of downloads.
Launching your app will require only about one week.
With these mobile app development process steps, you can estimate how long it will take to develop your app from start to finish. The total time taken can be significantly reduced if you choose the right app development company. Since these companies already have vast experience in managing application development, they will already have the required processes in place to speed up the launch of your app.
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