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How long do mobile apps take to develop?

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Mobile apps are quickly becoming an essential part of our daily lives. They can be used for everything from ordering food to reading the news, but how long do they take to develop?

The answer is not as straightforward as you may think. There are many factors that go into determining how long a mobile app would take to develop, such as complexity, industry and the organizational culture of the development team you hire.

In this post, we’ll be looking at how long it would take to create an app from scratch.

Scoping and Ideation

(Estimate: 1-4 weeks)

This is the most important and longest stage of developing an app. You will need to identify your target audience, set clear goals for what you are trying to achieve with your mobile app, conduct market research, and find out about any competitors that may exist in this space or have a lot of customers already using their product/service.

It can take from one week to up to even a whole month in order for this part of the development process to be done properly. Small apps can take between 1-2 weeks, mid-size apps between 2-3 weeks and big apps between 3-4 weeks. Once that’s done, we move onto designing screens/pages and adding

Design

(Estimate: 2 weeks – 2 months)

In the app development world, app design happens in “sprints”. A sprint is a period of time in which the team works together on designing and implementing features for the mobile app from wireframing to the actual design.

If the project has been well-scoped with a clear strategy in place, then it can take anywhere from two weeks to 2 months for UI/UX design to be finished. The process begins with the creation of wireframes.

A wireframe is a basic blueprint of the app that shows where buttons and menus should go on each screen. This can be done with just a pen and paper, or wireframing software like Figma and Adobe XD.

The wireframes are then reviewed and adjusted depending on the user research and client preference. The next step is to design what users will see when they use the application such as navigation bars, button styles, colors. This part of the design is called Information architecture, or IA.

The next step is to create a prototype of the app, which simulates how it will work by showing users what they can expect when interacting with different functions and features in the application, or what app developers call “Interaction Design”.

The final design phase involves adding graphics such as logos and images for branding purposes. This may be done either before or after QA testing begins.

Development (front end and backend)

(Estimate: 2 months – 1 year)

Mobile app development usually takes between two months to one year or more depending on the scope and complexity, number of users, feature list and developer team.

The more features it has, the longer the development process would take. The number of users also affects the duration of app development because additional security measures are needed to ensure that user data is not compromised. For example, when developing a mobile banking application with many features and high-security requirements, it can take anywhere from three months to over one year for an average-sized team of developers to complete building the app.

Your partner developer also plays a significant role in determining how much time it would take to develop your app. Hiring a partner developer must reduce the time taken and give you a fast turnaround for your app. Ask what kind of project development methods they use and see which of their approaches suits you best:

For a project that is done in a linear way, the waterfall approach is the best. But there are also other ways to do things. The agile approach lets us work on different parts of the project at the same time. Meanwhile, the Kanban approach allows us to work on only one part of the project at a time.

Beta Testing

(Estimate: 1 – 3 weeks)

Once your app is done, you can test it to find bugs. Testing usually takes 1 – 3 weeks before it gets cleared for deployment and app store registration.

In beta testing, you will need to find a group of users who are willing to test the app and provide feedback on issues. This is where the developer and the client will have to go back and forth with the final changes in content and design.

Beta testing usually happens before deployment to determine whether any features are missing from the app.

Deployment and App Registration

(Estimate: 1 day – 1 week)

After you upload an app to Google or Apple, it will be released within a few hours and is also made available in other countries within a day. For some, you might need to wait up to 7 days for it to be reviewed and published.

To lessen the time it takes for your app to appear on app stores, make sure that it abides by the rules and guidelines of the app stores you are registering your app with, and that you have all the required information, including a description and screenshots.

Is That All?

Above are the estimated time spans for your app development. However, the marketing process of your mobile application which could last anywhere from several weeks to months, depending on what you want to do with it, has not been taken into account. Marketing can range from social media campaigns to building out content assets like blog posts and videos about the product, acquiring customer feedback through surveys, etc. This requires investment in both time and money before launch; so ensure that you have a budget allotted for this beforehand.

Final Tally

So, how long does it take to build a mobile app?

The short answer is typically between 12 weeks (3 months) to one and a half years depending on the complexity, industry, and organizational culture of the development team you hire.

But also, we would like to remind you that app development is not a race. App development is about delivering the best possible product to your customer; and this takes time, patience and rigorous attention to detail.

It’s true that mobile apps take time in terms of development, but it is nothing compared with how much they help business owners increase their profits. You can’t put a price tag on success!

LemonApp specializes in building powerful mobile apps for SMEs and SMBs for a very affordable price.

Book your free scoping and ideation session now!

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