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Mobile App Development Timeline : How Long Does It Take ?

Tuesday May 26, 2020

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With staggering app downloads worldwide, there is little doubt why businesses are aiming to get a substantial chunk of the pie too. This behavior has led several interesting businesses to enquire about how to develop a mobile app, and their associated costs.

 

Along with delving deep into the benefits of building a mobile app, efforts involved, businesses are also keen to find about the probable timelines that are involved in developing the app.

 

Generally, the timeline to develop an app looks something this:

 

That said, there is no absolute timeline guide that you can rely on as the development time of each mobile app is unique, depending on multiple factors.

 

Key Timelines of The App Process

 

mobile app development timeline

 

The process of developing an app is a complex one. Every stage requires its time slots. Right from the time that you start planning for it until you publish it on the app stores, the process needs a lot of attention where every stage is dependent on each other.

 

Plus, it goes without saying that the size of the app and its features also has a role to play that determines the overall time taken to develop it.

 

#Stage 1 – Start With The Brief

 

This is possibly the most important part of the app development process that most businesses do not allocate adequate attention to. When the brief is foolproof, your developers require less time to understand the requirements of the project.

 

This is the first stage of your mobile app development process which can have left a lasting imprint on your app’s timeline and how it pans out in the end.

 

As you start working on the brief, remember there is some compulsory information that you must include, for example, your company information.

 

This will help your developers get a comprehensive understanding of what the project entails and the type of services that you wish to deploy via the mobile application.

 

Basis this brief, your development team can assess the following:

  • RFP
  • Project goals and the success metrics
  • The budget range
  • Delivery Date
  • NDA

 

Along with that, they can also define a mobile app development timeline estimate as given below:

 

Activities Duration
Specifications 15 days
App UI/UX, Graphic Design 30 days
Backend Development 60 days
Frontend Development 75 days
QA 30 days

 

#Stage 2 – Forming Research And Ideas

 

You may have a fantastic app idea to begin with, plus the project brief in place. That does not mean that the rest of the team will view it as you do.

 

The value of your idea, how it pans out in terms of formation and the way you conduct your research in combination decides how long it will take for you to develop the mobile application.

 

Even if the project is in place for the app, you must run a test to check if the objectives and goals are at all realistic or not.

 

What this means is that you evaluate if your app idea will work with your target audience when you launch it in the market. At this initial phase, this is a very critical step that should not be missed.

 

Moreover, you can assess if your selected user-base is the right match with the app that you are trying to launch. Take some time to define your target audience. It will not only help in shaping the app in the right direction but also boost its post-launch.

 

Along with researching on ways to improve upon your app idea, you should also analyze its competitiveness in the market. Collect information on all existing competitors, plus any potential threats.

 

This will help you to combat future challenges at the time of publishing the app.

 

This initial stage can take several weeks to complete. As you approach the end of this first cycle of the app development process, you should be prepared with:

  • User Stories
  • Minimum Viable Product
  • App Prototypes

 

portfolio

 

#Stage 3 – Plan It All Out

 

Next comes the planning stage. With your target market completely assessed, you need to decide on the configuration of your mobile app during the third stage of the app development process. Select the app platforms where you intend to launch  it.

 

It can be individual platforms like Android or iOS, a combination of the two, cross-platform or not, native or hybrid, a web-based app, etc.

 

Now make a list of the features and functionalities that you thought of incorporating in the app. As you prepare and finalize the feature list ensures that its inclusion should not make the app unnecessarily complex or compromise on its speed.

 

While you should focus on integrating all the basic features such as social media sharing buttons, search bar, login option, profile building. etc always think of your user’s convenience first.

 

As and when the size of the app increases, the number of features also rises, depending on the type of app that you are developing.

 

This entire stage two process takes around a month to complete.

 

Read Also : How to Choose the Best Mobile App Development Technology

 

#Stage 4 – Design Sprints and Idea Validation

 

To test various elements of the mobile application and get your app idea validated by your prospective audience base, you can use design sprint processes. The entire design sprint can be executed in a week or so at the most.

 

Additionally, this process helps in the understanding of users valuing the features and functionalities that you have opted to include in the mobile app.

 

They will share feedback on usability, frequency,and level of difficulty of usage of these features when navigating through the app.

 

#Stage 5 – Development Stage

 

Three primary elements define stage five – the user interface, the front end, and the back end. This is the phase in the app cycle where the magic of development begins.

 

Your team of graphic designers will take care of the app’s user interface. This means that they will give your app the appearance and then work on to perfect the user experience. For any application, getting the UI bang on is vital.

 

This is the aspect of the application that will help it to flourish among your audience and by extension the market. Making the app visually appealing adds to its charm and attraction.

 

Other than the UI, the front end and the back end designs are equally important elements when developing the app. What the users can see with their eyes is referred to as the front end.

 

But the front end can only be triggered once the back end of the app is in place to drive it. Connecting the system with  UI is the role of the back end. Plus, it ensures that the app functions as per predefined SOPs.

 

Without these three, your app will not be able to function in any way.

 

Take a more in-depth look into the app’s engineering processes.

  • Backend Engineering:
  • Data storage
  • Server-side
  • Users management
  • Version
  • Data Integration

 

  • Frontend Engineering:
  • Frontend logic
  • Synchronization
  • Caching
  • Wire-framing
  • UI development
  • UI Design

 

The average mobile app development timeline takes to cover everything in stage five spans across in or around 16 to 20 weeks.

 

#Stage 6 –QA and Testing

 

So, your app is ready. But do you know even it even runs as per assigned processes? At this stage, you need to do some test runs. This is critical as you need to ensure that the app is free of bugs and any other glitches that need to be fixed before publishing it on the app stores.

 

Your dedicated Quality Assurance team with their expertise in this domain are the right people to run these tests. Typically, testing is done through Alpha and Beta stages to make sure that the app is free of errors. This phase usually takes around two weeks.

 

That said, testing and QA is a continuous process even after the app has been launched in the public domain.

 

Post publishing it, users are bound to share feedback and comments, and your development team will make updates on the app or remove bugs and errors as part of the maintenance process.

 

#Stage 7 – Deployment on Stores

 

There are two phases when it comes to deploying the app – Submission and Review. Be it the Google Play Store or Apple iTunes, at the time of submitting the app, you will need to follow their specific guidelines and include all the information as given below:

  • Screenshots
  • App Descriptions
  • Icons
  • Video or Image
  • App Store Optimization
  • The time stores take for deploying your applications.

 

Comparatively Apple iTunes follows a more exhaustive and detailed review process than Google Play Store. In many cases, this has significantly extended the launch time for iOS apps.

 

Google, on the other hand uses pre-analyzing algorithms to assess and evaluate your mobile app. Therefore, the launch time taken here is much less.

 

Having said that, you can estimate around a week to the app deployment stage.

 

#Stage 8 – Post-launch Support And Maintenance

 

Once your app is available on the relevant platforms, it also initializes the launch of app support and maintenance. This is an operation that is executed by a dedicated team who is assigned with the responsibility of observation and managing unforeseen behavior.

 

If your business is focussed on attaining top-class user experience and laying the foundation for long term customer relationships, then this step cannot be skipped in any way.

 

Unquestionably, launching a good quality app takes a lot of time. Ensuring that offers excellent performance too is an add-on challenge. Therefore, mobile apps need to continuously undergo testing and quality checks to assure its users that it qualifies on both parameters.

 

android app development

 

How to Speed Up The Time of Application Development?

 

The overall development timeline for any mobile app is quite intense and not for those looking to churn out a product in a matter of a few weeks.

 

But there are ways by which you can shorten this period without actually compromising the quality of the app.

 

Read Also : New Technology Trends Driving the Mobile App Sector UK

 

Here’s what you can do:

 

MVPs and Prototyping

 

You can save a lot of time if you choose to go for MVPs or Prototypes. MVPs are apps where you begin with a basic feature list and keep adding even after the app has been published basis user feedback.

 

On the other hand, if you opt to go the Prototype route, you are mirroring an app that is a benchmark in the category. Here, you build your app simply by resembling the original idea and keep adding your personalized touches to make it a standout.

 

Go For Cross-Platform

 

Do you go to the iOS or Android way first? This is an ongoing debate that confuses a lot of businesses and choosing becomes  hard. Plus, developing individual apps for these platforms can be even more expensive and time-consuming.

 

Alternatively, you can select to go cross-platform where you develop a single application that can work across both Android and iOS. No doubt, this takes less time.

 

Hire A Professional Developer

 

You should solicit the services of a professional app developer or opt for a full-fledged development team. This can be done by hiring someone or a team in-house or outsource it to an agency.

 

If you are considering outsourcing as an option, you can do so in the country where you reside or even go for someone globally. Your budget for app development generally is a factor here.

 

With a bigger team in place, the mobile app development timeline automatically reduces. Plus, with so many experts on board, your app is sure to have a fantastic UI/UX design and experience.

 

White Label Solutions

 

There are ready made tools and platforms in place known as White Label Solutions where you can re-brand as per your company guidelines and present the app as your unique product.

 

This means you are not  developing anything from scratch. While this benefits you in terms of saving time and launching your app quickly it can greatly impact  its quality.

 

Read Also : How Much Does It Cost to Create an App ?

 

Managing Expectations

 

Good apps take time to develop and that is a reality that you must accept.

 

That said, time equates money and every business will have a cap which they will not want to exceed. If you take a long time to develop the mobile app, it is going to end up costing a lot more than you probably anticipated in the planning stage.

 

app concept

 

Several factors in combination can help you arrive at a realistic time for your app development process that is unique in your situation. Two important aspects are size and quality that influences time in this instance.

 

Plus, you need to be sanguine that you have budgeted for all the basic features that need to be incorporated in the app before launch. Now who builds your app will also contribute to the mobile app development timeline.

 

It is best to be fully aware of what you are getting into and plan accordingly to ensure that the process works as per the timeline. Have a buffer in place as you will face challenges that will have to solve  then.

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