For any construction project, time, planning, and effort are essential. To build a beautiful office building, management needs to invest in concrete, bricks, mortar, equipment, and human resource, among others. The same goes with application (app) development. Both front-end and back-end development take time, effort, and resources, which is why estimating the amount of time to build an app is quite hard.
So how long does it really take to build a mobile app? After the planning, strategizing, and organizing stages, most information technology (IT) companies will say that development can take anywhere from two to six months—but really it takes much longer than that.
Let’s go through the mobile app building process together. While many online IT courses will say that mobile app development is easy, it’s a little more complicated than that.
PRE-PLANNING (1 to 2 weeks)
Before getting down to business and actually building the application, a lot of planning and strategizing needs to be done. This includes ironing out the concept of the application, when you want it to be launched, and who will handle the project. Pre-planning also includes assigning roles and defining boundaries, allotting budget, and setting goals, among others.
Apart from that, you also have to check if there are applications similar to yours out there. Before getting too excited, you have to know if what you plan to introduce is new to the world—if it’s not, then you have to know how to differentiate yourself.
PROTOTYPING AND REFINEMENT (3 to 5 weeks)
Before starting the design and preparation, first you have to identify which operating systems and devices you want to develop your app for—iOS, Android, Windows, all? Next, the team must get together and iron out the final details—what functions the app should have and what the app should look like.
A storyboard containing all your ideas will also help smoothen the development process. During this stage, it will also be beneficial to quickly build a prototype to ensure your plans were well thought out. Remember, quickly making a prototype is beneficial for testing purposes—it does not have to be perfect, just functioning.
DESIGN AND PREPARATION (2 to 4 weeks)
The last thing you need to do before actually building your application is designing the user experience (UX). The success of your application will rely heavily on the UX, later, as dictated by the user interface (UI). Ironing out the design and codes of both of these functions is essential before the actual app development can be enacted.
BUILDING (1 to 3 months)
After all the pre-planning and preparation, here comes the actual building of the app. Select the platform—Swift, Agile, etc.—you would like to use to build the application and start enacting your plans, making sure that the code is flawless.
TESTING (1 to 4 weeks)
After building your application, testing your program out for bugs is essential. Releasing a faulty product is always a bad thing to do. If the public sees that your application is filled with inconsistencies, there is no coming back from that. Starting strong should always be the best way to go.
After testing the app out on a select number of people, it is finally time to launch your app. While the preparation process is long, it is necessary for the development stage to go smoothly. Apart from that, making sure your application has the least bugs as possible before launch is essential for its reputation—do not scrimp on testing time.
Now again, how long does it really take to build a mobile app? It takes a lot of effort to build both the front end and back end of an app—so it really depends on what kind of application you want to make.The entire process will take around three to six months—or more—depending on the complexity of the app.
But the development process does not stop there. Even after the initial development process is done, your development team will still have their work cut out for them. Bugs that were not found during the initial testing will surface once the app has been launched. Additional features for better usability will be added for a wider customer reach and base.
The bottom-line is, development never stops—but that should not scare you. You and your development team will make an amazing app that can keep improving so that your customers will always have more to look forward to.