Everything you need to know about building a mobile application

As more people choose mobile devices over desktop format in the recent years, many companies consider creating an app or a mobile web application. It sounds simple and many people would like to build a successful mobile application. It seems possible to get some extra play money by building an app too as it is forecasted that by 2021, 350 billion mobile application download will generate $200 billion in turnover.

But what does it actually take to build a mobile application, and which steps you should consider in order not to fail? In this post you will get to know how long does it take to build an application, what are the most important things that you should take care of and how you can make money with your mobile application. Stay tuned!

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How much time does it take to build a mobile application?

The duration of developing a mobile app depends on many things. First of all, you should take into consideration the complexity of the application. A survey conducted in 2013 have shown, that in general, it takes approximately 18 weeks.

We can break down this 18 weeks into front-end and back-end development. As the survey estimated, that it takes approximately 8 weeks to finish the frontend development and another 10 weeks to finish all the back-end development. You can see how this time is being used in the infographic below:

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Now you might think it all sound easy. I just need an idea and in 18 weeks I can build my app by working together with the right people! But you might wonder –  what to begin with?

I want to build my app, but I don’t know where to start

First of all, you will have to start with a research. You will have to find out how your app can create value for the customers, and what is the problem that it aims to solve. Then you should get to know who are those people whose problem you’re aiming to solve and whether they will like your idea or no.

But you should also take the market reality into consideration, as there might be apps that are similar to yours. In this case, you have to find out how you can create a better product. After that you have to get feedback from possible customers. Even if you think it is a world-changing idea that everybody will like, you still have to validate your plan with actual people who might be willing to download or buy your app.

What my app will be capable of doing in terms of functions?

The next step is to find out what your app will actually do in terms of functions. Would you like to make it possible for people to chat with each other? Do you want to collect data about users? Facebook login? Will you need a payment system integrated?

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After you have decided all these things, you should make a “storyboard” in which you can make a sketch of the user interface, and what screens will be displayed after each of the interactions, and what is the connection between the actions. By the time you find out how will the users interact with your application, you can develop use cases. These are the ideal journeys, which the users should follow in the application. You should also keep in mind that the more complex your application will be, the more time it will take to develop it. 

Which operating system should I choose?

The choice of the operating system can affect your timeline and the budget needed. So in this phase, you have to decide what would be the most preferable operating system(s) for your target group.

It usually takes 30% more time to develop an app for Android than for iOS. The length of your timeline can also affect your costs, and if you want to develop to more operating systems your timeline will get longer and your costs will also be higher. You will also have to consider that each of the different operating systems requires different programming languages to build them natively.

You can also consider the fact, that there are many different Android devices on the market. So you should take into account that you need to optimize your application for all of the different devices. In case of an iOS application, you will only have to deal with the different versions of iPhone in the optimization process. If you decide to make your application for multiple operating systems, you can either choose to build each of them natively using different programming languages, or you can choose a cross-platform development tool which enables you to build apps for several operating systems at the same time.

How is it possible to make all this work together?

If you want to make sure your application will work as it supposed to, you have to make sure that the front-end and back-end functions can work together.

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Front-end functions are responsible for the appearance of the application, what users see from the application. All the other things that make the application work are possible by the back-end structure. The back-end is mainly responsible for the communication between the server, the application, and the database.

You will also have to find a way to gain access to data. In this part of the development, you will have to consider, if you want access to public APIs or you want to build your own abstraction layer. APIs are the pieces of code which enable apps to communicate with other apps. Most of the biggest apps in the world, like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have their own public APIs which developers use when developing applications. After you made sure that all the things can work together, you can start with the testing the UX and UI elements of the website.

Okay, now I have my app ready, what is the next step?

Not so fast, you still have a lot to do before your application launches and becomes available for the masses. Now the testing phase starts!

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In order to get to know how your app works, you will have to make it available for a limited amount of people to see how they use the app. It is the process of beta testing. This process aims to reveal problems with the usage and other bugs and glitches. It can also uncover problems which developers did not think about before. Alpha testing is an internal process in which engineers and developers are testing the product at the end of the development phase looking for errors to correct. Testing contributes to the final refining of the application, which leads to finalizing the product ready for launch.

Finally, your app is complete.

Now it’s time to make money!

There are many different ways you can make money with your application, you just have to find the most suitable one for your product. 

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Paid app

The first and most simple way to make money with your app is to create a paid app. In this case, if you can get to the top of the rankings, you have good chances of making good money. But the problem is that people are more likely to buy paid apps from well-known developer companies. You will also have to consider who your target market is, because iOS users spend more money on apps than Android users.

Free app

If you are launching your application for free, you still have options to make money out of it. One way to do so is a freemium model. With this model, you are offering a free application, but within the application users can buy premium content. It’s called in-app purchasing, and your app has to be quite engaging to get people buy things in your application.

The other most popular and most widely used way to earn money is with mobile advertising. There are several different types of mobile ad platforms today, and you have to find out which one fits you the best. You can choose to advertise banner ads in your application. You can choose to advertise through interstitials which are ads appearing when you open or close an app. Offering walls can also be used to make money with your app. Moreover, you can include a survey in your app. As more people fill out the survey, you will get more money in return. Another way is to send users notification ads. It can pay well, but sometimes it can be annoying for users as they receive too many ads.

Conclusion

You can choose many different ways to build an application, but the most important thing is to make a plan. When you start building your mobile app you should do the research first. After that, you can plan how will you develop the app itself or which functions and features it will have.

If you are interested in building a new mobile app you can contact us, and we can find a way to make your idea came to reality. As web applications are also becoming a hot topic and they might be the next big thing for mobile, we would like to offer you a solution where you can try to build your own mobile web application, with the help of our AI assistant. So if you have an idea in your mind, get to work and build something meaningful for the world!

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