Mobile app development cost estimate

KeyMe Mobile UX DesignHere at Worry Free Labs, a New York mobile design and development company, we build mobile apps for a variety of clients, including enterprise, startups and entrepreneurs. We recently contributed to the on an article titled How much does it cost to build the worlds hottest startups. Our team is often asked to provide cost estimates for mobile app design and development projects and this article is intended to share some insight on Worry Free Labs’ process.

Review Concept with Designers and Developers

A WFL representative sets up an initial call or meeting with a prospective client to discuss and learn about the app idea or concept and functional requirements. In this meeting, we flush out the initial design and technical requirements of the app by asking a lot of questions. For instance, is branding needed or are there existing branding guidelines? It is for phone or tablet or universal and what platform? For development, is it iOS or Android or both. What features and functionality will it have and will most of the functionality reside on the app or is a custom backend needed.

We then validate the concept to determine if it can be built within a reasonable timeline and cost. We do this by sharing the mobile app requirements with the designers and developers that will actually be doing the work. Our team reviews the specifications and comes up with a detailed estimate of hours needed for design and development. We also compare/check the estimate of hours to previous mobile apps we have built in the past like KeyMe and Racing Junk.

Design Estimate

For mobile design (Branding, UX, UI), the amount of hours required is usually a function of complexity, interactions and screens required. Having designed many successful apps, our team has this down to a science and it is rare that we exceed the original estimate. A typical range for an iPhone design is 70-100 hours for UX design and 60-90 hours for UI visual design. For design, our typical deliverables include, user flows, screenflow and navigation, annotated wireframes, clickable prototype, and layered PSDs of the visual design. We add hours needed for project management and apply an hourly rate to calculate a design estimate.

Development Estimate

The time required for mobile development is also a function of features, functionality, complexity and integrations. Our highly skilled mobile software engineers prepare a detailed breakdown of features and functionality to provide a best estimate based on what is known. Once the UX phase is complete and the app has a blueprint, we re-estimate the development time required as the final design really drives the overall development process and product. The amount of development time can vary significantly and can be as little as 150 hours for simple apps and 600+ hours for complex and robust mobile apps. Similar to design, we add project management and apply an hourly rate to calculate a development estimate.

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