Mobile app development Pricing

photo credit: miniyo73 via photopin cc“For companies going into iOS and Android app development (native app development), the cost is more expensive considering that you need specialized engineers for iOS and Android, ” explains Jeanine Swatton, an engineer – iOS and Ruby on Rails Developer – who teaches iOS development at Silicon Valley University and UCSC Extension. “It is challenging to find one engineer that can program on both platforms. You also need an experienced designer. Engineers are not designers.”

Affected application types:
This only applies to native apps. Hybrid apps are built with web technologies and then wrapped in a native wrapper for each platform. Mobile web apps are deployed via the web and work across all platforms. The cost to reach all platforms with a native app varies depending on the app type and desired capabilities.

3. Cost to design a mobile app

Some companies assume the mobile app developer will also handle design. This is a mistake. As Swatton touched on above, a good designer is absolutely critical to a mobile app’s success.

Why is design so important? As explained in this article, a poorly designed, confusing interface is one of the top reasons why users uninstall an app. You may have the best app in the world, but if you skimp on design, you’ll drive users away before they realize just how great your app is.

Affected application types:
This applies to all app types, and varies largely based on your desired app and target audience. For instance, an app aimed at mass consumer distribution obviously needs more design effort than an app built for internal use by your sales team.

4. Cost of backend development and hosting

“Many people only think of an app but forget or are unaware of how much actually takes place on a server, ” explains Giacomo Balli, an iOS consultant specialized in helping “first-timers”. “From registration, to backup, to sync etc. Database and server programming could spike up development costs very quickly.”

Taking that point one step further, here’s another question to consider: Where are you storing your mobile app data? If you build a data-driven application, you must store the data somewhere. If stored on the cloud, you’re now looking at monthly hosting costs, which vary depending on the provider and the amount of data stored.

Affected application types:
This applies to all app types, with costs once again ranging depending on the application itself and the amount of data stored.

5. Cost of mid-project changes

Mobile app developers give a cost estimation based on the initial specs. However, specs change. Some business users want additional features. Others want the design altered. Each change drives up the cost. Many businesses go into a project with a budget in mind, and receive a shock when they see the final bill.

“The biggest challenge is underestimating what a developer or a development company will end up costing, ” explains Alex Genadinik, founder of “They usually give a reasonable estimate, but often the projects end up taking much longer due to various changes/updates that need to be done.”

Affected application types:
This applies to all app types and varies by the type and amount of mid-project changes. For instance, changing a button color is obviously a cheaper change than adding GPS tracking and location check-in capabilities.

6. Cost of proper testing

“A major hidden cost of app development is testing, ” says Bryan Leeds, Co-founder of Idar Labs. “It’s common to minimize the necessity of testing because people commonly think that their design will provide a great experience and the app will work perfectly immediately. This never happens as there are always usability issues that arise and these issues must be caught before the app launches. Proper testing prevents the biggest hidden risk, which is the risk that nobody will use the app. Thorough testing, with many people, ensures that people are finding the app valuable.”

I think the key term here is “proper testing.” Some companies think they can skimp on testing, and let a couple of users go through the app and make sure everything works. In reality, proper testing includes a wide variety of users testing the app for bugs and usability. Sure, it will cost more money up front, but it will help you avoid problems down the road.

Affected application types:
This applies to all application types, though more so to multi-platform hybrid and native apps. Testing cost rises for each additional platform.

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