The first and main question that comes to mind while planning to develop an app is how long it takes to build an app. You want to know because it will help you estimate the product roadmap and plan your product launch. The duration will differ based on the type of the project and the approach you use.
The average time to build a mobile app is 6 to 9 months. It is determined by the project's complexity, functionality, and the experience of the software provider. However, as practice has shown, each mobile app development process differs based on the product's requirements.
Nevertheless, it is a good practice to assess how much time each project stage takes on average.
App Development Stages
Forming a Clear Business Idea
This period usually takes about 1-2 weeks. Some companies value this stage because they
- lack a clear design and functionality for their future app
- unable to develop business goals
- unable to complete the entire range of responsibilities for the creation process
A mobile app development process that lacks a clear business plan and an unique design is likely to fail. "Entrepreneurs are sometimes so invested in their ideas that they lose objectivity," Nancy A. Shenker, president of ONswitch LLC, a full-service marketing business in Westchester, New York, adds. "Rather of taking the time to properly create and investigate, they may rush into implementation, only to waste important resources on unfocused or untargeted efforts."
How long does it take to research the app idea?
Typically, initial research for an app idea involves understanding the target audience, analyzing competitors, and exploring market trends. This stage can range from a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on the comprehensiveness of the investigation.
Idea Business Analysis
The business analysis step might last four or five weeks. Business analysis is best done from the following four positions:
- potential customers
- future or current business development team
A mobile app must have specified features and develop specific products or services. Companies should think about how their product will be different from rivals and how it will answer customer complaints. When there is so much plagiarism and fake custom products available in 2022. Customers want to get uniqueness from a product they trust.
Following that, an evaluation of the market and the product's problems and strengths is required. Only then will it be feasible to determine whether the product will be appealing to users. It will be able to get finance and evaluate whether or not the expectations of its clients will be met.
Typically, the validation procedure takes three to six weeks. Companies should evaluate their design and idea before investing time and money in building a mobile app. It is possible that people will be unwilling to pay for a new product, or that the perspective will be too similar to competitors', causing early outrage among users with an identical product.
The goal of concept verification is to guarantee that your notion has genuine demand. Otherwise, there is a serious risk of it being "just another great proposal."
The concept must either address a real problem, accomplish its goal, or drive the process. Testing an app's goal and then seeing how it addresses a specific problem. However, developing a mobile application and then looking for ways to use it is a risky process.
Mailchimp is one of the best examples of excellent concept validation. Its company also began as a website for electronic meetings, however this concept failed the test. Instead, visitors showed an interest in assisting them with marketing mailings, which became their primary project. The business currently features a website as well as an iOS and Android app. Mailchimp's revenue in 2021 is expected to be $800 million.
Google Glass is yet another example of a seemingly good design and goal. Although it has been deployed, no one knows how or why to use Google Glass.
A new form of glasses that was badly sold appeared unappealing and had some safety and health issues. The order to provide comprehensiveness seemed to be superb. It did not, however, have great backing, and the issue was why people required them, if not for a nice Instagram image suggesting that they had touched a new modern reality.
How long does it take to validate the idea?
Firstly, the complexity of the idea and the depth of validation desired play a significant role. Conducting market research, competitor analysis, and gathering user feedback through surveys, interviews, or focus groups can take anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months.
Additionally, the availability of resources and the speed at which feedback can be collected also impact the timeline. Leveraging digital platforms, user testing tools, and online communities can expedite the process, potentially reducing the validation time.
How long does it take to create a product strategy?
Creating a product strategy involves conducting market research, defining target customers, analyzing competitors, and setting clear objectives and goals. This initial phase can take a few weeks to a couple of months, depending on the extent of research and analysis required.
The design sprint is a high-quality process for tackling challenges in mobile and web apps through prototyping and user behavior research. Design sprints typically last three to six weeks. They are divided into the following stages:
- Project formation and app goals definition
Design sprints are scheduled in order to construct and test a prototype in a few of days. Many organizations, like Spotify and Starbucks, have utilized design sprints to optimize customer experiences, boost stickiness, and find out what to offer next. Coca-Cola, for example, performed a design sprint process with an agency partner last year to find out how to launch the DTC experience in Austria.
How long does it take to design the app?
Designing an app typically takes several weeks to a few months, depending on its complexity and the number of screens and features. The process involves conceptualizing the UI/UX design, creating wireframes, developing high-fidelity mockups, and preparing design assets for development. Collaboration and iterative feedback play a crucial role in the timeline. Allocating enough time for design iterations ensures a visually appealing and user-friendly app interface.
Development and Testing
A full-stack mobile app developer is usually required for any current mobile app development. Companies must create global cross-platform possibilities by 2022. Cross-platform apps (those that work on both Android and iOS) require six to twelve weeks to develop. Nevertheless, businesses will receive twice as many visits in the end.
It is essential to understand that the procedure is dependent on the app's functional content.
However, development and speed are important, as is timely testing for issue identification. Untimely testing can often result in a delay in growth since certain features rely on one other.
However, some businesses may undertake it once the development stage is complete. And it's critical not to overlook anything vital here.
How long does it take to code the app?
For a simple app with basic functionality, coding can take anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months. However, more complex apps with advanced features may require several months or even longer to complete.
How long does it take to test the app?
The time required for testing can range from a few days to several weeks, depending on the size and complexity of the app. Thorough testing helps identify and address bugs, usability issues, and performance bottlenecks before the app is released to users.
Product Launch: Deploying to the App Stores
The final step in worldwide app promotion is publishing in app stores. The process of launching an app varies depending on the platform chosen and built. For example, the App Store has stronger criteria and time constraints for app distribution, whereas Google Play does not; there is also a pricing differential.
The key to successful app store deployment is optimizing a mobile app for app store standards. If everything is done well, the submitted app can be released in the app stores in 7 to 14 days.
The purpose of all businesses is to spread the word so that the target audience is aware of it. Businesses will thereafter receive long-awaited downloads.
How long does it take to prepare your app for launch?
App preparation can take anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months. It is important to allocate enough time for quality assurance, bug fixing, and iterating based on user feedback to ensure a polished and reliable app.
How long does it take to launch an app on the play store and app store?
Submitting an app to the Play Store generally involves a relatively faster review process compared to the App Store. The review time on the Play Store can range from a few hours to a couple of days. However, it's important to note that compliance with Google's policies and guidelines is crucial for a smooth review process.
Maintenance and Support
The final and most important step of the app development cycle is not included in the app development phases, but it is important. Maintenance and support is a continuous process that should not be interrupted. It should include the following elements:
- Server monitoring
- Periodic backing up of data
- Updating apps
- Debagging apps
Contrary to common opinion, the process of developing an app does not finish when it is launched in the app stores. This landmark represents the start of an important mobile app's journey.
It is important to remember that the pace of development and distribution has an impact on success due to rivals. An example of the average value of the mobile app's pace, focused on these phases, is shown below.
Usually, app development takes six stages and at least seventeen weeks. Even yet, the seventh step - maintenance and assistance - is essential at all times. It is essential for the app to become more reliable and valuable to clients.
The size of mobile apps is important and has a direct impact on development time. Within ten weeks, a basic mobile app with limited functionality will be created. A complicated corporate development app, on the other hand, takes 36 weeks.
It is critical to note that a professional development company will never provide mobile development without a discovery phase, product ideation, and testing - since these are inseparable phases that will directly effect the app's future success.
App Development Timeline by Types of Apps
Developing a mobile application requires careful planning and execution to ensure a successful outcome. The app development timeline can vary depending on the type of app being built. Here, we present a comprehensive overview of the app development timeline categorized by different types of apps.
Example of app types
Native apps are specifically designed for a particular platform, such as iOS or Android. The timeline for developing native apps typically includes the following stages:
- Research and Planning: This phase involves market research, identifying target users, and defining the app's goals and features.
- Design: The design phase includes creating wireframes, UI/UX design, and prototyping.
- Development: Native app development requires coding in platform-specific languages like Swift for iOS or Java/Kotlin for Android.
- Testing: Thorough testing is crucial to ensure the app functions properly and is free of bugs or glitches.
- Deployment: This stage involves submitting the app to the respective app stores, such as the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
- Maintenance and Updates: After launch, regular maintenance, bug fixes, and updates are necessary to keep the app optimized and up to date.
- Conceptualization: Similar to native apps, the conceptualization phase involves defining the app's purpose, target audience, and features.
- Design: Creating the UI/UX design, wireframes, and prototypes for the hybrid app.
- Development: Building the app using web technologies and frameworks like React Native or Ionic.
- Testing: Rigorous testing to ensure the app works seamlessly across multiple platforms and devices.
- Packaging and Deployment: Packaging the hybrid app into a native container and submitting it to app stores.
- Ongoing Maintenance: Regular updates and bug fixes to enhance the app's performance and address user feedback.
Web apps are accessed through web browsers and do not require installation. The timeline for developing web apps typically involves the following steps:
- Planning: Identifying the purpose, target audience, and core functionalities of the web app.
- Design: Creating a visually appealing and user-friendly UI/UX design for the web app.
- Testing: Thoroughly testing the web app across different browsers and devices to ensure compatibility.
- Deployment: Deploying the web app on a web server or hosting platform.
- Continuous Improvement: Regular updates, enhancements, and optimizations based on user feedback and changing requirements.
How Long Does It Take to Build an Android App?
Building an Android app involves various stages, and the time required can vary significantly depending on several factors. Here are some key considerations that can influence the development timeline:
- Complexity of the app
- Design and user interface
- Development approach
- App features and functionality
- Testing and bug fixing
- App store submission
Considering all these factors, a reasonably estimated timeline for building an Android app can range from several weeks to several months, depending on the complexity and scope of the project.
How Long Does It Take to Build an iOS App?
Similar to Android app development, the time required to build an iOS app can vary depending on several factors. Here are some key considerations:
- Complexity of the app
- Design and user interface
- Development approach
- App features and functionality
- Testing and bug fixing
- App store submission
Considering these factors, the estimated timeline for building an iOS app can range from several weeks to several months, depending on the complexity and scope of the project.
Factors That Impact the Development Timeline
When it comes to developing software applications, several factors can significantly influence the development timeline. Understanding these factors is crucial for planning and estimating the time required for a project. Here are some key factors that impact the development timeline:
Project Scope and Complexity
The scope and complexity of the project play a major role in determining the development timeline. Projects with extensive features, intricate functionality, and integration requirements will generally take longer to develop compared to smaller, simpler projects.
Design and User Experience (UX)
Designing an intuitive and visually appealing user interface (UI) and providing a smooth user experience (UX) requires time and effort. The complexity of the design, including custom animations, transitions, and responsiveness, can affect the development timeline.
Platform and Technology
The choice of platform and technology stack influences the development timeline. Native development for specific platforms, such as Android or iOS, usually requires separate codebases, while cross-platform frameworks can expedite development by allowing code sharing. Additionally, the familiarity and expertise of the development team with the chosen technology can impact the timeline.
Integrating third-party services, APIs, or software components into the application can add complexity and time to the development process. Depending on the availability of documentation, support, and the complexity of the integration, additional time may be required to implement and test these integrations.
Testing and Quality Assurance
Comprehensive testing is crucial for delivering a reliable and bug-free application. The time required for testing depends on factors such as the size of the codebase, complexity of features, and the number of supported platforms and devices. Rigorous testing, including functional testing, performance testing, and user acceptance testing, helps ensure a high-quality product but can extend the development timeline.
Team Size and Expertise
The size and expertise of the development team directly impact the development timeline. A larger team may be able to parallelize tasks and complete them more quickly. Additionally, the experience and skill set of the team members can affect their efficiency and problem-solving capabilities during the development process.
Communication and Collaboration
Effective communication and collaboration among team members, stakeholders, and clients are essential for smooth project execution. Poor communication, misaligned expectations, or frequent changes in requirements can introduce delays and extend the development timeline.
The effectiveness of project management practices, including task prioritization, resource allocation, and risk management, influences the development timeline. A well-defined project plan, regular monitoring, and proactive issue resolution can help keep the development process on track.
What Can Slow Down the Application Development Process
The application development process can face various challenges and obstacles that can slow down progress and extend the overall timeline. Recognizing and addressing these factors is essential for efficient project management. Here are some common factors that can slow down the application development process:
- Changing requirements
- Inadequate planning
- Technical challenges
- Integration issues
- Team Collaboration issues
- Resource constraints
- Quality assurance and testing
- External dependencies
- Scope creep
- Unforeseen risks and challenges
How to Speed Up The Time of Application Development?
1. MVPs and prototyping
When it comes to speeding up the time of application development, utilizing Minimum Viable Products (MVPs) and prototyping is a highly effective strategy. MVPs allow you to create a simplified version of your application with only the core features and functionalities. Similarly, prototyping involves creating a visual representation of your app's design and user interface.
How long does it take to prototype the app?
Prototyping an app can vary in terms of time depending on the complexity and scope of the project. Generally, the time required for app prototyping can range from a few days to a few weeks. It primarily depends on factors such as the size of the development team, the level of detail in the prototype, and the availability of necessary design assets. However, the main objective of prototyping is to quickly create a tangible representation of the app's core features and functionalities.
To expedite the prototyping process, it is crucial to focus on the most critical aspects of the application and avoid getting too caught up in minor details during the initial stages. By prioritizing the core functionality, you can create a functional prototype that demonstrates the key user interactions and flows. This approach allows you to gather feedback early on, identify potential issues, and make necessary adjustments to the design and functionality of the app.
How long does it take to validate the app prototype?
Validating an app prototype involves testing and gathering feedback from users, stakeholders, and potential customers. The time required for this phase depends on various factors, including the availability of participants for testing, the complexity of the app, and the extent of feedback analysis required.
Typically, the validation process can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. It involves conducting usability tests, user interviews, and collecting feedback through surveys or focus groups. The collected feedback helps in identifying usability issues, gauging user satisfaction, and determining whether the prototype aligns with the desired goals and requirements.
2. Go for Cross-Platform
Cross-platform development refers to the practice of creating applications or software that can run seamlessly on multiple platforms, such as iOS, Android, and web browsers. By adopting a cross-platform approach, businesses can save time, effort, and resources as they only need to develop and maintain a single codebase.
3. Hire a Professional Developer
When it comes to developing complex software solutions, it's crucial to enlist the expertise of a professional developer. Hiring a skilled developer ensures that your project is in capable hands. They possess the necessary knowledge, experience, and problem-solving abilities to deliver high-quality and efficient software solutions tailored to your specific needs.
4. Agile Development
Agile development is an iterative and flexible approach to software development that emphasizes collaboration, adaptability, and customer satisfaction. By breaking down the development process into small, manageable tasks and involving stakeholders throughout the project, agile development enables faster delivery, greater transparency, and the ability to adapt to changing requirements.
5. White Label Solutions
White label solutions refer to pre-built software or applications that are developed by a third-party and can be rebranded and customized by businesses. These solutions offer a cost-effective way to quickly launch new products or services without investing in extensive development from scratch. White label solutions can be a game-changer, especially for startups or businesses looking to expand their offerings rapidly.
6. Automated Testing
Automated testing involves using software tools and scripts to execute test cases and verify the functionality of a software application. By automating the testing process, businesses can save time, reduce human error, and improve overall software quality. Automated testing ensures that critical functionalities are thoroughly tested and allows developers to identify and fix issues early in the development cycle.
To Sum Up
Now, when you go to an app development outsourcing provider and ask, "How long does it take to build an app?" You already know what to anticipate. The average time it takes to build an app through the Discovery, Design & Development, and Pre-launch stages is 7 - 12 months.
We discovered how long it takes to build an app and discovered that a larger team does not always result in a quicker app development timetable. There is, however, always a method to expedite the procedure. If you've previously done research or know the market well enough, we may skip the Research and Validation sections. Design and development are critical components, and the greatest time-saving strategies are associated with improved communication.
The go pedals for the app development process are clear requirements, fast replies, and shared responsibilities. Send us an email if you'd like a more specific estimate for your job. We'll be delighted to assist you, and perhaps this will be the start of our relationship.