Very few would argue the fact that smartphones have taken over the world. Is there at least one person in your circle who doesn’t have a smartphone? Hardly. The volume of smartphone sales is rapidly growing. Manufacturing companies, on their side, are investing enormous amounts of money in mobile technologies, as well as their development and popularization in the market.
Thus, the number of mobile devices today significantly exceeds the number of personal computers. Moreover, there is a growing trend in this instance. Over the past 10 years, the number of smartphones in use has exceeded 2.5 billion. In addition, consumers spend $380 billion on new devices every year. Each of them is equipped with applications that simplify life by helping to calculate, order food or taxi, communicate, share memories, buy stuff, etc.
So, today, we’d like to answer one of the most frequently asked questions, namely, ”How much does it cost to design a mobile app?”. With more and more players entering the field, the price points are rather dynamic. Keeping track of them is very important if you’re planning on entering the game. Stay tuned to learn more!
Why App Design Really Matters
Development of mobile applications for smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices includes writing a software code to create programs that will run on certain mobile platforms (as of today there are 2 main operating systems – Android and iOS, as well as the less popular, such as Windows Phone and Symbian). These programs and applications can be preinstalled on mobile devices before the devices get to the user, or downloaded by users directly during use.
Nowadays, app design is without any doubt a top niche in programming. Wondering why? Look:
People tend to view 4.2x more products per session within apps, compared to mobile sites. What’s more important, apps show 6x higher conversion rates compared to mobile sites and 1,5x more conversions per session than via desktop.
Moreover, according to Criteo’s Global Commerce Review, nearly 50% of online sales in Europe are currently done using mobile devices.
In addition, an analysis of the shopping cart by Shopgate shows that shoppers tend to spend more in apps compared to a browser. The shopping cart in a browser averages €85, while the average cart in an app is around €105, which is 24% higher.
Increases Rate Of Returns
Rate of returns shows the percentage of users who return to the app. A higher rate of returns implies that the app is more successful: more active and loyal users result in more opportunities for monetization.
Localytics reports that 21% of users only use e-commerce apps once, while around 38% of users return to an app in 11 or more sessions.
At the same time, according to Adjust, here’s what the average app return rates by platform look like: iOS and Android start at about the same 30% level on Day 1, diverge by 2% by Day 7 (18% and 16%, respectively) and continue to maintain this gap up to Day 30, when average returns hover around 10%:
Let’s analyze how users return to applications in different categories. Entertainment apps attract the largest share of returns – 35% on Day 1 and 15% on Day 30. Naturally, fewer returns are attributed to travel apps – less than 20% on Day 1 and about 11% on Day 30:
There are some techniques that can help increase the retention rate and thereby keep the maximum number of users loyal to the application:
- Reminders. These can be both push notifications generated by the application itself, as well as emails, if the application collects the user’s email.
- Advertising campaigns, which aim to attract users to the application.
- Motivation and reward system. This is more common for game apps. At the same time, almost any application can be gamified, saving user statistics, displaying progress and rewarding new actions.
What Goes Into Mobile App Design Cost
So, you want to create an application for your business. You determined the vision for the project, perhaps made sketches of how you want it to look like. You already know how to choose a mobile application developer and have decided on a contractor company. What’s next? How much does app design cost at each stage of the development process?
An established business knows its audience and market position, however, it’s not always the case for startups. Here is when a product analyst, also called a business analyst, comes to help.
They collect data on market trends and competitors – everything that’s publicly accessible, namely, financial reports, reviews, sites and applications of similar businesses, expert opinions, groups on social networks, interviews, etc. These findings help the product designer with the formation of the product model and the development of hypotheses, which is called secondary information. The contribution of a product analyst helps a startup to ensure stable development.
Estimated time to analyze competitors and target audience: 20-100 hours
Results: use cases, realistic scenarios of user behavior, user wishes.
Tools Used: User Characters, A/B Test Results, User Case Studies.
User Experience Design
The next step in the workflow is prototyping and developing a user experience. During this stage, the team structures their ideas to make the product convenient for users. Navigation within the application, as well as the transition from one step to another, should be smooth and logical.
The prototyping process can involve multiple iterations. This is done to refine an application prototype and create the best UX, thus this stage can require much work. At the same time, a careful approach to prototyping saves your budget. This is because having a well-done prototype on hand by the time the project enters the development stage gives a team a coherent structure that is necessary for efficient work on specific features.
Estimated prototyping time: 40 to 170 hours.
Results: application screen layouts, custom application use cases, interactive prototypes.
Tools used: Sketch, Marvel, Principle, Overflow.
If app prototyping is about solving problems, then visual design is about communication with the end user. Visual design, often referred to as user interface (UI) design, step by step tells the user about a product as they navigate from one screen to another.
Design delivers the image of the product and the way it feels to the users; it is both the correct selection of colors and shapes, and communication through typography. The text in the application should be easy to read and the application itself should look nice. Finding the best way to display many different types of content at the same time takes creativity. Designers who do it usually have at least several years of relevant professional experience.
It’s important to understand that visual design and brand are related to each other. Visual design is a holistic style of an application that includes the logo, icon, and all screens of the application. UI app design cost is calculated as an hourly payment multiplied by the number of hours of work.
Estimated time for visual design of the application: 60 to 220 hours.
Results: The final design of the product, including the app logo, icons and screenshots for the app stores.
Tools used: Sketch, Adobe, Principle.
Application design cost by country
In this section we’re going to lay out the hourly cost of a designer’s work when ordering a project from a company that professionally develops application design, has proven experience in this area, has a staff of interchangeable specialists and production processes that allow it to guarantee quality and terms.
In Easter Europe the design will cost around $ 20-30 per hour.
In India, there are thousands of outsource companies working under pressure in terms of tough competition, making them dump their prices. An hour of professional designer service will be around $25.
American and European design teams charge an average of $50-150 per hour. Most likely, you will have to pay from a couple of thousand dollars to several tens of thousands for a particularly sophisticated application.
UK studios charge £40-80 ($65-130) per hour. IOS app design, for example, costs £1000-5000. The actual price depends on the graphics, the amount of work and platform support (apps on the iPad, say, are more expensive than the iPhone).
Other cost statements
Branding – corporate identity, identity, tone of voice and other aspects of the visual paradigm of the project.
Time to deliver: 7-14 days.
Average cost: $600-1500 in total.
Animations are not a necessary step, but are often used to grab and hold users’ attention, to be memorable and to create emotional attachment.
Time to deliver: around 1 week.
Cost: $500-1500 in total.
Promo materials – banners for advertisements, app stores, press kits for media, presentations.
Cost: $500-1500 in total.
Stages Of Mobile App Development And Their Cost
The cost of developing a mobile application depends not only on the planned functionality, but it also varies if you need help in preparing documentation, design, server-side development and technical support.
This section will help you understand what the cost for app design is made up of and will guide you through the main development stages.
Planning & Analysis
This is a very important step since it’s all about the creation of a healthy and efficient workflow. It includes:
- Analytics – an overview of the market, analysis of similar projects. As a rule, this part takes up to 7-14 working days with the contribution from one or two specialists, and averages $400-800.
- Marketing strategy – a roadmap that explains the logic of the user paths, tests, and the steps before and after publication. It requires not less than a week of work. The cost of this part of the project is around $700-1400.
- Development of a prototype of a mobile application, which takes about a week of work, and costs $400-1100.
- Preparation of technical documentation, that aims to provide a detailed plan of work of programmers. Requires up to two weeks of work, and $700-1400.
- Sometimes the Planning & Analysis stage includes the formation of a pitch, namely, a presentation for investors, describing the key product properties of the project.
This stage provides for the specification of the style of the application and the creation of the screen of an app accordingly. To determine the style, the UX specialist and designers have to understand what target audience the application is intended for, thus, conduct a research. A good style reflects the idea of the application, tastes and views of the target audience.
Once the style is approved, the graphics are cut into separate files to be later used by developers for one or more platforms in all resolutions.
This stage requires a project manager, as well as, of course, UI/UX specialists. In some cases, when cutting graphic elements, the designer consults with senior developers, since the programming of non-standard interface elements can vary greatly. The design phase usually takes up to 4-7 weeks. The typical UI/UX design cost for an app is about $1300-2000.
This stage requires the contribution of a project manager and 1 to 10 developers for each platform. On average, it takes from 2 to 9 months, but it can as well take several years, depending on the size and complexity of the project. Experienced companies use the best practices to reduce timelines and ensure high quality of the application.
If the development of a mobile application requires sourcing data from outside (from a website, database) or exchanging data with a user of the mobile application, then the development of a server part is required, which includes the following elements: a server core (database and API), an administrative part for management and monitoring of the system, and, if necessary, a user’s account, a promotional site, a service for sending push notifications. The average total cost of the development stage ranges from $3000 to $15000.
At this stage, QA, QC engineers and testers check the application for strict compliance with the technical specifications, and find errors both in standard use cases and in less common use cases, for instance: simultaneous clicks on control panel elements, incoming calls with an open application, interruption of the network connection. Designers check the application interface for their conformity with the approved layouts. Usually testing takes at least a week of work of one specialist, and $300-800.
Maintenance and Support
Maintenance and support are optional, and are usually required for projects with a large number of users. Terms of technical support are discussed individually for each project, a typical option may include the following elements:
SLA – includes a description of the severity levels of problems and developers’ reaction speed to each level.
Guaranteed hours – a certain number of hours to be allocated to a project within a month to work on new tasks.
Support for the release of new versions of operating systems, which includes testing and fixes for the release of future systems, major and minor versions.
Analytics – every month or quarter, the project manager collects analytics on the use of the application and, together with senior developers and UX specialists, come up with proposals for improving the application.
Basic technical support requires not much effort, 3-5 working days per month, and from $100 to $200.
What Affects Cost To Design An App
It’s not a rule that a high price for a utility is a clear sign of its quality. This is explained by the huge difference in hourly payments of developers across the world. On average, the hourly payment a programmer, depending of his geography is:
|Country / Region||Hourly Payment|
Choosing a platform type is a critical step to consider. Which solution will be the best for the project: cross-platform application development or native development?
In the latter case, which platform should you choose: iOS, Android, Windows Phone?
The decision depends on many factors, including the functionality of the application, the audience you want to reach, the budget you have, etc.
If you want to reach the maximum possible number of users, but you do not have enough funds to create native applications, you should consider developing cross-platform ones.
Thus, a native solution is more expensive than a cross-platform one, since the latter only requires one team for both products and writing the same code for both platforms.
This saves costs and time. However, native applications in most cases can boast a higher quality, so to gain a competitive advantage, it’s probably better to focus on native development.
Nevertheless, nowadays, tools and techniques for developing cross-platform mobile applications are actively improved and the possibilities to create a high-quality cross-platform solution are growing accordingly.
Once an application acquires its first users, it’s important to pay immediate attention to them to ensure high quality of services:
- Every review in the App Store and Google Play must be answered.
- All support calls must be processed.
- All the challenges in use that users have encountered should be resolved.
This part of the scope of work also implies processing the analytics, community organization and user acquisition. The actions taken are usually the following
- Generation of analytical reports on a weekly basis and the formulation of hypotheses based on them.
- Checking the correctness of the operation of analytical tools.
- Maintenance of a website, if it exists, and promotion of the project in social networks.
- Negotiation with opinion leaders and media representatives.
In addition, marketing strategy and implementation should be implemented from the very beginning of the project development, as well as ongoingly maintained:
- One to two months before the release, a page of the future project is published in the app stores with the possibility of pre-order.
- A landing page is launched, a project blog is filled, groups in social media are developed.
- Negotiations are constantly underway with experts and opinion leaders.
Labor costs strongly depend on the scale of work and the complexity of the marketing activities, although usually it takes from $1300 to 7000 per month, including the budget for the acquisition of test traffic.
The cost of mobile app development highly depends on the level of complexity and the size of the project. How many features will the product be equipped with? How many screens, buttons, and fields will it have? How complex will the application’s business logic be?
The functionality, perhaps, has the strongest impact on the total price: depending on the project, usually from it takes up 60 to 80% of the total development cost.
To create a high-quality and smooth application, you need to understand the tasks that the future product must perform.
However, not all functions are “equal”. For instance, a lot of resources and efforts are necessary to implement the functions such as processing and conducting payments.
Among other factors that can affect the cost for the application development are the number of professionals involved, their hourly payment, and the total number of hours spent on the project.
These are the factors you should consider when looking for a mobile app development company. The first step is to choose a company that offers you hourly payments for specialists that fit into your budget, understands your goals and requirements, and produces high-quality products.
After you have found your perfect development company and all your requirements have been analyzed, a team is formed, which usually includes developers, project managers, testers and designers, as well as, analysts and marketers.
In addition, it’s almost impossible to determine the accurate number of hours required to complete the project, since every feature, tasks related to marketing, development, testing, etc. must be taken into account and counted and may be reviewed during the development itself.
How Much Does It Cost To Design An Average App
There are 3 aspects that can help assess a mobile app development cost:
- Analysis. To know exactly how much it costs to create an application for a smartphone, you need to take into account all possible risks, define the target audience, and analyze the needs of users of the future product.
- Prototype. With a prototype, it is easier to plan the development process, as well as estimate its final cost. In addition, this step avoids technical misunderstandings between a customer and a developer.
- Specification. Drawing up a specification allows you to accurately determine the cost of the final mobile software product, as well as the amount of time required to develop it.
So, as a rule developers make a preliminary estimate of the cost of the order. It takes a couple of days and usually is free of charge.
If the customer is satisfied with the cost, he signs a contract, in which the exact price of the application development is indicated, as well as the deadline, and a description of the final result. Sometimes the price can change if during the development process any additional features were implemented upon the agreement of both sides.
The average cost of app design depends on the complexity of the application:
Tips On How To Optimize The Budget
- For your app to be popular and generate income, you need to meet the needs of your audience. If the app doesn’t solve any of the user problems, in almost all cases it’s going to fail.
- Before deciding on the development team, conduct a price comparison research, and examine the portfolios of the companies you have selected. A high price doesn’t always guarantee high quality.
- Before ordering mobile app development, make sure to ask for a rough estimate of the project cost.
- Discuss all the details of the project with the team, and also insist on creating a prototype of the application. Decide on the design and functionality of the application. You must be clear about what you need and what you don’t need. In such a way the final cost can be significantly reduced.
- Then, only after discussing all the issues, you can sign the contract.
Mobile App Development by JoinSoft
JoinSoft makes sure to provide top-class Mobile App Development services for you to unleash the power of doing business on the go. Here’s what we offer:
- Either an individual developer or a team of dedicated professionals with over 5 years of experience for your service;
- Professional expertise to define the most suitable approach: Native / Hybrid / Cross-Platform;
- An individual approach to meet the needs and expectations of our clients;
- The latest technologies, methods and frameworks for the smooth operation of applications on the latest OS versions and on all devices;
- Estimating costs before starting the development process, taking into account the budgetary constraints of our clients to ensure a fair value for money;
- Easy product approval by app stores through rigorous quality assurance and testing.
We value our clients’ time and money. We strive to provide the best result that exceeds expectations. We are looking forward to new projects on board!
We hope this article helped you understand how much it costs to design and launch an app, as well as why it is important. Again, the design cost estimate is always approximate, and each case needs to be analyzed individually. If you are looking for a dedicated team to realize your most cherished ambitions in the world of mobile applications, contact us to discuss your project and calculate the quote!