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What platforms do you target?

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What platforms do you target?

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At IT Craft, you can choose between native iOS, Android, or hybrid app development.

The target platform is always the starting point of every mobile app development estimate. Do you want an Android app, an iOS app or both?

If your initial budget is limited, it would be wise to do a short trial and launch a one-platform-only app. For example, Android is popular in the EU; iOS is preferred in the USA and Canada.

Your choice of a target platform has little impact when crunching numbers in the app development calculator. Both Android and iOS platforms have similar mobile app development costs.

So, if you choose both platforms, you will double the costs of app development.

Note: Certain industries must comply with regulatory requirements (e.g., healthcare, banking, insurance). This especially applies to an app that stores and processes sensitive user data. Data security is always an essential part when estimating app costs.

Do you want to start from scratch or do you have some source code?

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Do you want to start from scratch or do you have some source code?

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IT Craft development teams have vast experience of handling both types of projects: from scratch and with source code provided.

In both cases, custom mobile app development starts with an analysis of requirements. If you provide source code, factor in extra time needed at the beginning for code inspection.

When starting a new app, the development team has more flexibility offering app architecture and the best technological stack possible for your requirements. They also recommend third-party modules, etc. These cut down development costs, fit seamlessly and advise you of monthly subscription fees. The development team designs a user flow keeping in mind future app extension.

When working with provided source code, the development team must always keep existing logic, integrations, and interdependencies in mind. If the development team starts a mobile app development project based on already-existing source code, they begin with a code inspection. Developers need a code inspection both to estimate app costs and to ensure the provided codebase reflects high coding standards. The end result relies on the quality of provided code.

Note: Usually, code inspection takes up to 40 working hours. Mobile app cost calculator factors in this number.

How do you want to store data?

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How do you want to store data?

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Data storage affects the cost of app development timeline because it is an essential part of the app architecture.

If the app is to be used globally, opt for cloud storage. With cloud storage, users can retrieve information quickly from the geographically closest server.

If choosing cloud storage, mobile app costs would also be spent on a DevOps team. They help finetune cloud services to avoid consuming excessive amounts of resources. This saves maintenance costs.

An internal database is optimal when most of the app users are in one central location. The database can be used for enhanced security reasons and/or as an internal mobile app for business.

Integrating with an existing database is also possible. However, in this case, the initial app cost estimate might differ from actual work needed to be done due to unforeseen challenges.

Note: If you plan to integrate an existing database, a development team might need to spend extra time on code inspection.

How many users do you expect?

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How many users do you expect?

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The number of future users affects costs of app development. Two apps with the same functionality but different number of anticipated users require different architecture.

It is crucial to costs to determine a realistic number of future users. Otherwise, the number of future users often becomes the most common point of unnecessary costs of both mobile app development and maintenance.

Here is the thing.

On one hand, if too many users are anticipated, servers stay idle and app owners pay for server time users do not need.

On the other, if the number of users exceeds expected limits, servers will fail to provide users with enough resources. The result? The app freezes. As a result, app owners can face one-star ratings in app stores plus high-churn rates.

Hence, determine a realistic number of users the app can manage. It is also important that the app provides enough scalability from scratch to ensure user interest does not ruin the entire experience.

Note: his app price calculator reflects the number of future users.

How many screens are there in your app?

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How many screens are there in your app?

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As a rule, complex apps have more screens than simple ones.

App screens reflect the required steps for users to perform an activity. Hence, it is important to design user flow to the fine balance of neither unnecessary nor missing steps. If users get confused, they abandon the app. This also is a source of negative feedback on the app store.

In outsourcing mobile app development a team, UX designer and a PM and/or BA are responsible for user flow. They create a chart with all possible user interactions. This chart helps the rest of the team determine the scope of work on the project and, thus, estimate costs of app development.

If the number of app screens is too high, a study on user story might be required to create a smoother user experience.

Note: The importance of being agile. The number of screens can be flexible. It can change in the course of mobile app development. The app owner can decide to add a feature. The team can optimize user flow. This can increase or reduce the number of app screens. Therefore, it is important that the team is able to provide Agile mobile app development to manage changes effectively.

How will users sign up and log in?

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How will users sign up and log in?

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Most of the apps have sign-up / log-in features. Will users store any valuable data in the system? Does mobile app development include an analytics system to help you understand your users? If so, then you need users to sign up.

Every valid and verifiable way to identify users goes. Users can sign up in the app through:

  • email address
  • phone number
  • accounts, including Facebook / LinkedIn / Twitter, etc.
  • multi-factor authentication (e.g., password + an SMS code).

After users sign up, passwords can be stored in digital devices.

At this point, it makes sense to think through how users are going to restore access to their accounts.

Note: Sign up requires greater elaboration from a UX point of view, although this might add to the total costs in the app development calculator. A sign-up screen is the second thing users see after the app icon. They download an app and launch it. Now they need to sign up for it and remember another set of log-in credentials. This can be tiresome.

Hence, the UX designer and/or business analyst might need several iterations before entry point causes as few hassles as possible. To make this happen, different sign-up options must be available. This adds to the scope of custom mobile app development.

What level of design customization do you need?

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What level of design customization do you need?

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Native, intuitive look and feel is crucial for app growth. However, this is hardly possible overnight. A fine design is the result of several iterations. Each of them is based on interviews with stakeholders, a series of design tests on, and analysis of user feedback. Therefore, app owners must be assured a branded design will pay off.

Otherwise, it makes sense to start small from template or basic custom design. Aimed at getting to the market as soon as possible, startups usually do not have much time. Prototypes contain template design or even wireframe just to illustrate the app idea.

MVPs are often released with basic design. This keeps up with costs of app development and meets aggressive deadlines.

The team starts polishing app design later when the app gains clients first, and the app owner decides on custom mobile app development with branded design.

Note: Branded design takes time and costs money. It requires experienced designers. It could well require more time than forecast by this app development calculator.

What features do you expect?

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What features do you expect?

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Certainly, the feature list generates the biggest part of smartphone app development costs. Project duration depends on the number of features.

In order to compose the feature list, app owners need to know what they want their users to do in the app, i.e., what problems the app solves. Together with the BA and/or PM, they clarify what will be delivered. They plan the features users get in the app to solve tasks. Then, implementation is planned.

Apart from the app itself, the scope of work on features includes an ‘invisible’ part, back-end development. Most heavy calculations are done in the back-end. Back-end development can add significantly to the costs of mobile app development.

The list of possible mobile app features is almost infinite. This app price calculator reflects the most common features.

Note: What is the biggest problem with both Android mobile app development and iOS mobile app development? It is impossible to guarantee 100% success on ALL devices. Some features might not work on some smartphone models due to smartphone limitations. The development team can ensure features work fast on most popular smartphones.

Features
Multi-language support

An international app can target several languages at once. Multi-language support makes it possible to target a wider audience and win a loyal audience among speakers of other languages.

To make this happen, the app must be correctly localized. The app must be tested thoroughly to ensure all descriptions correspond to app screen. No mess ups are tolerated.

The language settings can be determined automatically based on user smartphone settings. Also, users need functionality to change their preferences manually in the app in case a user’s native language is not included in the list.

Offline mode

The best thing about mobile apps they can work without a stable Internet connection. Offline mode makes this possible.

When in offline mode, the app saves data in smartphone storage. All changes can be transmitted as soon as a stable Internet connection is restored.

For collaborative apps, it is vital to set strict rules for offline mode and develop instruments for those rules. An update from a team member who worked offline should not ruin the work of the rest of the team.

Offline mode adds to the scope of work on a project.

Third-party API integration

Third-party services substantially shorten mobile app development time. As a result, app owners get an app of the same quality faster—for less.

Mobile apps benefit from:

  • Features of other services (e.g., secure payments)
  • custom algorithms for which other competitors have not opted yet (e.g., autoroute configurator)
  • essential information available with integration of other services (e.g., weather forecast)

The downside: be prepared for costs of regular subscriptions.

Newsfeed

As an engagement element, this is a must-have feature for social media-like apps or those that share social network elements.

A newsfeed makes it possible to keep track of other users’ activities, share thoughts and achievements, receive news and commentaries, and more. To accomplish this, mobile app developers must arrange a perfect graph of social connections to engage users in the newsfeed.

A newsfeed can be also used as a motivation factor. Users spend more time in the app with a well-designed newsfeed.

Categories and search

When users can choose among several options, search and sort feature helps them make an informed decision faster. Especially when users can compare characteristics of chosen items directly after they have sorted the needed elements.

Search and sort are usually performed in the app back end. Users see the result of an operation on their screens. Complexity of mobile app development depends on the number of search parameters.

When combined with a recommendation system, search and sort can be a killer feature of a mobile app where users must refine large amounts of offers e.g., marketplace apps, media apps, on-demand service apps, etc.

Video player

A wide range of apps benefit from a built-in video player. Many users prefer to watch a video rather than read a description. Videos help do everything: sell items, explain learning material, transmit news and opinions, and more. Social networks that let users stream their own video content are trending very well.

Video players can adjust quality of the video depending on the Internet connection and screen type. Also, a 360-degree-video player can provide users with a VR experience.

Audio player

It is much easier to add an audio player into an app than to add a video player. Although it might seem to be a less popular option, some app categories need an audio player. If you plan to transmit any voice content (e.g., podcasts, music, audio books, etc.) via your app, an audio player is a must-have feature. Audio players can be built using native app development instruments and also using frameworks (this works for hybrid apps).

Photo sharing options

Decide on where users are going to share photos (via chat message, direct link, sharing on social networks). Usually, users benefit the most when several options are available. Will the photo disappear with time? Can the user limit access? Can they apply filters? These aspects affect complexity to the app development.

Photo sharing apps can crop photos or decrease quality in order to economize traffic and decrease server load, too.

Apps with built-in photo sharing require enhanced security in order to prevent leaks of personal data.

Social sharing

This feature is key when an app is built around a community. A secure social app helps people stay in touch with each other within a certain community. Social sharing is an important part of communication between users. It encourages people to express their opinions, inspire, and keep motivation high. Apart from social networks, social sharing is crucial for fitness apps, eLearning, and other apps where long-term motivation is the key to user’s success.

Social sharing is based on a social graph. This makes it possible for users to find like minded people.

Calendar and events

Users can hardly be amazed by a calendar app in 2020. However, this feature will be critical for every app where user activities stick to certain dates. This can be:

  • planners
  • activity trackers
  • online appointment apps
  • rental and delivery apps
  • logistics solutions

and more.

Users need a calendar to:

  • schedule upcoming events
  • receive timely alerts
  • set up notifications and reminders

Developers can build a calendar using existing modules. Also, they can integrate a third-party calendar. This is important for synchronization. For example, app calendar might require integration with other users’ Google calendars for seamless UX.

Geolocation and navigation

This feature lets users point their coordinates on a map and find their way to a chosen destination. Crucial for navigation apps. Also, on-demand, Uber-like apps cannot exist without geolocation. Nice to have for finding restaurants and businesses and for review apps. Geolocation requires access to smartphone’s GPS hardware. Also, developers must integrate a third-party mapping solution (e.g., Google Maps) to the new app. Be prepared to pay for subscription after reaching certain free limits.

Rating system

Users must be sure they get the best value for their money. A rating system helps establish credibility in the quality of an item or a service and in the reputation of a seller/buyer. Hence a rating system is crucial for eCommerce mobile app development:

  • online stores
  • on-demand, Uber-like apps
  • marketplaces
  • online auctions

Rating systems are also common in eLearning. They can serve as a gamification and socialization element. Ratings are an essential part of learning solutions. They help students with long-term motivation.

Content management

An app needs a content management system (CMS) when app administrators post content regularly. A CMS makes it possible for the app owners to manage apps on their own rather than ask an outsourcing mobile app development team for help each time they need to make an update.

Complexity of a CMS depends directly on the type of the content, including text descriptions, images, audio files, and video files. Complexity increases in this direction.

Text chat

Apart from messengers, chat function is crucial for apps where users need to exchange information with each other. This goes for eCommerce, eLearning, healthcare, and other industries.

Chats complexity depends on such options as:

  • history
  • search
  • citations
  • message forwarding and deletion
  • attachments

and others.

Group chats are more complex than single chats.

Chats can be developed from scratch or integrated as third-party solutions.

Video chat

Video chats become the new normal. Apps where users interact with real people benefit from video chats. The list is extensive. For example, customers are more comfortable when they have an opportunity for face-to-face communication with support. eLearning mobile app development is hardly possible without video chats.

Video chats can cause a heavy load on app servers especially when the app owner decides to expand functionality and add conference calls. Hence, app development estimate might depend on the number of users.

User notifications

End users benefit from timely notifications. Push notifications have great opening rates.

A nice push notification is short, relevant, and timely. Hence, mailing of push notifications needs to be context-based, i.e., depend on time, user preferences, and user’s current location. For example, BLE beacons can send promotional notifications based on user’s proximity to a store inside a shopping mall.

App owners need functionality development that allows users to:

  • customize notification content
  • schedule notification mailing
  • choose language based on user preferences

Of note: Do not overuse push notifications. You might be perceived as a nuisance and users might switch off notifications in app settings.

Recommendation system

There are several approaches to the development of a recommendation system. It depends on the type of an app and its purposes.

A recommendation system is based on large amounts of user histories. Hence, it needs integration of analytics system and regular collection of user data. This data helps create suggestions that correspond with users’ tastes and/or habits.

The data taken from a search and filtering feature also helps refine recommendations.

Artificial Intelligence helps fine tune recommendations and optimize work with large amounts of data.

In-app purchases

At least three monetization strategies are based on in-app purchases:

  1. App owner provides limited functionality for free.
  2. A fully functional app is available for premium accounts.
  3. A free app displays ads. An ad-free version is available upon purchase.

Free games offer item upgrades or item purchases via in-game stores.

In-app purchases are optional. It is important to set up purchasing mechanics and the right policy to minimize refunds as a part of monetization strategy.

eCommerce

eCommerce features can vary greatly. They depend on the app end users. Customers and sellers benefit from different functionality.

Below are some examples.

End user is client:

  • featured products and discounts
  • wish list
  • shopping cart
  • payment options (PayPal, Stripe, MasterCard Contactless, and others)
  • QR code scanner (for purchases inside physical stores)

End user is seller:

  • branding opportunities
  • adding categories and products
  • receipt printing (important for a POS app)
  • credit card scanner.

eCommerce options are usually integrated into the system as third-party solutions.

App administration panel

A custom administration panel helps simplify business processes.

This is a convenient all-in-one tool where app owners can configure app parameters without any help from a development team. App owners also need an administration panel to manage users or user groups, collect statistics, and generate reports.

An app administration panel is often technically required: monitor hardware, install security updates, activate, and deactivate app components, etc.

Reports and analytics

Feedback works even better when combined with other tools. An analytics system helps determine what users do in the app. It segments users based on their habits and preferences. As a result, an analytics system helps offer relevant experience for each part of an audience.

An analytics system can be built from scratch or it can be integrated as a third-party service. The latter saves time and budget on custom mobile app development. You will be required to pay regular subscription payments if you go this route. Your money, your choice.

What security level is necessary?

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What security level is necessary?

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It depends.

If the app works offline, does not transmit or store data on third-party servers, then it does not need security.

Still, the vast majority of the apps store some kinds of user data. Hence, they require security.

First, the encryption of transmitted data must be the cornerstone of custom mobile app development.

Second, complex rules apply to data access.

In this case, app development cost estimates include complex approaches such as a 2-step authentication and tokenization structure for data security. This increases the security level and prevents leaks or theft of sensitive information. A well-built access management system prevents unauthorized persons from access to sensitive user information.

If a team handles large amounts of sensitive data, they might need a custom system for secure access management.

Note: Certain industries must comply with regulatory requirements (e.g., healthcare, banking, insurance). This especially applies to an app that stores and processes sensitive user data. Data security is always an essential part when estimating app costs

Estimate

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Team squad

  • 1 UX / UI designer
  • 1 QA engineer
  • 1 mobile developer
  • 1 Android developer
  • 1 project manager
  • 1 iOS developer
  • 1 business analyst
  • 1 back-end developer
  • Estimate
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Costs breakdown:

  • Features Efforts (hours) Costs ($)
  • Analysis of requirements 10 - 40 5 000 - 20 000
  • Code inspection 10 - 40 5 000 - 20 000
  • Design and wireframes 10 - 40 5 000 - 20 000
  • Android application features 10 - 40 5 000 - 20 000
  • iOS application features 10 - 40 5 000 - 20 000
  • Hybride application features 10 - 40 5 000 - 20 000
  • Back-end development 10 - 40 5 000 - 20 000
  • QA testing 10 - 40 5 000 - 20 000
  • Fixing issues and polishing apps 10 - 40 5 000 - 20 000
  • Project management 10 - 40 5 000 - 20 000
  • One-month guarantee period No limits specified No limits specified
  • 90 - 360 45 000 - 180 000