During the dot-com boom, every business imaginable raced to have a presence on the internet. Today, almost every brand is doing the same by building their own mobile app.
It makes sense as the whole planet is rapidly connecting to the internet through smartphones. This makes it easy to communicate with the target audience because all you have to do is deliver your message via a (push) notification.
Whether it’s a small mom and pop store or an established corporate giant, there are options to suit almost any budget. This is because mobile app development costs can vary a lot depending on the following variables:
- Mobile app features
- Number of platforms and devices
- Quality of the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX)
- Development methodology
- Where the app’s developed
However, regardless of the budget, you’re working with, mobile app development starts with doing some homework. By conducting your own research to support your app development strategy, you can better manage the whole process while saving time and money.
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So how should you go about it? Here are the top five ways to reduce app development costs.
1. Document Everything
The number of features will have a direct impact on app development costs, so make sure that the app requirements are in line with your business goals. The easiest way to do this is to start mapping out what you’re trying to achieve (with your mobile app).
Whether you decide to build the app in-house or offshore, it’s important to have clear documentation. This is because it can help ensure that your development team has a clear understanding of your business objectives.
However, it’s important to note that even with detailed documentation errors and changes will be unavoidable (but it will be a lot less with documentation).
An important part of your documentation will be user stories which will help better communicate your mobile app idea. This means that your features should be structured based on the expectations of the end-user.
When you engage in the activity, you might realize that it would be better to add a feature or remove a feature because you now have a better idea of how it’s all going to work.
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2. Engage in Cross-Platform Development
At this juncture, you will have to decide on how many platforms and devices you want to support. This will have a huge impact on app development costs, so it’s best to make this decision based on your research and business goals.
Native (Android and iOS) app development is expensive, but it also offers the most in terms of features and UX. Progressive web apps are significantly cheaper (and faster to build), but it comes with a lot of limitations.
If you want your app to be published on Apple’s App Store and Google Play without breaking the bank, cross-platform development will be the perfect solution. This is because it requires only one codebase that can be deployed across multiple platforms.
However, the cross-platform option will only work for apps that aren’t highly complex. It also won’t be a viable option if you need to use a native interface or hardware integration.
3. Follow Standard UI and UX Guidelines
While it’s important to think about the programming involved, you can’t afford to forget about the design. Having a great UI and UX is important to ensure adoption and regular use.
Highly customized UIs with animation will add to your development costs. On the other hand, taking advantage of standard features like buttons and navigation types will be much cheaper. So if you want to keep development costs down, as a rule, customize only when it’s needed.
If you develop a native or cross-platform app, make sure that you follow the guidelines laid out by both Apple and Google, It’s a critical part of the whole process because you need to get your mobile app approved.
4. Follow the Agile Methodology
There are many schools of thought when it comes to mobile app development, but at Intersog, we like to follow the Agile methodology. This approach has helped us deliver mobile apps quickly while reducing app development costs.
What’s great about developing in iterations following Agile methodology is the fact that it can reduce risk by splitting the development cycle into small manageable stages. This means that at each stage, a small manageable set of features will be developed, tested, and deployed (in sprints).
This approach is also the fastest way to a minimum viable product. So you can launch your app and then slowly add advanced features depending on the demand.
5. Outsource the App Development Project
Developing a mobile app in North America is going to be expensive. Even if you have deep pockets, building an in-house team can be a significant challenge because of the ongoing shortage of top tech talent.
This makes outsourcing your project to places like Eastern Europe which boasts a large pool of highly affordable (and talented) software engineers an attractive option. In our experience, developing mobile apps in Ukraine has helped us save our clients as much as 50% in development costs.
If everything goes well, continuing to work with the same third-party developer can also help reduce the costs associated with maintenance and upgrades.