Secrets of Mobile App Development
This article is about benefits of good mobile app architecture. Read why it’s dangerous to stretch finances at early development stages, and how the software project budget is formed.
Mobile application development is the primary activity area of Headwind Solutions. Since Android and iOS gadgets are widely spread all over the world, your business can get profit of ordering the mobile app.
There are various mobile services on the market, such as food delivery, dating services, navigation apps, corporate software, and of course, mobile games. The coding is just a part of a mobile app business plan, which should also include, for example, requirement specification or software promotion in App Store or Google Play. However the success of your project is mainly provided by professional design and code, as well as by deadline compliance.
When you choose a contractor to carry out the project works, you usually take into account two primary factors, they are the developers’ experience and the cost of development services.
Skills and portfolio
Open the freelancer website. Hundreds of developers are proud by numerous projects in their portfolio. However, when you look at them closer, the most of projects are of the same kind and their cost varies from several hundreds to several thousands of dollars.
It is easier to develop ten apps requiring 100 working hours each, than one app requiring 1000 working hours.
The simplest apps could be made by modifying examples from the developer portal of Apple or Android, but this approach doesn’t work for complex projects. If a developer can show you complex software (thousands or tens of thousands workhours), it’s a crucial sign of his skill. Remember that the scheduled plan must include the architecture development; if the developer doesn’t include this milestone, he’s probably not experienced in the delivery of complex software projects.
Predictability zone is limited
If the engineers start coding immediately and the app architecture is weak, this may spare the budget at early project stages (green line) even in comparison with the project owner (purple line). However, as the project delivery deadline approaches, a lot of updates and amendments may be required. Updating weakly structured code causes more bugs, growth of the support costs, and, finally, to the death of the project.
Preliminary work on the application architecture, enumeration of software modules, interface specification and implementation – all these works may increase the project costs (blue line). However it is the only way to success since good mobile app architecture is followed by low support costs and good extendibility of the code.
Design of the user interface
Literally, qualitative and well-done user interface design is 90% of success. Design includes the layout of UI elements and transitions between them. Our engineers are designing user interfaces in strict coincidence with Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines and Google Material Design Guidelines. The primary attention is paid to the mobile app functions and user experience, rather than to the appearance of UI elements.
Fixed price is quite attractive for the application development contract. But it’s a hidden rock which sunk a lot of IT projects.
Mobile app is a complex object and it’s difficult to describe it in all details in the software requirement specification. The so-called “waterfall development” (or work in accurate accordance with the software requirement specification) is a method which may help to create the mobile app working in accordance with a document (really?!). But the users may think different and expect other behavior. We believe that the app development should be performed together with users. This could be done via so-called “agile development techniques” when each version is discussed with the customer and tested with users even at earlier stages of the project.
Agile methods could be performed by fixed price by means of the formulation of “Project Scope”. In distinction with the software requirements specification, the project scope is a kind of framework where the project should remain. This technique raises risks of the enlargement of development works which increases the project costs. However, skilled engineers and responsible care for the project would build a product fully fit with the customer’s expectations in very short terms. Nowadays, almost all software companies are using agile development techniques in their practice.
The development costs are frequently estimated by counting the screens in the app prototype. It’s easy to calculate and implement the screens, but the logic and algorithms used in the app are behind the scene. The implementation of the business logic could be even more time-consuming and complicated than the implementation of the user interface.
We also count screens. But our project managers estimated the resources required for the implementation of the app business logic and we use these data to estimate the project costs as accurately as possible.
Finally, how much does it cost?
To calculate the mobile app development cost, one needs to pay attention to the work of designers, programmers, testers, as well as content managers writing the in-app content and App Store texts. One hour of iOS or Android developer in Eastern Europe (where we are located) costs from $25 to $50, whereas an average mobile project requires 200 – 400 work hours.
If your project includes backend works, social functions, chat, or a unique corporate design, the price may increase by a factor of two.
How to spare?
Never spare at early development stages. However, most of people and companies have limited budgets and want to save some money. Here are some economy hints.
Minimize the amount of functions
Ideal mobile app should perfectly implement one function. Review your list of requirements and shorten it as much as possible. Ideally, you can order a Minimal Valuable Product (MVP).
Use standard design
Standard design is developed by the best programmers in the world. It is transparent for the user and allows him to concentrate on the app functions. If you don’t really need to develop a brand new design, use the standard one.
Apply components and libraries
Many mobile applications were already implemented by us. The modification of already developed components may remarkably reduce the app costs. Prior to starting the app development, consult us by using the online form.