How long does it take to build a mobile app?

Mobile technologies are evolving at an incredible pace. The number of users of mobile applications increases year by year. According to research conducted by IAB Poland, in 2018 it has already reached almost 90% and the upward trend is maintained1.

Although a website is usually enough to make a lot of business ideas come true, mobile applications have greater potential than websites and contribute to the dynamic development of most companies. 

Last year’s Spicy Mobile report shows that users spend as much as 16 times more time in apps than browsing websites!2

It therefore appears that the launch of an application increases the development potential of the company. No wonder that more and more companies decide to use them for better contact with their customers.  

What does such a process look like and how to prepare for it? You’ll find answers to these questions below. 

Mobile app in a few weeks. Is it even possible? 

Creating a functional mobile app in such a short time is a huge challenge.

The time spent on development depends largely on the complexity of the project. Different stages of application development directly affect each other. 

The most important factors that determine the time to build a mobile app are: 

  • understanding of the market,  
  • the size of the budget, 
  • the number of changes made during the project, 
  • complexity of the application. 

Stages of application development 

The application-building phases correspond to the phases of a standard IT project. The development team along with PM and an analytic therefore starts by conducting detailed research on the market and planning their activities. 

The next stage is design and development.

In the final phase, tests are carried out and the solution is implemented. 

Step I: research and planning

Phase one focuses on defining main features of the application. The initial actions come down to research and planning.  

When you create a mobile app, you need to have an idea for it. You should find the reason for it to be built and check whether a similar one already exists. Answering these questions will allow you to learn more about your prospect customers and understand the target market, as well as determine its size. If you decide to use the help of an experienced technology provider (read this article to learn how to choose one), you will most probably receive support in the field of business needs analysis. 

This stage is particularly important because it helps you to verify your idea. However, it greatly affects the total amount of time you will need to build your application.  

Testing the idea will ensure that users receive it positively. But it is identifying a target audience that will help improve the app and shape it in the right direction. 

Although the first stage usually takes several weeks, it’s crucial, because it will help you avoid errors during development phase, thereby saving time in subsequent stages. 

However, as you can already see, it’s impossible to create a fully functional and efficient mobile application for your business within just a few weeks. A few weeks is the amount of time you need to conduct a professional IT analysis only. 

Okay. But what’s next? 

Step II: defining features

After analyzing the data collected during stage one and making sure that the idea is correct, you can proceed to phase two. 

It focuses mainly on determining the functions and characteristics of the project. This is the stage at which the tasks and operations performed by the application are identified and “the storyboard” (a virtual representation of the user interface) is created.

The time needed for this stage is usually from 3 to 5 weeks. 

Step III: development

Phase three lasts from 1 to 2 months and includes, among others, a technical assessment of the feasibility of the application. This is to confirm that previously planned features will work properly in real life. These are, in practice, compatibility checks between front-end and back-end systems. 

An undisturbed communication flow between the development team and the business owner of the project are crucial. In this phase, a prototype is also created to allow to build the final version of the application. 

Step IV: testing and implementation

The last phase is testing the application.

Alpha tests that detect serious errors and beta tests that reveal problems and glitches during daily use, generally take 3 to 4 weeks. They guarantee the release of a product that meets the requirements of users and satisfies its owners. 

Therefore, they are very important to the success of the whole project.  

A recipe for a perfect app

Application development is a long and complex process that requires good preparation and a lot of patience. Considering the steps described above, it can take even up to 5 months!  

That’s why, it is important to understand that time should not be the determining factor when building an application. Otherwise, the effect can be completely different from the intended, and the product – unprofessional and substandard to consumer requirements. And believe us, you don’t want to make a non-functional product available to your end audience. 

In app stores, you can find countless apps that don’t meet users’ expectations and are full of bugs. Instead of making life easier, they cause frustration, resulting in a counterproductive effect. 

Applications that required from developers much more commitment and time, on the contrary, are intuitive and easy to use. They also achieve much better results – they have hundreds of thousands of downloads, good reviews and big numbers of satisfied users. However, we all need to bear in mind that such applications were not created in a week or two!