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How Long does It take to Build an App

Whenever you are planning to build an app, the first and foremost question that would come to your mind is the time it takes to build an app. You want to know as it helps you determine the product timeline and set up a plan for your product launch. The duration may vary based upon the scope of the project and the process you follow.

A smaller app will take shorter time compared to a bigger app.  I will take an example of three apps with varying size and then will show you typically how long it takes to complete those apps. This will give you an idea of how long your app might take.

I am taking the example of Instagram App, I have listed all the features in existing App and grouped features to make a small sized, mid sized and large sized Instagram app.

 

This table will help you determine in which category your app falls in.

Features

Small Version

Mid Size

Version

Large

Version

Login/Signup with Email, Facebook, Forgot Pswd, Change Password

YES

YES

YES

Newsfeed with activities

YES

YES

YES

Access Phone Camera, Take Photo, Add/Upload Photo from Gallery, post in the app.

YES

YES

YES

Follow/Following Other Users

YES

YES

YES

Share Photo Facebook

YES

YES

YES

Search Users, View User Profiles, Edit Profile

YES

YES

YES

Connect to Facebook Friends, Invite Facebook Friends

YES

YES

YES

Like & Comment

YES

YES

YES

Login/Signup with Phone No, Phonebook Access, Invite phone contacts to the app.

YES

YES

Share to Followers or Direct (While sharing photo/video, user can select whether they want to share with their followers or Direct with their friends)

YES

YES

Send Photo Directly to Specific Users

YES

YES

Add Story in the app (It is listed on Top of the Homepage. It is basically photo/video added with story/description.  When you click on any user profile photo, it will open photo/video and story added by the user. App will run user Story in a slider.)

Add Emoticons with Photo and Video

YES

YES

Capture Video, Add/Upload video in the post. Video Playing.

YES

YES

Push Notifications

YES

YES

Add Locations, Tag People in Photo/Video

YES

YES

Share on Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr

YES

YES

Messaging/Chatting

YES

Apply Filters & Photo Editing

YES

See Following Activity

YES

Advanced Upload Settings

YES

Suggestions by App for users and content

YES

Multilingual App

YES

How Long it takes to do scoping and the requirements.

Scoping and requirement gathering is the first step for any app development.

You want to capture the feature list, create detailed requirements and scope of the app. If you are good at it, you can do it in 1-2 weeks for a smaller app, 2-3 weeks for a mid-sized app and 3-4 weeks for a bigger app. You will have to look at other apps in the market and decide what features are important for your mobile app.

Small App

1-2 weeks

Mid Size App

2-3 weeks

Big Size App

3-4 weeks

How long it takes to do  UI/UX Design is needed?

The design is the most crucial step to building the mobile app.

The process requires creating the wireframes for the mobile application based on the requirements and review/adjust them. Once wireframes are done, the graphical UI design needs to be completed which includes font, color, theme, and images for the App.

For a simple app, you need 3-4 weeks to for this process, 6-7 weeks for a mid-sized app and 9-10 weeks for a bigger app design process involving several UI and UX experts.

Small App

2-3 weeks

Mid Size App

5-6 weeks

Big Size App

9-10 weeks

How long it takes to do development and testing.

Most of startups and individuals want to build apps with lots of features imaginable.  Based on the feature list and type of company, will determine the time it takes to develop the app. You will need to build the mobile app and also the backend for the mobile app. All development: iOS App, Android App, and the backend should happen in parallel. For the smaller version, it can be achieved in 2 months, a mid-sized app can take around 3-3.5 months while a big sized app might take around 5-6 months. This will involve technical architecture, UI coding, backend setup, functional implementation, integration, and testing.

You should have 5-10 alpha testers during this process.

Small App

6-7 weeks

Mid Size App

14-15 Weeks

Big Size App

20-22 Weeks

How much time to do beta testing and deployment.

Once your app is fully developed, you want to do beta testing to find out additional possible bugs. You can spend 1-3 weeks on beta testing depending on the size of your app.

Make sure to have a list of beta testers ready and do the testing very aggressively to complete it.

Small App

1 Week

Mid Size App

2 Week

Big Size App

3 Week

As you can see that time for each step will depend upon the size of the app. At a high level, you want to keep around 10-12 weeks for a small app, 23-25 weeks for a mid-sized app and 35-38 weeks for a large sized app.

You will also want to make sure that you have an experienced team working on your app, otherwise it can get delayed.


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Jeremy Webb

Chief technologi.st & Adventurer about.me/jeremy.webb

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