Building an App in 2021: How Long Does It Take?

August 29, 2021
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Everyone is relying on mobile devices and their apps to meet their needs in 2021. Some of us couldn’t help but wonder: how was this app created? Too many questions to ask! How long does it take to build an app? How much does it cost to build an app? Or how do you build an app?

A detailed answer to these questions might take prolonged hours, and although we plan to answer most of them in our blog, today we will start with an easy topic and its slightly brief answer:

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO BUILD AN APP?

IT WILL TAKE EXACTLY 532 HOURS IN TOTAL… is the accurate answer we wish to be possible. Unfortunately, the math is more complicated than that, to give such accurate numbers is fiction, and what mobile developers can provide are only estimates.

Let’s say you woke up one day with a million-dollar idea for an app. You are sure that it is going to work, you are sure that it has purpose, you researched the idea, you don’t even need to prototype the app, but you have no clue how long it will take to develop this app and deploy it. This article is for you.

We will share with you the estimated duration for each developing step, keeping in mind that time estimations differ depending on the complexity/scale of the app, so to simplify things for you, we will divide app scales into three categories: small, medium, and big sized apps:

Scoping & Wireframing the app:

The first step when creating an app is Wireframing. This is like creating the blueprints for the app, including schemes, designs, flow, choosing a team, etc. You basically must create detailed requirements and turn them into a workable strategy.

The duration of this process will be different depending on the size of the app, and it will most probably take this long:

Small Apps -> 1-3 weeks

Medium Apps -> 4-7 weeks

Big Apps -> 8-10 weeks

Designing the app:

You have the Wireframe; you know everything there is to know about the project. Now you must turn words into a picture and create a design for the app.

UI/UX designing isn’t the easiest of processes, and it is in fact crucial for an app’s success, furthermore, time estimations might differ depending on the designing team. However, our estimates are like this:

Small Apps -> 2-3 weeks

Medium Apps -> 4-6 weeks

Big Apps -> 7-9 weeks

If you want to know more about UI/UX design, you could read: UI/UX Design: 11 Rules Every Developer Wants You to Follow.

Coding, testing, and deploying:

Plans established, design is ready, and the painting is almost complete. It’s time to write some code. After that, the software should be tested to check if it is working smoothly as planned (the more testers the better). After testing, deploying the app in the market is like adding the final touches to the painting. And although an app can be developed in different ways, we believe that coding usually takes the lion’s share when it comes to durations, so our expectations look a bit like this:

Small Apps -> 4-6 weeks

Medium Apps -> 6-9 weeks

Big Apps -> 10+ weeks

What is the tally?

Well, we say that between scoping, scheming, wireframing, designing, coding, testing, beta testing, and deployment it would take a total of:

Small Apps -> 7-13 weeks (2-4 months)

Medium Apps -> 14-22 weeks (4-6 months)

Big Apps -> 25+ weeks (6+ months)

BUT this does not mean that the app is now perfect with no further modifications needed. It only means that you have an app that can be used by users. Apps constantly require maintenance, and even after you launch the app, you’ll still need to dedicate time to it, which brings us to the question:

How long does it take to build a perfectly completed app?

The answer to this question is hard. Apps as well as technology are constantly developing in obedience to the market’s needs, they exist to make our lives easier. Their themes and designs emerge and change constantly. They will keep on progressing, and they will always need maintenance to keep up with global platforms as they are becoming more advanced. So, when does the app get completed perfectly? An app is completed when the vision ends. The vision ends when the imagination reaches its limits. And from our point of view, building the perfect app is a constant never-ending process.

How to speed up the app building process?

There are many ways you could speed up the process, but we specifically chose these 6 tips because they don’t restrict imaginative methods:

  1. Hire professionals. The line is thin between cheap and affordable. Creating an app for 1000$ will conceivably end up badly. However, hiring affordable professionals saves your day almost always. Hire a professional.
  2. Make sure that the team works in harmony. Professionals oftentimes get hired to work on a project to achieve exceptional results, instead they end up harming the project because they don’t know how to teamplay.
  3. Outsource. Time is important, especially for startups. Outsourcing will save you time, effort, and introduce new expertise.

Check out our other article: Outsourcing to Ukraine in 2021? STOP & Read This.

  1. Keep a flexible team size. Most of the times plans do not work as hoped, so don’t be hesitant to request additional support by adding members to the team. The outstaffing community is constantly growing and ready to help. FlairDev is always ready to offer support for other businesses.
  2. Use automated testing, even if you are manually testing. When an AI is present for quality testing, it saves time by crossing-off a big bunch of tests that would take hours if manually tested.
  3. When possible, create a prototype or an MVP. They help you save a lot of time and imagine future implementations better. (Fun fact: Airbnb started as an MVP)

Check out our other article: Top 13 Reasons Your Startup Business Failed

Key statistics:

Mobile apps might cost as low as 1000$ for what might barely be called an app, or as high as a few hundred thousand dollars for a big complex one. As per Apple’s official site, the App Store had a bit more than 425,000 apps 10 years ago, compared to 1.8 million apps in 2021. And as per a statistic published by the Statista Research Department, Google Store (previously known as Android Market) had 400,000 app in 2011 compared to around 3.6 million apps in 2018, and 2.9 million today.

10 years ago, no one would have thought that apps will become this advanced; analyzing and fulfilling our needs this fast, this easy, this convenient, and generating hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue yearly. Keeping that in mind, let’s have a look at apps after 10 years, our expectations are that we will look back in time and be surprised of how basic apps were in 2021. This is part of what technology advancement is about.

Check out the FlairDev’s created app: Mello, you could download it here for IOS, or download it here for Android.

Conclusion:

Our take is that apps are becoming more and more essential in our lives. The mobile industry is growing daily and expected to become a trillion-dollar industry. Regardless, we doubt that any fine app would take less than 2 months to create; most would take between around 3-6 months. You could plan neatly and follow a few tips to speed up the process, but that wouldn’t significantly change the outcome.

Let us know what you think, and please share the article with others if you like what you have read. It would help us a lot in providing more and better content in the future.

Also, if you have an inquiry about a project, considering us means you support startups. Contact us here, we promise to answer in the most helpful and clearest way.

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