How long it takes to build a mobile application?

Business starts providing requirements for any application with already planned deadline. There is limited time to estimate the work and it is crucial task .


Let us start with a set of generic mobile app challenges in development.

  • Type of Mobile app :  Whether we need to build a stand-alone mobile application or connected application or hybrid application.
  • Developer Skills:  Overlap between developer skill versus the application features.
  • User interface design:  Can the developer implement the UI design ? Can designer simplify the design the limitation of the developer?
  • Testing experience :  Mobile app testing is beyond emulator testing. The experience depends on the various devices tested and various user scenarios tested. A old constrained mobile gives you matured testing experience than high end mobile. Ex: arrival of  phone call  or changing orientation in while playing audio or video.
  • App Publish and Approval:  Is the developer aware of the publish requirements and store approval process to prepare app better to get through in seamless fashion?.  For Android it takes couple of hours and Apple it might be a week or more.

Let us consider the application in the following development areas and identify assumptions.

  • Regular Server Side Development:  Look for the scope of regular mobile app features  like user management, access control registration, identification of the mobile device and design requirements like application upgrades, monitor usage and analyze user behavior and storing  the analytic data in server.
  • Custom Server Side Development:  Look for the interaction with third party web service, support multiple data format optimized for rendering on mobile, protecting content copyrights, supporting  data stream or  rendering of maths and chemistry symbols and support low speed internet, the need for location based tracking  and whether storage of tracked information might violate general privacy policy of the end user.
  • Are you breaking the user flow?: Look what happens to user flow when negative things happen or the mobile device status in mid of an operation? How to receive feedback and errors?
  • Sync Content & Data: Ability to sync data across devices for the end user is challenge. Ability to sync content based on user preference on regular basis. Is there a need to sync with other data sources like LinkedIn.
  • Media Related Features : More developers have experience with form based applications than audio and video applications. The experience level of your team  developing media applications and testing across a different devices can be a important criteria.