#Entrepreneurship #Guides | 21 min read | Updated: 8/16/2022

How Long Does it Take to Build an App in 2022: Development Time and Expert Tips

Updated: 8/16/2022
, Chief Strategy Officer of Sloboda Studio

How long does it take to make an app? – that’s what the IBM Simon smartphone creators asked themselves back in 1992. Since it was the first experience ever creating an app, nobody answered. 

An as long history has shown, almost two years passed from the concept to the mobile app release.

There are nearly 18 billion downloads for different types of apps worldwide. The number of companies that have an app in 2022 and beyond will increase with a turbo effect. If you wanted to know how long does it take to make an app, below we get businesses acquainted with the figures and details of the mobile app building time.

App Development Stages and Their Timeframes

In 2021, the world’s number of mobile internet users grew to 4,3 billion.

The number will reach 5,5 billion users by 2025 from more than 150 countries worldwide. If companies still don’t have a mobile app, they lose potential customers.

In addition to a loyal audience that will use the mobile apps, the company can significantly increase its income and return on investment.

That is why, if companies haven’t had their mobile app yet, they can change this situation.

How much time does it take to build an app: mobile apps revenue worldwide

Source: Statista

Average mobile app development time can take 6 to 9 months. It depends on project complexity, functionality, and software provider experience. 

However, as practice shows, each mobile app creation process doesn’t look the same because of the product requirement.

Nevertheless, the good practice is to consider how much time takes on average at various project stages.

How much time does it take to make apps: 7 app development stages from idea and design to maintenance and support

Forming a Clear Business Idea

This stage usually takes no more than 1-2 weeks. The importance of this stage exists for some companies that

  • do not have a clear design and features of their future app
  • cannot formulate business goals
  • can’t realize the full range of tasks for the creation process
Wht forming a clear business idea is vital when making apps

A mobile app development process without a clear business idea and unique design is a long way to nowhere. 

“Entrepreneurs are often so passionate about their ideas, they can lose objectivity,” adds Nancy A. Shenker, president of the ONswitch LLC, a full-service marketing firm in Westchester, New York. “Rather than taking the time to develop and research thoroughly, they sometimes plow ahead with the execution, only to spend valuable dollars on unfocused or untargeted activities.”

Idea Business Analysis

The business analysis stage takes up to four or five weeks long. Business analysis is best carried out from 4 positions: 

  • company
  • potential customers
  • competitors
  • future (current) business development team 

A mobile app must have specific characteristics and develop certain products or services. Companies should consider how their product will differ from competitors and solve customer problems. In 2022, when there is so much plagiarism and pseudo-custom goods around. Uniqueness is a value customers want to receive from a product they trust.

Next, an assessment of the market and the weaknesses/strengths of the product is needed. Only then will it be possible to conclude whether the product will be attractive or not to users. It will be able to receive financing and determine whether customers’ expectations will be met.

Idea Validation

The validation process usually takes from three to six weeks. Before developing a mobile app, companies should test their design and plan before spending time and money. It is possible that users will not be willing to pay for a new product, or the view will be too similar to competitive ones, which will initially develop outrage among users with an identical product.

The purpose of checking a concept is to ensure that your concept has actual demand. Otherwise, there is a real risk that it will become “just another cool proposal.”

The concept must either solve a real problem, fulfill its purpose, or stimulate the process. Testing an app aim and then seeing how it solves a specific issue. However, it is a risky process to build a mobile application and then look for ways to use it. 

One of the best examples of effective idea validation is Mailchimp. This company also started its journey as a website for electronic meetings, but this design didn’t pass the test. Instead, visitors expressed their wishes to help them with marketing mailings, which became their main project. The company currently has a website and an app for iOS and Android. As we know, Mailchimp’s revenue was $800 million in 2021.

Google Glass – just another example of a seemingly good design and aim. It has been implemented, but no one knows how and why to use Google Glass. 

A new type of glasses sold poorly looked unattractive and had some safety and health problems. The process of building them seemed excellent. However, it did not have strong support, and the question was why people needed them, if not for a beautiful picture on Instagram that they had touched a new modern reality.

Design Sprints 

why design sprints is crucial when you are building mobile apps

The design sprint is a high-quality methodology for solving problems through prototyping and user behavior research for mobile and web apps. Design sprints usually take from three to six weeks long. They consist of the following stages:

  • Project formation and app goals definition
  • Sketching
  • Prototyping
  • Testing

Design sprints are organized to build and test a prototype in just a few days. Many companies, including Spotify and Starbucks, have used the design sprint process to improve the user-journey experience, increase stickiness, and figure out what to sell next. For example, Coca-Cola held a design sprint process last year with an agency partner to figure out how to launch the DTC experience in Austria.

Development and Testing

As a rule, any modern mobile app development requires at least one full-stack mobile app developer. In 2022, companies need to build universal cross-platform opportunities. In the case of cross-platform apps (compatible with both Android and iOS), the creation time takes six to twelve weeks. Still, companies will receive twice as many visitors in the end.

It’s crucial to understand that the process depends on the functional content of the app.

However, development and speed matter and timely testing with finding bugs. Sometimes untimely testing can cause a slowdown in growth since some features may depend on each other.

However, some companies may conduct it after the development stage time. And here, it is essential not to miss important points. There are risks of any time errors that can violate the entire structure.

Product Launch: Deploying to the App Stores

The last step to distributing the apps globally is publication in the app stores. Depending on the chosen and developed platform, publishing an app differs. For example, the App Store has stricter rules and time regulations for the release of the apps; unlike Google Play, there is also a price difference.

Optimizing a mobile app to the app store requirements is the key to successful deployment. If everything is done correctly, it takes such a time scale as 7 to 14 days to publish the submitted app in the app stores.

All companies’ goal is to spread the word so that the target audience will know about it. Then, businesses will receive long-awaited downloads.

Maintenance and Support

The last and final stage of the app development cycle is not included in the app development stages, but it is critical. Maintenance and support is a process that should not be interrupted. It should consist of such elements as:

  • Server monitoring
  • Periodic backing up of data
  • Updating apps
  • Debagging apps

Contrary to popular belief, the app creation process doesn’t end when an app is published in the app stores. This milestone marks the beginning of a prominent mobile app’s journey. 

It’s vital to remember that the speed of development and deployment affects success because of competitors. Below is an example of the average value of the pace of the mobile app, focusing on these stages.

Complete App Development Process

StageAverage time
1. Business Idea Formation1 week
2. Business Analysis3 weeks
3. Idea Validation4 weeks
4. Design Sprints2 weeks
5. Development and QA8 weeks
6. Deployment1 week
Total time17 weeks

Usually, the app development takes six-time stages and is at least seventeen weeks long. Still, the seventh stage – maintenance and support is critical at any time. It takes the app to be more reliable and valuable for customers.

The size of the mobile apps matters and directly affects the development time speed. A simple mobile app with minimal functionality will be developed within ten weeks. However, a complex enterprise development app takes thirty-six weeks. 

It is important to remember that an experienced developers’ team never offers mobile development without a discovery phase or product ideation and testing – because these are inseparable phases that directly affect the success of the app in the future. 

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How To Do a Research on Your Application Idea

Many startups are trying to skip such a critical stage as the Discovery Phase to save money and time. However, this rash decision will later result in financial losses, violation of launch deadlines, and an even worse project option is the launch of a product that is irrelevant to the audience. Companies should develop Discovery Phase first to follow the best scenarios for developing their long-term software.

Discovery Phase is the first stage of the development process. With the help of expert teams, businesses can conduct the research of the project concept, discover competitors, and create correct tech requirements.

If the market doesn't need such apps, entrepreneurs waste the time and money

Source: Fortunly

Discovery Phase

Globally, the goal of the discovery phase is to build a bridge between the concept and its best possible implementation. It helps to understand the market, users, their “pain” and measure the app’s success.

There are at least five main benefits companies perform the Discovery Phase:

  • Fewer expenses and a properly planned development budget
  • Better understanding of the scope and goals of your software
  • Complete knowledge of the pain points and needs of customers
  • Rightly defined market positioning
  • Awareness of competitors week positions 

The Discovery Phase creates not only an opportunity to influence the development of the project and its construction, but it is also an excellent opportunity to test the partnership with a software development supplier and realize whether the companies are ready to continue working further. 

After the Discovery Phase, companies will receive an SRS (software requirement specification) document, in which such crucial mobile app development points are described:

  • Best suitable technology stack
  • Mobile Architecture
  • App functionality
  • User’s App navigation
  • Wireframes

After this advanced project analysis, many businesses get financing more easily and count on a faster launch.

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How to Validate Ideas Using Design Sprints

It is customary to use design sprints to test various aspects of development and see firsthand how the future user will feel about the app. This stage has many essential advantages:

  • Ability to track and change some functionality
  • Test navigation
  • Deep understanding of app project goals
  • Better app idea validation 

A design sprint is an excellent opportunity to create and validate an app idea in four design stages:

Project Formation and App Goals Definition

The understanding step is when all participants in the project design sprint build a shared knowledge base. This database is based on the information provided in

  • brief and lightning-fast conversations
  • interviews with users
  • exercises such as experience comparison

A team displays the user’s experience in a problem space or context step by step.

Having combined all the data, the teams develop and analyze the goals of the app and the expectations of app users.

Sketching

At the sketch design stage, the sprint team individually generates several ideas. The teams work together and make the range of ideas to one extended solution sketch per person.

Prototyping

At the prototype design stage, the sprint team is working together to build a prototype of the app concept. 

The prototype looks like a set of screens. It behaves like an actual mobile app, working as a “live” app but doesn’t have a back-end side. It can already be given to the client or user to immediately ship a stream of valuable feedback. Teams can build prototypes in Figma or Sketchbook by ordering frames on the screen or linking objects using connectors.

Testing

The sprint team will use their prototype to perform user research at the final design stage. Important observations during this process include user feedback, stakeholders, and technical feasibility reviews. 

The testing process will end with either a proven concept or a concept that will still need to be finalized, accompanied by helpful feedback notes.

How much time does it take to make an app: design sprint time and validation of app ideas

Importance of QA Testing After the Product Launch

Sometimes companies skip project testing after the launch hoping that the product will withstand the load. Even more – the system failure will pass by itself. However, miracles in the world of technology are not the result of a perfect match of circumstances but the hard work of experts.

One of the most representative cases happened with The British Passport Agency. They digitalized its passport processing system with new Siemens computers and mobile phones. Not only were they untested after the launch, but employees couldn’t figure out how to use them correctly.

These unknown digital passports caused long lines in front of the agency, delays in passport issuing, and substantial financial losses. 

The company has launched a mobile app, but this does not mean that the work is completed. Some problems, bugs, and inconveniences may appear out of nowhere. And the sooner the product is tested and all bugs are fixed, the sooner it will win the users’ trust.

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