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Building an App: How Long Does it Take To Build a Decent App?

How long will it take to build your mobile app? Well, how long is a piece of string? That’s just about the most annoying answer you can get to that question, we know.

However, it’s somewhat understandable why an app development company might not want to put a timeframe on your project. Chances are, you’ve asked this question before the app agency has had an opportunity to discuss with you at length all the factors – in addition to the production process itself – that will determine the time it takes to build your mobile app.

It’s not until you actually get into the scoping stage that you find this sort of information out. Nonetheless, an app development company could give you a rough estimate on the time to develop an app if it wanted to.

Research suggests that the average time it takes to build and release an app is 18 weeks, but, of course, this isn’t a hard and fast rule. This does not even include the time spent researching the market and coming up with an app idea – we’d like to think that you come to us after you’ve done that bit.

So let’s attempt to break those four and half months down:

Stage one: Defining the vision for your mobile app (2-4 weeks)

This is arguably the most important stage of the app building process. It’s during this phase that we will try to achieve a comprehensive understanding of your vision, through a series of ‘discovery sessions’. Following those meetings, we will go away and document the software requirements, before getting to work on some design concepts. In this phase we aim to dispel any nerves about the project you might have by reaching a point where everybody is in agreement about what is required to build a successful solution.

Audience research can also help you define the vision. Find out more in our guide to building the best app for your business.

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Stage two: mobile app Development and testing (8-12 weeks)

Once the words “Okay, I think we’ve got all that we need” have been uttered, we can get to work on the development and testing of your app. A project team will typically comprise of analysts, designers, developers and testers, harbouring skills in all leading mobile platforms including iOS, Android, Windows 8 and HTML5. The project team will draw upon the skills required to bring your vision to life, before subjecting the app to a client review and demo.

Stage three: Incorporating client feedback (1-2 weeks)

Once the app has been thoroughly tested, we will set about incorporating any client feedback and fixing bugs and broken links. We will also confirm capability with the mobile device/s that the app is going to be used on, leaving you with an end solution that works seamlessly on the CEO’s smartphone or tablet, who might be the first person not directly involved in the project to trial the app.

Stage four: Releasing your mobile app (a few days)

After development and testing is complete, the app is ready to be deployed, whether that be to the public app stores or via alternative routes for enterprise apps. Apple used to be notorious for taking around a fortnight to review and approve apps, but these days it shouldn’t take longer than 2-3 days.

So there you have it! Obviously, we can only speak for ourselves – other app developers may be able to get an app out the door a good deal quicker than 18 weeks. However, if it’s a decent app that you want – one that won’t frustrate users and leave them furiously typing a series of bad reviews – then it’s worth having the patience for a great end product.

If you want to know more about building apps, download our content offer – The Secret to Building the Best App for Your Business.


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Compsoft is a remote working company except for Thursdays when we work together from the Alton Maltings in Alton, Hampshire (UK). Our registered address is detailed below. We'd be delighted to have either a virtual chat with you or to make arrangements to meet in person.