Evaluating Costs for Development and Design

App development costs are typically segmented into two main categories: design costs and development costs. Design includes all aesthetic elements of the app and is one of the defining factors in how well your app will do after launch. When users select apps, they often do it based on the appearance of the app. As long as your app provides the core functionality the user is looking for, the decision to download or skip is typically made on the appearance of the app and the way it has been designed. While a web designer can often help you establish a nice look for your app, a mobile app designer can be an even better choice for defining the way that the aesthetic elements look on the app’s interface.

Typically when you purchase an app design package, you will be given a range of files that will include all necessary items such as icons, screens, backdrops, etc. It will also include a multitude of different image sizes as well to help the programmers perfectly fit the design elements into the app interface.

  • Mobile: $500 - $10,000 will get the basic design that you will need to send to the developer to incorporate into the code. Make sure to ask the developer for file names to include with the design files so that your developer can easily sort through them once they have been received.
  • Mobile with Older Device Compatibility: Add another 25% to the cost above, as the images will have to be resized to be compatible with older devices.
  • Tablet: Add 50% to the cost above. If the layout and design are very similar to the mobile development, then a tablet app should cost about 50% more than your original quoted cost.

Development Cost Breakdown

The development side of the cost equation deals primarily with the programming aspects involved in app development. Most app development firms will also include the cost of design in their programming because it is often challenging to incorporate images into the app after the programming has been started. The cost of your development project will rely heavily on what devices you want the app to be developed for and the type of app that you will be developing. Here is a breakdown of the costs associated with some of the most common types of apps: (Note: these prices may vary)

  • Simple App (Table-Based): $3500+ You will be asked to provide content, input, and samples for a simple app development project. If you also supply the graphical elements that will be used in the app, it will typically cost less. Any additional features that are added beyond the scope of the app’s simple functionality will also add to the cost.
  • Database App: $6,000+ This type of app will require more complex programming to ensure that the app maintains all of the functionality that you need. A web enabled content management system is usually needed to help you manage the app.
  • Gaming Apps: $10,000+ Gaming apps are harder to estimate because they can get tricky quickly. Most gaming apps can become very complex when integrating features such as Game Center connectivity, top score charts, custom animation, 3d modeling, etc...
  • Add-On Features (typically at an additional cost): Features such as in-app purchasing, sharing capabilities, web services, and Game Center will typically be added to the overall cost of developing an app. These features require more complex programming and take more time to create than simple standard apps so be sure to evaluate any add-on features that you want before developing your app.

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