How Much Does it Cost to Design an App?
We’ve already got an insight how much it costs to make a mobile app. Today we are going to talk about an average cost of application’s design – a thing that will be promoting your business and attracting people 24/7, a thing that is a powerful marketing tool.
When we ask ourselves: “How much does it cost to design an app for my startup?” we want to have all hidden reefs considered and the price estimated adequately.
So, what shall we start with when we are setting feet on the path of custom application’s creation? Just like planning a journey, it starts with a plan! A project design, a concept development.
The cost to design an app comprises plenty of nuances, each of which should be considered individually at every stage of design creation.
What are these stages?
I. Data collection and analysis.
When you outline a strategy for the primary purpose of your application, this automatically determines the needs of UX/UI design that are going to be implemented.
• Setting goals and defying problem, for which an app should provide solution. For determination and streamlining of the best design features and functions of your application, set a clear business goal.
• Audience definition. The key question here is “Who are we doing this for?” At this stage market and consumer research are performed, and discussions with stakeholders are conducted.
• Identification of user roles, creation of use cases, behavioral scenarios and collection of user stories.
Influencing factor #1. Hours spent. In some cases, fixed budget scheme is used, but alternatively, when working at complex design projects, it is reasonable to have regard to the number of screens rendered. Anyways, all cases are discussed individually, so that all advantages of this or that type of payment are availed of.
Influencing factor #2: Choosing mobile platforms and devices. In many cases, Android apps take more time (15-20%) to be developed in comparison with iPhone ones. Consequently, you would need to be ready to pay more for designers’ time in this case. All pros and cons of platforms available are described in the article How to Choose a Mobile Development Platform?
Roughly estimated time: 20 to 40 hours.
What do we get at this stage? This is where we find out what the customer wants and make all necessary preparations in order to start satisfying his or her request.
• At this stage, we develop and validate concepts, build workflow and perform usability testing. This is where user experience (UX) design starts being turned into reality. The whole app idea passes a feasibility test.
Do not rush. You need to decide how many multiscreens your application will need. This doesn’t only become a starting point for designers you hire, but also directly influences potential price to design a mobile app.
Influencing factor #3: A simple dependency: the more screens – the higher is the cost.
Influencing factor #4: You may want to design different interfaces for various screen sizes or set a limit and stick to one specific screen size for a smartphone or tablet.
Influencing factor #5: Native, web or hybrid application. We discussed the nuances in our Mobile app Development: Native vs Cross Platform App article
Roughly estimated time: 40 to 80 hours.
What do we get at this stage? Prototyping is about taking your idea and embedding it into application with some basic functionality. A prototype is an essential thing, which allows your potential customers see tangible benefits of your product instead of getting meager visualization and product description. A good prototype supplies half of the progress to your project design, which we discussed in details in our article about importance about prototyping
Creation and iteration of prototypes may take more time than it is expected initially. However, good prototyping in fact is able to save your budget. How’s that? The thing is that with prototyping, the team already has all the structure needed to start working on features, by the time the project moves to development stage. This also minifies the risk of changing user requirements that may occur in the life cycle of a project.
Influencing factor #6: Changes in user requirements
We at Erminesoft always work together with the client to avoid or eliminate all possible misunderstandings and save time and budget, so that final products exceeds our mutual expectations.
III. Incorporation of visual (UI) design
If previous stages answered the question “Why are we doing this?”, design answers to the question “How are we doing this?”
• At this stage, all app’s screens are rendered and the content and elements are organized for each screen with consideration of previously approved color scheme.
• Visual design shows you how the product will work, as the user moves from one screen to another.
• Wireframes – skeletons of future design – are created. They serve to add functionality to each screen and to demonstrate the dependency between the screens – just grey boxes with main elements. Thus, wireframes are representation of design elements, deprived of interactive component. Their role lies in communication and documentation.
• When a wireframe starts being interactive, it becomes a prototype – an interactive representation of the final product. What is the role of a prototype? It models user experience, simulates user interface design and helps performing extensive user testing. It allows stakeholders reviewing a solution, so that it is tested with users before spending money on coding.
Roughly estimated time: 40 to 200+ hours
What do we get at this stage? We get the essence, feel and look of the product. This means choosing the right colors, shapes, fonts, frames etc. Final product design, including logo, all the icons, screens, pictures and images are sent to the client, packed in PSD (or .png) files.
How much does a mobile app design cost depending on a global location?
It is in fact an influencing factor #6.
The following are hourly rates for design services in various countries:
• US and Canada - $50-150 per hour
• Western Europe and UK - $65-130 per hour
• Eastern Europe - $30-50 per hour
• India - $5-25
Not obvious, but essential things
Many our clients come to us, inspired with some ideas, borrowed from competitive companies. We don’t recommend such approach, since without deep competitor analysis, it is not possible to estimate the effectiveness of this or that feature. It means a person might want copy business mechanisms and features that are in fact ineffective.
However, blindly rushing to the frontline, chasing some “innovative ideas” (such a vogue word combination!) is not a good strategy as well. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. You just need to perform a thorough market analysis to see what was missed out by competitors and catch up on these missed opportunity. This will give your customer what they really needed. And this is our ideology.
We have the edge of the best trends and best practices, but we create unique design, which is not just beautiful, but functional. Our designers have an inner sense of what would be a ticket to success to this particular project. They may win client’s heart with splash of wild colors or, vice versa, a lean and simple image, an abundance of catchy details or minimalistic concept. For this, we investigate motivations of target audience, mind competitors and compose a unique problem solving approach.
To sum it all up, a cost to design an android app or iOS app depends on the following things:
• Complexity of the app and number of custom elements
• A type and number of platforms and devices the app would be used at
• Amount of features implemented and screens rendered
• Designers’ proficiency and experience
• Geographical location of design services company
• Possible changes of user requirements
Effective marketing starts with effective design, since well-built UX design is a determinant factor in promoting your product.
Wanna we satisfy you? Ask for more our Lead UX designer Eugenia at firstname.lastname@example.org. Put 'design for me' in a subject line.