How Much Does it Cost to Design an App in 2021?



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  • How much time does it take to design an app?
  • How much does it cost to design an app?
  • What are the factors that affect or impact the cost of mobile application design?

Do these questions bother you? If yes, this blog will answer your queries, one-by-one.

Businesses from all corners of the world are migrating from the physical world to the mobile realm. There’s an app for almost everything to cater to the changing needs of their business as well as the customer.
Here are some of the convincing statistics:

  • The average person uses about 30 different apps per month on their smartphone or tablet.
  • The number of mobile users is likely to rise to 7.1 billion by 2021. 
  • Roughly 57% of all digital media usage is performed via an app. 
  • More than 60% of internet users prefer to shop on mobile apps rather than websites.

In short, a mobile app makes your business more accessible to the users, increases your business value, drives more sales and delivers better value and services to your customers, in real-time.

Now, you must have a record-breaking idea but are in a fix about ‘how’ and ‘how much’. For ‘how’ refer to our previous blogs and to know in detail about the later, keep reading. But first thing first!

What is the mobile app design? 

What’s seen is sold. Right! 

It is the process of designing mobile apps while including faster loading times and user-friendliness. An app design comprises the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). While UI defines the overall style of the app (colours, fonts & look and feel), UX focuses on the actual functionality and usability.

Quality UI/UX design is a significant factor that contributes to the success of any product or specifically, mobile applications. A good design is the building block of any app development process. 

A well-designed, beautiful UI/UX design creates an impression, drives app engagement, escalates user retention and fosters customer loyalty.  

A brilliant idea, coupled with some not so fat bucks, is all it takes to get an attractive app. And let’s face it – An excellent mobile application design is worth putting money into. But exactly how much? 

In the next section, we have outlined the factors that influence the mobile app design cost and everything beyond to help you get started with mobile app design. Let’s dive in!

Stages of Mobile App Design 

The fundamental steps of the mobile app design include discussion, analysis, prototype designing, UI/UX and testing.

  • Discussion & Analysis – The very first step is aimed to figure out the needs/expectations of the targeted audience of the app. The research is done from the users’ perspective, the competitors and sustainable practices for solving your business challenges. The designers and project manager studies your audience well to determine the functionality of the app. 

Estimated time: 40 – 72 hours 

  • App structure development – This stage gives rise to the structure and navigation of the application. The subtle arrangement of all elements of the UI also takes place. This phase is essential because designers plan out and finalise the app flow that delivers the client’s needs. This factor greatly affects the mobile app design cost. 

Estimated Time: From 56 to a maximum of 100 hours (depending on the complexity of the project).

  • Prototyping (User Experience Design)- Prototyping or UX design is one of the crucial elements in the process of app design. Designing the user experience within an app includes Sketching, UX wireframes and UX wireframes with Native UI elements. This step is the most critical part that takes the most time (and cost accordingly). 
  • Sketches- Generally, sketches are used to display only the main and the most complicated app mechanisms. The overall concept of an app can be presented either by hand or by using popular sketching tools like Sketch, Figma, Buildfire, Adobe XD etc.
  • SkUX Wireframing- The structure of your future application with a focus on its usability and flow is rolled out during this stage. It gives you a general understanding of an app and all the functions it does. 
    UX Wireframes with Native UI Element-Adding well-defined fonts, buttons and regulatory style assists in providing an idea of the basic app interface and more detailed design structure. Other local UI components make up the UX wireframe. Tools like MARVEL, Figma, Balsamiq and Photoshop are used in this stage. 

Quick Read : How To Design A Social Media App

Estimated Time: From 60 to a maximum of 120 hours

  • Visual Design (UI) – Visual design is one of the best ways to convey the idea by the means of visual solutions. UI design particularly encompasses three elements – Logo, Icons of the app and Screens.

Based on UX wireframes, UI mockups are designed to help you grasp the basic idea behind the app.

This stage defines the look and feel of the application – its colour schemes, shapes, interior layers, typography, use of different elements and the overall appearance. 

We, at Ads N Url, do not just focus on what the users will see when they use the app but also what they would feel as they move from one screen to another.   

Estimated time: From 120 to a maximum of 336 hours.

How Much Does it Cost to Design a Mobile App? 

Though there is no straightforward answer to this question, it all comes down to the nature of your app. 

The cost of app design primarily depends on three factors i.e. Type & complexity of the app, the platforms on which it would be made and the country-wise app design cost. For example, the cost of developing an iOS app is higher than that of developing an Android app because of higher payments on the App store and stricter rules than Android. 

Given below is the broad classification of the factors that determine the cost to design a mobile app.

Based on purpose:

  • Social media
  • eCommerce
  • Business 
  • Gaming
  • Entertainment
  • Informative (News/Blogs/Articles)
  • Finance 
  • Weather

And more…

Based on the platform:

  • Native (single-platform) app development
  • Android
  • iOS
  • Windows
  • Cross-platform or Hybrid apps

The rate of the app design company.

Let us discuss the aforementioned and other factors in detail while talking about the app designing cost breakdown.

  • Mobile App Designing Cost by Location 
Hourly rate * Number of hours spent = App design price

Though most IT firms follow this pattern, the cost to design an app differs according to the countries. The table lists out the average cost to design a good looking app by countries:

Country Cost/Hour
  • Around 40 – 50% of app design companies charge between $25 to $49 per hour.
  • Rest 35% are available in less than $25/hour.
United States
  • 42% of US-based design agencies cost $150 to $200/hour.
  • 29% charges between $100 to $150 per hour. 
United Kingdom
  • 31% of companies charge between 50$ to $100 per hour.
  • 29% charges between $100 to $150 per hour. 
  • 37% of design companies charge $50 to $100 per hour.
  • 23% charge $100 to $149 per hour.
  • 27% charge $25 to $50 per hour.
  • 61% of design companies charge from $25 to $50 per hour
  • Around 33% charge from $50 to $99 per hour. 
  • Mobile App Designing Cost Based on Platform 

Every dollar invested in ease of use returns $10 to $100.

  • IBM

The mobile app designing cost differs from platform to platform. Platforms like Android and iOS vary in terms of their look, behaviour, navigation along with many other elements. 

Android should be in sync with diverse picture resolutions and formats. Whereas in Apple, there is very less need of screen size modifications due to its structured mechanism.

Platform  Cost Estimation
  • Only iPhone: $3,000 – $10,000 (Approximately, Excluding images)
  • iPhone 6 plus & ahead: +25% to base cost (includes retina display, high resolution files)
  • iPad: +50% to above cost
Android Varies according to the new frameworks, new industry trends and latest mobile app designing guidelines.
  • Mobile App Designing Cost by App Complexity 

When we talk about the app complexity, there are three levels that are considered to draw out the design cost estimate:

  • Simple  

Applications that are maximum 3 screens long and include no animations or interactive design elements. For example, apps like Calculator and Weather forecast come under this category.
A simple app will take around 100 to 160 hours to design. 

  • Medium 

The apps that include several screens made with interactive elements and animations. 
They are usually custom-made for Android and iOS platforms and heavily rely upon Google Material Design Principles and Human Interface Design Guidelines. 
Apps like WhatsApp and Uber fall under the category of medium complexity apps. Such kinds of apps usually take about 320 to 700 hours. 

  • High 

A lot of animations and transitions are used to help users move from one screen to another. The app includes multiple screens and usually works on multiple screens. The complex apps with custom animations can take around 1000 hours.
So, it must be clear now that the cost of developing an app depends largely on the purpose, audience and requirements of the businesses. 

How to Optimize the Mobile App Design Cost? Do utilize the following tips to optimize the designing cost of your app:   
  1. Plan well with lots of research and discussion.
  2. Take services of competent professionals/software designers and development vendors.
  3. Be actively engaged in the designing process.
Final Thought 

A good app, in the first instance, speaks for the company. And talking about the app development cost, it differs from app to app as well as company to company.

Planning, app designing, developing, and launching a mobile app design undergoes thorough research and development process.

Before you sign a cheque, do your homework, research the market and make a decision that suits your budgets and your future needs as well.

If you want to develop an app for your business and are not sure how to go about it, hire designers and developers from Ads N Url – A top-rated app development company that addresses your business requirements and offers tailored solutions accordingly at a low development cost. We’d love to talk about turning your idea into a reality.

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