Mobile App Development Budgeting Mistakes
If youâ€™re new to mobile app development, one of the top things on your mind probably is â€“ and should be â€“ the budget. Budgeting for a mobile app may seem impossible, but individuals and businesses successfully do it all the time. All you need to do is anticipate your needs, the costs, and where the money is coming.
You canâ€™t anticipate everything that youâ€™ll need to know until you get started, but there are a couple of common mistakes that you can and should watch out. Many of these mistakes are opportunities to lose time and money or even your app, though approaching them from the right direction can help you to make your app as effective as possible.
Not Planning for All Platforms From the Beginning
There are dozens of coding languages out there, but none of them work for every application. If you arbitrarily pick a coding language because itâ€™s a favorite of the first affordable coder that you meet, your app may work on one or two platforms, but it wonâ€™t for everything.
Having an app that doesnâ€™t work on popular platforms severely limits your customer base. That means that if your app doesnâ€™t work for every platform that you need it to; youâ€™ll have to have the app designed one or two more times. Planning for an app that works on multiple platforms from the beginning can save you a lot of time, energy, and money.
Mobile app development is changing all the time, and one of the most exciting adoption happening right now is the increasing popularity of React Native. This coding tool developed by Facebook helps to quickly, easily, and cheaply develop mobile apps that work on all platforms but only need to be coded once. To know if this approach is right for your app, research the tool and bring it up when you are talking to potential developers.
Underestimating Backend Development and API Integration
You might know the business, and you certainly know your business, but if you donâ€™t know much about coding, itâ€™s easy to make a significant and fundamental budgeting mistake. That mistake involves underestimating backend development and API integration.
â€œBackend developmentâ€ is a term for all of the work that goes on â€œbehind the scenesâ€ of an app. Thatâ€™s compared to the â€œfrontend,â€ which is what users see of the app. The more complex the frontend, the more complex the backend. Depending on what your app needs, the backend may be pretty complicated, even if it doesnâ€™t look like much from the frontend.
API integration is a part of backend development that allows programs and files to interact with one another. Itâ€™s more complicated than you might think, especially if your app is relatively complex.
Underestimating backend development and API integration indicate that you donâ€™t earmark enough money to go toward funding your app development. Of course, it can also mean that coders could take advantage of that fact.
The best way to avoid underestimating the cost and being played by predatory companies is to approach a number of companies for quotes. This should give you an idea of what a high and a low figure looks like so that you can hire a coder who is both reliable and affordable.
The good news is that while there are predatory companies out there, most development firms know that they will get the most business if they operate with honesty and transparency.
Ignoring Hybrid Development Options
We talked a little bit about platform compatibility earlier on, but thereâ€™s more to that conversation.
Not planning can mean that your app needs to be designed two or even three times to meet the biggest possible audience, depending on the coding language that was used. However, if you start your conversation with potential developers by talking about hybrid development, this struggle can be avoided.
Hybrid development is a coding strategy that allows for an app to work on multiple devices. Hybrid development works by incorporating aspects of web development and mobile-specific development.
Hybrid development is much cheaper and much easier than designing the app for one platform at a time â€“ a strategy called â€œnative development. However, it can also mean that your app has trouble accessing some mobile device tools and features. Of course, this may or may not be a problem, depending on what your app needs to be able to do.
For example, if your app doesnâ€™t need to work with systems like cameras or speakers, the limitations of hybrid development may not pose a problem to you.
For a productive and early conversation about hybrid development, be sure that you know what platforms you want your app to run on and what you need it to be able to do.
Ignoring User Testing and Improvements in the Budget
Another common mistake is budgeting for only the development and not for user testing and improvements.
User testing is an advanced part of the development process that involves allowing users to interact with content before it is finalized. User testing is essential because what was planned on paper may not be precisely what the actual users want. Unfortunately, users and designers donâ€™t always see things eye to eye, but in the end, it is the users that will decide the success of the app.
User testing can get relatively expensive, especially if you go with advanced user testing methods like AB testing and multivariate testing. These methods of user testing allow selections of users to interact with different versions of the same content to see which version works the best.
Of course, successful user testing may mean that the developers need to go back and change some things, which will probably mean additional expenses.
Ignoring Alternative Options Like Progressive Web Apps and Responsive Sites
With the popularity of apps these days, itâ€™s possible that you jumped the gun on deciding to go for an app. Other options may serve you just as well while saving you a lot of time and money.
Progressive web apps and responsive websites are regular websites that are optimized for appearance and utility on mobile devices. Because they are websites at heart, they will work on all mobile devices. They wonâ€™t allow users to do everything that an app would, but you might not need your tool to do everything that an app would.
Apple/Google App Store Restrictions and Rework
Even once you have a functional app, there are restrictions on what apps can be hosted on iTunes or Androidâ€™s App Store. Considering these restrictions as you go along can help you to make sure that your app fits the criteria as you develop rather than finishing an app and finding out that you need to change something for it to be hosted.
Suppose the worst-case scenario happens: youâ€™ve created your app, youâ€™ve exhausted your budget, the app works, but for whatever reason iTunes and the App Store wonâ€™t host it. Itâ€™s not as bad as you might think. You donâ€™t need to throw the app away or even change it to get it accepted.
You can always have the app available for download on your website. This means that people wonâ€™t be able to find it unless they go to your website, but if youâ€™re a small business with a small audience, that might suit you just fine.
Too Much Focus on UI
Just like itâ€™s possible to not focus enough on user interaction, itâ€™s possible to focus on it too much. Sometimes apps and tools are hard to use by their nature, not because someone did something wrong.
If you have a tool that works, dumping time, energy, and money into making it perfect may mean that other aspects of the app arenâ€™t optimized or even that the app doesnâ€™t launch on time.
Balanced concern for user interface and user testing is essential. If you write user testing into your budget, you can create a complete and workable app and then go back to the testing phase with your remaining budget.
Third Party Components
Making sure that your app is optimized for different mobile devices is important, but what about third party components? Ranging from microphones, headphones, and speakers to cables and VR headsets, few mobile users use mobile devices along with devices all made by the same company.
There are countless third-party hardware suppliers, and it may be impossible to try to make your app compatible with all of them. However, if your app needs to work with tools like headphones and speakers, it will be worth your time to find out what the top third-party producers are and make sure that your app works with them.
If your needs are simple, your app might not need to be as expensive as some of the quotes that you may have seen. You also may not need to worry about all of the mistakes mentioned above.
However, you should be aware of all of them so that you can accurately express your needs as you search for a developer. Being able to plan ahead and explore all of your options wonâ€™t only save you money, it will help to make sure that your app is as successful as possible and that it works for as many of your customers as possible.