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Finding mobile appiness in a world where consumers prefer brands which offer their own mobile apps.

Staff Reporter
August 8, 2023

It’s more important than ever that brands can develop new mobile apps quickly and cost-effectively writes Perry Krug , Head of Developer Experience at Couchbase 

There are s six steps that can be taken to keep costs down during development. These include using third-party APIs, keeping the design simple and optimising for scalability.

More than ever, consumers want to interact with businesses via mobile applications. Consumers prefer brands which offer their own mobile apps, rather than just shopping on their website.

For modern enterprises, having a slick mobile app has become a must. Along with providing another touchpoint for users and customers to interact with a business, mobile apps help to raise brand awareness, facilitate an omni-channel sales approach, and differentiate organisations from the competition.

Yet despite this widespread appetite, developing apps can be expensive. The chronic shortage of developers in the UK sees almost 1,000 software jobs advertised daily. As an in-demand skill, hiring the top developer talent doesn’t come cheap. However, staffing costs are just one of many contributors to the significant overall financial commitment of business app development.

What’s driving the price?

Businesses looking to develop new mobile apps need to anticipate a range of factors that can drive app development costs. As well as the type of app being developed, they also need to price in the cost of backend infrastructure, app store fees, integration with third-party services, and the ongoing support required to update and maintain the app.

With these factors in mind, here are several ways to keep costs down:

 Choose the right platform:

Though it might be tempting to commit to building an app for all platforms, it’s best to be selective where possible. Analyse your target audience and the nature of your app to determine which platforms to prioritise. Tools like React Native or Flutter can help build cross-platform apps without overspending, as they let you reach a wider audience with a single codebase.

 Keep the design simple:

Adding too many complex design elements to your app can see cost surge – along with having to take more time to build, more design assets also will demand additional bandwidth and infrastructure to host. If costs are a priority, it’s best to opt for as simple a design as possible, but one that still meets your audience’s needs. Using pre-built design templates can work well here.

Use third-party APIs

There’s no need to build custom solutions for every feature of your app. Third-party APIs or services can help you save time and money on development, without cutting corners in terms of solidity and functionality. Do a deep dive into all available third-party solutions to ensure they meet your needs, are well-documented, and have a strong developer community for ongoing support.

 Optimise for scalability

An app that can easily scale to handle more users and features will keep long-term costs low, as major rewrites or updates won’t be needed as often. Using scalable technologies and infrastructure, like cloud-based solutions or microservices architecture, can help your app avoid ‘growing pains’ if its popularity surges.

 Work with an experienced development team

Experienced developers don’t always come cheap. But the best ones can offset this by sharing their own expertise on reducing development costs and optimising apps. Without exceeding your budget, it’s best to source a development team with a proven track record of building successful apps in your area (whether that’s e-commerce, gaming, or something else). Consider hiring a team that offers end-to-end services – from initial design to ongoing maintenance.

Plan for updates and maintenance

To ensure your app stays functional over time, businesses must also factor in ongoing updates and maintenance. Although this may incur some up-front costs, this can be offset by taking a modular approach to app development. This means your app is developed in such a way that individual features can be updated or replaced without affecting the entire app, making future updates more cost-effective.

Stay app-happy

App development is a complex process. But the impact of cost overruns can be hugely damaging for enterprises and should be avoided. Not only can this result in lacklustre apps that fail to meet the needs of users, but a budget from elsewhere within the business might be required to complete the development project. Key business functions could suffer as a result.

With a clear focus on finances right now due to ongoing economic uncertainty, enterprises must take control of these factors to minimise going over budget, while still aiming to develop innovative, groundbreaking apps. This will deliver an app on a budget that works for the business and for users.



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