As developers of mobile apps, this is an extremely frequent question that we get asked. And this is a lot similar to asking, “How much does it cost to build a house?” The house question will be followed by a number of questions from the builders – do you want a mansion, a building, or a shack? Do you want your house to be made of straw or bricks? Just like a house, an app has a large number of variables that need to be considered.

Developing a storyboard
This is where you start defining what your app will do. Storyboarding your app is recommended, and it is technically called wireframe. This wireframe is like the blueprint of the house mentioned earlier as an example. Wireframes are developed to capture functionality and flow. This is not where you should worry about the actual aesthetics. You should start from the beginning – from when the user launches your app for the first time. This is where you will decide what they get to see, and what happens if they tap on a button. These are just a couple of things; there are many others that need to be thought about.

You can create wireframes using a design tool called Balsamiq. You can also send your clients a PowerPoint template where they can use PowerPoint’s drawing tools, or they can print it out and draw it by hand.

Other factors
Other factors that you should consider are:
• Integration to third party vendors: many features that were expensive to develop can now affordably be done by leveraging third party vendors. Mobile commerce and push notifications are a couple of examples.
• Integration to an existing backend or development of backend: Most of the apps that are developed these days need to either co – ordinate with an existing backend, or you will have to create a backend to support the app.

In addition to the wireframe, you might have to put together an architectural diagram if your app requires extensive integrations to third party vendors.

Get a quotation
As a developer, you will have to provide a quotation to develop the client’s app based on the wireframe and the architectural diagram. As a client, you will have to beware of frauds and hoaxes. If, as a client, you feel that your app is the next big thing, then you should ask the developer to sign an NDA (non – Disclosure Agreement). When you through this process, you will find many quotations in a vast range. It is recommended that you take all factors into consideration before settling for one.

If you ask us, “What would it cost to develop an app”, we would have to say, “it depends.” If you really want to create an app, then you should take some time and create a storyboard or a wireframe. This will help you see your idea in reality and also assist a developer in providing a definite quote for your app.