How to Develop a Mobile App: A Guide for Business in the US

Learn how to develop a successful app for the US market. This step-by-step guide covers everything from concept to launch, including cost considerations for each stage. Discover cost-effective development options and best practices for user experience and design.

Poonkuzhale K

How to Develop a Mobile App: A Guide for Business in the US

The mobile app landscape is booming in the United States. With over 271 million smartphone users in the US alone, businesses of all sizes recognize mobile apps' immense potential to reach new customers, enhance user experiences, and drive growth. However, the question remains for many business leaders, entrepreneurs, and startup owners: How do you make a mobile app?

This detailed guide will walk you through the critical steps in developing a mobile app, specifically targeting the US market. It will focus on cost considerations at each stage and potential risks and challenges.

Step 1: Identify Your App Idea and Target Audience

The base of any successful app lies in a strong idea that addresses a specific need. Here's where your business expertise comes into play.

  • Identify a Problem: What challenges do your customers face? What pain points can your app address?
  • Find a Solution: Your app should offer a valuable solution to your target audience. Consider existing apps and how yours can provide a unique or improved user experience.
  • Know Your Audience: Who are your ideal users? Understanding their demographics, behavior patterns, and mobile app usage habits is essential and empowers you. This knowledge will guide you in creating an app that genuinely resonates with them.

Pro Tip: Conduct Market Research.

Performing a market analysis helps determine the demand for your app idea. Analyze your competitor's apps to understand what's working and where there's room for improvement. Is there a gap you can fill with your app? For instance, when Uber was launched, it filled a gap in the market for convenient, on-demand transportation services.

Cost: Market research can range from free (utilizing publicly available data) to paid services that offer deeper insights, typically costing  $500 to $5,000.

Step 2: Define Your App's Features and Functionality

Once you have a solid app concept, it's time to map out its functionalities. Here are some key aspects to consider:

  • Core Features: What essential features does your app need to function effectively?
  • User Flow: Create a user flow diagram that outlines the steps users will take to accomplish tasks within your app. This ensures a smooth and intuitive experience.
  • Platform Compatibility: The US market offers a mix of Android and iOS users. Deciding between single or dual-platform availability should be a strategic choice based on your target audience and app goals. (Android holds a slight majority in the US, but iOS users tend to spend more in-app).

Cost: Developing a detailed feature list and user flow can be done in-house or outsourced to a UX/UI consultant. Expect costs to range from $1,000 to $5,000.

Step 3: Choose the Right Development Approach

Developing a mobile app typically involves two main approaches, each with varying costs:

  • Native App Development: This involves building separate apps for iOS (using Swift or Objective-C) and Android (using Java or Kotlin). This offers the best performance, user experience, and access to native device features. However, it requires more time and resources. 

Cost: Expect to pay $50,000 and upwards for a native app, depending on complexity.

  • Cross-Platform App Development: Cross-platform frameworks like React Native and Flutter can be cost-effective for businesses developing iOS and Android apps without building separate apps for each platform. This option is more cost-effective but may have limitations regarding performance and access to specific device features. 

Cost: Depending on complexity, cross-platform apps can range from $30,000 to $75,000.

How to make a mobile App?

Step 4: Partner with an Experienced App Development Company

Whether you have a coding team or limited technical knowledge, there's a mobile app development approach that fits your needs and budget.

  • Hire an Independent Developer or Team: This approach allows for complete customization but requires managing the development process yourself. Costs can vary greatly depending on the developer's location and experience. Expect to pay $30 to $150 per hour for freelance developers.
  • Work with a Mobile App Development Agency: Agencies offer a full-service solution, handling everything from design to development and launch. This is a good option for businesses seeking a comprehensive solution, but expect costs to be higher. Agencies typically charge a project fee ranging from $50,000 to $200,000+.
Consider Performix's AI-powered App Development Platform!

Performix offers a unique approach that utilizes AI to streamline the development process, potentially making it faster and more affordable. Performix can be a valuable option for businesses looking to build a more straightforward app without the high cost of traditional development.

Cost: Performix offers tiered pricing plans based on the complexity of your app's features. Plans typically start around $5,000 and can scale upwards depending on features and functionalities.

Get Your Free Quote Today!

Step 5: Design and User Interface (UI/UX)

A well-designed app with a user-friendly interface is critical for user engagement. Here's what to consider:

  • Visual Appeal:  Create an app with a visually attractive design that reflects your brand identity and satisfies your users.
  • Intuitive Navigation: Ensure users can easily navigate your app and find the necessary information.
  • Usability Testing: Conduct usability testing to identify any design flaws or areas for improvement before launch.

Cost: A skilled designer can translate your app's vision into a stunning interface, but their experience will affect the price. Similarly, the more complex your app's features, the more intricate the design must be, impacting the overall design budget. Freelance designers might charge $25 to $75 per hour, while agencies can cost  $5,000 to $20,000+ for a complete design package.

Step 6: App Development and Testing

This is where the magic happens! Your chosen developer will turn your vision into reality.

  • Development: The developer will code your app according to the agreed-upon specifications. Costs will vary depending on the chosen development approach (see Step 3).
  • Testing: Meticulous testing is critical to ensure your app functions flawlessly across various devices and operating systems. But it doesn't stop there. User feedback is invaluable in identifying areas for improvement and enhancing user satisfaction. Depending on the testing and feedback collection scope, costs can range from $2,000 to $10,000.

Step 7: Deployment and App Store Optimization (ASO)

Finally, it's launch time!

  • App Store Submission: Follow their guidelines to submit your app to the desired app stores (Apple App Store and Google Play Store). App store submissions incur nominal fees, typically around $99 per year for Apple and a one-time fee of $25 for Google Play.
  • App Store Optimization (ASO): To improve discoverability, optimize your app's listing page with relevant keywords, compelling descriptions, and high-quality screenshots. ASO can be done in-house or outsourced to a marketing agency specializing in mobile app promotion. Depending on the complexity of the strategy, costs can vary from $1,000 to $5,000+. Consider other marketing and promotion strategies, such as social media advertising and influencer partnerships, to increase your app's visibility and downloads.

The Bottom Line:

Mobile app development offers a high-impact investment with the potential for substantial returns. Strategic planning around your needs, budget, and target audience ensures you choose the most cost-effective path.

Remember, a successful app goes beyond functionality—a well-designed, user-friendly experience is critical to driving engagement and achieving business goals.

Bonus Tip: The mobile app world is constantly changing, and the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) presents exciting opportunities. Performix offers resources to help you leverage this technology.

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