As an entrepreneur, you probably spend hours dreaming about how your unicorn application will look. Even though visualizing the completed product is a great place to start, you must save energy to lay the foundations, and brick by brick build towards a completed final product. One of the biggest ways to save energy depends on how well you can reduce your app development costs.
Reducing your application development expenses is a counter-intuitive exercise as you need to spend time and money on pre-development areas to save big. However, if you follow a strict development cycle you can decrease costs considerably in each step of your application development process.
How should this development plan look? To help you get your dream application without breaking the bank, I divided the plan into 10 steps with life-saving tips that will help you reduce your app development costs in every stage of your next app development project.
1. Know Your Application Purpose
Top on the list in reducing application development costs is knowing the purpose of your application backwards.
Identifying your application's core purpose will significantly simplify the implementation requirements and reduce development costs in the process.
2. Share Knowledge and Jargon
You are familiar with using business jargon in your everyday life, but your development team cannot understand you.
You know what works best for your business and what sets you apart from the competition, but your development team doesn't.
When dealing with your application development team, you need to be fully transparent with those secrets and jargon. If you both can speak the same business language, the quality of your app will increase tremendously.
Speaking the same language across teams and sharing the lessons you've already learned will not only help you to develop a great app, but will also help you to reduce your application development costs significantly.
3. Design your UX (User Experience)
UX design consists of a simple outline of each page of your application including all calls to action and an explanation of each page's functionality.
An effective UX design places the needs of a user at the forefront of product creation. By putting your users' needs first, you will reduce future development costs incurred due to negative feedback.
By providing a basic or detailed UX design, you are already reducing the development time needed to interpret your application pages and functionality. Working alongside a UX specialist will streamline your application and define user interactions for the application developers.
While it may be tempting to skip this step in the application development process, it is one of the best tools for identifying pitfalls in your initial vision. It will also help ensure you are focusing on the right people (your users). It also provides a good understanding of how your application will be structured, the process flow, and how it will function.
For everything you need to get started with UX read here!
4. Develop a Functional Document to Accompany Your UX Design
With your UX Design complete you've separated yourself from the competition.
It's time to get down and dirty and analyse your application. Go through each of the sections identified in your UX design and explain them in detail, take special care to focus on the business logic and rules in each step of the process.
At this point, it is important to outline any information that needs to be captured or stored, and any external sources that require integration, to effectively sustain your application.
By documenting your UX on a granular level, you effectively reduce the time it takes for your development team to interpret your requirements, and it will also guide them on how to achieve those requirements, which will reduce your development costs considerably.
5. Develop your Minimal Viable Product (MVP)
With your application's UX Design in place and your requirements documented, it's time to shop around for a responsible development team that can provide you with a glitz-free implementation of your application.
At this stage, you have spent considerable energy in understanding and brainstorming each section and various elements of your application.
You are now in a position to shop around and effectively analyse quotes received for the development. As you have a detailed explanation, quotes should be accurate, which will let you choose a team that gives you value for money and meets all your expectations.
6. Testing, Testing, Testing
With your MVP developed, your application should be working like a boss. By thoroughly testing your application, now, you are guaranteed to reduce future development costs.
Get as many people to test your application as possible, gather all feedback, and consolidate it in a concise document for your development team to address.
7. Revise Your UX
At this point, you may have realised that your UX needs some adjusting and you should not wait any longer to have them fixed. Do it NOW.
You shouldn't use this time to create new features, unless necessary, but rather to address UX anomalies that have only presented themselves through testing.
Identifying and addressing UX anomalies as early as possible in your app development lifecycle will help you to reduce future development costs.
8. It's Time For Some UI Design
Once you’ve completed iterating through Tips 5, 6, and 7, and the MVP is working deliciously, you are ready to focus on your User Interface (the way your product looks) to make sure your app will look amazing to your target audience.
However, design cannot kill usability. You must find the perfect balance between aesthetics and load speed. While theming and imagery are hugely important when engaging with your users, unnecessarily bloating your page with UI elements will slow down your application.
If you keep your design clean and wisely choose the images you want to use in your app, you will likely reduce development time and server costs considerably.
It is also important to remember the purpose of UI is to theme your application based on the UX provided, and not to change existing UX.
9. Organize Your Content
Spend a lot of time organising the content and ensure that it is easy to copy into your application. Spelling, grammar, and content structure should be perfected before providing it to your development team.
If you choose not to take this simple piece of advice, you will discover how easily spelling mistakes and similar errors find their way into your application, resulting in hours of frustration for you and the development team.
You are guaranteed to reduce your app development costs by providing proofed content in a format that is easy to copy.
10. Apply the UI design elements
With your MVP working flawlessly, it's time to shop around again. While your current development team may be able to implement the UI elements, there is no harm in shopping around for UI integration specialists to ensure you get the best value for your money.
It sounds like a lot of work, I know. However, to reduce your app development costs, all you have to do is to follow this strict development cycle and tips.
This will ensure that you have covered all the important points of your app development process and that you are focusing your energy on the right aspects of your application, at the right time.