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How Much Does It Cost to Design an App?

Publising Date

Author Name

Cesc Nguyen



In today’s competitive and technology-driven world, everything rides and thrives on how easy a particular task/mode of performing can become. A click of a button on the mouse was not as easy as the tap through a laptop. Even so, that has been ruled out by the touch ad swipes on the screens.

Designing an application is all about the functionality as well as the feel-good-look-good-factors that play along. While these apps seem to run smoothly and seamlessly on our smartphones and tablets, there’s a lot of effort, planning, designing, and costing involved in this process. Essential components such as the UX designs, user interface, programming, user research, graphics, logo and app designs, etc., form an integral part of this process, which entails detailed processing and cost. By understanding this process, you will get a better idea as to how much it costs to design an app.

Following are some of the significant components that are involved in the cost of designing an app.

1. The User Research

This section is further divided into four categories:

  1. Market research
  2. Competitor analysis
  3. Analysis of the current trends
  4. Selection of the best practice

The user research aims to understand your users better -

  • Who are they?
  • What are their goals to use the app?
  • What are their basic expectations from this app?
  • Which other competitor’s apps are they using, and what is their feedback for the same?

Detailed information and research like this helps to understand what the users want and what will satisfy their experience after using your app as well as to be better equipped with any challenges in the future. It also helps to stay updated with market trends and what your competitors already offer. This can help you achieve your USP and offer what is not being offered in the market to create your niche space.

2. UX (User Experience) Design

The UX Design part focuses on the app usability and requires a lot of effort in understanding and creating the system’s UX wireframes ( a schematic representation of the user experience for the app). This stage acts as a prototype; it goes through the entire process that a user would go through while using the app and gives better clarity in linking the process with the end goals. Elements like sketches, UX wireframes, designing icons, graphs, and diagrams, etc take a lot of thought process and time, and effort.

3. UI (User Interface) Design

Also known as Visual Designs, UI designs are primarily about communicating a story to the users and providing them a better visual experience of the app. This communication is all about the ‘look and feel’ of the product. This storytelling is further enhanced by the color schemes, font styles, and sizes, alignment, formatting of the UI. Small elements like color schemes might appear easy at first. But they involve a lot of work and studying for representing the app, the brand, and the product and conveying the message to the audience.

This also involves mood board creations, UI sample mockups, and final mockups to finalize the designs and the look of the app which is a lengthy and costly process. The quality of your UI (your creativity and design) often also comes at a greater cost.

Every design element is devised to solve specific issues. A well-crafted mobile application UI and UX design usually provides the following benefits:

  1. Simplifies the interaction with the interface
  2. Converts users into consumers
  3. Enables users to reach their objectives faster
  4. Breaks down the development aspect of the app

4. Geographical and System Variations

There are different costs for different geographical locations and different systems. If iOS or Android does not require complex processing, it would cost much less than if your app caters to various systems like Smart watches, Smart TVs, etc. Similarly, the location matters equally when it comes to costing. Hourly rates for designing in US dollars varies from location to location. Countries like the United States, UK and Germany cost on the upper end of the rates, Ukraine and India are comparatively cheaper.

5. Branding

Today, the importance of marketing is no secret and one of the most essential components of marketing is Branding. Branding generally refers to creating your own brand that speaks for your products or services to your target audience. Branding involves three main stages, namely,

  1. Initial logo research - Here, designers study and create mood boards and hand drawn sketches of the logo
  2. Samples creation - After some first stage shortlisting, some logos are selected and worked upon
  3. Logo finalization - After the complete process, final selection takes place and one logo is selected. These logos are presented to the clients, and after thorough discussion and changes as per needed, the logo is selected.

6. Graphics

This part involves the illustrations and animations that a certain application may require. For example, There are Apps like Kiddopia: Preschool Education and 50 Nursery rhymes which essentially function with cartoon images that attract the children’s attention. These apps require high quality illustrated images and animated figures to give a good user experience for its audience.

Illustrations can come in various shapes, forms and styles and there are various tools such as the Adobe Illustrator CC. These can depict cartoons, movie characters, personalities, as well as humans.

Animations are slightly more difficult to create and are more time consuming. They come in various styles and in both images and videos.

7. Other Factors

Apart from these small elements, there are various

  • Number of Platforms: Various operating systems like Android or iOS have different programming and varying costs. For some functions, iOS costs greater where for others, Android does.
  • Complexity: The complexity of the app is weighed on the number of features that it offers. The swipe options, images and videos, call to action, web support centre, customer care options, navigation,etc. determine how complex an app is. The more complex the app is,
    the higher will be its cost.
  • Technology: For any app, the most important thing is that it works smoothly without any glitches. Better Technology helps to protect your app from being virus free as well as ensures efficient programs that run your app, all of which cater to providing a seamless user experience.


  • Designing an application

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