Did you know that 25% of mobile apps get deleted right after they were first launched? What is the reason for such disappointing statistics? First of all, poor user experience. It makes 88% of online shoppers leave the store, and 70% of businesses fail. To avoid such a situation, you should get off on the right foot. For that, it is vital to take care of a perfect UI/UX design. Smart placement of elements and beautiful cover will keep users’ attention and inspire them to further interact with the app.
Design creation is a complex process based on deep knowledge and high creativity. It takes a lot of time and effort. If you are wondering how much it costs to make app design, continue reading this post. Here, I will give you a detailed estimate.
Steps of mobile app UI/UX process
The cost of UI/UX may seem an abstract notion. At some point, design is close to art. Therefore, it’s challenging to calculate the precise amount of time needed for its implementation. As a rule, a designer gives a preliminary assessment based on previous experience.
At Softensy, we treat each project as a unique task and choose a specific approach for every client. However, we have a standard algorithm that fits almost every app. Let’s review the stages of UI/UX creation to find out what affects the price.
Discovery and research
The designer’s work begins long before the UI/UX expert launches Sketch. First of all, it is necessary to understand what exactly to create. For this, the designer, together with a business analyst and project manager, conducts research: communicates with stakeholders, examines documentation, and studies the market. At this stage, the team tries to define the target audience and understand clients’ needs. It draws up product strategy and compares it with a business model of similar apps.
At the end of the phase, the designer composes a typical user description. It is called a persona. They also define the user journey to reflect motives and pain points that may be encountered during the interaction with the app.
Often, the team can provide early wireframes. Of course, they are rough and colorless, yet, they give a general picture of the future app.
Below, you can see the deliverables, duration, and cost of the research period.
Deliverables: business model description, value proposition canvas, personas list, user journey map
Duration: 2-3 weeks
Cost: $3k -$4k
Finally, the team can enter the direct design work. Based on the data collected in the previous phase, they start building wireframes that look more and more like a real app. The visual presentation of the screens helps identify deficiencies in time. Also, the designers can decide to move, add, or remove some elements.
At Softensy, we usually provide several versions of the design concept. We discuss them with the client and choose the best option together. To organize effective collaboration, we use the design platform InVision. It provides an opportunity to view the changes and add comments as the work progresses.
At the end of this stage, the client receives a final app architecture with detailed wireframes and prototypes.
Deliverables: high-fidelity wireframes, low-fi prototypes
Duration: 2 weeks
Cost: $1k -$1,5k
At this step, app designers do what many think to be design work as such. They start building mobile UI based on the preparations mentioned above. That is, adding colors and graphical elements to the clickable prototype, which truly conveys the final look and feel of the product.
During their work, the team pays attention to every detail. To bring a perfect user experience, designers take care of:
Upon completion, we provide the client with the visual design concept that 100% reflects the end app.
Deliverables: UI mobile design of all screen
Duration: 3-4 weeks
Cost: $2k -$3k
Ingredients of a good mobile app design
Ease of use. As you know, genius lies in simplicity. With app design, this statement could not have come at a better time. First of all, users want functional and straightforward software. So, make sure all elements are prominent, short, and unambiguous.
Familiar structure. It is essential that the user feels comfortable from the first second of interaction with the product. To do this, adhere to the generally accepted app structure: registration -> onboarding -> main features -> extra features. Try to walk a fine line between bore and oddity.
User-centric view. You should always compose a mobile design with the user in mind. Everything in your app – from the essential elements to tiny details – should keep the clients happy. Remember to bring an equally classy experience on each available platform. Whether you are designing Android apps or iOS apps – both should be good.
Scannable content. Tiny screens require tiny texts. Designing for mobile apps, make sure to use a minimal amount of words to convey your point. The content should be brief, valuable, and clear so that users could get the gist at a glance.
Punch line. There are thousands of apps in the app stores. Your creation runs the risk of being lost among many such apps if you do not invent anything special. Follow the latest design trends and try to add some creativity to hold users’ attention.
What affects the app design cost?
If you intend to order app design from a third party company, you should consider the prices of different regions. Traditionally, the costliest ones are North America and Australia. The cheapest freelance app design is in India. If you are looking for an optimal quality-price ratio, consider companies from Eastern Europe. In Ukraine, median hourly earnings are $35 per hour. To reply to the question: “How much does a designer cost?” сheck out the picture below.
How to detect project complexity? It depends on whether you choose to use native or custom elements. Each platform has its design guidelines. iOS application design tends to adhere to Human Interface Guidelines, Android – to Material design.
If you build native design, you strictly follow the guidelines. In this case, you spend less time. However, all elements – buttons, icons, images – will have a default look. In turn, the custom design requires more time and effort since everything should be invented from scratch. Besides, you can opt for a mixed style that combines standard and custom elements.
Native app design may take up to 60 hours to be implemented.
Custom app design may require up to 90 hours.
See how it differs in the picture below.
Number of mobile platforms
There is no way to create a universal design that will fit both Android and iOS. Each platform requires specific adjustments so that the user feels natural during the interaction with an app. So, if you need a solution that will run on two primary operating systems, simply double the costs. That’s basic math.
How much does it cost to design an app like Ally?
In this section, you can see a calculation of a real app design costs. As an example, I took a well-known mobile banking app Ally. Currently, it is ranked 18th in the list of the largest banks in the USA and serves more than six million customers. Let’s see a rough estimate broken down by app screens.
Note it is an app design cost for one platform. If you want to create iOS and Android apps, the price should be doubled. Also, the total sum will vary depending on the company location. Here is how it changes across regions:
- USA and Canada: $7-21K
- Western Europe: $7-14K
- Eastern Europe: $3,5-7K
- India: $2,8-6,9K
At Softensy, we specialize in fintech projects. Our primary expertise extends to banking apps, budgeting solutions, and investment platforms. Over the years, we have produced design concepts from scratch and worked on redesigning live apps.
Below, I have provided our recent work – mobile banking Ecobank. It is a web and mobile solution that helps Ecobank clients manage their finances directly from a mobile phone. The client wanted us to change the initial design. We’ve played with colors, modified buttons, and edited content. See the “before” and “after” looks below:
How to design an app for your business
In the app design, there are many things that “depend.” There is no way to calculate the total sum without a good grasp of the business environment and goals. At Softensy, we always pay special attention to the research phase. Exploring project details step by step, we deliver a design concept that brings a perfect user experience. If you do not know where to start with your project, drop us a line. We consult and provide initial estimation for free.