If you want to reach a large audience fast, test the waters, and if your application doesn’t require Mobile device hardware/features, such as Camera/GPS/Accelerometer/Notifications etc., then launch a web version!
A web version requires 4 stages, Wireframe Design, UI Design, WebDevelopment, and QA Testing. Note: You may wonder why Prototyping isn’t a part of Web Development, this is because web development isn’t as costly as app development, so you can prototype while developing the site. You can also use some of the simple prototyping tools mentioned in option 1 above.
Wireframe and UI Design requires some collaboration between developer and Designer, however, depending on the skill level of your developer, you may want to utilize existing frameworks and UI elements to save time. So it’s best to find a designer and developer that prefer common frameworks. Also note that your design will need to cover at least the 3 major Screen Sizes; Desktop, Tablet, and Phone. Wireframe & UI costs can range from $1,000 to $10,000, depending on the number of pages/features.
Finding a Web Development team can be the most daunting of tasks, there are so many types to choose from. Front-End developers deal with coding the elements that appear on the screen, while Back-End developers write code for the database and everything else the user doesn’t see on the screen. If your app doesn’t require much data processing, then you may be able to find a Front-End Developer that can handle minor Back-End tasks. Or perhaps you can get lucky and find a “Full-Stack” developer who can take on all tasks. Development costs can range from $2,000 to $50,000 depending on the complexity.
QA Testing can be covered by a small team including yourself, your designer, your developer, and perhaps an ideal user. Remember, its good to get multiple eyes on the app, because after working on a feature all day, the developer may not be able to see a bug after hours and hours of staring at the same screen. I also find it extremely necessary for your designer to run tests, since the designer is the only one who knows how the app should work, inside and out.
As the app becomes more and more complex, and as the amount of possible environments/situations a user can get themselves into, the more testing you will need. It would also be very helpful for your developer to integrate some safe measures into the code, so that you can run auto-tests every time the app is built. Its also beneficial to add some analytic reports to see how users are using your app.
I spent 8 years as a QA tester before moving onto design, and I found a great formula for calculating the necessary time to spend on testing is approximately 1/4 of the total development time spent.
Lastly, you can also run a soft launch to a limited amount of users in a targeted location before launching to the public. This is a great way to test and make changes early. QA costs can range from $500 to $10,000
Altogether launching a web version is a great way to get your idea to as many users as possible without having to spend time on mobile platform development. It requires some synchronicity between your team, but the results can be swift. Total cost for web launch could range from $3,500 up to $xx,000 ranges.
For more App Launch Strategies see my main blog, Five Options for getting from App Idea to MVP.
If you have found any of this info helpful, please feel free to comment and let me know how I have helped or how I can improve. Let me know how your app progress is going. Or if you’d like to brainstorm about your app idea, shoot me an email. And lastly, all of the options I provide above are available through my design services at williamharveydesigns.com