Lesson Eight

How long does it take to make an app or website?

The time it takes to build an app or website can range from weeks to months depending on complexity.

At Crew, thousands of mobile app and website projects are completed every year. The time it takes to complete each one varies but averages around 2-3 months.

To help estimate the time it takes to build your idea, here’s a few of the main factors that impact the time it takes to create an app or website.

1. Robust graphics/design

At certain times in the progress of building your product, you may choose to spend more time designing an experience than you did at a different stage. Depending on the level of design you’re aiming for, this can greatly impact the time to complete your app or website.

If you’re looking to get a design that is just enough to test your idea, that will likely take less time than if you were trying to design an experience that would be strong enough to be featured in an app store.

In addition, heavy graphical elements, like in certain games, require a level of detail and complexity that can easily take months alone.

2. Features

Your app idea is made up of a core set of features. As you add features, the complexity of your product increases.

To create a cohesive product, each feature needs to fit with all the others and figuring this out takes time. The more features you build, the more complex your product, and the longer it will take to build your app or website.

3. Advanced Features

Creating technically complex features typically adds to the time it takes to build a product.

For example, if you were building a dating website that required an algorithm to match people automatically based on hundreds of variables, this would be technically complex. Since creating an algorithm like this is not as straightforward as building a feature like a user login, it would increase the time it takes to build.

Some advanced features could be built quicker than you expect, but usually the uncertainty in building a more complex feature requires trying different ways the feature could be developed, increasing the time it takes to find the right way to build it.

4. Cross-device compatibility

Building your idea to work across multiple platforms like iOS, Android, and the web requires a substantial time investment.

Each platform has it’s own programming language and design standards. What works well on one device might not work on another. Because of this, planning and building for multiple platforms typically requires a minimum 4-5 month timeframe.

If your timeframe is not in the range, consider building your idea for one platform first before expanding to others. Building for one platform instead of many platforms at once, decreases the time and budget to create your product.

5. Complexity of each feature

Some features might be easier to build than others based on what you want to include.

For instance, building user profiles that include an email and password is less complex to develop compared to creating user profiles with email, password, Login with Facebook, and Sign in with Twitter.

Thus, building user profiles that include only an email and password would take less time to build than if you also included a way for customers to login with their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

6. Using custom components versus existing components

Certain services are available to make it easier to integrate parts or all of your idea without building them from scratch.

For instance, you can build-in a whole set of features by using a template from a website building tool like WordPress.

It still takes time to integrate and customize each of these components in your product but using pre-built elements can help decrease the time it takes to build your app or website compared to building every feature custom.

Depending on what you’re building however, it might not make sense to use a template with pre-built components because this may limit you from doing certain things with your product in the future.

Overall, the more complex the app or website you want to create, the more time it will take to build. Defining and creating features and figuring how they should fit together with a smart product design is what impacts the time it takes to build your product.

If you focus on fewer features and build for one platform to start, this will help decrease the time and budget needed to build your idea.