November 26th, 2012 → 5:42 pm @ Rekha at PRX
We get this question all the time. Sometimes, the asker will add, “At least just a ballpark?”
It’s a tough one. If we answer, “Anywhere from $3000 to $300,000,” we sound evasive or just plain annoying. But it’s true: A mobile app, like any piece of software, costs as much as it takes to build it with the features and quality you want. A seemingly simple feature can be expensive if the underlying systems and integrations required to run it need work, too. A magically complex feature might be cheaper if there’s a good out-of-the-box solution with a straightforward set of hooks into the app code.
And that’s just for developing a product with a clear design and goal. If you want to push the boundaries of what an app can do, or how an app might represent your organization or serve your audiences, there will be some building, trying, unbuilding, and rebuilding. Personally, once I accepted that unraveling my knitting is an integral part of the knitting process, my projects (read: scarves) went more smoothly and turned out better. But they also took more time.
Fortunately, I don’t knit within a budget of time or money. Apps, however, are very much tied to that reality. We understand you need answers, and there are ways to approach this. Below are a few posts that say it well. If you want more, talk to us – we can give you benchmarks more specific to the public media apps we’ve built. We can guide you on what app you might get for your budget, and ways to fund an app project, too.