What can you do to reduce the cost of building an online platform or mobile app?

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Reduce Costs

In my last article, I looked at some of the major things that can affect the cost of building an online platform or mobile app. This article is going to look at some of the ways you can reduce your initial costs, without severely compromising your idea and the quality of the final product.

The most effective way to reduce costs is to look at the following:

  1. Build less
  2. Reduce complexity
  3. Build for fewer devices

1. Build Less

It might sound obvious, but it's a very difficult thing to do. How do you do decide what to cut out and what to keep? Often everything will seem important, and you'll have to make some though choices. The reality is - research has shown that 80% of functionality for custom-built applications isn't used, so as it turns out, there might be some features and functions that you don't need for your launch.

There's an important thing to note here. Building less doesn't mean that you never build the rest of the things that you want. What it does mean is you pick the things that your potential customers and users really want. Once they start paying you, you can afford to build more. Building less has other advantages around minimising the riskiness of your project.

2. Reduce Complexity

This one is probably a difficult if you don't have any technical knowledge. How are you going to know if something is complex or not? Where building less is about the number of features and functions, reducing complexity is about what goes into each feature and function. It includes taking out steps in a process, and minimising the choices and scenarios that are possible. Generally, it's about getting the platform or app to do less in the way of processing and calculating.  By reducing complexity, there are fewer places where things can go wrong.  When things go wrong, you have to pay more money to fix them.

3. Build for fewer devices

As I mentioned in my previous article, the more devices you build for, the more it costs. While responsive design deals with some of the differences in screen sizes, there will be cases where there just might not be enough space on a mobile phone screen. This means that you may have to adjust your design for mobile devices, and that means more designing, more coding, and more testing. With tablets and phones, and even laptops, your developers will also have to consider interactions with a mouse versus a touch screen.

Why should you look to keep your costs low?

No one wants to spend more money than they need to. However, people often go to a developer with a laundry list of things to do, and then get surprised by the amount they're quoted.

You might find that to reduce your costs, you may only need to do some of the things above.  By spending less money upfront, you can use the extra dollars in valuable updates after your product has launched.

The more compelling reason for reducing your costs is actually around the uncertainty of making the money back. The more money you spend, the more you have to sell to make your money back, and to ultimately become profitable.

Even if your most pessimistic business plans show you making money, it's worth going through this exercise to see where you can cut the fat.  This can only mean more money in your pocket, so what have you go to lose?

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