How Much Does It Cost To Make A Prototype

Last Updated
April 1, 2024
How Much Does It Cost To Make A Prototype

Just about anybody can ideate an app in their mind today. However, that will not fetch investments from investors. Neither will your idea impress anyone. That is until you create a prototype. When you create prototypes of apps, it shows your future stakeholders that you are very serious about the project. 

It also allows them to check how your app looks and feels, once launched. The IT industry spends $30 billion per year on products that get rejected by the audience. One of the ways to minimize such losses is by prototyping. The market is estimated to reach USD 1219.62 million, by 2031. 

Let us decode Mobile App prototypes and learn more about them. 

Defining A Mobile App Prototype

Mobile app prototypes are nothing but mock-ups that give the look and feel of real apps. They showcase the app’s fundamental purpose and design but are without additional functionality.

 They can come in different shapes and sizes. Some may just be basic sketches, while others may contain clickable links. You can create different prototypes at each stage of the app design process. 

Importance Of Prototyping In App Development

No matter how much you avoid it changes in your app are inevitable. It may be due to several reasons. The system that you were initially using, or the concept may undergo evolution. There could be technological advancements that may force changes in your concept. 

As a general rule of thumb, any mobile app development service has to go through a few steps. They are:

  • Ideation and Description Of The Idea
  • Development of a Mockup 
  • Design development
  • Coding of the app
  • Testing of the app
  • Bug Fixing 
  • Beta Testing 
  • Feedback and app updations

However, if one tries to go about the process of app development in the above manner, there might be certain disadvantages. You may take a long time to complete the app development, and users may not be interested in the app that you successfully launch. That is where the UI prototyping comes in. It is easy to get feedback from the users and you can also have a clear idea about the funds required. 

Prototyping can help in determining the conception of the future product. One can understand the capabilities from the mockup. You can understand the aesthetic value of the product. It is a full-fledged working model that can help you to save costs on development. 

Basic Overview Of App Prototypes 

  • Interactive Model – It acts as an interactive model that helps you to simulate user interactions and refine the same, based on feedback. 
  • Cost-Efficiency – If you identify the issues early on, in the development process, you can save time and money, which are very important resources. 
  • Collaborative Tool – It helps to collaborate with developers, designers and other stakeholders. So, that everyone is together and a part of the project. 

The app prototype differs from the final product, based on below mentioned parameters. 

  • Level of Detailing Involved – Most prototypes focus on the essential features of the app. 
  • Development Stage – The app prototype is created during the early stages of development to test the ideas. 

Types Of App Prototypes and Cost Associated With It.

When you are working on an app, UI/UX teams often use different types of prototypes, depending on the stage of development. So, we have compiled a few app prototype varieties for you. 

Sketch and Diagrams 

This is mainly used in the user market research stage, or the brainstorming stage. You can analyze the user flows and record all the rough ideas.

This can help in creating a pathway for development. The pain points also become more prominent, allowing you to make instant changes, as not much would have been done by then. This also allows for easy referencing. Sketching on paper makes certain ideas clear and paves the way for a better design draft. 

The cost of this type of brainstorming can be consultation charges with the experts and it can be $100 to $1000. 

Paper Prototyping 

It is applicable in the initial ideation and presentation stage. You can ideate and convey the ideas to your team members, through paper prototyping. These are much more detailed when compared to the sketch and diagrams. 

After the initial brainstorming is over, it allows you to add more details and overdo ideas, already listed. It also helps in accomplishing a tangible app. You can make these quickly to simulate and test the real-time app. 

Paper prototypes offer more detailed interfaces and show simple interactions between the pages in the app. The only thing that you need to do is to create paper interfaces for each page.  

Again the charges would be the consultation charge if you need an expert help in creating the outline for your product.

Low-Fidelity Prototype

This is a digital copy, which gives direction to the macro design. You can visualize your app in a far better manner and collaborate as well, with your team, with the help of low-fidelity prototyping.

 It is the next step, after you create paper prototypes. Digital prototypes are bound to attract more stakeholders to your app. Most teams today start with such prototypes that include just the basic elements, with a general layout. 

You can hire a designer to transform your rough idea into digital. and it can be done for $100.

Wireframes 

A wireframe is an exact blueprint of the app, which you are planning to release in the market. It showcases the main structure of a website or app, its important pages, page flows, and layouts. Wireframes also help the team to keep focus on macro interface, rather than minute details. 

Medium-Fidelity Prototyping

These help in testing the UI and visual details, so that you can polish them. These are more detailed structure-wise and have more specific design details. This allows designers to further test the design structures. You will often find them to be static in nature with a general outline. 

This is where you can use UI and UX designers to give a look and feel of the app and you can utilize tools like figma. and it can be done within $500.

Mock-Ups 

These are more detailed in terms of UI and specific detailing and are often regarded as static wireframes. You can see the texts, colours, layouts, and buttons in these. They look very similar to the final product. 

This is where you’ll have to deploy a developer to bring the idea to life and if you’re outsourcing to a software development company it would cost around $3,000-$15,000.

Hi-Fidelity Prototypes

These are near-final versions of the app. You can get a comprehensive overview of the design with it. These mimic realistic functionalities and make them ideal for testing. You can also get a detailed visualization along with the opportunity for in-depth analysis. 

So the conclusion is the price of the prototype can vary depending on the type of prototype you’re building, and can range from $100 to $15,000.

Factors That Affect Prototype Development Cost 

In general, app designing costs around $3,000 to $30,000, which is a huge range. So, it is quite obvious that no two apps will be similar in design or development. There are many factors that impact the cost of app prototype development. 

Let us find out what those are. 

  • Complexity of the App – This is the first thing that impacts app prototype costing. The number of roles you are thinking of incorporating, the number of screen templates, ease of use, and the visual appeal decide the cost. The less complex your business model, the lower will be the cost. 
  • Designers Employed – The cost of the app prototype also depends on the hired developer’s expertise levels. You can hire an in-house developer, outsource the work, or appoint a freelancer. Each one will have their own costs. If you delegate the work to developers in Southeast Asia, costs will be lower. 
  • Type of Prototype – The choice of the prototype also impacts the cost of development. 
  • Platform Compatibility – The costs also vary depending on the platform you are planning to launch it on. 
  • Feedback and Iteration – The app prototype development costs may go up, if there are changes to be made after receiving feedback from the users. 

Conclusion 

Now, you may have a fair idea about the importance, need, and cost of app prototype development.  So, you can decide on which one to choose, according to your needs and budget. If you're looking to build a functional prototype for your business you can hire a developer who can bring live product that you can test and implement the feedback before the final launch.