Best Mobile App Development Companies

Best Chicago Mobile App Development Companies in 2022

Mobile app development companies help re-design or build your mobile application from the ground up. Creating an app that delivers tangible and measurable results requires a specific skill set, a deep understanding of the target users, and expertise on the side of the developer.

The mobile app market is growing at an unprecedented pace. And the demand for apps is soaring at an equally rapid rate:

  • The number of apps downloaded on Apple App Store and Google Play Store has increased by more than 23 percent since the pre-pandemic era. What’s more, app downloads are expected to jump by 45 percent by the close of 2021 since 2017.
  • Given the boost in demand, revenue from consumer mobile apps is projected to surpass $156 billion by 2022.
  • People are spending two and half minutes longer on mobile apps than on web browsers.
  • Mobile apps account for 70 percent of all time spent on digital media. 

Clearly, creating a mobile app is a necessary part of any business digital ecosystem. But how do you know which mobile app development firm is right for you? Should you outsource the mobile app development in the first place?

With thousands upon thousands of options, it can be tricky to pick a good agency to build your app. But don’t worry – that’s why we’ve curated this list of the best mobile app development companies in Chicago. Our picks are based on a meticulous rating system based on numerous key factors.

What is Mobile App Development?

Mobile app development is exactly what it sounds like – the process of designing, creating and deploying software applications designed to run on mobile devices like smartphones, wearables, and tablets. These applications are optimized to make the most use of mobile devices’ small screens, as well as their functionality, hardware, and features.

Mobile app development companies in Chicago can build many different types of apps, including progressive web apps (also known as HTML5 apps), hybrid apps, and native apps.

The mobile app development process starts with the strategic planning phase. In this crucial step, you determine and define your target audience, precise business goals, and development objects. Your agency partner may also help map out each detail of the app development process, from design and prototyping to development and launch, making sure they align with your strategy.

Right from the beginning, your app should be created with the target users in mind. Developers often use prototypes to generate real-world user data analytics and validate their core design features. In this way, they can help avoid costly omissions and mistakes.

Most mobile app development is broken down into various manageable steps that often include:

  • Ideation
  • Design and planning
  • Development
  • Testing
  • Launch
  • Marketing and maintenance 

Due to skyrocketing popularity and demand for mobile devices, mobile app development has become an increasingly popular medium of software application development. In fact, mobile apps are now an integral element of any modern business.

In fact, mobile app market revenues are expected to reach more than $800 billion by 2022. This rapidly growing digital segment has attracted players from all industries. This is partly because consumers are looking to divorce their long-time electronic of choice —desktop computers —and all types of businesses are taking notice.

How Do I Find the Right Chicago Mobile App Development Company?

To guarantee success for your business, you want to ensure you’ve got the right team working on your app that people will love to download, share, and come back to. You must ensure that the mobile app development company is a good fit in terms of expertise and experience. Don’t forget that you will be in touch with the team regularly, so you want to team up with an agency that can communicate and get along well with you, too.

Here are top tips bound to help you land the best mobile app development company in Chicago:

– Make sure to check the company’s reviews

It’s imperative to investigate what a mobile app development firm has done in the past. Look at what past clients have to say about their experience with the company. As it’s a reasonably expensive service, most clients are willing to shout at mountain tops when wronged or misled.

You can check out review websites, such as Facebook, Yelp, Google, and portfolios of digital agency sites like UpCity, Clutch, and more. Your aim is to find as many raw details and reviews as possible on the Chicago mobile app dev companies you are considering. You may even end up finding another good candidate.

– Technology stack and skillset

What programming language skills, app development tools, and platforms are they experienced with? Ideally, you should opt for a versatile agency that can handle any app development job regardless of the platform, language, or feature set.

– Ask for fresh references

Mobile app development teams sometimes change, as some members leave and new ones enter. Ask for contacts of the most recent clients. Their results and experience with the agency are the closest you’ll get to a snapshot of how a team or agency addresses client needs.

– Dive into cases studies and portfolio

When looking to hire a mobile app development company, consider the specifics of what they’ve recently done for other clients. Perusing their case studies and portfolio will give you a general sense of quality, style, and the kind of results their customers get.

– Ask about their contracts and fees

Now it’s time to get down to brass tacks. What are their fees? Are other services like mobile app design, automation, testing, and maintenance included in the cost package?

Is It Expensive to Develop A Mobile App?

No matter the type of mobile app you want to bring to life, the cost will vary from one mobile app development company to the next. The good news is that the mobile app development market is flooded with agencies, so it’s possible to get your app built cost-effectively.

When it comes to the development costs, apps can be placed into three loosely defined categories: simple, moderate-complexity, and complex app. The fundamental criterion for determining complexity is the number and intricacy of features incorporated into the app.

A simple app has basic functionality and features. These may include search function, admin dashboard, data analytics panel, profile filing/editing feature, user login/sign-up feature, and basic customer support function (often a simple chat feature). It usually takes two to three months to build one.

From our experience, a simple, non-complex mobile app for a single platform will set you back roughly between $20,000 and $50,000.

A complex app infuses an array of advanced features and functionalities into the design, driving up the cost of the product. These features include offline mode, live chatting, 3rd-party integrations (such as pay with Venmo), user experience personalization, payment gateway, video/audio streaming, ad integration, geo-location feature, push notification, and advanced analytics.

In general, a complex mobile app can be pricey, costing well over $100,000. The quality, features, and use match the hefty price tag, and it may take up to eight months to create one.

Moderate-complexity apps sit somewhere in between the two in terms of both feature list and price tag. You can expect to pay between $40,000 and $80,000 for a medium-complexity app that offers features that includes third-party integrations, in-app purchases, push notifications, and so on.

Other factors that may influence the eventual cost of mobile app development include:

  • Platform – The cost will vary depending on whether you’re building an app for Android, iOS, or both platforms. That’s because development houses that focus on Android are usually proficient in programming languages like Kotlin and JAVA and must factor in a laundry list of Android manufacturers. iOS apps are generally easier, faster, and cheaper to develop.
  • Team set-up – Mobile app development teams that contain more members, especially technical experts, will cost you more than a smaller team.
  • App maintenance – Who will be in charge of maintaining the app once it goes live? It’s quite common for this responsibility to remain with the developer. This may drive up the cost by around 20 percent.
  • App security – The more security features you incorporate into the app, the costlier it’ll be.
  • UI/UX factors – These include the number of screens, graphic layers, animations, and other UX/UI features that you plan to include in the app.
  • Backend factors – The cost will also factor in backend functions like API communications, user authentication, database, storage, and other server-side events. 

What Programming Language Do Companies Use for Mobile App Development?

Chicago mobile app development companies use various programming languages depending on the platform that’s being targeted, client specifications, and team proficiency. Android app development agencies usually have the most eclectic language set.

The type of mobile app you’re gunning for will also influence the choice of programming language. That’s to say some programming languages are specific to native apps, hybrid apps, and web apps.

– Programming Languages for Android App Development

As an open-source software development platform, Android provides developers with an array of programming language options. However, the most common languages are Kotlin and JAVA.

  • JAVA – This is a popular cross-platform language that most Android app developers use. It’s flexible, versatile, and straightforward to work with.
  • Kotlin – Often regarded as an upgraded version of JAVA, Kotlin is the Android app development language extraordinaire. Evernote is a classic example of an app built using Kotlin. 

– Programming Languages for iOS App Development

Apple has a tight grip on what tools you can use to make apps for its App Store. Most commonly developers use Swift and, to some extent, Object-C. Swift is actually an open-source programming language that was first supported by Apple in 2014. It’s a fun and expressive language.

– Programming Languages for Hybrid App Development

Hybrid apps are designed to work across platforms, so they must be programmed in cross-platform languages. Think JavaScript, PHP, Python, C++, C, Xamarin and C#, and many others. Some programming languages like MBaas are often used to write the backend of the app.

What Skills Are Needed To Develop Mobile Apps?

Mobile app development teams design, create, test, and deploy software applications for smartphones, tablets, and wearables. However, behind the scenes, you’ll find project managers, account managers, product testers, and other vital team members.

When searching for the best mobile app development agency in Chicago, be sure to look out for the following essential skills:

  • Creativity – Mobile app developers must be able to think creatively and provide solutions as they develop. In this way, they’ll be able to write creative code and build apps that are not only useful and engaging but also innovative. Creativity is all about an open mind, something that goes perfectly with technical development skills.
  • Multi-language ability – A skilled mobile development team must be able to write apps using a range of programming languages. When it’s time to build an IOS app, they should have the flexibility of using either Swift or Object-C. For Android apps, knowing Kotlin and JAVA plus other open-source programming languages can come in especially handy.
  • Diversity – This is an attribute that any agile mobile app dev agency in Chicago should be proud to have. The team should be equipped with the right skills and tools to build apps for native, hybrid, and web apps.
  • Communication – Naturally, mobile app development teams must have the necessary communication skills. They should be able to communicate project progress, objectives, challenges, presentations, and solutions proficiently both in writing and orally.
  • Product Management – There are a ton of must-do tasks, must-attend meetings, and must-complete steps that go into building a successful app. As such, every dev team must have an avid product manager. This is someone who will act as a liaison between the client and the development team. It’s the manager’s job to ensure the client’s idea is translated into an app in a timely and cost-effective fashion.
  • Scrum Management – The scrum manager is the team member responsible for enabling better cohesion between the client and developers. They hold numerous productive meetings, conduct reviews, and ensure rigorous communication schedules.
  • Design and prototype – No app dev team can be complete without designers who will tackle the UI, UX, and appeal aspect of the development. They should be able to build design wireframes and convert them into test-worthy prototypes.
  • Business analytics – This skill has to do with the commercial aspect of app development. How will the app be monetized? As a freemium, paid, or both?
  • Data expertise – With technologies like AI, Big Data, and machine learning disrupting the mobile industry, it’s data experts who will bring the data an app can harvest into your business and suggest lucrative ways to use that data. 

Other important skills to consider include cloud expertise, user experience, problem-solving, information security, and content creation skills.

How Long Will It Take to Create A Mobile App?

Successfully taking an app from design to ready for launch typically takes three to four months. This timeline, however, doesn’t account for several key mobile app development phases like ideation, product definition, or even design.

Nonetheless, as with the cost, how long it takes to build a mobile app depends on many factors. These include the size of the active development team, the method used to develop the app, the size/complexity of the feature set, the number of platforms, and more.

Often, mobile developers build out both the front end (what the user sees) and the back end (what’s invisible to the consumer) concurrently. However, the back-end development team usually gets a head start so they can tie up core ends like user account management, server-side logic, data storage infrastructure, push notifications, and versioning.

Once the APIs and endpoints have been firmed up, the front-end crew can get cracking. With iterative mobile app development, a good Chicago mobile app development team can pull it off in three to four months. A complex mobile application for multiple platforms, however, may take longer than that, usually up to eight months.

What Is Included in Mobile App Development Services?

The best Chicago mobile app development firms cover all the phases of taking an app idea and building it into a beautiful product. They are offered as either full-service, part of the full-cycle development, or standalone services. The common services included are:

  • Mobile Consulting – This entails business analysis and professional mobile consulting. The service covers defining features, ideation, planning, and carrying out usability testing.
  • Mobile app design – Before apps are developed, they must be designed and prototyped. This usually involves a team of UX and UI design professionals.
  • Mobile app development – This is where the rubber meets the road. The designs and prototypes are converted into an actual app.
  • Backend Development – With this service, the development team creates a secure, robust back end and offer integration with 3rd-party systems and other apps.
  • Mobile app maintenance – User data analytics and feedback will be used to iterate and fine-tune the app. 


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