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Desktop Application Development

A Guide to Organizing a Development Project 

ScienceSoft has been developing desktop applications for multiple platforms since 1989.

How to Make a Desktop Application - ScienceSoft
How to Make a Desktop Application - ScienceSoft

Desktop Application Development: Key Points

Key steps to desktop application development

  1. Gather business and end user requirements.
  2. Plan the desktop app development project.
  3. Design the app’s features, architecture, and tech stack.
  4. Create human-centered UX and UI.
  5. Develop and test the desktop solution.
  6. Set the ready-to-use app life (deploy in prod or release to public).
  • Talents needed: Business consultant, Project manager, Software architect, UX designer, UI designer, Software developer, DevOps engineer, QA specialist.
  • Sourcing models: All in-house, Team augmentation, Partial outsourcing, Full outsourcing.
  • Development frameworks ScienceSoft recommends: Qt, .NET Core.
  • Costs: From $40,000 to $400,000 (cost factors below).

ScienceSoft is ready to provide all the necessary talents, who cover all development steps, and helps to effectively optimize development costs.

Steps for Organizing Desktop Application Development

Having successfully managed and delivered over 3,600 software development projects, ScienceSoft outlines the following steps to organizing desktop app development:




Project planning


Software design and planning


UX and UI design


Development and testing


Launch and evolution

Consider ScienceSoft’s Professional Services for Desktop Application Development

With over 33 years of experience in building desktop software, ScienceSoft offers professional consulting on and development of desktop applications.

Consulting on desktop app development

  • Desktop app functional scope definition.
  • Project success metrics for stakeholders.
  • Long-term app evolution plan.
  • Risk management plan.
  • Assistance with tech stack definition and methodology choice.
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Desktop app development services

  • Eliciting business requirements and describing the app scope.
  • Formulating functional software requirements.
  • Desktop app architecture design.
  • UX and UI design.
  • Desktop app development and QA.
  • Support and evolution.
See our development services

Why ScienceSoft

  • Dedicated C++, .NET, and Python departments.
  • Over 750 talents on board with 7-20 years of experience on average.
  • In-house experts in UX/UI design, QA, DevOps, and other techs.
  • Nearly 400 successful desktop app development projects.
  • Quality-first approach based on a mature ISO 9001-certified quality management system.
  • ISO 27001-certified security management based on comprehensive policies and processes, advanced security technology, and skilled professionals.
  • Our clients are: IBM, Rakuten Viber, eBay, Walmart, NASA JPL, etc.

ScienceSoft has worked with us to develop a library application for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. They suggested and implemented a multi-platform framework that minimized development costs. We have continued iterating on that application and adding new features over several years, and ScienceSoft's developers have been great at implementing the designs that we give them, as well as suggesting ideas themselves. They produce good code, they are quick to respond, detail-oriented, and a very good value for our money.

Mike Todd, CTO, OneBookShelf

Typical Roles in ScienceSoft's Desktop App Development Projects

Business consultant

Analyzes business needs, describes the project scope, composes high-level desktop app requirements, takes part in creating a project management plan.

Project manager

Creates a project management plan, composes detailed documentation, keeps track of the development deliverables and deadlines, manages the project team.

Software/Systems architect

Contributes to composing detailed documentation, provides architectural and engineering oversight of a desktop app development project.

UX designer

Performs UX research, drafts UX wireframes, and adjusts them during UX testing.

UI designer

Transforms final UX wireframes into UI design mockups, fixes mockups until final approval.

Software developer

Delivers code for the desktop app, performs code review, fixes issues on QA’s notices.

DevOps engineer

Responsible for the automation of a desktop app development and delivery.

QA specialist

Conducts the necessary tests to ensure application consistency with the project quality standards and SRS, logs testing outcomes.

Sourcing Models of Desktop App Development

Benefits of Desktop App Development Outsourcing with ScienceSoft

Cost reduction

ScienceSoft's developers help to achieve 50%+ project cost reduction by leveraging cross-platform tools, Agile approach, and development best practices.

High-end results

Our desktop apps are praised by BBC and Telegraph, used by billions of users worldwide, and streamline workflows of enterprises in 30+ industries. 

Full transparency

We agree on a custom set of KPIs for your project, deliver weekly demos, and provide Jira access to let you see how your project is progressing.

Development Frameworks ScienceSoft Recommends for Building Desktop Apps

For its desktop app development projects, ScienceSoft usually leverages these trusted and robust tools:


Best for: multi-platform development


  • Widget toolkit for developing cross-platform desktop apps for Windows, macOS, and Linux.
  • Over 1 million users worldwide in 70+ industries.
  • Used by BMW, LG, Panasonic, Microsoft, Walt Disney Animation Studios, etc.
  • Helped develop such desktop apps as Autodesk 3ds Max, Autodesk Maya, AMD Radeon Graphics.
  • C++ programming.



.NET (.NET Core)

Best for: Windows-only applications


  • Framework for building desktop (Windows, macOS, Linux), web, mobile, and IoT apps.
  • Open-source with 60,000 developers and 3,700 companies contributing to tool’s improvement.
  • Extensively used by Microsoft, General Electric Aviation, Siemens, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
  • C#, C++ and Python programming.



Other Technologies ScienceSoft Employs in Desktop App Development

Desktop App Development: Success Stories by ScienceSoft

Rakuten Viber – VoIP Messenger with 1.17 Billion Users – for Desktop

Rakuten Viber – VoIP Messenger with 1.17 Billion Users – for Desktop

  • Evolution and testing of the Qt-based messenger app for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.
  • Integration with the mobile app and a customer web billing portal.
Productivity App Acknowledged by The Daily Telegraph and BBC

Productivity App Acknowledged by The Daily Telegraph and BBC

  • Development of the Qt-based multiplatform app to block time-consuming websites.
  • Full-cycle app testing to ensure cross-browser compatibility.
Cross-platform Desktop App for a Leader in Image Processing

Cross-platform Desktop App for a Leader in Image Processing

  • Development costs reduced by 40% due to Qt-powered cross-platform development.
  • 7 projects featuring desktop app development from scratch.
Teleconferencing and Business Messaging App with Text-to-Speech

Teleconferencing and Business Messaging App with Text-to-Speech

  • Software modernization to comply with accessibility policies via VoiceOver and Narrator engines.
  • Use of Qt for cross-platform development and update facilitation.
Blockchain-Driven Web Browser with Over 10M Monthly Active Users

Blockchain-Driven Web Browser with Over 10M Monthly Active Users

  • Cross-platform development, music services integration, and continuous evolution.
  • Added features include auto-updating, cryptographic tools, and in-app torrent downloading.
Offline Translation Tool with a Database of Over 700 Languages

Offline Translation Tool with a Database of Over 700 Languages

  • Modernization of the Visual Basic-based app using C# and .NET 4.0.
  • App evolution – ScienceSoft’s team added predictive typing and support of Windows 8+ versions.

Costs of Desktop Application Development

The cost of desktop application development ranges between $40,000 and $400,000 depending on app complexity.

Below are some of the major factors that define the final price of the project:

General cost drivers

  • Type of app development (native vs. cross-platform) and a number of targeted desktop platforms.
  • Number and complexity of application features.
  • Location and structure of the project team.
  • Vendor’s pricing model (in case of cooperation with a vendor).

Additional costs

  • Use of any paid development tools.
  • UX and UI design efforts.
  • Application deployment/distribution costs.
  • Application maintenance costs.

ScienceSoft’s Director of Strategy Tanya Lebedzeva shares her experience:

"To avoid unnecessary expenses at the development stage, it's important to have a professional approach to discovery phase, which provides a foundation for budgetary and time estimations. Don't hold back in effort and time investments during this phase - and you'll prevent costly adjustments in the future."

About ScienceSoft

ScienceSoft is an IT consultancy and software development company based in McKinney, Texas, US. We design and create desktop software for multiple platforms as well as advise our customers on the organization specifics for desktop app development projects. As the holder of ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 certifications, we rely on mature quality management and guarantee the cooperation doesn't pose any risks to the customers' data security.