Time estimates for Interaction design

1 Jun 2010 - 7:59am
4 years ago
5 replies
1904 reads
Anandasama
2010

Hi IXDA,
This is my first post, and I am new in the field of UX.

Background:
My profession is graphic designer, webdesigner and front-end developer for several years but I lately got alot of interest in UX-design. Not only does this help me alot in my design process but it also creates a better experience for the users, greater references for me and happy clients.

I made some basic user analysis and wireframing for smaller websites in my days because it is needed for any good user experience. But applications are a new layer for me and I never went deep with ux-design as a concept before.

My new work is in an IT-company and they build advanced web applications for businesses. However they don't have a UX-design department so they offered me to delve deeper into studying interaction design along with another colleague who have some education in usability. We will work in a team and that person will focus on the more abstract parts; user analysis, research and so on.  

I will not only produce the graphic design and front-end, but also be in charge of enhancements for existing applications, the basic design concepts and wireframing/prototyping. Simply put; they want to offer an enhanced user experience for the applications we build. 

Competence
Now I got hold of the book "Interaction Design - beyond human-computer interaction" that I am studying. Any other essential book on the matter? I am following iA, Konigi, and now IXDA. Any other good resources on UX-design?

Our service
I got the task in forming a new service for the company that we will offer our clients. It's called something like: 
"A study about usability improvements in the application's user interface".

Process:
- overview of application and user analysis
- Finding the potential for improvements
- Interaction design
- Graphic design
- Presentation -> Leads to possible implementation of accepted improvements


Since we are just starting out we won't go too deep until we established some experience. So advanced prototypes is out of the picture for now. 

Mostly we are looking to polish front-end (better UI, navigation, communication and graphic design). We don't want to suggest change so much in back-end (because of potential huge developer costs) unless absolutely neccessary.

The question
I have some questions about the sketching wireframes phase. My company needs some time estimates from me to be able to sell the service.  So I need to come up with with that and convince them (and the client) that the user experience is a very important feature in an application. :)


The interaction design phase includes usability of the application, good navigation (navigation design), communication to the user (information design), Layout and positioning of elements (Interface design). Of course it depends on each case but I need some basic figure or formula to be able to sell it.

The actual process I've come up with looks like this:

- Sketching wireframes 16h (I dont know. Depends how deep Im going. No advanced prototypes though.)
- Iterative testing and improvements of said wireframes 8h
- Preparation for meeting 4h
- Meeting with client; Showcase sketches with improved UI as a foundation for discussion and testing purposes. 3h
- (Cycle?) Possible changes after input from the meeting. 4h

Total: ~35 hours

Should I calculate x hours for Navigational design, x hours for each page I need to design?  

How do you work? Is there any best practices that you apply in your estimates?

Is my design process flawed? If so, what can I do to improve?

 

Sorry for my novice questions and thank you for reading!

best regards,

Jimmy ( http://twitter.com/JimmyLeonardson )

Comments

1 Jun 2010 - 1:06pm
johnk
2010

I come from the software side, and the way I do it is to count "features". What defines a feature for me are things like database tables, web pages, scripts, etc. Anything that seems like another job is a "feature" - this includes tasks like installing software, acquiring assets, etc. For UX I imagine it would be forms, pages, specific units of artwork, coding, etc.

Then I work, and time myself, using some kind of timesheet, recording tasks and times. Usually, it's just a post-it-note. The trick is to work on only one thing at a time.

Then, eventually, you get a rough idea of how long each thing takes, and you can apply these estimates to the next project, or the next phase of the current project. Usually, this requires number-crunching with a spreadsheet.

Over the course of projects, you start to get a sense of the extra time required for larger projects. When there are many parts interacting, there's extra work in integration. I suspect this integration work emerges a lot faster for UX than for software.

Anandasama wrote: > Hi IXDA, > This is my first post, and I am new in the field of UX. > > Background: > My profession is graphic designer, webdesigner and front-end developer > for several years but I lately got alot of interest in UX-design. Not > only does this help me alot in my design process but it also creates a > better experience for the users, greater references for me and happy > clients. > > I made some basic user analysis and wireframing for > smaller websites in my days because it is needed for any good user > experience. But applications are a new layer for me and I never went > deep with ux-design as a concept before. > > My new work is in an IT-company and they build advanced web > applications for businesses. However they don't have a UX-design > department so they offered me to delve deeper into > studying interaction design along with another colleague who have some > education in usability. We will work in a team and that person will > focus on the more abstract parts; user analysis, research and so on.
> > I will not only produce the graphic design and front-end, but also be > in charge of enhancements for existing applications, the basic design > concepts and wireframing/prototyping. Simply put; they want to offer > an enhanced user experience for the applications we build. > > Competence > Now I got hold of the book "Interaction Design - beyond human-computer > interaction" that I am studying. Any other essential book on the > matter? I am following iA, Konigi, and now IXDA. Any other good > resources on UX-design? > > Our service > *I got the task in forming a new service for the company that we will > offer our clients. It's called something like: > /"A study about usability improvements in the application's user > interface"./ > > Process: > /- overview of application and user analysis > - Finding the potential for improvements > /- /Interaction design > - Graphic design > - Presentation -> Leads to possible implementation of accepted > improvements/ > > Since we are just starting out we won't go too deep until we > established some experience. So advanced prototypes is out of the > picture for now. > > Mostly we are looking to polish front-end (better UI, navigation, > communication and graphic design). We don't want to suggest change so > much in back-end (because of potential huge developer costs) unless > absolutely neccessary. > > *The question > I have some questions about the sketching wireframes phase. My company > needs some time estimates from me to be able to sell the service. /So > I need to come up with with that and convince them (and the client) > that the user experience is a very important feature in an > application. :) > / > > The interaction design phase includes usability of the > application, good navigation (navigation design), communication to the > user (information design), Layout and positioning of > elements (Interface design). Of course it depends on each case but I > need some basic figure or formula to be able to sell it. > > The actual process I've come up with looks like this: > > - Sketching wireframes 16h (I dont know. Depends how deep Im going. No > advanced prototypes though.) > - Iterative testing and improvements of said wireframes 8h > - Preparation for meeting 4h > - Meeting with client; Showcase sketches with improved UI as a > foundation for discussion and testing purposes. 3h > - (Cycle?) Possible changes after input from the meeting. 4h > > Total: ~35 hours > > Should I calculate x hours for Navigational design, x hours for each > page I need to design?
> > How do you work? Is there any best practices that you apply in your > estimates? > > Is my design process flawed? If so, what can I do to improve? > >
> > Sorry for my novice questions and thank you for reading! > > best regards, > > Jimmy ( http://twitter.com/JimmyLeonardson [1] ) > >

1 Jun 2010 - 6:15pm
Stephen Holmes
2009

Hi Anandasama,

I never come at a "sell" to management based on hours - that is always going to be seen by the powers that be as a COST.

Try to put forward the idea that Interface design's ultimate benefit is SAVINGS.

Savings on customer support because less time and resources need to be allocated to help Users actual use the application.

Savings on development with less time spent on defining just how a widget should work.

Savings on code maintenance because there is a properly defined method of achieving each repeatable function or 'widget' in the application, so these resources become re-usable and so only need to be maintained in one place.

There are many more ways of looking at well designed interfaces that allow developers to better see what needs to be built in the first place.

Framing the argument in terms of savings is a much better way of looking at  any part of our profession.

Creating clear and concise wireframes allow you to also save time by defining all interactions without writing a single line of code - another huge saving!

regards

Stephen

2 Jun 2010 - 6:05pm
elvenmuse
2010

Anandasama? I know what sama is... but ananda?

> Hi Anandasama, > > I never come at a "sell" to management based on hours - that is always > going > to be seen by the powers that be as a COST. > > Try to put forward the idea that Interface design's ultimate benefit is > SAVINGS. > > Savings on customer support because less time and resources need to be > allocated to help Users actual use the application. > > Savings on development with less time spent on defining just how a > widget > should work. > > Savings on code maintenance because there is a properly defined method > of > achieving each repeatable function or 'widget' in the application, so > these > resources become re-usable and so only need to be maintained in one place. > > There are many more ways of looking at well designed interfaces that allow > developers to better see what needs to be built in the first place. > > Framing the argument in terms of savings is a much better way of looking > at >  any part of our profession. > > Creating clear and concise wireframes allow you to also save time by > defining > all interactions without writing a single line of code - another huge > saving! > > regards > > Stephen > > > ((

3 Jun 2010 - 3:39am
Anandasama
2010

Thank you everyone for your replies!


Hi @johnk

That's a good idea. I will try recording the time for features. Our first project will be done as a pilot, so after that we will have a better idea how much work we need.

Hi @Stephen Holmes

Yes I understand, savings is the sales pitch and we formed the sales document and manuscript for showing client how they can save in time a more efficient application with users working better and more safely.

But the estimates are needed internally to set a price at the sales. A client wouldn't always want to pay by the hour without knowing some figure of the whole package because they  want to get a return of investment.

OT @elvenmuse

The nick is a wordplay; Sama is an honorific in japanese and ananda means bliss in sanskrit, also a disciple of Gautama buddha.

3 Jun 2010 - 1:05pm
elvenmuse
2010

I used "BodiGami" (from bodhi + a "soft version" of kami... but more importantly as the negation of "anagami" :: or "a bodhisattva that returns after paranirvaana").

I'm a buddhist too, and starting to learn sanskrit (and japanese =)

> Thank you everyone for your replies! > (...) > OT @elvenmuse > > The nick is a wordplay; Sama is an honorific in japanese and ananda means > bliss in sanskrit, also a disciple of Gautama buddha. > >

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