I’m please to announce that the design phase for our web application is completed. I can’t begin to tell you how enthusiastic I am about our product. The months of work that we have put into designing this application have all been worth it.
Now that it is designed, we have to develop this puppy!
I realize that a lot of people out there might be thinking about designing a web application of their own. I thought it might be useful to provide some guidelines so you know what to expect.
What to expect when designing a web app in your spare time:
- The design phase took 6 months from when we really got serious about it (August) until today (end of January) when design is done (all in Photoshop at this point).
- We worked mostly nights and weekends, with 99% all of the work being done on the weekends.
- If you figure that there were 24 weekends during this time period, and roughly 75% of those weekends were devoted to designing the application, it represents roughly 36 days of design time.
- I can’t imagine designing something like this in only 36 days. We needed a lot of time to think about what we were doing, and ponder improvements on paper throughout the week.
- That’s 288 hrs (at 8 hrs a day). I’m sure I spent more than that though.
- I discovered that gathering feedback from other people is hugely valuable but does tend to increase the number of features, which can be good (it was in our case).
- To design a rather large web application, you have to deeply care about what you are making. I could have never done this without my deep desire to get this made. I believe our product is going to change the way people track their time.
The question that obviously arises is this: Would I have been better off taking a month off of work, and focusing exclusively on our application? I don’t know the answer to that question, but I think it would have been nice (but I couldn’t do that). Plus, I needed time to think about each iteration of the design.
- Build the front end in CSS / XHTML and begin talking with development teams.
- Set up a bank account and talk to payment gateways.
- Finish writing initial draft of documentation for developers.