n order to price custom work, even roughly, we need to know the number of screens the job will require.
Consider Hotmail, how much is it to build Hotmail?
The screens in Hotmail are:
• Joining to become registered
• Logging in
• Viewing mail
• Creating new email
• And lots more
Let’s take one screen in particular, joining Hotmail:
This consists of 15 elements.
Now there are also some rules behind this interface:
1. You can’t join if you have a username that an existing user has.
2. The password must be at least 5 characters long with at least one digit.
3. Once you join, an email will be sent to an existing email address. Clicking on a link in the email will confirm you to be a member.
4. And so on
The cost of this screen is directly proportional to the sum of the visual elements and the logical rules.
And to price Hotmail, we need to price all the screens and all the rules.
Screens and rules are created from a Business Requirements Specification followed by a Software Requirements Specification. These documents are written by a Business Analyst and a Software Architect. This is a service we can provide if you do not have these facilities in house.
Business Requirements Specifications are priced on an hourly rate. In most projects we do, they tend to take from 4 to 32 hours or longer.
But Can't You Just Give Us A Rough Quote?
Unfortunately, many clients can’t devote 2-3 days to creating a formal specification. In such cases, we can create a paper based prototype by quickly drawing out as many screens and rules as we can put together in a 1-2 hour meeting with the client.
Specifications based on rapid prototyping are usually under priced by a factor of around 50-100% or even more. This is becuase it is impossible to see all the rules and screens without thoroughly examining the solution. However, such an approach can give you an idea of whether the project will even be feasible.