posted on:March 7, 2008
Speed equals distance over time, getting from point A to point B in a certain time. The shorter the time, the faster you are. In our business it means how many working hours do you need to finish a certain project. Since we all calculate our pricing on the time spent per project, how fast you do your work is of a great significance.
I am often asked “How fast can you design a home page layout?” or “How much does it take for you to code one page?”.
Since I am a road runner I will use road running analogy. When running a distance on the road you will rarely meet ideal conditions: no wind, flat course, ideal temperature. Every course has it’s own difficulties. When someone asks you “How fast can you convert my page to css?” you can’t say for sure. The project can turn out to be be 10k of uphill running on a hot day or a short down hill stroll. It can even be 15k when you planned to run only 10k. Further more, not every day you’re in top shape and feel like running to the Moon and back. That factor is especially important when designing. If you’re not inspired you can loose extra hours or days over a design.
So, how do you answer that question? If you have done many projects surely you have an idea of what can be categorized as simple, moderate or complex project. Analyze how many hours you spent on most recent ones and you will have some sort of average score. In my estimates I always point out that I am talking about “moderate” projects. That gives me a little breathing space if things gets complicated.
If you don’t have enough experience then it’s better to say more than less. Giving a short estimate can cause troubles as the delivery date approaches and you still haven’t figured out why that darn thing is not working in IE.
How to become faster
The best possible tip for becoming faster is – REUSE. If you’re a designer, surely you have had good (or moderate 🙂 ) designs rejected. Put them aside, they will come in handy sooner or later. A modification here and there can make your design fresh and reusable.
Coders can prepare a set of blank templates that can be used as a start of any project. I have a group of files, basic css file and simple html structure, that I copy/paste to every project that I start. I also have an arsenal of pre-coded elements like various navigations, forms, lists. Big time saver.
Other important thing, especially when designing, is – listen to your client. An hour spent on reading and understanding the client’s specification can save many hours of tweaking and modifying. After all, you will cross the finish line once your client approves your work and pays for it. Respect his wishes and guidelines and you’ll shorten the process.
Just like in running, practice will make you faster. The more projects you do, the more skilled you’ll become. You will learn new tricks as you go and spent a lot less time in solving problems.
How fast are you
I wanted to share my numbers and I would love to hear yours. We could all use this thread as a reference, something to show our clients when they ask for impossible deadlines.
Here are my numbers, as precise as I can get 🙂 :
Home page design – medium complexity: 2 working days
1 page converted to css/xhtml – medium complexity: 1 working day
What are your numbers?
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