Consistent with my New Years’ goals, I have been working on getting estimates for the cost of developing my web app, and so have been talking to web developers and designers. Where do I find these people, you ask? By networking, of course. One of my helpful contacts has been Jocelyn Bergen at Zephyr Web Designs. She’s a web designer rather than a programmer, but knows the people who can write the code for my app and has pointed me towards a few developers. I made contact first by email, then telephone, with three different development teams. The upshot is that they all want written specifications with details about the site to better understand my needs and thus do a better job estimating what it will take to produce.
So, I am writing preliminary specs for the web programmers. Some of the write-up is pretty standard stuff, like naming the main person driving development of the site, when would you like the website to be completed, that sort of thing. However, a lot of it is forcing me to sit down and think harder about what I want from the site. Questions like:
“How will you measure your website’s success?”
“What do you want your target audience to think and feel?”
“How will you achieve these goals?”
are harder to answer. Measure our success? Achieve our goals? I don’t know, I’m just winging it here, bear with me, OK?
Actually, it’s great that these questions are being asked since they prompt me to think about some neglected issues. For the iOS version of this application, I put more thought into the details, especially the numbers, when I wrote my business plan. That plan was moderately useful as a focus to my thinking, but beyond that it was probably a waste of time. Mostly, it told me that the numbers didn’t work to make an iOS app profitable, something I’d had an inkling of anyways due to a number of iOS developers who told me it was going to be difficult. For our web app, I had been thinking not to write a business plan, since the last one took so much time to do for so little profit. A plan nobody but me is going to read? No, thanks. I’ll do one when somebody asks for it.
The writing is taking longer than I want, but one of them is done and handed over, two more to go. Thankfully, the first is feeding into the other two, since many of the questions are about the same for each. Unfortunately, they are different enough to require some thinking for each. C’est la vie. Once I get the writing done, I go on to the next step – developing preliminary wireframes of web pages. I’ll show you some of those when they become available.