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The biggest challenge in web development is not technology: it’s communication.

In the scenario I’ve created for , we’ve untangled the net between developer, client, and customers through research, which has gained us a solid concept of what’s required from the site. Now it’s time to make a proposal to the client.

It’s perhaps easiest to define what a proposal is by what it isn’t:

  • A proposal is not a contract: it’s not legally binding.
  • A proposal does not address the of a site.
  • Unless the work is fairly significant or there are other forms competing for the work, the client doesn’t usually request a proposal. You should tender one anyway.

Just like an engagement, a proposal communicates intentions. It sets the goals and scope of the work. It doesn’t have to be terribly formal, but it should set the number of hours you expect the site to take.

Here’s the proposal I would send to our fictional client:

Hi Kai:

As you know, I’ve just come off a few days research into the needs for your site. After our discussions, I feel I have a very good understanding of the work required. I’ve already reserved the domain names and which I’m pleased to transfer to your control once site development is complete.

We’re agreed that the primary purpose of the site is to foster awareness of, and interest in, your retail store and its products. You’ve stated that the completed site will not be used to sell clothing at this stage, although that should remain an option for the future.

In my research I’ve noted a high percentage of Japanese, Korean and Chinese visitors to your store. To gain more attention from this market I would urge you to consider creation of a multilingual site, combined with concentration for the associated countries. Of course, this will mean extra work, which I have detailed below.

Per our discussions, the site will consist of five pages:

  • A main introductory page, which should feature at least one randomly selected, high-quality product photograph. The page will also feature a “new in store” sidebar, which will be used to showcase new products and events
  • Men’s fashions
  • Women’s fashions
  • A sustainability and environmental awareness page
  • Contact and a map

You should understand that the greater the variety of platforms, browsers and devices a site is built for, the more work is involved. The scope of work I’ve detailed here includes support for the last two versions of every browser and device that has a 5% or greater market share worldwide. and print styles will be integrated into the site as a standard practice.

My goal is to have every page below 150K in total size, enabling the site to load quickly even on using free Wifi or 4G along Kalakaua Avenue. Inevitably this must be balanced with the demands of content and code on each page.

You’ve also indicated that you would like to be able to control the content of the site after delivery, so I will be developing it using a Content Management System. I have added time for training you and your staff on the system in the estimates below.

Time Estimates

Research, meetings (already conducted)18 hours
Discovery10 hours
Contract preperation2 hours
Creation of personas5 hours
Content (photographs, writing body copy)22 hours
Translation and localization15 hours
Design mockup and presentation12 hours
Page creation40 hours
Testing15 hours
Delivery, final edits10 hours
Training8 hours
Total139 hours

If you approve of these estimates and the scope of work, I will draw up a contract to start the development of the site. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

That’s it: if you, the reader, have any questions and feedback, please add them in the comments below.

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