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As a relatively new freelancer, I am conscious that I tend to be optimistic
when it comes to estimating tech writing projects; it's a difficult balance
between being fair to myself, and not scaring customers away! So far, the
customer is winning!
I've been asked to estimate a new project and I am determined to submit a
realistic figure this time, so I would appreciate input from those more
experienced than myself.
The customer has a user guide which is 180 pages. It looks to me as if the
guide has been auto generated (and translated) from some other source,
probably an online help system. I have been asked to estimate three
different levels of work:
(1) An overhaul of the look and feel. The general layout is a mess -
cluttered, unstructured pages with random use of different fonts, there are
no conventions for presenting field names, options, etc, headings are
difficult to identify... the list goes on. So, one of the first things it
needs is a new template and a complete face lift.
(2) An editorial review. Content is littered with basic errors and
(3) A full review. This is the 'big one'. I would go through the guide with
the software, making sure it is editorially and technically correct. At the
moment, there is a distinct lack of any explanatory information in the
existing guide - it is very much a set of functional instructions for each
option in the software, with no information about why users might want to
use a feature, what the implications of an action are, etc.
I realise that there are a whole host of factors to consider when estimating
a project (particularly with regard to the third option), but I was hoping
that some of you might be able to offer some ball park suggestions, at least
with options 1 and 2.
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