Creating a Proposal
The process of creating is very well outlined in A Project Guide to UX Design by Ross Unger and Carolyn Chandler.
The core components of a proposal are:
- Title Page
- Revision of History
- Project Overview
- Project Approach
- Scope of work
- Ownership and rights
- Additional costs and fees
- Project pricing
- Payment schedule
- Acknowledgement and sign-off
Each section in the above list is broken down and explained in good detail by Unger and Chandler. Here I will give a brief overview of each.
The title introduces the document. It should include:
- Client company name
- Client company logo (if you have permission to use it)
- Project title
- Document type (proposal)
- Version of proposal
- Submission date
- Your company name
- Proposal authors
- Project reference numbers
Revision of History
This generally consists of a table listing the number of updates/revisions to the proposal. The below example was provided by Unger and Chandler:
A project overview is a brief outline of the project you are working on and a couple of paragraphs with a high level of detail of what the client can expect from you with an explanation of why you are making these recommendations.
This will vary depending on the project. Here you should identify how you plan to work with the client on the project. It can be as simple as Plan, Define, Develop, Extend. Unger and Chandler outline this as follows:
- Plan overall strategy.
- Define the detailed project requirements.
- Develop, test, refine, and launch the work product.
- Extend the project by recommending enhancements and improvements based on information learned during development, testing, and post-launch.
Scope of work
Here you outline what part of the project you are responsible for and what part of the project the client is responsible for. It is really important to get this in writing as it provides a paper trail if there are any misunderstandings down the line.
In this portion of the proposal, you very clearly detail exactly what is required from the client in order for you to do your job. You must agree on milestones and objectives to ensure project success.
This section includes deliverables and products that will be given to the client and can also include potential deliverables and products however be sure to include the word “may”. It can also include status reporting however it is recommended that this be included separately at the end of the document.
Ownership and rights
Here you outline the extent to which the client can use the work product that you have produced. The majority of the work will fall into two categories:
- Work for hire– projects created under Copywrite to the party who pays.
- Licensed work- you retain the Copywrite of the work while granting a third party to copy/distribute it.
Additional costs and fees
This section details what is and is not included in the final price e.g. external resources travel etc.
Here you include the cost of the work. When producing a cost it’s a good idea to consider:
- how long it will take you to the project including the number of revisions
- think about the amount of time to allocate to project management
- determine an hourly billable rate
- calculate hourly rates based on the degree of difficulty in that portion of the project
- do competitor research using local salary surveys and competitor rates to compare your rates to
This section outlines a consistent payment structure that will provide income while you are performing the work. This may be submitting invoices at pre-determined times or milestone-based payments. It is advised that you approach the payment structure with a recurring payment schedule with regular detailed invoices.
Acknowledgement and sign-off
This is the sign-off portion of the document and is necessary to have and be signed off by the client to signify a mutual agreement of the proposal and all area’s outlined within it. This stops the client from adding items not agreed to the job while the work is being done under original pricing agreements.
Write a UX Proposal: How-To-Guide
Steven Douglas takes a broader look at what exactly a UX Proposal is and why and when to write one.
Due to the high stakes related to the change of UI elements equating to costs of thousands and even hundreds of thousand UX proposals are very important pieces of documentation. UX proposal should only be made following in-depth research and investigation. More specifically Douglas presents the following quote to describe exactly what a UX proposal is.
“A UX proposal is an outline or plan of a proposed change to the UX design of a mobile app, website or product. A proposal outlines a problem and presents a solution”
A UX proposal is necessary as it puts designers and stakeholders/clients on the same page. A UX proposal defines problems as well as the scope of a project and sets expectations before the project begins.
When writing a proposal it is also helpful to be mindful of the fact that you need to get the ok from the stakeholder/client on the basis of this document. It is therefore important to highlight the benefits of your proposal e.g.
- Better Products
- Streamlined workflow
- Less risk
- Insight Discovery
Before jumping straight into a proposal it is always a good idea to meet with the client/stakeholder first. This is a way of qualifying your leads. It’s important to first explain what the problem is to your client/stakeholder. A great way to start this conversation is to send them a Typeform. This can be helpful in outlining a problem particularly if you are unable to meet. Another important factor to consider is describing benefits not features at this point.
In this guide, it is suggested you follow the below steps:
- Define the problem
- Provide background information
- Understand your goals and expected outcomes
- Propose deliverable
- What is the expected timeline and budget
I think this is a great outline of how to approach a proposal as it also covers what to do before creating a proposal e.g. reach out to clients and stakeholders first and why creating a proposal is so important (mitigating risk). However, I think the more detailed outline of how to structure a proposal provided in A Project Guide to UX Design provides a more in-depth outline of how to best structure the document.