Abacus - A freelance calculator

Abacus - A freelance calculator - student project


UPDATE - 03/26/2014

Wow, time flies!!!! If you pick anything from this class it should be to be proactive about your ideas and not let them sit for this long! In any case, I realize that my idea goes a bit beyond me and have decided to include more people in the project. I am based in Miami, and this is not exactly a silicon valley. Needless to say it has been a big challenge finding the right people to get involved.

A shift.

I realized as I went into my early prototype that for a freelancer a financial tool without project management is not a complete tool. The same can be said for the opposite. Therefore I decided that project management should be the main focus while the financial aspect should be applied to each task. This enables the user to a) understand their financials at a more granular level and b) add several tasks to a single project, rather than to do this manually only to enter a generic budget for the entire project. Hopefully the app will be able to connect to project management tools such as Basecamp and financial tools such as Wave App or Mint. By deeply integrating in the freelancer's day-to-day it can become a regular part of the process which deepens its impact.

Here are some screens that show the latest additions:

Abacus - A freelance calculator - image 1 - student project

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UPDATE - 06/02/2013



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UPDATE - 06/01/2013


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And we're Beta testing Abacus! Sign up to be a tester and help us improve and finalize our app: http://tflig.ht/17OsmAk

Want to beta test for Abacus?
We are recruiting creative professionals to help us shape what will become the final version of our app for release.

What is expected from you:
- Feedback on the look and functionality of the app
- Questions regarding the methods used by the app
- Questions that arise when establishing hourly prices, quoting, opening and closing projects
- Information request for the FAQ and Help & Support sections

What to expect from us:
- In the upcoming weeks we will be digesting your feedback
- Writing help and support content based on your feedback and other information/resources
- Improving the functionality of Abacus where needed
- Answering any arising questions from our testers

Follow the link and sign up to help us out!




*UPDATE - 04/09/2013

As the project goes forward I have added a couple of things, such as multiple profiles (if you want to proce as a photographer your hourly will be different as if you quote as a web developer) for users with different sets of skills. Also I have taken a deeper dive into the Project section of the app. Here are some screenshots:

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*UPDATE - 02/16/2013

This is a more in depth demo of what Abacus will achieve. I still have a long way to go in terms of designing the UI, implementing gestures and mocking up other sections that didn't make it into the demo. The idea is that the app is always progressing anyway, but I am extremely happy that it's gotten this far and that I was able to put it together with what I've learned in class.

The new features include:

  1. 4 inch retina support.
  2. User Login screen - The user registration is in the works, although it is already functional even though the information is not encrypted at the moment. The user can register and the collected information is saved to a local txt file. From there the user can log in and continue. If the wrong information is displayed the user is prompted with the following message:

    Abacus - A freelance calculator - image 9 - student project

  3. Here's an example walkthrougb of the process as it stands right now:

    Abacus - A freelance calculator - image 10 - student project

This app will be a lot more complex that what a human being can achieve learning and working on it only at night, but I have to say that I am really happy of how it is progressing. I was telling the guys at work that the most important thing that I learned in the class is to dive in and try. I have been developing sites and designing user interfaces for mobile apps for years, but was always intimidated to get into the code. Now I feel that Paul has given us enough insight into where to look for information and enough knowledge to start implementing and learning from the mistakes along the way. Also I am happy to see this concept taking shape and am sure that it'll hit the app store soon!

Thanks for all the support and the positive comments and I hope we can all stay in touch to work in future projects.


*UPDATE - 02/06/2013

I was being pessimistic as to what I could accomplish and doubting that any of the material was going into my brain. Today at work I had an "eureka!" moment and I couldn't wait to get home to implement what I figured out all of a sudden.

Abacus - A freelance calculator - image 11 - student project

Of course the last class was of great help because I referred to it directly to create my functionality. I can't wait to implement the rest and I am pretty sure I will have a better time understanding from here on out.

> Watch my app running on the Simulator on my blog


App Description

Abacus is a tool that helps creative professionals establish their prices when contracting independently. With Abacus freelancers can focus in being creative while the app calculates, suggests a quoting price and sets them up for success.

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One of the key features of the app is educating creative professionals into establishing their prices. Furthermore its calculator uses an algorithm that adds up the price based on the amount of hours per project, then dividing those amounts into 3 separate buckets:

  1. Company - This is pure revenue that goes into savings to invest back in the "company". Be it a new laptop, software upgrades or more hard drives for backup, this is the bucket for that.
  2. Operations - Traveling, materials, phone calls, emails, time spent developing documentation is all taken care of on this bucket. The leftover can go back to the Company bucket for savings or can become a nice bonus check for all the effort!
  3. Salaries - This bucket is used to pay for your services and anybody else that collaborated.

Calculations are based on a sole number that is established by the professional on his/her profile. This number can change and the educational documentation needed in order to find that perfect number is provided through the app.

Projects are added on a separate tab once quoted and approved by the prospect. Once completed, the user can mark the project as completed and is asked the amount of hours the project took. Based on that against the initial price suggested, the project is categorized as Profitable or Unprofitable. When Unprofitable the user can place a note about what went wrong as part of that project. The app keeps a log of these sub-categorized projects so that the freelancer can backtrack and learn important information about how projects are being managed in general.

Further improvements are planned in the future, but as of right now this would be the base idea. The app would be free but only giving access to the calculator. If the user wants access to the project log section they would have to do an in-app purchase of 99¢ to make it available.

This app was imagined after many years of struggle to establish my prices and not being confident about quotes proposed. More importantly I was inspired after reading the Creative Professional's Guide to Money book by the Marketing Mentor creator Ilise Benun. I highly recommend that book to anybody contracting work independently or solopreneurs.

If you want to take in this project please help me by filling out this Creative Professional Survey and passing it around. It provides me with very important information needed in order to make the right choices when developing this.


Thank you,



Design Details

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Alberto Orsini

Product Design Leader