If you are supposed to do UX design estimate, and you need to measure it based on "Simple, Medium and Complex", how do you classify the Simple, Medium and Complex screen design?

What are all the factors that you will consider to define a screen complexity, like number of screen elements, form elements, data structures etc...?

How do we go about it?

3 Answers 3


It would be the most important to take into account how much the applications or site offers in terms of functionality. Most great UX can be made to look simple or effortless, when in fact these solutions are often the ones that are the hardest to arrive at. Find out from the client exactly what the interface has to do and go from there. There are times when the most complex visual interface will be equal to complexity of the functionality but this is not always the case. Could you provide any more info on the project?

  • 1
    I agree. I don't think you can find a direct correlation between the complexity of the screen and time it will take to design it.
    – DA01
    Commented May 31, 2011 at 20:27

Ask questions until you know enough that you can qualify the project as taking "a long time", "not that long" and "not long at all". It's not as simple as looking at the number of elements on a screen.

Here are some questions I tend to ask clients when they approach us:

  • Who is the target audience? - so we know what kind of people will be using the interface
  • Who are your competitors? - so we can learn more about the problem domain and common solutions in this market or industry
  • What kind of websites do you like/visit? - so we know what kind of expectations and experience the client will have
  • What is the budget? - so we know what kind of UI we can build

The more questions you ask, the more you learn about the client's background and domain. That knowledge allows you to ask even more specific questions until you reach the stage where you feel comfortable enough to start forming screens in your head. At that point, it becomes gut feeling. Is the problem domain really complicated? Do users need to do a lot work? Then you might be looking at a "Complex" screen design. But watch out - you might be able to create simple screens for a complex problem as well. The best way to find out is to start iterating, testing, and creating prototypes as soon as possible.


You are right, that is hard to pin down.

We could create a formula to calculate the complexity of a UX design.

First, lets list all the factors:

  1. (F) Functionality, each function in the design multiplies the work
  2. (P) Platforms, reworking the UX for a new screensize or platform also multiplies the work
  3. (N) The number of elements needed to be considered and displayed

So... Complexity(C) can be calculated: C = P(F + N)

  • 1
    That's one dangerous function.
    – Rahul
    Commented May 31, 2011 at 20:32
  • haha I like to live a bit dangerous :)
    – jonshariat
    Commented May 31, 2011 at 20:38
  • but, again, complexity isn't necessarily an indicator of time needed to design it.
    – DA01
    Commented Jun 1, 2011 at 1:22
  • Indeed DA01, Just thought i'd whip up a fun equation to calculate the complexity of a project. Anything you guys would add or modify?
    – jonshariat
    Commented Jun 1, 2011 at 15:58

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