Time taken to develop a 2 minute software simulation

Jan 29, 2013


I was researching the Internet to get some estimates on how long it takes to develop a 2 minute software simulation. My team has decided to create some simple simulations on a software we use regularly and I wanted to know if there's any standard for the development time.



8 Replies
Jerson  Campos

While 2 minutes doesn't seem like much, If the simulation will be an assessment (user clicks through it) you have to take into consideration the different actions a user will be able to take, the variables that need to be developed, branching, conditional triggers (or actions). 

If it's just a demonstration (not assessment), you still have to plan through the sequences to make sure you get the correct captures.

Steve Flowers

There are several sub-steps to creating a software simulation. Each one will take a window of time depending on a lot of factors. 

  • Plan and validate - You capture the steps (in writing) that the simulation will demonstrate or assess. You'll also test these steps to identify what types of feedback folks would see and any potential problems with the sequence (requires a large scroll, makes the user spontaneously vomit, etc..) For a 2 minute simulation, this could take 10 minutes or it could take 5 hours. It could take longer. Ambiguity of  the task and the number of stakeholders that have ownership over the procedure both have bearing on how long this process will take. But don't skip it!
  • Script - You'll also want to script out your feedback and any lead-in / setup for the task. You'll want to plan the steps and any correlated audio that will play during different modes.  Again, varies by the number of steps. This could take an hour or more when all iterations of review are finished. 
  • Practice - Run through it a couple of more times using your script. Make sure it makes sense. Less than 1 hour.
  • Capture - It could take 2 minutes to capture the actual simulation if all of your planning is done. I usually end up making 2 runs if I'm using capture tools. Something invariably gets in the way or I see a better way to pace it or think of a more efficient way of handling text entry, etc..
  • Capture support media - Need an illustration or audio that didn't get recorded during the capture? Don't forget to fill in the parts of your script 0 to 2 hours, depending...
  • Author - Pulling it all together. If planning is done and you have all of your media this can be done pretty quickly. Up to an hour here but could be longer if you're missing something. 
  • Test - Test multiple times and have someone else take a look. 1 hour-ish.

It really depends. If you're a one shot and done type, you could get a short simulation done in an hour or less. If you go through SME's and need to add extra media, a 2 minute sim could take you 10 -15 hours. Lots of factors

Aarti Talwar


To begin with, I plan on using just self-paced demonstrations that walk users on the key features of the software and the steps to perform simple tasks. Here's the development process that I came up with:

  • Create the actual step list and script (complete with welcome message, lead-ins, explanation, conceptual information, and closing message)
  • Review and finalize the step list with the SME (ensure that all steps are being covered and important/handy info is shared with the user)
  • Share the step list and script with the voiceover artist for audio recording
  • Capture the actual simulation in Adobe Captivate
  • Author the simulation in Adobe Captivate (fix mouse clicks, integrate audio, add text boxes and additional info)
  • Test the simulation (QA)
  • Publish the simulation in SWF and test again
  • Share the published output with SME to get final sign-off
  • Upload the simulation on LMS

Do you think I have covered all the steps? Would be great to get your perspective.



Dawn Russ

If you will add closed-captions to give users the choice to turn off audio, you'll have to add time to enter the captions and sync them to your timeline. Since most of my audience works in cubicles and do not have headphones and we have some hearing impaired folks, I need to offer closed captions/written narration for modules with audio. I find the Captivate CCs can take some time. 

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