Here are the answers.
How would I lay out the dictionary? Definitely in three columns, my original version of the pronunciation web pages.
What basic elements would I include? Column 1: the English word - Column 2: the pronunciation based on Portuguese sounds - Column 3: the most common meaning(s) in Portuguese.
How many words should I have? I started at 1,000 and easily ended up with 3,500.
Would I include the part of speech when the same word represents more than one? Definitely, for the sake of clarity. And each part of speech would have its own row to emphasize the distinction.
What software would I use? Excel was always on my mind for the dictionary, because it would certainly simplify my work. Regarding the end product, much would have to be explored along the way. I wanted to e-publish and had no idea which software or platform would work best.
Who was my target audience? Portuguese-speaking beginner EFLers was my idea from the very beginning. But I later came to include lower intermediate and intermediate learners. Towards the end of the production process, I truly believed it would be useful to learners of any age.
In what format would I publish? From the very beginning my mind was set on pdf. However, that mindset seemed too restrictive. I needed to consider several other options, above all, a format that would be compatible with the platform I was going publish in.
Would I write an intro? It came to mind almost as soon as I began working on the dictionary. Though I thought it was unusual in a dictionary, I felt there were several aspects that needed explaining. To start with, how the strategy came about. And there were interesting details about the whole process in class with the students. I also needed to explain some of the less obvious sounds used which were based on the problems we faced in class and the joint solutions we came up with. Besides, I wanted to include tables with all the sounds used and example words so that users have an easily accessible reference. Last but not least, I wanted to pay tribute and do justice to the hundreds of students who had participated and collaborated in it for six years.
Would I do the cover myself? Who could help me? What could or should it look like? I never considered doing it, because I didn't feel up to the task. And I thought I had the right person to do it. Unfortunately, things didn't turn out as I expected. So every now and then I began to google images and save them. One day I started experimenting with different layouts of the images. My dear friend Fernanda Rodrigues helped me with details and the title. I came to think of it as lively, colorful, motivating and meaningful for young beginners. No doubt it's childish for adults, but I decided to leave it as it is with the young learners in mind.
Would I record audio files of individual sounds? Or would I record videos of groups of sounds? My initial idea was to record the sounds individually. I recorded several as .mp3, but soon came to the conclusion that it would be cumbersome and impractical for the user. Eventually, I opted for videos of groups of sounds. I created slides with the sounds and example words, and recorded the videos myself.
Would I sell the dictionary or give it away for free? This was one of the most difficult decisions. I changed my mind quite a few times. Why so much hesitation? On the one hand, I'd been doing things for free for so long that I didn't feel comfortable with charging money. On the other hand, I felt that the time had come to start charging. Mainly because it had been a one "woman" job, a long process and I felt I deserved some reward. The final decision was delayed till about two-three months prior to my publishing deadline, the beginning of Sep. 2014. A time when teachers would be back to school. I finally decided it would be paid, but I'd have a free sample to help those interested make a better decision. Then came the next difficult problem: deciding on a fair price.
These were some of the things I considered. Not all at the beginning of the process, nor necessarily in this order. And still others occurred along the way.