How Much Does It Cost to Hire a UI/UX Designer for Your Product?
Dec 29, 2023
Every digital product needs a designer. These days, user expectations are high, and more than providing useful functionality is necessary to be competitive in the market. According to HubSpot’s statistics, 88% of customers won’t return to the platform with poor user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) designs. Thus, the choice of hiring a professional designer directly influences the success of the product.
The choice of a design professional ranges based on experience, case complexity, location, and other factors. Planning a budget you are ready to invest for a UI/UX designer salary should be a deliberate decision. Further, we will provide an in-depth overview of the aspects that form the final bill for designing services.
Challenges in Design Cost Evaluation
When planning a budget for design development, businesses often face the following difficulties:
Lack of knowledge about the labor market. To choose the best option for your needs, it is essential to learn the situation on the market. Sometimes, hiring a junior UI/UX designer will pay off better than hiring an expert. The same applies to the choice: is hiring through agencies or getting an in-house professional better?
Uncertainty about the scope of work. Not knowing what amount of work needs to be done creates confusion about the final designer’s cost. It is also essential to set precise requirements at the beginning of the project development, since if they change midway, it might require more resources.
Idealistic expectations. Your goals and vision for the final result will inevitably change. That means that the budget has to be flexible since even after the product release, such a step as product maintenance also requires investing.
How Much Do Designers Charge: Factors that Influence the Cost
The following aspects form an average UI/UX designer salary in US.
You can hire freelance designers, agencies, or in-house designers for your project.
The freelance UI/UX designer’s salary depends on the complexity of the project and the hourly rate. Even though having a team of designers in your company is vital, hiring a freelance professional is sometimes more beneficial. And here is why.
Cooperation with freelancers is cost-effective. They charge per project, so such expenses as benefits and taxes are not included. Freelance designers are more flexible. Depending on your needs, they can align with your schedule and work part-time or full-time. As the pool of talents is extensive, finding a freelance UI/UX designer specializing in your project type, like app or web development is possible. These design specialists work faster and with better productivity since they have fewer distractions related to company policies.
The approach to hiring a design agency is similar to hiring freelancers since they are both external service providers. However, the agency has an experienced team of professionals who provide more effective solutions than one freelance designer.
Creative agencies can charge based on an hourly rate, which goes to approximately $50 per hour and costs $10,000, or follow a combined approach when there is a set UX designer salary for core work, which increases as additional work is performed.
The pros of working with design agencies are that you can be sure of their quality of work. They work for a reputation, so there will be no situations when they cannot realize your idea. Another benefit of hiring an agency is that it already has a set of specialists, like designers of different styles and accountants.
If you have long-term goals for design development, you can create a design department within your own company. This would mean constantly hiring new employees to work on design for your projects.
Investing in in-house designers is a good choice for a company with several projects and a long-term focus. An average junior UI/UX designer salary in the US starts at $53,000 yearly and depends on location, level of expertise, responsibilities, and other factors.
The main advantage of having an in-house designer team is that you will gain more control over the process. Specialists working for you will explore the brand closer and be able to provide more personalized decisions. Communication with in-house designers is more effortless than hiring someone from overseas and getting in touch only through the screen.
The design cost will differ for every project depending on the scope of work to be performed. This is why evaluating its complexity and setting the desired results can help shape the budget.
The more sophisticated and interactive the design is, the more hours it will take to work on it and, consequently, the higher the cost. Also, it significantly differs whether you are designing a website, an application, or a SaaS platform.
For a simple website, designers spend 80-90 hours, and their work will cost around $4,000. This project requires building visual elements, choosing the color scheme, and typography, and inserting images.
A website application covers the creation of interactive elements that are more complex and need more time testing. The cost of its design starts at $3,000 to $30,000 for a project.
Enterprise-grade platforms take months to design as they are developed for a specific industry and have to bring quick solutions while being easy to navigate.
Not every project requires investing in high-fidelity prototypes. So, when hiring product designers, there should be a clear understanding of the expected results. For example, a simple static website can be delivered with a low-fidelity mockup that usually costs around several hundred dollars and is quick to perform.
A design creation process doesn’t exist without revisions. Endless cycles of edits can increase the design cost and put you out of budget. That is why it is crucial to set the number of revisions. Some designers offer a fixed number of revisions included in the UX designer’s salary. The other will charge 10-15% of the project fee.
The cost of UI/UX design services dramatically depends on the designer’s experience.
The hourly rate of a specialist with one to two years of experience in designing reached $10-$40 per hour. Hiring a junior can save more resources and provide the following benefits:
Specialists with minimum experience are very passionate. They are committed to the job and are eager to learn and develop. Compared to senior specialists, these are more adaptive and flexible, so you can “shape” a junior designer’s skills according to your needs.
Mid-level UI/UX designer salary ranges from $40 to $60 an hour. Middle-level specialists have several years of experience and are more independent in their knowledge and skills.
If you hire a middle UI/UX designer, you can already dedicate some feature design to them. They can cooperate with other departments and participate in problem-solving sessions. Middle designers are always at the core of the designers’ team and can work on their tasks more independently than junior ones.
Top UI/UX design experts charge $60-$80 hourly. They have at least five years of experience and can be assigned to projects of different complexity. Being experienced designers, seniors expect more benefits from the company.
The highest senior UI/UX designer salary is because these specialists can lead the project. On top of their hard skills, they have a set of soft skills to build all the processes that relate to the design part.
Location and work mode are the key factors that define the specialist’s rate. So, let’s see what the numbers tell us.
North America rightfully takes the lead as one of the most expensive locations for hiring. An average hourly rate for a designer from the US starts at $50. Meanwhile, in European countries like Germany, the rate for the same specialist will cost you half the price, or around $30. When talking about the lowest wages, Asia is a permanent leader. Chinese designers offer their service for $20 per hour, and specialists from countries such as the Philippines charge less than $10 per hour.
When hiring an overseas specialist, it’s not enough to focus solely on the financial side. The final decision has to be based on several factors, such as the designer’s experience, a common mindset, and the capacity for effortless communication.
Type of Employment
If we look at the UX designer’s salary from the employer’s side, an evident advantage of remote employment becomes clear. On the other hand, the cost of hiring an on-site employee with the same experience will lead to greater spending on several factors. The budget you consider spending on specialists might include relocation expenses, security services, and coverage for other essential benefits of any on-site worker.
Meanwhile, hiring a remote designer will free the company from most of the mentioned expenses. Remote employees also show better results for the company’s revenue. Another plus in favor of the remote type is a recent Bloomberg report showing that companies that preferred remote employment showed four times bigger revenue growth than the opposite ones.
How to Choose a Proper Budget For Your UI/UX Project
To avoid financial losses, it’s necessary to deliberately assess the company’s financial state to deliver exceptional results based on its current capabilities and goals.
Apps regularly present low-budget projects with limited interfaces that provide straightforward services. Even though the functionality of such programs might be pretty simple, the essence of such utilities usually does not require extensive features or experienced product designers for hire. For example, if your budget fluctuates in the range of $10,000-15,000, you can count on the development of a basic app with a simple UI/UX.
An average mid-level project will require increasing the product designers salary and the application’s UI/UX design complexity. Unlike low-budget projects, such an app consists of various complex screens and provides multiple possible functions. Its design also includes animations and a complex interface interacting with the app’s elements.
High-sized projects require a budget starting at $100,000 and higher. Meanwhile, the time for proper design development might exceed hundreds or even thousands of hours. Such projects also require the presence of experts with senior designer salaries who would be able to handle such multi-level projects.
Strategies For Reducing UI/UX Development Costs
These tips will help the company avoid financial difficulties without holding back the development process.
Understanding your final destination is the first simple step that might significantly reduce expenses. The design team must receive a proper set of requirements to disclose essential project stages and requirements. Avoidance of communication would lead to misunderstandings of the technical task, which would cause additional expenses and burn deadlines.
Early Research and User Testing
Early research helps the company understand the market’s demand and apply the current design trends to the project. Analysis and early research regarding the chosen hypothesis are integral to UI/UX development. Proper preparation might help the company define the user’s preferences even before testing the first user.
Templates and Design Tools Usage
Another important tip is not to neglect free templates or design tools. The biggest mistake of any startup company is incorrect goal setting that requires funds not currently in the company’s budget. Contrarily, it would be wiser to include proven schemes, free tools, and basic templates to create a product according to your current budget.
Consistent Approach For Project Realization
Consistency is another key to successful design finalization and product release. During the development, it’s necessary to ensure a consistent and troubleproof process for the gradual design progress. Thus, a strict schedule with a particular deadline for each UI/UX development process has to be set even before the start of the project.
Budget-friendly UI/UX design. We know how to design without countless revisions and wasted funds. With years of experience, we use already-developed elements in design instead of making them from scratch, which is a cost-effective practice.
Transparent cooperation. Communication is vital, and we place transparency as our top value. We keep clients updated about every step of the project and set up recurrent meetings and calls to be on the same page.
Tolerance for deadlines. If you hire UI/UX designer from our company, you can be sure about the work’s timeframe. Before the actual designing stage, we handle proper planning and deliver the results on time.
Investing in UI/UX design pays off for satisfied customers. Providing a smooth and easy-to-navigate interface is the key to success, as users need products with proper-planned functionality.
The UI/UX design cost is a serious consideration since it involves different aspects. However, the design is the process that doesn’t end after the product release. It requires constant maintenance. So, the best decision for a product company is to invest in UI/UX design from a long-term perspective.
To estimate the approximate cost of a design for a product, you have to consider many aspects. But first, you have to define your goals and deliverables. Without a proper vision of a final product, other steps in building a budget strategy will not align.
What factors influence the cost of a UI/UX design development?
The designer’s type, like freelancers, agencies, or in-house designers; project scope and complexity; location and type of employment; and designers’ experience.
How do I reduce costs for product design?
Before hiring a designer, you must set precise requirements for your project. If they change throughout the way, keeping up with your ideas will take time and money. Also, thorough labor market research will help in choosing the best candidate.
How do I spend a minimum on UI/UX design?
This strategy doesn’t lead to consistent product growth. The design also needs maintenance and renovation, so focusing on long-term perspectives and investments in the product design is better.
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