Trying to figure out how much a UX design project will cost is something of a dark art. It takes a lot of experience to accurately estimate the cost as every project is different. What it generally comes down to deciding is
a) The scope of the project
b) How long the project will take
c) The services included in the project
First things first.
“I have an idea”
Have you an idea for a website that you want to build? Maybe you have an idea for an app to rival WhatsApp or Airbnb. In that case, you should employ the UX agency to validate your idea. The agency will gather research about your intended user or customer and find out if your idea has potential. One important question that needs to be answered is, what problems are your trying to solve for your user? Is it something they need? Is the idea already provided by another app or website and can you do it better? Comprehensive user research at the beginning will hopefully uncover whether or not it’s a good or bad idea before you spend heaps of money on building it.
“I have a website, I just need a redesign”
So maybe you have a website that is looking dated and isn’t doing what its suppose to be doing. i.e, bringing in business. Or you’d like to start selling online and therefore your website needs e-commerce functionality. Maybe like the travel agency business, your whole industry is moving or has moved online.
“Ok, so how much?”
So if you Google the average salary of a UX designer in Ireland, indeed.com will come back with an average hourly rate of €26/hour. This will give you an idea of cost if you want to take the UX design role in-house. Of course, you might not want to make that commitment. You’d need to have a more long-term UX project or objective. An in-house UX designer is more suitable where your business is undergoing a digital transformation or if your business IS pure digital such as a SaaS business model.
A look at freelancer.com (a website for finding freelancers) and you get rates for UX designers for anything from $15/ hour to $100 / hour. It’s difficult to know what the difference in quality is at either end of this price range. upwork.com (similar model as Freelancer) have broken out the different UX project types and total costs are between $110 — $270 / hour. The project types they specify at Upwork include Wireframing, User Research and Storyboards/Personas. These are individual projects that fall under the umbrella of UX. No mention of Usability Testing or Information Architecture as project types on Upwork . Let me define all of the above UX project types.
A wireframe of a site is like a blueprint or skeletal version of the website which allows the UX designers to position all the various elements and communicate the basic layout of the website with the client before the design starts. It allows for iteration of the design and consists of lines and boxes in grayscale. It’s a good idea to add content at this stage rather than dummy text as it helps the client give better feedback and help the visual designers understand space constraints.
Research the user to get an understanding of who they are, what their goals, tasks, context and the journey they take when using your website or your competitor’s website. What problems or issues they have when using your website.
A storyboard is a linear sequence of illustrations, arrayed together to visualize a story. As a tool, storyboarding comes from motion picture production. Storyboards enable designers to create the world of the user before actually building the product
A persona is a representation of a type of customer. Personas answer the question, “Who are we designing for?” and they help to align strategy and goals to specific user groups. They help to make the user more memorable for the product team.
Usability testing is the practice of testing how easy a design is to use on a group of representative users. It usually involves observing users as they attempt to complete tasks and can be done for different types of designs, from user interfaces to physical products. It is often conducted repeatedly, from early development until a product’s release.
Information architecture (IA) is the creation of a structure for a website, application, or another project that allows us to understand where we are as users, and where the information or content we want is in relation to our position.
“Should I just get a guy from Freelancer or Upwork?”
The difficulty with using these aforementioned freelancer sites is that they use a marketplace platform. A bidder-wins model. This means you post the UX job and freelancers bid and compete with each other for your job on price. You don’t necessarily have to choose the lowest price but the freelancers need to put in a low price in order to win as much work as they can. This means they will have to cut corners on the services they provide to you to make a profit. Therefore the work you get back will be inferior. They lose and you lose. It’s lose-lose basically.
“I still don’t know how much UX will cost me.”
It’s difficult to put a price on a UX design job because every job is different. There are many long, complex services that go into a UX project. It is time-consuming, laborious work but if executed right, it almost guarantees an uptick in web traffic and ultimately more business. The length and breadth of the different types of UX work that will be used for your project and to what degree they’ll be used will need to be defined in the beginning.
38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content/layout is unattractive. (Source: Hubspot/Adobe)
UX design isn’t basic and therefore, isn’t cheap.
What you need to do when engaging with a UX designer or agency is to ask the right questions and try to come up with some kind of design brief.