• My Tools
UX, Thought Leaders

How to Create a UX Design Budget [With Template]

February 7, 2023

by Anna Peck

Senior SEO Specialist at Clutch.co

Planning for a UX design project can be complicated – having a well-defined budget for your company will keep all teams aligned and organized while delivering stellar design work for your business. 

User experience should be a main metric for all businesses in this digital age.

Many businesses are experimenting with online trends that attract users - but are they thinking of how UX design impacts this overall experience?

UX design factors into all types of design – it is the process used to create products that deliver a relevant experience to users. UX design also relates to UI (user interface) design which focuses more on the look, feel, and interactivity of a product.

Crafting a budget for UX design projects will help streamline your business processes at the launch of a new digital product – whether it is a website, mobile app, or tool.

The better your company understands your users, the easier it will be for your business to identify what to spend money on within a UX design budget.

This article will prepare your company for a UX design project by providing guidance on bringing your designs to life – within budget.

Start the design process by hiring a UX design agency.


What Goes Into a UX Design Budget?

Creating a realistic UX design budget requires businesses to understand the factors that go into a successful user experience design for any type of product.

The following practices are involved in the cost of a UX design project:

  • Deliverables: UX design is involved in all different types of projects - what project your company is working on will be a huge factor in defining your overall budget. An app design will have different elements than a web design - all of these design projects contain some aspects of a UX project like visual design, estimated timelines, and opportunities for redesign.
  • Discovery phase: The discovery phase can also vary depending on the type of UX project. In this phase, companies need to break down wireframes, any user research, testing, and more. Once these tasks are defined, your team will have a better idea of what you’re spending money on.
  • Design phase: In this phase, all of the work is completed, but different factors within this phase can impact the overall cost of a UX design project. For example, if your UX designer is working on an MVP of a mobile app, they will need to factor in different screens & wireframes, usability testing, product design work, and elements for prototyping. A simple design will take less work and resources than a more intricate one.
  • Amount of time: The hours estimated for your UX design project will also impact the overall budget. All different phases will take a different amount of time, and there should also be room allotted for buffer. Many UX designers are paid hourly, so this should be a main consideration when aligning your UX design project.

Not all design projects are the same – most decisions will be dependent on the deliverable your team is producing. It is important to note that most of these checkpoints will factor into your UX design project in some regard.

Learn the real cost of UX design services to prepare for your next project.

How to Create a Budget for UX Design Services

Building a budget for any design project involves considering resources, strict planning, aligning goals, and then factoring in all of the costs for production.

Businesses can create a solid UX design budget by following these steps:

  1. Assess Your Current UX/UI Design
  2. Define Any Design Problems
  3. Determine Project Goals
  4. Hire a UX Designer
  5. Lay Down a Timeline


1. Assess Your Current UX/UI Design

Before crafting your budget for UX design, it is imperative to assess where your company currently stands regarding design.

If your team already has a well-designed website, your new mobile application should mirror the capabilities and look and feel of that to present a unified front for potential buyers.

Mirror past work with UX research, tools, and design processes, and then review what worked and what didn’t. This can help streamline your next UX design project and impact what goes into your overall UX budget.

If you’re a small business just starting out, consider what competitors and others in your industry are experimenting with - you can find this by browsing case studies and other online resources.

To grow, your team needs to look back at past UX and UI design work.


2. Define Any Design Problems

Why is your company looking to create or improve your UX design capabilities?

The motivation with any UX design project should be to improve user and customer experience, but it is also key to look into all aspects to determine what the design problem is for the project.

What do we mean by design problem? It isn’t referring to a lack of graphic design elements in a website - but referencing why users are clicking away from your poorly designed website. Is it because of too many graphics or the lack of navigational elements?

Determining these problems will help your team fully center your budget around a common goal for UX design. The level of clarity will ensure that all aspects of your budget are well-defined and documented.


3. Determine Project Goals

Outside of thinking about the problem your design will solve, it is also key to consider project goals.

What is the priority of crafting a well-designed website? Is it only user experience or is your team looking to increase sales?

Depending on your specific project goal, different aspects of UX design might be factored into your budget. There might be more of a focus on usability testing than interaction design elements if your goal is to increase the number of site visitors and not conversions.

Your project goals will primarily impact your UX budget, so ensure that your team is thinking critically when selecting them.


4. Hire a UX Designer

While your business might have a general understanding of what looks good, it is very likely that your team only knows the basics and fundamentals of design.

Factor in hiring a UX design expert into your budget. After vetting different resources, you will be able to include other specialized tasks within your UX design budget, depending on what your chosen resource offers.

You can hire the following to assist with your UX design work:

  • A UX design company that works with an hourly rate
  • A freelance designer that specializes in all types of design work
  • An in-house UX designer or design team
  • Full-time or part-time UX designers

Each resource can provide a unique perspective, strong capabilities, and a different cost estimate. Before choosing, think critically about which resource will provide the most value to your organization with little impact on your budget and final cost.

Should you hire an in-house UX designer or a UX design agency? Think through your options with our guide. 

5. Lay Down a Timeline

The ideal timeline for a UX project isn’t a set number - but entirely depends on the size of features, design work, user testing, and more.

Estimating a timeline for your UX design project will greatly impact your budget. If your team has a tight deadline, the number of resources and manpower might increase.

Changes can occur, which will impact deadlines for deliverables, but covering clear bases in your UX budget will allow for transparency regarding due dates for designers.


UX Design Budget Template

Time for the design work to begin!

ux design template

Download this template for your UX design budget planning.


Factors for UX Design Cost

Several factors affect the cost of a user-friendly design project, including:

  • Timeline
  • Discovery and planning
  • UX research and strategy
  • Wireframe production
  • Elements of design (accessibility, typography, color)
  • Usability

As the design process evolves, the cost of UX design work can also change. It is important for design teams to be flexible when changes occur.

Additional Reading: 'UX Design Glossasry' 

Five Elements of UX Design

There are five key elements of UX design:

  1. Strategy
  2. Scope
  3. Structure
  4. Skeleton
  5. Surface

Read on about the five elements of UX design.

Plan Out UX Design Support for Your Digital Products

All digital products need substantial UX design in order to be successful.

When crafting a UX design budget, all team members must be involved to discuss the key elements of the product, what their target audience wants to see, and be realistic about the costs.

To build a complete UX design budget, consider all elements of UX design, resources, competition, and more.

Plan your company’s UX design budget by using our template.

Related Articles More

When to Hire an In-House UX Designer vs. UX/UI Firm
UX Design Glossary: 64 Essential Terms
How to Think Like a UI/UX Designer