Design team

How to Become Extremely Successful in Designing With Remote Teams


mins to read

Gallup, an American analytics and advisory company, surveyed employees who worked remotely during pandemics and figured out that only 9% of respondents want to return to offices. 54% say they would ideally split their time between working from home and in the office; 37% want to stay fully remote.

Oh, concludes Gallup, people seem to love remote work!

piechart "how average Americans prefer to work"
How average Americans prefer to work

But if you want to see people who really love remote work, you need to look at Eleken UI/UX agency

We’ve been working with our clients remotely for seven years already. Two years ago, as the pandemic started, we got rid of the office and went fully remote. And recently we ran a survey similar to Gallup’s, to figure out how the team feels about the current working conditions. What a surprise the result was.

  • 0% of Eleken people need to work in the office;
  • 1 little poor content writer (me) wants back to the office and work in a hybrid fashion;
  • 99% of workers want to work from their couches forever.
piechart "How Eleken employees prefer to work"
How Eleken employees prefer to work

Many surveys show that bosses want workers back in the office after the pandemic. For instance, a global study released by the Future Forum shows that executives,  who work remotely, prefer returning to the office three times more than employees.

But it’s not Eleken’s scenario. It was a good year for the agency, so our boss doesn’t mind if we continue working from our couches if we want.

this year for Eleken be like meme

In this article, one little poor content writer figures out what’s wrong with all the Eleken people. So keep reading if you want to know: 

  • How to build your remote design studio that will be 99% happy with its way of working;
  • How to make this team communicate and work 100% effectively.

Step one: Overcome remote management challenges

The shift to remote work inevitably reveals some misunderstandings about tasks or requirements due to the lack of context and details. So you have to detect such holes in your workflow and fix them to make everything work smoothly. 

If you’re a big team, add more structure

Big SaaS buddies with distributed teams generously share their experience in remote teams management. InVision, for instance, advises putting more structure around the design process to enhance it. 

Adding structure means coming up with standard algorithms of how designers investigate, brainstorm, collaborate in teams, or work apart. It’s like putting more columns so your design process doesn't fall over.

If you’re a big team, add more structure to your remote management

If you’re a small team, remove irrelevant structure

That was the piece of advice from big teams with design processes so heavy, that they risk collapsing under their own weight. But if you are starting to design with remote teams, you probably start small. So, here's some other advice for you from a small design team: remove the irrelevant structure.

If you zoom in to look more closely at the structural columns you already have or are going to have, you’ll notice that some of them are irrelevant in a remote mode. You can get rid of them painlessly for the sake of flexibility.

If you’re a small team, remove irrelevant remote work structure

For instance, we at Eleken revised our design requirement gathering process and cut some elements out of it.

Classical requirement gathering demands agencies’ clients to fill in a standard brief that causes suffering for everyone involved. Clients have to devote time and effort to write down answers to abstract questions. Designers then have to find the grain of truth in those abstract answers. 

A client brief is not the shortest way toward finding some common ground between a client and an agency. The shortest way is a conversation, so we abandoned briefs in favor of in-depth client interviews. Interviews that we have all saved thanks to Zoom’s beautiful recording function. 

When we got rid of excessive bureaucracy it turned out that project management is another unnecessary structural pillar. So now we don’t have project managers anymore — designers communicate directly with clients and their product teams. 

Step two: Learn to handle remote design feedback

The remote working boom, along with the consequent rapid growth of collaboration tools, actually worked to the advantage of design communication. One single point that changed for the worse is that working remotely requires you to read minds

Imagine, you are a designer waiting for feedback, and you see that “typing…” bubble on your screen. Your client or your boss writes something and it feels like eternity. It takes only a few seconds in reality, but still enough to start thinking about mistakes you possibly made or requirements you probably missed. 

If you’re a big team, add more structure to your remote management

Use emojis when giving feedback

Our designer Kseniya says that during online communication she can’t rely on facial expressions, body language, or tone of voice to tell her which way a conversation is about to go. Even when she gets some feedback in Slack, it can be hard to interpret it, since you can’t read the person’s intonation. Did this “OK” mean everything is fine or was she mad at me? Did this “thank you” mean they are not impressed or everything is fine?

Kseniya recommends using emojis to compensate for emotional misunderstandings in written feedback: “Our design director does a good job explaining in detail what we’ve done wrong or right. And he always adds smiley faces that clarify his attitude.”

Choose a single source of truth

In big remote teams it often happens that designers get different kinds of feedback from different colleagues. Customer support alerts about bugs after a recent update, the marketing department wants a new feature, and coders say the design is impossible to implement before a deadline. 

All those mixed signals come simultaneously and can drive a designer crazy unless you have a procedure of bringing all the requests together and prioritizing them using an Impact/Effort matrix, for instance.

When we were redesigning an app for Acadeum, we used such a matrix together with the client’s product team and the following roadmap was arranged according to the chosen priorities.

An Impact/Effort matrix we created for Acadeum
An Impact/Effort matrix we created for Acadeum

Arrange regular feedback sessions

There’s a temptation for a designer to hide in their UI/UX cave together with all the wireframes and mockups and never show up until a pixel-perfect design is ready. Needless to say, it’s a wrongheaded strategy. If a designer made a mistake that nobody noticed at the early stage, it would be super-expensive and time-consuming to re-do everything in the final phases.

Maksym, Eleken’s Design Director, says it’s crucial for a fast and efficient design process to get feedback from our clients as frequently as possible. Sometimes, even several times a day. It’s the only way you can be sure you’re moving in the right direction.

Step three: Replicate hallway conversations

When co-located, the crucial moments of the design process emerge organically. This can be as simple as sharing a new idea in an elevator or discussing user personas over lunch. With a remote mode, you need a bit more effort to make small talk.

Set a recurring time for status meetings 

Productivity in any workplace depends on predictability and structures. The efficiency of remote teams often suffers due to a lack of rhythm. Establishing and sticking to a regular meeting schedule helps to stay in shape and track your progress.

We at Eleken, for example,  create a working rhythm with weekly team calls, where we discuss how things are going, share plans for the future and roadblocks from the past.

Create a remote corner for off-top watercooler conversations

Teamwork is not only about project planning and feedback gathering. It’s also nice to have a little place for memes and chit-chats. Eleken is a remote-first company, and since Slack became our virtual office, it also has a watercooler spot.

a remote corner for off-top watercooler design conversations

Step four: Choose the right tools for a remote design team

Design tools

Just like Zoom made design communication irreversibly remote, Figma and other remote design collaboration tools made the same for the design process itself.

You can’t really appreciate what Figma did for interface designers unless a decade ago you tried to send numerous .psd files by email. 

Oops, impossible to attach, your file is too big.

Choose the right tools for a remote design team figma meme

Figma makes remote designers’ collaboration a piece of cake. It’s a cloud-based tool, so all the files are held on the web, they don’t take up space on your computer and allow you to work on them collectively. All your team members can edit a single file simultaneously, and the changes will autosave.

Remote designer-developer collaboration also became easier. Figma works on all devices, in all browsers, so developers don’t need to install anything when they have to check the design out. Moreover, they can extract code snippets from any design element. 

Figma code snippets for developers

Sticky notes sessions and other fancy design-ish on-site stuff got replaced by online whiteboard tools like Miro and Figjam.

User testing that several years ago included tons of hassle like creating prototypes, finding respondents, and finally running a testing session is now possible with minimal designer involvement. 

Figma has a tool that makes you clickable prototypes. Next, you can use Maze, for instance. Maze drags your prototypes directly from Figma, tests on real people automatically, and sends you results.

Collaboration tools

In its purest sense, UI/UX design is about visual problem-solving. It means that communicating design boils down mostly to sharing pictures. 

Sharing pictures is convenient in a chat, where you can attach a screenshot. It works perfectly in a video call, where you can show your screen. Even people who work in different time zones can discuss designs pretty well by recording screencasts with comments. 

Find your perfect cloud toolset, and your design team will never want to work from the office again. Here’s what says Aleksandra, the UI/UX designer at Eleken: “Even if we were sitting in the office next to each other, we’d discuss designs on Zoom instead of staring all together at a single screen.”

Research tools

Without further ado, here are the Eleken team's favorite tools for UX research:⁠

  • We use Google Analytics for quantitative analysis; ⁠
  • Hotjar is perfect for heatmaps;
  • Maze is an a-mazing remote unmoderated user testing platform that works with Figma;
  • Lookback is great for moderated tests;
  • Miro is our popular choice for the presentation of research results.

To sum things up: How can design teams work remotely?

Designing with remote teams, in-house or contracted, sounds like a good idea. We at Eleken actually believe that small design teams and remote work are meant for each other:

  • The SaaS market has finally developed an exceptional toolkit for remote UI/UX teams.
  • Some remote communication disadvantages turn out to be advantages for design teams. Designers seamlessly share and discuss pictures, and Zoom is more suitable for this task than a physical conference room.
  • You can get the best design talent from anywhere, and you can painlessly try any engagement model, from hiring freelancers to partnering with a design agency.
  • If you remove some irrelevant rules instead of adding more rules for remote teams, your best talents would get power over their lives working processes in a way people can't have with a traditional desk job.
  • Thus, your design team would get greater flexibility to deliver the best results.

Want the Eleken design team to become your design team? It's easy to do, you know. Just drop us a line. If you feel like doing some great SaaS stuff with us but are still unsure if we’re a perfect match, we can give you a free three-day trial.

Dana Yatsenko


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Design team
min read

How to Evaluate UI/UX Designers Before Hiring Them

The success of your business depends on the mutual efforts of each of your team members. A designer is not an exception. You need this specialist in your team as they are responsible for making products useful, simple, and enjoyable to use. They work to improve the product’s look and feel so that users can easily find its value.

But how to evaluate designers and understand you’re hiring the right person before they even start working with you?

As a UI/UX design agency for SaaS, we’ve been on both sides: those who hire, and those who are hired. Further in the text, we will share our experience on how to identify a good UI/UX designer, discuss what mistakes employers often make when evaluating designers, and more. Additionally, at the end of this article, you’ll find a free downloadable checklist that will help you assess UI/UX designers.

Common mistakes that employers make when evaluating designers

During our more than 7-year experience of providing product design services, we’ve noticed that there are some typical things new clients tend to do before signing a contract, but that are actually not effective.

So, before we think of design evaluation criteria, let’s see what mistakes recruiters tend to make when hiring UI/UX specialists.

  • Judging the designer’s style.

When you search through the Internet for some tips on evaluating potential designers, the first thing you will see on many websites is that they recommend you carefully examine the designer’s portfolio to understand if you like their style.

We completely disagree with this advice. First of all, good product design doesn’t depend on the designer’s style. Good UI/UX designers are not artists that should have their unique manner of work. They provide a service and should create designs taking into account your business logic, your users’ needs, industry trends, and more.

For example, if Meta searched for a designer, do you think they would search for a person with works that look just like a Facebook interface? Probably not, they would look for a designer who is able to understand their business and work with references, style guides, and design systems.

Each project is unique, there can’t be a universal design style that fits them all. So, there’s little use in judging a designer’s style.

How to evaluate designers before hiring them meme
  • Asking for a wrong test task.

In our opinion, a test task is the most objective way for an employer to evaluate a designer. However, to get a reliable impression of the designer’s work, you need to choose the correct test task. It shouldn’t be too long, not to spend too many resources on hiring, but big enough to see if the candidate is competent.

Commonly, employers ask to design one screen for their application as a test. However, such a task won’t give you enough information to evaluate your candidates. A separate screen design can look fantastic, but it won’t show you how a user got to this point in their user journey, and what will happen afterward when they click a certain button. That is, a screen doesn’t show if a designer understands your business context or the needs of your target audience. 

That’s why in Eleken, we offer our clients a free three days trial. During the trial, we can create a complete user flow, a customer journey map, a UX audit, or another task that proves the person you’re going to work with understands your vision, your users, and the logic of your SaaS.

  • Asking for a portfolio of a specific designer when hiring a design agency.

When hiring a design agency, it means that there’re many designers that can be assigned to your project ( you don’t always have the possibility to choose one). How to evaluate them in such a case? Usually, our clients want to see a portfolio with all case studies of the exact specialist that’s going to work on their project. But this approach is wrong, and here’s why. 

Imagine there are four designers:

  • designer A had worked on one big project for a year.
  • designer B had worked on four small projects during the last year. 
  • designer C was the only designer in the team when working on a project.
  • designer D worked as a part of a big design team.

Will the portfolios of these four designers and their experience differ? Yes. 

Does that mean that one is more experienced than the other? No.

And again, analyzing a portfolio of a specific designer won’t help you when hiring a design agency. Instead, take a look at the agency’s case studies to understand their general approach to design and ask to complete a small test task to see if your potential hire understands your needs and if you feel comfortable communicating with them.

Now that we know what mistakes to avoid when evaluating design specialists, let’s discuss the aspects you need to take into account to make an objective and qualified choice.

Components of successful hiring

Reviewing CVs, portfolios, and completed test tasks won’t be efficient if you analyze them alone. That’s why, the first thing we’d recommend you to do when choosing a designer, is to hold a video interview where you can ask open-ended questions that will help you understand if a candidate possesses the needed hard and soft skills.

Further on in the article, we will discuss what UI/UX designer skills you should pay attention to, and how to figure out if a designer has them. But before that, there’s one more important thing you should do before even opening designers’ CVs.

Define what you expect to receive at the outcome

Hiring designers to “make the product stand out”, or because you “want the app to look beautiful” may lead to a useless waste of resources. That’s why, as the first step, think of what exactly you want the designer to work on, and how it aligns with your business goals

  • Identify what your business needs are.
  • Define what user problems and needs the product should address, and therefore what features it should perform.
  • Learn what similar apps are on the market and how your product can stand out from the competitors. 

In other words, develop the design strategy, which is defined by research. This process doesn’t necessarily require a designer, only an in-depth understanding of your product.

With those insights in mind, come up with a list of deliverables and design requirements (they can change over time) and start looking through CVs. And remember, the more specifications you give to your potential designer, the easier it will be to choose the right candidate and the fewer challenges you'll face when you cooperate.

Now let’s move to key indicators that can help you evaluate designer qualities.

Hard skills

This and further sections contain criteria for UI/UX designers’ evaluation. You can check if your potential design partner meets these criteria during the interview by asking questions, analyzing projects in their portfolio, or discussing a test task.

Let’s start with a list of essential methods that UX designers commonly use during a product design process to deliver effective design solutions.

Product discovery

Product discovery is aimed at understanding your customers' problems and needs. Using these findings, you can build software that people want to use and pay for. It also helps a designer to correctly prioritize features and set up for product excellence.

Product discovery should be an integral part of the UI/UX design process, so when evaluating your potential hire’s skills, pay special attention to the following:

  • User research

UI/UX designers use data from studying users to approve or reject assumptions, define design opportunities, and develop an understanding of how people interact with a product. There’s a variety of user research techniques, including user interviews, surveys, focus groups, card sorting, usability testing, and more.

To evaluate the designer’s awareness of the importance of research, ask them what user research techniques they used in their projects and how they influenced their design decisions.

user personal examples
Buyer personas Eleken designers created based on user research for HandPrinter
  • Competitor analysis

By analyzing existing solutions on the market, designers can define what they are missing so that you can turn it into a competitive advantage, or vice versa, what features customers expect to find in your software because they’re common for this kind of app.

To evaluate this skill, ask a potential candidate if they use this research method in their work and how it affects the outcomes.

  • UX audit

The goal of a UX audit is to define existing usability problems of a product through research and analysis. With its help designers can identify critical gaps in the user journey that prevents customers from making the target actions they’re supposed to take. This skill is important to assess if you need help with product redesign.

The best way to evaluate this criterion is to make UX audit a test task. Ask a candidate to analyze a piece of your product, and come up with possible improvements. 

how to evaluate UX audit report
A piece of UX audit report done by Eleken designers
  • Product structure

A well-thought-out product structure makes your app intuitive and reduces the time and effort users spend to find what they need. To plan product structure, UI/UX designers create user flows by organizing and labeling each user’s step toward completing a task. Then they can start mapping user experience with the help of wireframing.

To check if your candidate can create a consistent product structure, ask them to design a certain user flow as a test task (be ready to give a designer enough time to complete a task). 

Then ask them to guide you through the flow. For more details ask the following questions:

  • What happens if the user does *certain action*?
  • Why did you choose a *certain solution*?
high-fidelity wireframes example
High-fidelity wireframe examples made by Eleken


Prototypes show you how the app will work and look, but most importantly, it allows designers to test their ideas with potential users.

To evaluate this skill, ask a designer if they create clickable prototypes, and what tools they use for this purpose.

how to evaluate design prototype
Prototype designed by Eleken


A variety of testing methods, like A/B testing, benchmarking, and others, allow designers to validate the efficiency of their design decisions, check the product’s usability, see how users interact with a product and reveal places of friction that need improvements.

Ask a candidate to tell you a case from their experience when they had to test their ideas and how they dealt with it.

Visual design

Colors, typefaces, photos, and illustrations are all parts of your product and they need to tie together in a structured and unified way. We fix inconsistencies and build a unified visual language to help you create a scalable product.

Ask designers to walk you through the breakdown of an existing user interface and explain how they may enhance it. Additionally, you can ask if a designer has experience working with design systems.

how to evaluate visual UI design
UI Kit is the main design document that contains a visualization of each UI component

Responsiveness and accessibility

UI/UX designers should be able to create a user experience beneficial for everyone who uses the software. Responsive design means that your app will look and feel the same at all device screen sizes. Accessible design means that users with disabilities or situational difficulties will find your app easy to use.

To assess these skills, ask a designer how they can make the product accessible to various user types.

accessibility in UI/UX design

To sum up, when evaluating the design approach of your potential design partner, the most important thing is to ensure that a candidate bases each of their design choice on research and users’ needs rather than on aesthetics. Ask your potential designer to guide you through their design process and pay attention to the methods we described above.

Soft skills

Here we will talk about personal qualities and interpersonal skills that are important for finding a connection with users and effectively cooperating with a team.

  • Critical thinking

UI/UX design is really about solving problems. Therefore, designers need to use critical thinking to find viable solutions for user problems.

To evaluate this quality, ask if a certain must-have feature in one of their previous projects is important and why, and see how versatile their vision is.

  • Empathy 

Being aware that you design software to solve someone's real problems, makes the designer strive to create more approachable, comprehensible, and usable products.

Good designers talk a lot about people who use their products. So, when a candidate tells you about their previous projects, pay attention if they mention what needs and problems users of that product had.

  • The ability to communicate

Designers don’t do their job alone, product design is a team sport. Thus, it’s essential to make sure your potential candidate can explain the details of how the design they create works to users, the product manager, developers, and other designers.

If a designer can clearly communicate their thoughts to you during the interview, they will also be able to communicate with other people well.

  • The ability to listen and take criticism well

In the course of your cooperation, you’ll have to share your vision and feedback regularly. So it’s very important to have a designer who’s a good listener and who’s open to criticism.

To check if your candidate has this quality, pay attention to the way they react to your feedback on a test task or to their previous works.

  • Proactivity

A designer shouldn’t be just a blind doer. Apart from being a good listener, it’s important that your future design partner could make their own decisions and justify their opinion when needed.

To assess this quality, set a test task and see how your potential designer presents you with their ideas.

That's all for the list of skills to evaluate a UI/UX designer. Study and adjust it to suit your needs, and start building the product design team of your dreams. And to ensure you don’t miss anything important, here’s a downloadable UI/UX designer evaluation checklist.

To sum up

Good UI/UX designers are those who listen to your vision but can also make their own decisions clearly explaining what lies behind them.

If we had to give several most important recommendations on a designer skills assessment they would be the following:

  1. Define why you need a UI/UX designer before starting the hiring process.
  2. Don’t sign a contract with a designer/design agency without talking to a candidate face-to-face or camera-to-camera.
  3. As a test task, ask them to create a user flow, conduct a UX audit, or do anything that can help you make sure the person you want to work with understands your product’s logic.
  4. Pay attention if you feel comfortable communicating with your potential employee.

And if you need to quickly find a devoted design partner, Eleken’s designers are all professionals with experience of working with SaaS solutions. Schedule a call with us, and let’s discuss the details of your project.

Design team
min read

UX Designer Salary: How Much You Should Pay to Get Top-Notch Talents

Planning to hire UX designers but feeling lost in the murky waters of their salary expectations? You're not alone. Determining the proper compensation for a UX designer can be tricky, especially with all the nuances and factors that affect the labor market. But fear not: we've got you covered. 

At Eleken, we offer a unique pricing model for UI/UX services. We studied the industry salary market and tailored our subscription-based strategy to make the lives of our clients easier. We know that choosing the right contractor might be quite a daunting task, so we gathered all the information that can help you with that. 

In this article, we'll guide you through the maze of UX/UI designer salaries, helping you to understand the current market rates and how to plan your budget accordingly. And in case you want to learn more about what UX designers do, go read our related article.

Overview of the current UX designer salary market

First things first, is a UX designer paid well? Yes. What’s more, a UX designer is consistently listed as one of the highest-paying entry-level jobs. Great news for those considering a career in the field, but not-that-great for those willing to hire them.

The current UX design job market is highly competitive, and many companies are willing to pay top dollar for talented professionals. The average UX designer salary in the US is around $90K per year.

Still, it’s not time to throw the towel yet. A UX designer’s salary varies depending on multiple factors. Let's break them down.

Factors that can impact UX designer salaries

If you google “how much does it cost to hire a designer” you won’t get any single definitive answer to the question. Quite frustrating, but the final cost you pay will depend on the way you approach hiring. Employing an in-house senior UX designer in San Francisco or outsourcing to a junior freelancer overseas will make for very different numbers. 

So, let’s look at the main factors that contribute to the salary expectations of UX designers. We’re going to look at such things as years of experience, the designer’s location, and such.

Years of experience

User experience and user interface design is a relatively new field, so most professionals don't have a formal university degree. Many might have a certificate from a design course, but that's more of a pleasant addition to their CV than actual necessity. What designers are judged by are their portfolio and experience. UX designer starting salary will fall to a median $89K and might get three times higher for someone with managerial responsibilities.  

So, let's break down the annual salaries according to the levels of seniority.

UX designer salary table
Source: Indeed

Entry level UX designer salary

If you hire someone fresh from a design course, UX designer intern salary averages $62K, while junior UX designer salary will rise to approximately $90K.

But remember that while such an employee will cost you less, you can't expect them to deliver a high-quality product on their own. Junior specialists perform best as a part of a design team, with more experienced designers mentoring them. So, if you are a small startup and looking to hire just one person, better consider hiring a more experienced specialist.

Middle UX designer salaries

It typically takes between 3 to 5 years for a user experience designer to advance to the middle level. At this point their salary ranges from an average of $103K a year to $130K as a highest probable one.

A middle level designer will be no-stranger to design tools, and have the knowledge to design specific features. When you’re looking to evaluate both technical and soft skills of such candidate to make sure they’re the right fit, check out our guide on UX designer interview questions

If your product needs to be designed from scratch or requires fundamental redesigns, however, you might consider going for an even more experienced professional.

Senior level UX designer salary 

For the Seniors who started their career in UX design more than 10 years ago, the salary will vary greatly depending on the factors we'll discuss later. According to various sources, the national average numbers will fall around $127K to $146K per year, with the highest in the most likely range reaching $189K.

A senior designer will be able to work on complex products on their own. However, if your product has grown enough to warrant group efforts, there might come a time when you need to hire a designer with leadership skills. And here enters a design manager.  

UX design manager salary

If you need to fill in a managerial position in your design team, get ready to pay between $127K and $204K, with the average falling to $159,857 a year. Here, you'll have to compete with the tech big names. But as they say, no pain no gain.

UX designer manager salary table
Source: Glassdoor 


If you want to hire an experienced UX/UI designer, but are not ready to break the bank, remember that an average annual salary will vary drastically depending on the location, both across the US and worldwide.

The US

Let’s look closely at different cities in the US to get the idea of how the UX designer salary will change. The highest paying cities in the US are usually the hometowns for influential design schools, headquarters of big tech companies, or both. Unsurprisingly, the list includes San Francisco, New York, Seattle, and Chicago. However, some of the smaller cities also make the list of the salary leaders due to hosting industry leaders.

Highest paying UX designer cities in the US table
Source: Indeed

If you're interested in breakdown by the states, you can take a look at the following map, with the cheaper states marked pink and the most expensive – in blue.

Map of UX designer salaries in the US

So, if you want to save a bit, you might consider hiring outside of the Bay area. Or, turn your gaze to hiring a UX designer from outside the US at all.


For the average UX designer salaries worldwide, we have to consult different sources, as there is no comprehensive database at the moment. Still, it's not too hard to get a general picture.

If you are looking to hire a designer from Canada or Australia, you can expect to pay around $55K. In the United Kingdom, as well as in most European Union countries, the average cost of hiring a designer is roughly $50K, although countries like Germany and Norway tend to be on the pricier side. 

In Central and Eastern Europe, as well as in China, UX designer salaries typically range from $30K to $40K. For Asia, Singapore and Japan will be the most costly, as the average salary for a UX designer there can reach as high as $66K.

Here's an overview of UX designer salary by country, from highest to lowest ones:

Comparison of UX designer salaries by countries

Company Size

The answer to the question on how much money you can make as a UX designer will also depend on specific companies across various industries. Take a look at this image, where some of the big names are presented.

UX designer salaries by company
Source: CareerFoundry

If we narrow it down to SaaS businesses, you'll find that, for example, Slack offers a median salary of $117K for design roles, while in Intercom the number falls to the median $102K. 

Startups in the US tend to offer an hourly rate anywhere from less than $25 to $100 (which translates to $52K to 205K per year), but obviously experience and location will factor into these numbers as well.

Collaboration model

The overall expense of hiring a designer can also depend on the type of collaboration you choose. There are several common approaches to working with designers, such as hiring them as in-house employees, collaborating with freelance designers, or engaging with design agencies. Let's talk about all of them.

UX designer salaries by collaboration model


One of the most commonly considered options, particularly for those who have multiple ongoing projects or anticipate regular updates to their product's design, is to hire an in-house designer. With this approach, you would pay a set salary, and won't have to worry about searching for a new designer, ideally, for quite a long while.

However, you also have to remember about the benefits. Mandatory ones will depend on the country. In the US, for example, as an employer, you'll have to contribute 6.2% of your designer's salary for federal Social Security and 1.45% for Medicare. There is also heath insurance, unemployment insurance and some other benefits to consider. In general, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, benefits account for 29.6% of the average cost per private industry employee. 

Employee benefits table
Source: Care.com

When hiring full-time employees from other countries, you need to ensure you take into account the mandatory benefits of their respective countries, include them in the contract, and administer correctly. 

Unlike the US, where most employers provide paid time off, but it is not required by law, in most European countries, full-time employees are entitled to a specific number of paid vacation days per year.

Talking about Asian countries, workers are typically eligible for a range of benefits including pension insurance, maternity insurance, unemployment insurance, medical insurance, and work-related injury insurance. Meanwhile, in various African nations, employees may receive medical and unemployment insurance, along with a skills development levy. Finally, in Australia, workers are entitled to a variety of benefits such as paid time off, maternity leave, long service leave, paid sick leave, and superannuation. In Brazil and some other LATAM countries, even dental care insurance is mandatory. So, keep all of this in mind when you open up your salary calculator for full-time remote employees. 

To sum up, while there are many benefits (no pun intended) to hiring an in-house UX designer, you also should keep in mind all the additional expenses that come with it. 

So, what are the alternatives?

Freelance designers

Typically, freelancers charge an hourly rate, which can differ based on their level of expertise. It's rare for them to offer lower prices than their full-time counterparts. However, you can save money on benefits.

Platforms such as Upwork, Fiverr, and many others allow you to evaluate the candidate's portfolio, as well as see their ratings and reviews so you can make an informed decision.

Keep in mind that going for the lowest-charging junior freelancer is usually not a good idea. You will save some money on their hourly rate, but might as well lose more on redesigning the product if something goes wrong.

Project-based design agency

The pricing for design firms varies based on the specific project scope, making it difficult to estimate costs without requesting a personalized quote. Although the cost may be higher, working with a design firm can save you time and effort since you won't need to search for, hire, and onboard a design team, or manage the project in-house.

However, as you can see, the costs might be quite unpredictable, and finding the right design agency might take some time and effort, as well as bring with it workflow complications you might be able to avoid when working with someone fully dedicated to your project instead of having to juggle multiple ones.

Retainer design agency

There's another pricing model when it comes to design agencies. It's not quite as wide-spread as a project-based payment, but might just be a golden fit for you.

As a UX design agency specializing in design services for SaaS companies, Eleken offers a pricing model that is comparable to those of SaaS companies. Instead of paying for individual projects or hourly rates, with us, you can pay a monthly fee and have access to a dedicated designer or team working solely on your project. This means that you won't need to worry about insurance or benefits, as we will handle those aspects for you. Additionally, we don't charge any project management fees since we advocate for direct communication between our clients and their UX designers, without the need for intermediaries.

To sum up

There are various ways to approach hiring a UX designer. A junior freelancer might cost you less in money, but more in nerves. An in-house designer in your office would seemingly be in your sight more often, but, except for the salary itself, will lead to hefty expenses on benefits, insurance, as well as their equipment and rent. If you are considering hiring a design agency, though, we can say: look no further!

Eleken offers a subscription-based approach to UI/UX design services that enables you to reduce expenses and employ remote SaaS designer(s) who are fully dedicated to your project at the same time. Additionally, we offer a free trial to ensure we are a good fit for you. 

Interested in learning more about how much our top-notch design services will cost? Drop us a line!

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