Are there any globally acceptable prices for UI designs?

According to small army of recruiters cold-calling me from Bangalore, the determinant is “What is your cheapest rate?” (It’s usually the 2nd question out of their mouths.) Price has always been a determinant for any competitive service environment, but the interaction design arena has been globally commoditized, to the extent that we’re now in a race to the bottom.

How do I charge my clients for UI designs?

By the hour. (see below)

Should it be done as per number of screens or per hour?

Ask yourself: Are all screens the same? If you believe so, then (by all means) charge-per-screen. After a while you’ll probably notice that you need to price your design services per hour. Or likelier – based on the estimate for creating a functional module (multiple screens or components) which takes into account workflow, interaction, complexity, etc.

Mass producing a bunch of cloned content-only screens is

a) a no-brainer

b) the sort of thing which is easily automated

Which makes you extraneous.

SeeOtto (automated page formatting engine), one of the first rudimentary ‘UI design productivity tools’ created by my company for the interactive industry … in 1984.

The punchline

… is that useful, usable design is based on a lot of background knowledge and research of the business domain, the user base and stakeholders, and the functionality challenge. That’s where the cost (and the value) of UI Design reside.

If your client wants you to merely do-what-our-competitors-did-but-with-a-new-coat-of-paint, then you can easily be replaced by a bot.

tick tock



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