The point is this: similar-looking apps flood the application marketplaces. For example, there are more than 2,47 million apps. So, if you want to get a top-class interface, you should invest money in your mobile app design price.apps in the App Store, and Google Play offers about
But how much time will UI/UX creation require? How does the design creating process go? And the essential thing, how much does it cost to design a mobile app? In the article, we’ll answer these questions and present the estimated app design wages of such well-known apps as Instagram and Uber.
Giving the rough answer on how much does it cost to design an app, it typically falls within a range of $3,000 to $30,000. The final amount of investments can vary based on several factors, which we will cover below.
What Factors Affect Mobile App Design Cost
A software development company, even one with extensive experience, cannot provide an accurate design cost estimate solely based on an idea. It's vital to understand the factors that influence the app design cost and why a basic concept isn't sufficient to determine the price.
Complexity and type of app
The nature and complexity of your app play a significant role in design costs. Simple apps with basic functionalities will generally cost less to design than complex, feature-rich applications. This way, a straightforward calculator app will be less costly to design compared to a social networking platform with various interactive features.
|Complexity||Average cost, $|
Simple app design
$2,500 - $3,500
Average app design
$10,000 - $14,000
Complex app design
$25,000 - $35,000
Number of screens
The number of screens or interfaces within your app directly impacts how much to design an app. More screens typically require more time and effort for designing user interfaces, layouts, and ensuring a consistent design language throughout the app.
The choice of platform(s) for your app, such as iOS, Android, or cross-platform development, can affect design costs. Designing for multiple platforms may require additional work to adapt the design to each platform's guidelines and requirements.
Complexity of UI/UX design
The complexity of your app's user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design is a crucial cost factor. Custom designs that deviate from standard templates and incorporate unique branding elements can increase design costs. Additionally, features like localization, which involves adapting the app for different languages and regions, can also raise design expenses due to the additional design work required to accommodate multiple languages and cultural preferences.
To illustrate, designing a complex platform like Spotify can take anywhere from 500 to 1,000 hours, depending on the specific functionalities and complexity required.
Based on a rate of $50, the average hourly rate in our region (Central and Eastern Europe), the app design cost will be:
- 500 hours = ~$25,000-$50,000
- 1,000 hours = ~$50,000-$100,000
Integration with 3rd party services
Integrating your app with third-party services or APIs can modify the cost of designing an app. Customizing the design to seamlessly incorporate external services may require additional design work. Designers must ensure that the integration is both functional and visually cohesive with the rest of the app, which can extend the design timeline and costs.
Example of app interface integrated with IoT (built by Cleveroad)
The timeline for project completion can influence design costs. Urgent or tight deadlines may necessitate additional resources or overtime work, potentially increasing costs. Rushed design processes can also lead to inefficiencies and compromises in the design quality, which may require additional revisions and adjustments.
The location of your design team can affect costs due to variations in labor rates. Design teams located in regions with higher living costs may charge more for their services. Conversely, working with designers in regions with lower labor costs may offer cost savings while maintaining quality, making location a factor to consider in your overall budget planning.
Type of collaboration
Different types of collaboration come with their own pros and cons, which can impact how much to design an app:
Working with freelance designers offers flexibility and cost-effectiveness for smaller projects. Freelancers often specialize in specific design areas, providing access to specialized skills. It's important to note that freelancers may have limited availability for ongoing support, and the quality and reliability of their work can vary.
Cost-effective for small projects
Limited availability for ongoing support
Access to specialized skills
May lack comprehensive project management
Flexibility in choosing designers
Quality and reliability can vary
In-house design team
Leveraging an in-house design team provides the advantage of close collaboration and seamless communication. Having a team within your organization offers full control over the design process and ensures a deep understanding of your company's culture. However, it comes with higher operational and salary expenses and may be less scalable for large projects.
Close collaboration and communication
Higher operational and salary expenses
Full control over the design process
Limited scalability for large projects
Deep understanding of company culture
May lack external expertise
Outsourcing to design agencies
Outsourcing your design needs to a specialized agency is often regarded as the most beneficial cooperation model. It grants access to a diverse talent pool with expertise in various design disciplines, ensuring that your project benefits from a wide range of skills and creative perspectives. This approach is highly scalable, making it suitable for complex and ambitious projects. Outsourcing allows you to tap into the agency's extensive resources, which can lead to faster project completion and a more comprehensive design solution.
Access to a diverse talent pool
May involve coordination challenges
Expertise in various design disciplines
Communication may require additional effort
Scalability for complex projects
Cost can be higher compared to freelancers
It's essential to carefully consider these factors and choose the collaboration type that aligns with your project's goals, budget, and requirements. Discussing these aspects with potential design partners will help you make an informed decision about the best approach for your mobile app design project. As ScienceDirect states, a qualitative design provides smooth and distraction-free pathways towards achieving goals.
How Much Does It Cost to Design an App Like Uber and Instagram
Among the most influential apps of the decade, Instagram and Uber take pride of place in their innovative UI/UX design. For this reason, we will look in detail at these solutions and cost of designing an app similar to these. Furthermore, you’ll figure out their app design pricing for every screen.
Founded in 2011, Uber changed from a locally known San Francisco taxi service to a global transportation system. In total, in 2022, Uber generated $31.8 billion in revenue in 2022.
What is the reason for such popularity? Thanks to their intelligent and straightforward app interface, taxi calling activity turns into a video game, and the users love it very much.
Moreover, by creating an easy-to-use interface, Uber has cared about both the passengers and drivers. Though, all the complexity is hidden inside the app.
Our business analysts gave time estimations for creating a UI/UX design of both Uber apps – for riders and drivers.
|Platform||Passenger app||Driver app|
The data indicated above shows approximately the design building time for Android and iOS operating systems. There is no admin panel info because it is usually represented just by a web version. The designers usually create the entire UI/UX interface for one operating system (generally, iOS) and then adapt it for the second (Android). According to such information, the Android interface takes 60-70% less time than iOS, which is beneficial for the cost of designing an app.
Here is the total detailed estimation of Uber’s UI from our team. Check it out!
It is also a rough calculation because the precise wages are influenced by UI/UX interface complexity. At the same time, the MVP version design will be cheaper.
Now, let’s check how much Uber’s iOS and Android app design cost in different regions:
- US/Canada. $20,900 - $62,700
- Australia. $20,900 - $62,700
- Western Europe. $20,900 - $41,800
- Central Europe. $10,450 - $20,900
- India. $8,360 - $20, 482
If the application is oriented to graphic content, its UI/UX interface can’t be poorly created. So, the Instagram designers acted responsibly, investigating users’ psychology, art, and science. And the result is that the app has an average of 4.5/5 stars due to its well-worked design. Moreover, the users love it despite bugs, improvements, and crashes.
Here is the average app design cost for Instagram-like solution estimated for specific countries:
- US/Canada. $18,250 - $54,750
- Australia. $18,250 - $54,750
- Western Europe. $18,250 - $36,500
- Central Europe. $9,125 - $18,250
- India. $5,300 - $17,885
Look through the detailed evaluation of an Instagram UI from our team.
How Much Does It Cost to Design an App Worldwide?
How much is it to design an app in different countries? Each IT company evaluates the processes differently, but most companies follow this evaluation sample:
hourly rate х number of hours spent = application design charge.
|Region||Average app design cost (per hour)||Typical range of costs (per hour)|
$100 - $150
$80 - $200
$80 - $120
$60 - $150
$30 - $50
$20 - $70
$60 - $90
$40 - $120
$90 - $130
$70 - $150
Imagine that you develop an Uber-similar solution, outsourcing the design features to Estonia. Some approximate estimates: 246h (max time for design) x $50 (Estonian hourly mean wage) = $12,300 (for Android and iOS solutions).
For instance, the cost of top design services may include hourly amounts to $150 in the USA or Canada. That will be up to $36,900 for the Uber-like iOS and Android UI/UX design. Here’s the thing: if you don’t have well-skilled design specialists around (or the app designers cost too high), you can use the services of software development companies abroad.
There are a lot of outsourcing companies all over the world that offer high-quality service for affordable price. Central Europe become more and more popular outsourcing destination due to extended talent pool, low taxes, and government support of the IT sphere. But the best cost should satisfy the best quality.
Picking a trustworthy service provider, do the following steps:
- Examine the portfolio of the chosen firm as well as app design company cost
- Observe company reviews published on GoodFirms, Clutch or IT Firms
- Discuss the cooperation experience with the company’s prior clients
- Check confidentiality matters (signing NDA, etc.)
Work with a foreign partner? Have a look at our comprehensive guide to choose software development company!
How Does the Stages of UI/UX Design Process Determine the Cost of App Design
To define the development stages and the app design cost, you should choose a mobile application type:
Native mobile apps
Such applications are built up for Android and iOS specifically. That’s why they can function quickly and flawlessly on a picked platform only. Though native mobile app development requires much time, money, and people resources creating several versions for different operating systems. Note that cost to build an app like Instagramwill be less if you'll turn to a cross-platform solution.
If you want to obtain a lower mobile app design cost with qualitative results like for native applications, you may choose web apps. They can look like native ones but function with the mobile browser's help without installing on the user's gadget. Thus, they can be combined with several platforms and updated immediately.
They can mix the features of native apps and web ones. That’s why cross-platform apps are quick and easy to maintain. So, their application design cost is also lower than for native mobile apps.
Now, after an app type has been chosen, let’s concentrate on the workflow. App design is commonly represented by a user interface and user experience. But every software development team or company works on its creation differently. We’ll illustrate below how the software companies create design through the Cleveroad workflow example.
Stage 1. Immersive research
At the beginning of the UI/UX development process, our design specialists analyze the competition, business objectives, and target audience of the upcoming product. This way, the team identifies the users’ needs to create the future design adapted to them. After an information gathering, the UI/UX specialists start developing an app design.
Stage 2. Building up wireframes
It should be noted first that every software development company should have a specification or set of requirements for wireframes building. A wireframe is represented as a conceptual scheme of all the elements placed on the app’s screen. It helps users realize the future look of the app and offer their amendments.
Cleveroad team builds several design models per request using the InVision design platform, Figma, and Zeplin. The customers also can follow it and comment on the process or choose the most attractive design sample according to the situation. So, the wireframes can serve as a fast instrument for creating a solution visualization. Moreover, they are efficient and easily changeable.
Stage 3. Prototyping
Prototypes are the model sets of the app’s final look, which serve as the basis for the whole UI development. Each application screen is prototyped separately.
Let’s view the UI/UX creation peculiarities according to mobile operating systems and gadgets where the app will be used. The experts usually start preparing the UI design version for iOS and Android for the project intended both for two platforms. UI/UX versions for tablets, phones, and other devices are created together with the main design but estimated individually.
At this stage, the customers can also offer their amendments, give feedback in InVision or Figma, and choose which prototype is the most appropriate for their application. Cleveroad, as most companies, can provide clickable or static prototypes upon your request.
The other stages consist of building up graphic elements such as icons and illustrations or preparing complex animations and individual evaluation of mobile UI design costs.
App user interface design process at Cleveroad
Approaches to Cut App Design Cost
When aiming to reduce app design cost, various strategic approaches can be employed. These approaches help optimize the design process, ensuring efficiency without compromising on quality or user experience. Here are some effective methods to cut app design cost:
Effective planning is the foundation of cost-efficient app design. A well-defined project scope, clear objectives, and a detailed design brief can help streamline the design process, minimize revisions, and prevent costly scope creep. By investing time in planning and establishing a solid project roadmap, you can avoid design-related setbacks that may lead to increased costs.
Prioritizing app features is a crucial step in cost reduction. Identify core functionalities that are essential for the initial release and focus on designing them first. This "minimum viable product" (MVP) approach allows you to allocate design resources efficiently and launch the app sooner. Subsequent features can be integrated based on user feedback and needs, reducing the upfront design costs.
Collaboration with an experienced design team
Collaborating with an experienced design team is essential for cost-effective and high-quality app design. When choosing a design team, pay attention to their portfolio, expertise in your industry, and their ability to understand your brand and target audience. Check credible sources to find talented designers with a proven track record. Effective communication and a shared design vision with your team can lead to efficient design iterations and cost savings. Feel free to explore our Dribbble to check our design expertise.
Opting for cross-platform design can be a cost-efficient choice, especially when targeting multiple platforms like iOS and Android. Designing a consistent user interface that adheres to platform-agnostic design principles can save time and resources. Cross-platform design ensures that design assets can be reused, reducing the need for separate designs for each platform and cost to design an app in parallel.
Creating a prototype before diving into full-fledged design can save costs by validating concepts and functionality early in the development process. Prototypes are less time-consuming and allow for quick iterations based on user feedback. This iterative approach helps identify and address design issues before they become costly to rectify in the final design stages.
Utilizing open-source design resources
Leveraging open-source design resources, such as free icons and fonts, can significantly reduce design costs. These resources are readily available online and can be integrated into your app design, saving both time and expenses compared to custom-designed elements. Ensure that the chosen resources align with your brand's aesthetics and licensing requirements.
Working with an offshore or nearshore team
Collaborating with offshore or nearshore design teams can decrease the cost to design an app. These teams often offer competitive rates while maintaining high design standards. When working with remote teams, effective communication and project management are crucial to ensure that the design process runs smoothly and aligns with your project goals.
By implementing these approaches, you can effectively cut app design costs without compromising on the quality and functionality of your app.
Cleveroad Expertise in App Design
Cleveroad is a professional software development company located in Central Europe - one of the most famous outsourcing destinations due to its reasonable software creation rates. For over 10+ years of experience, we have been helping businesses of various industries deliver custom app design to ensure their brand excellence and user engagement.
Our design specialists start working from the very beginning of the application building to launching the final product. Our team conducts Research, Wireframing, Visual style, Design, and Delivery ensuring top quality through all the steps.
Here's what you get by appealing to our UI/UX design services:
- Eye-catching mobile design for all screen sizes and platforms.
- Client-centered web design for various devices in FullHD quality to ensure page load optimization and site responsiveness.
- App wireframing and prototyping, mockup creation, sketching, and other design services applying latest UI/UX practices.
- Wireframing and prototyping, mockup creation, sketching, and other design services. The latest UI/UX practices to deliver a product that helps reach business goals and satisfy user needs.
- UI/UX consulting from professionals with an in-depth understanding of business needs.
How cost estimation is done for your project? To determine the app cost, we provide our clients with two types of estimates: Rough and Detailed.
A rough estimate serves as an initial, high-level cost projection provided to the client. In our project management approach, we create two distinct rough estimates to ensure cost accuracy at different stages of development:
- The first rough estimate is generated following a Solution Design Workshop. This estimate is quite high-level and offers three options: optimistic, realistic, and pessimistic. It helps the client understand the project's scope, goals, complexity, risks, and core non-functional requirements. It also aids in defining the project's strategy, including whether to include all features within the budget or prioritize essential ones.
- The second rough estimate is refined during the Discovery Phase, which begins after initial collaboration with the client. During this phase, we delve deeper into the project, analyzing intricate business processes, elaborating on the feature list, and solidifying development nuances and non-functional requirements. Based on this more detailed information, we revise the initial rough estimate, making it more precise.
A detailed estimate is the most precise cost projection in project management, offering near 100% accuracy. It involves direct participation from the development team responsible for the product's creation. These detailed estimates are crafted post-Discovery Phase, during the development stage.
Utilizing the insights gathered during the Discovery Phase, our team uses this estimate as a foundation to define detailed requirements, typically through user stories, in an iterative process. Each user story is evaluated, resulting in a comprehensive estimate.
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The cost to design an app varies from $3,000 to $30,000 or more. The final cost depends on several factors, including the complexity of the app, its features, design requirements, platform (iOS, Android, or both), and the location and expertise of the design team. It's essential to discuss your specific app project with a design agency or freelancer to get a more accurate cost estimate tailored to your needs and goals.
It relates to the complexity of the upcoming project. For example, such apps as Uber or Instagram can take up to 400+ hours to build a high-quality design.
Though, the initial MVP interface will be ready in a few working days.
Use this formula for the cost calculation: hourly rate х number of hours spent = app design cost.
For instance, if you need UI/UX app design close to Uber's and your designer charges $50 per hour x 246h (max design time) = $12,300 (UI/UX design of iOS and Android apps).
Hourly rates often depend on the designers' location. For example, in the United States and Canada, UI/UX designers charge $100 - $150 per hour. European designers work for $50 - $99/hr while in India UI/UX design services cost $25 - 49/hr. So, the question of an app designer cost for an hour is clarified.
We follow these steps:
- Step #1: Research
- Step #2: Creating wireframes
- Step #3: Building a prototype
- Step #4: Handing the project over to developers
- United States, Canada charge $100 - $150/h;
- Australia gets $100 - $149/h;
- Western Europe & UK asks for $50 - $99/h;
- Central Europe delivers great design at $25 - $49/h;
- India works at $25 - 49/hr
Evgeniy Altynpara is a CTO and member of the Forbes Councils’ community of tech professionals. He is an expert in software development and technological entrepreneurship and has 10+years of experience in digital transformation consulting in Healthcare, FinTech, Supply Chain and Logistics
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