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10 Best Platforms to Find and Hire UI/UX Designers

If you're running a startup, you might have faced the problem of gathering the right people around your idea. What’s more, you don't just need a designer or a developer. You need a Swiss Army Man. The initial hires on your team are often all-in-one people, and it's hard to find them. So today, we'll talk about how to find and hire UI/UX designers and list 10 best platforms for hiring them.

Finding a good UI/UX designer isn’t done in days. This person will be responsible for the users' satisfaction with your future product, and you should hire UI/UX designers wisely.

My name is Stan Burenko, and I’m the Head of Biz Dev at Uptech – an international software outsourcing company. We helped to develop 150+ products and worked with clients from the USA, Canada, Europe, and Asia. Our design team worked on such products as Nomad, Dyvo.ai, and more. So we know how to find the perfect fit for our clients’ business needs and today will share some handy tips with you.

After reading this article, you’ll learn:

  • where to look for UI/UX designers;
  • top 10 platforms for hiring UI/UX designers;
  • how to hire a UI/UX designer in 5 steps;
  • tips on how to detect a really good professional, and why going through portfolios is not enough.
IT outsourcing

Why Consider UI/UX Designer For Your Startup?

User experience and user interface are at the crux of the design process. And a UI/UX designer is exactly that person who deals with both.

UI/UX designers figure out who you're designing for, analyze users' scenarios, create a product's logic, and conduct A/B tests. Also, they design the visual elements of an interface, such as colors, typography, buttons, and other visual aspects.

Generally speaking, a UI/UX designer makes your product intuitive, valuable, and beautiful to users. What's more, hiring a UI/UX designer benefits not only the end customers but also your business.  

hire UX designers

UI/UX designers make users come back

The number of unused apps in app stores went up by 6%, from 1.76 million to 1.86 million in the third quarter of 2022. That's a lot of neglected apps!

In the Play Store, there are about 1.3 million of these abandoned apps, which is a 9% increase in the fourth quarter of 2022. Meanwhile, the App Store has around 496,000, which actually decreased by 2%.

Building user flow, researching how the app should look to attract customers, and making an engaging and nice user experience rest upon the designer's shoulders. People will not even stick around the app if they have a bad user experience. As a person who owns a business and invests lots of money in it, it'll be hard to see the customers drop out after the first interaction, and all your money goes to waste. Hiring a good UI/UX designer saves you from such a nightmare.

UI/UX designers give you a competitive advantage

If you look at DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Just Eat – they all serve the same purpose – deliver food right to your doorstep. But for some reason, Just Eat has 90 million annual users, which is 5M users more than Uber Eats and almost three times more than DoorDash. One of the reasons why people choose Just Eat is the excellent experience they have in the app. And all credits go to UX and UI designers.

UI/UX designers create a data-driven design

Imagine an app that you've designed based on your assumptions and experience. It'll probably look like a children's painting. It makes sense but only for you. UI/UX designers' job is to convert all the assumptions into hypotheses and test them.

There are many ways to test design hypotheses, and getting data from users is one. So, by hiring UI/UX designers, you make your app design data-driven.

hire UX designer

10 Best Platforms Hire UI/UX Designers

It's much harder to hire a good UI/UX designer if you only hope for miracles or Facebook and LinkedIn. There are many more places where you can search for designers specifically, and here are 10 of the best.

B2B Platforms

Here are the top two B2B platforms for hiring a UI/UX designer from design agencies or top outsourcing companies. Check them out.

Clutch

Type: Reviews & rating platform.

Focus: Clutch connects small and medium-sized businesses with top-tier agencies and consultants, including those in the UI/UX design space. The focus of the platform is on giving you a helicopter view of the company, not a specific designer.

Strengths:

  • Vetting process. Clutch curates lists of top service providers based on their market presence, work quality, and client reviews. This makes it easier for you to find high-quality UI/UX designers or design firms that have been recognized for their excellence in the field.
  • Reviews. Every review on the platform is verified to ensure authenticity, providing you with peace of mind when making a selection.
  • Filters. You can apply a wide array of filters to narrow down your search, including location, budget, and specific services, making it easier to find the perfect match for your project.

Weaknesses:

  • Focus on agencies over freelancers. It may limit options for business owners if you’re looking for a more personalized, one-on-one engagement.
  • Possibility of biased rankings. Clutch attempts to maintain objectivity but some service providers can influence their rankings through sponsored content.

You can check Uptech’s Clutch profile, read reviews from our clients, and see the projects we’ve worked on.

GoodFirms

Type: Reviews & rating platform.

Focus: Just like Clutch, GoodFirms connects businesses with software development and design agencies, including specialized UI/UX design firms.

Strengths:

  • Detailed profile description. The platform provides detailed information about the companies and agencies, including the market presence, experience, and the quality of their deliverables.

For example, you can check Uptech’s page on GoodFirms and see our:

  • Average price;
  • Services focus areas;
  • Industry focus;
  • Clients’ reviews;
  • Portfolios, and more.

This makes it easier to assess whether a UI/UX design agency aligns with your project goals and budget. The focus areas block helps you quickly identify experts in UI/UX design.

Weaknesses:

  • Less extensive list of freelancers. This could be a drawback if you're in search of a freelance UI/UX designer for more personalized, direct collaboration. Plus, it’s better to check both Clutch and GoodFirms company profiles as some companies may have one profile more updated the the other.
  • Lack of transparent ranking criteria. Unlike other platforms, GoodFirms may not clearly explain the criteria used to rank agencies and freelancers, which can make it difficult for you to understand why certain companies are recommended over others.

Design-Specific Platforms

These were the leading B2B platforms for hiring a UI/UX designer which are mostly focused on UI/UX design agencies for hire.

If you’re considering hiring a freelancer or in-house UI/UX designer, we recommend you visit these design-specific job platforms. These are the places where designers and agencies showcase their design and idea communication skills, so you have more chances to find experienced specialists whose styles match your taste.

Dribbble

Type: Social networking platform for designers and creatives.

Focus: Dribbble operates as a social network for designers where they can post their portfolios and project showcases. The cool thing about Dribbble is that it quickly gauge the style and quality of a designer's work, which is incredibly useful for startups wanting to find a UI/UX designer whose aesthetic aligns with their vision.

Strengths:

  • Community. You can explore designers' work, see community feedback, and evaluate how active and reputable designers are within the community.
  • Specialized platform for designers. Dribbble focuses specifically on design roles, which helps you streamline the hiring process as you are more likely to find candidates who are specifically skilled at UI/UX design.

Weaknesses:

  • Limited information. Dribbble's open and vast network means you'll need to invest time in searching and vetting potential candidates yourself.
  • Longer hiring process. Also, the platform doesn't facilitate the hiring process directly, so once you find a designer you like, you'll need to manage the outreach, negotiation, and contracting processes independently.
  • Cost and membership models. If you want to message designers directly or post jobs, it requires a Pro or Team account, which comes with a subscription fee. This cost may be a consideration for small businesses or startups with limited hiring budgets.

Uptech design team has their profiles on Dribbble, and we stay active there, so you are welcome to check the clients’ projects we worked on and the design concepts we created.  

Behance

Type: Social networking platform for designers and creatives.

Focus: Unlike Dribbble, on Behance, designers publish real cases. So it's like a designer's portfolio. You can check the projects' types, industries, and even the design flow.

Strengths:

  • Project Displays: Project on Behance lets you understand a designer's approach and expertise, ensuring they align with your project's needs and aesthetic preferences. This is particularly beneficial for startups seeking to delve deep into a designer's creative process and final outcomes.
  • Integration with Adobe Creative Cloud. As Behance is part of the Adobe family, many designers use it to showcase work created with Adobe products. If your projects also use these tools, Behance is a great platform to find designers familiar with the software and workflows you use.

Weaknesses:

  • Hiring is on you. While Behance offers an extensive array of design portfolios, it has the same issue as Dribbble. It’s not a hiring platform, and it doesn’t facilitate direct hiring or project management. So you'll need to handle the negotiation and collaboration details independently.
  • Less specialized in UI/UX. Behance is not exclusively focused on UI/UX design and covers a broad spectrum of creative fields. While this diversity is a strength, it can also be a drawback because it might take more time to sift through portfolios to find UI/UX specialists.

Here’s Uptech’s profile on Behance. Check it out for recent cases there, like RSVP and Eatable

DesignCrowd

Type: Online marketplace.

Focus: DesignCrowd is a creative platform for custom graphic design, including logos, websites, and more, where you can host design contests or hire designers directly.

Strengths:

  • Design contests. This is the thing that makes DesignCrowd stand out from the crowd. You post a design brief, after which designers from around the world submit their concepts based on your requirements. It can be beneficial for startups that are still defining their visual identity and user experience strategy.
  • Flexible pricing options. DesignCrowd provides various pricing plans and packages, allowing you to choose one that fits your budget. This flexibility can be particularly beneficial for startups or small businesses with limited funds. Also, the platform offers a money-back guarantee, adding an extra layer of security to your investment.

Weaknesses:

  • Quality of work. The nature of crowdsourcing means that while you may receive many proposals, the depth of understanding from each designer regarding your project might be superficial compared to a dedicated freelance or agency hire.
  • Time-consuming. Hosting and managing a design contest can be time-consuming. You'll need to prepare a detailed brief, review submissions, provide feedback, and communicate with designers. This investment may not be ideal for all businesses, especially those needing quick turnarounds.

99designs

Type: Freelancer platform.

Focus: Similar to DesignCrowd, 99designs allows you to hire UI/UX designers or create design contests where designers can submit their concepts, giving you a variety of options to choose from.

Strengths:

  • Pre-screened designers: 99designs categorizes designers into different levels based on their skills, experience, and client feedback. It helps you quickly identify top-rated UI/UX designers and saves time in the initial screening process.
  • Safe investment. The platform offers a money-back guarantee, so you can be safe and sound about the financial security of your project.

Weaknesses:

  • Lack of good design projects. The contest model is based on speculative work. Designers invest time and resources without a guarantee of payment unless their design is chosen. This aspect can deter some experienced designers from participating, potentially limiting the pool of candidates who are willing to take on the risk, especially for complex UI/UX projects.
  • Time and effort inefficiency. As we mentioned above, running a design contest or sifting through numerous proposals can be time-consuming.

Freelance Platforms

Ok, but what if you’re interested in hiring a freelancer only?

Below we made a list of top platforms where you can find freelance UI/UX designers for hire.

Toptal

Type: Freelance platform

Focus: Toptal is a freelance platform that connects businesses with the top 3% of freelance talent worldwide, including experts in UI/UX design.

Strengths:

  • Rigorous screening process. Toptal ensures that you have access to world-class designers with proven track records. They highlight that in any possible way, as you can see from their message about 3% of top talents. This is particularly beneficial for startups looking to invest in high-quality UI/UX design without the risks commonly associated with freelance hiring.
  • Time-efficiency. If you're in urgent need of a UI/UX designer, Toptal can typically match you with qualified candidates within 48 hours. Here’s how it works. You outline your requirements to the UI/UX designer on their website → Toptal's team analyzes your needs → Screens the profiles of the designer → Matches you with the perfect freelancer. Voilà and you have a perfect match. It saves you time and effort.
  • Risk-free trial period. The platform offers a risk-free trial period, giving you peace of mind that the designer you hire will meet your expectations.

Weaknesses:

  • Price tags. The exclusivity of Toptal means it may come with higher price tags compared to other platforms.
  • Limited number of designers. The focus on elite UI/UX designers might limit the number of available candidates, especially if you're working with a tight budget or need someone with a very specific skill set.

Upwork

Type: Freelance platform

Focus: If you're looking for a UI/UX designer on a freelance basis, Upwork is a great platform. You get flexible access to quality talent on demand very fast, and it's cost-effective.

Strengths:

  • Clear and simple hiring process. The platform works in this way: You post your project requirements → Receive bids from freelancers → Choose a UI/UX designer based on your specific needs, budget, and timeline → Contact a freelancer → Hire the freelancer by signing the contract through Upwork. This approach to hiring provides a clear pathway from project conception to completion. So if you’re a startup looking to quickly onboard a designer and kickstart their project – Upwork is a great place to look for UI/UX designers.
  • Large talent pool. We can not mention that Upwork hosts one of the largest freelancer communities, which means you have access to a vast number of UI/UX designers from around the world.
  • Flexible pricing options. You can hire designers on an hourly or fixed-price basis. This can be particularly beneficial for projects with varying scopes or for businesses with different budget constraints. What’s more, you can also negotiate rates directly with freelancers to find a price that works for both parties.
  • Upwork payment protection. Upwork offers payment protection and facilitates smooth communication between you and your hired designer.

Weaknesses:

  • Time-consuming hiring process. Due to the vast number of freelancers, finding the right UI/UX designer can be a time-consuming process. It involves posting jobs, reviewing applications, conducting interviews, and assessing portfolios, which might be challenging for business owners with limited time.
  • Competition and rates. The large talent pool is a plus, but it means you are competing with other businesses worldwide for top talent. This often drives up rates for highly skilled designers.

Fiverr

Type: Online marketplace.

Focus: Fiverr is a global online marketplace that offers a wide range of services. Known for its gig-based system, Fiverr offers services in different categories, including UI/UX design, at various price points.

Strengths:

  • Listing structure. On Fiverr, you can browse through listings of UI/UX designers, each with their own unique gig offerings, portfolios, and customer reviews. It allows you to quickly assess a designer’s capabilities and fit for your project based on their previous work and client feedback.
  • Pricing structure. Designers list their services at fixed prices, which can help you stay within budget while searching for the right talent.
  • Payment protection. Fiverr’s escrow payment system protects both buyers and sellers, ensuring the release of funds only when you are satisfied with the delivered work.

Weaknesses:

  • Candidates’ experience.  One thing that bothers us about Fiverr is the quality of UI/UX designers. The platform’s focus on low-cost services may mean that some offerings are less comprehensive than those found on more specialized platforms, like Clutch.
  • Service quality. Due to the vast range of freelancers, the quality of work on Fiverr can vary significantly. So it an be a challenge to find reliable, high-quality designers without extensive searching and vetting.
  • Review system vulnerabilities. While customer reviews can help in making a decision, the platform's review system can be susceptible to manipulation. This could lead to a distorted impression of a designer’s abilities and reliability.

AngelList

Type: Social platform

Focus: While primarily a startup community, AngelList – platform for fundraising and connecting startups, angel investors, and limited partners, allows you to find and hire freelance UI/UX designers who are interested in startup culture.

Strengths:

  • Start-up focused community: AngelList is focused on startups and the tech industry. This makes it an ideal platform if you're looking to hire a UI/UX designer who is familiar with the startup culture and is potentially more adaptable to the fast-paced, dynamic environment typical of startups.
  • Networking and ecosystem. On AngelList, you start with creating a company profile, posting job listings, and directly reaching out to UI/UX designers. This direct line of communication lets you build a committed and innovative design team that aligns with their entrepreneurial spirit and vision.
  • Transparent salary and equity options. The platform allows startups to post job listings with clear compensation ranges, including salary and equity options. This transparency can attract candidates who are genuinely interested in being part of a startup's growth and success, including UI/UX designers looking for long-term opportunities and impacts.

Weaknesses:

  • Less specialized in design. Unlike platforms like Dribbble or Behance which are dedicated to creative roles, AngelList may not offer the same breadth of design talent as larger, design-specific platforms.
  • Geographic limitations. AngelList is particularly popular in certain geographic areas and within specific sectors of the tech industry. If your business falls outside these areas or sectors, it might be more challenging to find suitable UI/UX designer candidates.
  • Time and effort for screening. Given the platform's broader focus, you might need to spend additional time and effort to identify and vet candidates to find those with the specific UI/UX skills and experience you require.
hire UX designer

How to Hire A UI/UX Designer That Matches Your Needs?

Alright, so now you know where to find those design wizards and agencies that seem to tick all the right boxes. But now comes a new challenge – to figure out who's truly the best fit for your project. It's not always straightforward. Portfolios can be like icebergs – what you see on the surface doesn't always tell the whole story.

In this part, we'll share the 5 steps you should take to choose a UI/UX designer who has the chops your project needs.

1. Gather the information about your product

First things first. A brief mention of the product is never enough, but the key things to mention are:

  • What your product is about;
  • What problems it solves;
  • Who the target customers are;
  • What the business goals are;
  • The stage of the product development;

Why does it matter? The designer's focus depends on these details. For example, if the product's goal sounds like: We need to keep users engaged, the UI/UX designer should put all the effort into researching how to raise the engagement rate.

2. Share your design requirements

After sharing the core, you can shift specifically to the design part. If you just launched a startup without existing products, describe how you see the product’s features, what big players inspire you, and what your absolute no's are.

If the product is already on the market, share what doesn't work for the users. What should be changed, what you've tried and it didn't work. Put everything on the table.

3. Define the scope of work

One of the things that interests designers is "What will my responsibilities be?" Framing the scope is one of the most valuable things you can do for a candidate. Not only will it mitigate the uncertainties, but it will also allow creativity to flourish once you've shaped the scope.

4. Check the experience and portfolio

To create a world-class product, UI/UX designers have to be experienced. The more hours a designer spent on researching, interviewing, testing, and surveying – the better. Paying attention to the years of experience must be a part of the hiring process.

The portfolio will give you an idea of the projects a designer worked on and a design taste. So focus on both the experience and the portfolio.

5. Agree on the cooperation model

This step is crucial if you hire a UI/UX designer on a freelance basis or you decide to work with a design agency or an outsourcing company, like Uptech.

For freelancers, there are 3 most common models:

  1. Hourly Rate: You pay the designer for each hour they work on your project. This model is ideal for projects where the scope is not clearly defined or expected to change.
  2. Fixed Price: You agree on a set price for the entire project or for specific deliverables. It suits best projects with a well-defined scope.
  3. Project-Based: Similar to fixed-price, but more focused on deliverables specific to a particular project. This is common for one-off projects like creating a website, app, or branding package. In this model, payment can be milestone-based.

For outsourcing design agencies or development companies:

  1. Project-Based Model: The outsourcing company will provide a quote based on the project's requirements, deliverables, and timeline. This model is suitable for clients with well-defined project scopes and deliverables.
  2. Time and Materials (T&M): In this model, clients pay for the time spent by the design team and any materials (software, resources) used during the project. This model is ideal for startups and projects where the scope is not clearly defined from the start or is expected to evolve.
  3. Dedicated Team: The outsourcing company provides a team of UI/UX designers who work exclusively on your project for a set period. This model is beneficial for long-term projects or ongoing work. Clients typically pay a monthly fee based on the team's size and composition.
  4. Hybrid Models: Outsourcing companies often offer flexibility in their cooperation models, combining elements of the above models to best suit the project's needs and the client's budget. For example, a project might start on a Time and Materials basis to define the scope and then switch to a fixed-price contract for the execution phase.
Learn more about the dedicated development team model in our article.

We at Uptech also offer IT staff augmentation services, so you can hire a separate UI/UX design specialist. Unlike traditional outsourcing, outstaffing allows you to scale up and scale down your existing design team with additional resources.

Want to learn more about the UI/UX design services we offer, check our service page!

Interview Questions To Ask UI/UX Designer

Now, that you know what to check while hiring a UI/UX designer, let's put it into practice. Here's a rundown of questions that will help you study all of the above and choose the strongest candidate.

  1. Please, tell me what projects you have worked on. What did you like about them?
  2. Please, share what your responsibilities were on the previous projects:
  3. Please, describe your design process. Be specific, describe the steps you take, how you choose between several options, and how you present it to the client/team?
  4. What tasks were the most interesting for you and why?
  5. What do you love about your job?
  6. What do you expect from working on this project?
  7. Take a look at the product and share what you will do differently and why?
  8. Imagine that you have to create a product X for the audience Y. Please name at least 3 hypotheses you'd validate, and how will you do it?
hire UX designers

Note that questions 7 and 8 are the test task questions, so don’t forget to give more context. Of course, there's no cookie-cutter fit, but a successful candidate should answer satisfactorily to most of the questions.

How Much Does it Cost to Hire a UI/UX Designer?

According to Upwork, freelance UX designers charge between $25 and $39 per hour. Meanwhile, freelance UI designers usually set their rates at $20 to $40 per hour.

Of course, the experience also matters. Here’s the average hourly rate of UI/UX designers based on their seniority level.

Seniority level Hourly rate iOS/Android, hours
Junior $10–$40 60
Middle $40–$60 80
Senior $60-80 120

At outsourcing companies and design agencies, the cost of UI/UX design services also depends on the client's needs.

For example, here are 3 cases when clients' needs affect the final app design cost. These are the approximate prices we charge at Uptech.

  1. No App: need to build an MVP/Prototype to test the market.
    
Time & Money: 1-1,5 months, ~ $8K
  2. Existing app: need to improve the app's features
.
    Time & Money: 2,5 - 3 months, $15 - 20K
  3. Existing app: need to rebuild the app from scratch
.
    Time & Money: 3 - 4,5 months, ~ $20K
hire ux designer

Bottom Line

A good UI/UX designer should be adaptive and a strategic thinker but also get into the weeds on small details. All while keeping things simple. And yes, it is hard to find such a person but definitely possible.

app development

Now you have the list of top platforms such as Clutch, Dribbble, Behance, Toptal, Upwork, and Fiverr, among others, to discover diverse talents. We listed 10 different platforms for hiring the best UI/UX designers based on the size of your company and project, budget, hiring process, etc.

We hope this guide streamlines your hiring process, helping you secure a UI/UX designer who not only meets your criteria but also contributes significantly to your project's success.

FAQs

Are UI/UX developers and UI/UX designers different?

Yes, UI/UX developers and UI/UX designers are different. While UI/UX designers work with the conceptual and visual aspects of design, UI/UX developers implement those designs into the products.

UI/UX designers and UI/UX developers have the same goal – to create a great product, but their roles, skills, and tools differ. Designers focus on the visual and experiential aspects, while developers focus on the technical side.

Is hiring UX consultants a common thing?

Yes, hiring UX consultants is a common practice when you need to evaluate your product or from a user experience perspective but don’t need the “hands”. UX consultants can offer a new viewpoint. This external perspective opens new opportunities for innovation or improvement that internal stakeholders might overlook.

What is the best place to hire mobile UX designers?

There are several platforms you can use to find and hire mobile UX designers. Here are some of the best places:

  • B2B platforms: Clutch, GoodFirms;
  • Design-Specific Platforms: Dribbble, Behance, 99designs, DesignCrowd;
  • Freelance Platforms: Toptal, Upwork, Fiverr, AngelList.

What qualifications should big data UX designers have?

Big data UX designers should have a unique mix of skills that combine traditional UX design principles with an understanding of data analysis and visualization. Here are the qualifications big data UX designers should ideally have:

  • Proficiency in data visualization;
  • Understanding of Big Data technologies and workflows;
  • Familiarity with programming languages (e.g., Python, R) or markup languages (e.g., HTML, CSS).
  • Ability to work closely with data scientists, analysts, and other technical team members.

Are there additional points I should consider when hiring web UI designers?

A good web UI designer should be adaptive and a strategic thinker but also get into the weeds on small details. Apart from the common thingslike:

  • Experience level;
  • Portfolio;
  • Solutions they propose;
  • Mindset.

While hiring a web UI designer, pay attention to the technical skills and tools relevant to web UI design, such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and design software (e.g., Sketch, Adobe XD, Figma).

Are GUI designers and UI designers the same?

GUI (Graphical User Interface) design is a subset of UI (User Interface) design focusing specifically on the graphical aspects of interface design.

GUI designers specialize in designing graphical interfaces for software applications. They design buttons, menus, icons, and other visual elements that users interact with. While UI designers have a broader role. Along with the graphical interface, they also analyze the overall way users interact with digital products, which can include non-graphical elements.

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