Low Budget, High Impact

Great design doesn’t necessarily require high-end tools or extensive resources. In fact, a thoughtfully designed UX often requires resourcefulness more than it does resources.

Your mission is to make every penny count.

First of all, leverage the free or low-cost tools available.

Tools like Canva can be adopted for easy, professional-looking social media and advertising designs. There are tonnes of free templates which you can customise with your own branding.

Getting started with Canva – Design School

For UI design and prototyping, realistically there is no reason why you’d use anything other than Figma. They have an incredibly generous free tier, it’s what most other designers use, allows live design collaboration if you want to invite others in and allows for basic and advanced prototyping, depending on what you want to test.

Learn Design & Design Basics | Figma

In terms of user research, this needn't be costly either.

Spend time interacting with your audience and understanding their needs. Online surveys, interviews, usability tests, or simply asking for feedback from users (or even friends and family), are free or low-cost ways to gather valuable insights.

Lastly, remember the power of simplicity.

A simple, clean, and intuitive design often works better than a complex one stuffed with unnecessary features.

If you’ve currently got a complex UI, one-by-one examine each element and consider whether it is required to complete the task. If not, remove it. This technique is often referred to as Occam’s Razor.

Hone in on the burning pain point for your users, and deliver an exceptional solution to one thing, rather than a mild relief to lots of problems.

Being on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t make a huge impact. With the right strategies and tools, and by staying lean and smart, you can stretch your budget further and achieve a lot more with a lot less.

Want a little more structure for your first UX project? Check out our UX project toolkit for a step-by-step template that you can follow along with.

Actionable Steps

  • Familiarise yourself with Canva and Figma to make design less daunting.
  • Make a list of people you know who you could ask to take part in user research for free.
  • Review your existing designs, website or app. Pick one user journey and see if there are any unnecessary UI elements you could remove to simplify things.