Ux in Ireland Report

The State of the Nation 2024

We've compiled insights from over 100 business leaders and practitioners in Ireland, reflecting perspectives that showcase the degree of User Experience Design (UX) maturity within the industries and sectors where UX design plays a role.

UX maturity measures the sophistication in approaching user experience, design, and research. UX impacts brand perception, customer conversion, retention, and overall success. It yields substantial advantages, boosts sales, and reduces operational costs.

We hope to repeat the research every year in order to generate comparative data.

  • Dave Jackson
    Founder and UX Director
  • Shane Brennan
    Sr. UX Researcher and Designer
  • Karen O’Sullivan
    UX Researcher and Designer
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The Highlights

As we delve into the intricacies of UX maturity, 4 pivotal aspects emerge.

These aspects shed light on the state of design maturity, across the current business landscape in Ireland.


Mid-High Level of Design Maturity Overall

When evaluating their understanding and approach to UX, participants reported a mid-high level of design maturity, indicating an average UX methodology that is widespread with varying degrees of effectiveness. Those working in technology reported the highest level of maturity, and those in sales reporting the lowest.

Accessibility is a Priority

Encouragingly, 82% of respondents prioritise accessibility, signalling a positive trend toward universal and inclusive design for a more equitable internet.

Lower UX Maturity in Leadership

Our research highlights a potential misalignment between individual and organizational perceptions of UX value. CEOs and business owners showed an emerging UX comprehension level comparable to entry-level roles, posing challenges for garnering support for effective UX practices.

Varied Budget Estimations

The average cost reported for a UX project varied significantly across disciplines. In technology, the estimate was €45,000 — 73% higher than marketing's €26,000 and 150% higher than other relevant areas' €18,000. Technology’s better understanding of UX work and budget requirements aligns with their reported higher design maturity.

The NN/g Model

The Nielson Norman Group's UX-maturity model provides a framework to measure an organisation's desire and ability to successfully deliver user-centred design across 6 maturity levels.

We've used this framework to measure the average level of UX maturity in each industry and job role. Participants self-evaluated their own approach to UX practices, and that of the company they work for.

Stages of UX Maturity

  • 1


    • Ignored
    • Non-existent
    • Undiscovered
  • 2


    • Uneven
    • Haphazard
    • Aspirationa
  • 3


    • Functional and promising
    • Inconsistent
    • Inefficient
  • 4


    • Partly systematic
    • Variably effective
  • 5


    • Comprehensive
    • Pervasive
    • Universal
  • 6


    • Beloved
    • Reproducible
    • Habitual
  • Demographics

    The survey ran from Oct 3rd - 11th 2023, with 107 responses and 9 from direct UX roles being removed.


    We specifically targeted participants with the following criteria:

    • Senior level role or higher.
    • Based in Ireland.
    • Industries with potential exposure to UX practices, such as Technology, Marketing, Media, Consumer Goods etc.
    • Roles that could have cause to engage directly or indirectly in UX practices, such as Marketing, Design & Brand, Technology, Business Management and Sales.

    *Specifically excluded were those working directly in UX, UI or Product roles to avoid skewed or biased results. We are interested in the perception of UX from the outside.

    An illustrative pie chart detailing the distribution of company sizes within the demographic. 1 to 10 employees 28%, 11 to 50 employees 21%, 51 to 100 employees 7%, 101 to 250 employees 7% and 250 plus employees 37%
    An illustrative pie chart visualizing the occupational distribution within the demographic. Technology 28%, Marketing and media 21% and other 51%
    An illustrative pie chart illustrating the distribution of areas of work within the demographic. Business managment 19%, design and brand 16%, technology 16%, sales 9%, marketing 34%, and other 6%
    An illustrative pie chart illustrating the distribution of seniority within the demographic. Ceo or owner 27%, leadership 19%, senior 38%, mid-level 13% and entry level 3%.

    The Results

    Understanding of UX

    The average participant indicated their own level of understanding of User Experience, its applications and processes as being “structured.”
    Participants in business management, marketing, and technology reported a higher understanding of UX on average.

    Segmented by Department

    Participants in business management, marketing, and technology, on average, reported a higher understanding of UX, with those in technology boasting the highest self-reported design maturity level, at the “structured-integrated” level.

    Conversely, those working in Sales and Design & Brand reported the least understanding of UX practices.

    Participants' understanding of UX, segmented by department

    Segmented by Seniority Level

    The reported understanding of UX for CEOs or business owners was notably lower compared to most other levels of seniority within organisations. We found that leaders are reporting a UX maturity level similar to that of entry-level employees.

    Participants’ understanding of UX, segmented by seniority

    Exposure to UX

    When asked about their organisation's past experience with UX practices, the average respondent reported that UX work had been outsourced to an external agency or contractor.
    Marketing reported the lowest exposure to UX, with 26% indicating they had no requirements for UX in the past.

    Company exposure to UX, segmented by industry


    Participants in technology reported the highest exposure to UX practices within their organisation with 61% maintaining an in-house UX design team and 30% outsourcing UX work to agencies and contractors. Nevertheless, the 9% indicating no past requirements for UX design or research highlights potential room for improvement in recognition of the role and benefits of UX in technology organisations.

    Marketing & Media

    Participants in Marketing & Media reported their organisations as having the lowest exposure to UX of those surveyed, with 26% indicating that there had been no requirements for UX design or research in the past. This suggests a lack of awareness of the beneficial relationship between marketing and media and UX practices.

    Other Sectors

    From the mix of other organisations that we surveyed, participants reported relatively high exposure to UX within their organisation, with the majority having outsourced UX design and research work to agencies or contractors.

    Approach to UX

    When asked about the approach to UX taken by their organisation, the average participant reported it to be around the 'structured' level - this tells us that organisations use widespread UX-related methodology, but with varying degrees of effectiveness and efficiency. There are clear differences between each sector.
    Unsurprisingly, the tech sector reported the highest level of design maturity.
    Company approach to UX, segmented by industry


    It's not surprising that those working directly in technology reported the highest level of design maturity, this was reported to be between structured and integrated. Nobody working in the technology sector reported that UX was ignored or nonexistent.

    Marketing & Media

    Our data from the marketing sector tells us that UX is regarded as being functional, is becoming more widespread but still lacks structure. However, 15% within this sector also reported that UX was ignored or nonexistent.

    Other Sectors

    The mix of other sectors we surveyed reported marginally higher levels of design maturity than the marketing sector. They were similarly at the level between emergent and structured and with only 5% reporting that UX was ignored or nonexistent.

    Value of UX

    When asked about the value that good UX practice brings to business, participants responded very positively, averaging an 8.3 on a 1 - 10 scale. Those in Technology and Business Management roles were among the high scorers, followed closely by Marketing.
    Those in CEO / Owner positions ranked second lowest next to Juniors when asked about the value of UX.

    Perceived value of UX in business, segmented by department

    When segmenting by seniority, entry-level participants ranked UX value the lowest, and then it trends upwards slightly as we climb seniority - until we reach the CEO/Owner level. Those in top level leadership actually ranked second lowest in perceived value.

    While it is certainly the job of UX designers to advocate for the ROI of UX, it would seem that there is still some resistance or lack of awareness at the C-suite level.

    Perceived value of UX in business, segmented by seniority

    The Non-UX Designer Perspective:

    On average, design respondents gave some of the lowest scores in perceived UX value. We see a similar pattern in designers' responses regarding general understanding of UX.

    It could be considered counter-intuitive to find that designers consider themselves to have less appreciation of UX than other departments, being in an adjacent design role themselves. They do lie specifically outside the UX field themselves however, so could have little to no digital design exposure at all.

    They had unique outlier scores in the 2 - 3 out of 10 range when asked about the value of UX, which certainly affects their average, and possibly indicates some stronger feelings when compared to other roles surveyed.

    Requirements for the next 12 months

    When asked about UX requirements for the upcoming year, 37% of participants indicated that their organisation plans to either outsource UX research/design to an agency or contractor, or hire a for a role within their own in-house team.
    11% of participants reported having no requirements for UX resources in the coming year.

    38% of all participants didn't know whether the organisation they work for will be hiring for UX work, this number increased to 71% for those who work in marketing and media organisations.

    Those working in marketing and media also reported a very low level of UX design and research requirements for 2024, with 16% reporting no requirement and only 22% indicating a definite intention to either hire or outsource UX work.

    Company UX requirements for the next 12 months, segmented by industry

    What department would UX fit under?

    When asked which department a UX role would fit under, respondents showed a clear bias towards the department that they themselves worked under (or the option that most closely resembled their own). Of course, many factors contribute to organisational structure, but it is interesting to see that most would place UX under their own umbrella.
    Participants largely chose their own department when asked where UX would fit in the organisation.

    Departments in which participants would place a new UX hire

    Design & Brand were most in favour of having a dedicated department, but also had the most answers that didn't fit into the named categories provided. More than any other department, they chose the 'Other' option and described how there was perhaps more nuance to the issue than the options allowed.

    UX Projects

    Unsurprisingly, when asked about what types of projects could benefit from UX practices within their organisation, most respondents identified website design (85%) and software/app design (65%) as areas within their organisations that could benefit from UX practices.
    The humble website is still as relevant and necessary as ever.

    Projects that could benefit from UX practices


    Accessibility was universally recognised as a part of the UX process by all participants surveyed, regardless of the department they worked in, which is particularly encouraging.
    Accessibility received a respectable 7.5 out of 10 average from participants when rating its importance.

    Perceived importance of accessibility in business, segmented by department

    We see participants ranking its importance within their business averaging 7.5 out of 10, and when segmenting by department we see that there is hardly any deviation from the average at all. Technology and Design led the pack, with Business Management close behind.

    Not surprisingly there are a few negative outliers. 5% did rate the importance of Accessibility in their company at a 1 out of 10, indicating that there is still a small portion of the market completely ignoring the need to accommodate users outside the abled majority.


    When asked about average UX project budgets, participants working in technical departments estimated costs to be 73% higher than people working in marketing and 150% higher than people working in other relevant areas.
    €25,000 was the average UX project budget across all responses.

    Expected budget for a UX project

    Overall, 24% of participants did not know what budget a typical UX project required, this number rose to 43% for those who do not work in technology or marketing.

    Our Thoughts



    We were not surprised by the level of UX maturity within the technology sector, but the reported levels of UX maturity outside of technology were significantly higher than we had anticipated.

    This data is positive and promising, however, having comparative data after repeating the research next year will provide a good benchmark and some perspective.


    Possible Over-Estimation

    Participants self-reporting on their knowledge and experience may be influenced by challenges such as lack of objectivity, interpretation variations, and biases related to social desirability, potentially skewing the data. These considerations are important when interpreting and drawing conclusions from the survey results. *From https://www.nngroup.com/articles/state-ux-maturity-quiz/

    A fully integrated UX process is a high bar to reach. 14% of respondents reported that they "adopt a fully user-driven strategy” on an individual basis. Similarly at the organisational level, 13% reported that “user-driven processes are applied at all levels,” and another 22% said that “UX work is comprehensive, universal and effective.“

    NN/g found 0.04% of 5000 self-reported UX professionals around the world to be at Level 6 - fully user driven.* This could suggest a possible over-confidence in some participants, or perhaps a lack of knowledge in what truly constitutes a fully user-driven and rigorous UX practice.


    Areas of Promise

    It’s encouraging to see a strong emphasis on the importance of accessibility within organisations. The hope is that this sentiment translates into tangible actions and commitments in the adoption of universal design.

    In late 2023 the Government of Ireland released a Roadmap for Embedding Design in the Public Service. This works towards "a proactive, human-centric, and collaborative approach to designing better public services,” while also outlining its own design maturity model. It's a very encouraging development for both public services and the design industry. Something that is sure to raise the bar of design thinking across the country.


    Unlocking Potential

    UX maturity can only be driven effectively if there is buy-in from the top. While CEOs/business owners reported a relatively low level of UX maturity, others in leadership roles displayed some of the highest levels. This is positive, as these are the people best placed to be UX evangelists.

    Encouraging the adoption of UX practices within an organisation involves a combination of education, advocacy, and practical implementation. Stakeholders need to be clear on the benefits to the business, this can be done by demonstrating the return on investment. Only when you have buy-in can you start integrating UX into processes and start creating a true UX culture.

    References & Acknowledgments

    We'd like to take this opportunity to thank all of our research participants and contributors to this study and to the NN/g Group for providing the UX Maturity Model.

    Research, analysis, reporting and design were created in collaboration between Dave Jackson, Shane Brennan and Karen O'Sullivan from Friday Agency. We hope that our findings will help people and organisations take stock and look at how they approach UX going forward.

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