How to Choose the Best UX Design Agency to Work With?

How to Choose the Best UX Design Agency to Work With
Faiza Khalid
CIS engineer | Developer | Tech Writer

Are you interested in partnering with a UX design agency to deliver an excellent user experience to your end users?

According to Forrester Research, every dollar invested in user experience returns $100 to the business. Moreover, a seamless UX/UI design can increase customer conversion rate up to 400%.

Owing to these statistics, enterprise companies and small businesses are actively making the user experience their top priority in the development life cycle for mobile and web apps. 

If you have also made the wise decision of adopting UX/UI design practices and want to know the qualities of the best UX designers, you are in the right place, as in this article, we are discussing how to find and work with the best UX/UI design agency. 

So, let’s start.

What is UX design and why Invest in it?

UX design helps create products and services that help users to achieve their goals through a seamless product interaction experience. 

UX or user experience design is more than graphic design and designing front-end for websites or mobile apps. It spans different stages of user experience from brand awareness, and user acquisition paths, to user engagement and satisfaction.

A good UX/UI design is based on five principles:

Strategy:

This defines your business objectives and aligns them with the end-user goals. It covers aspects like user research, user preferences, user goals, etc.

Scope:

This defines the content and features of your digital products that meet users’ requirements effectively.

This means functionalities that help users achieve their goals and also information in the form of text, images, videos, etc., to make a feature’s usability better.

Structure:

The structure shows how a user interacts with a product’s features and how each feature responds to the user. It also includes what information to display and how to do it so that the user benefits from it.

Skeleton:

This visually shows how different features of your product link with each other and how users interact with them through various user interfaces. It includes displayed content and available user actions.

Surface:

The visual appearance of your digital products includes elements such as theme colors, layout, typography, etc.

As you can see, UX design is a structured process that involves understanding your audience’s needs and fulfilling them in the smoothest way possible through your product or service.

You should invest in a good UX/UI design to avail the following benefits:

  • Increased user engagement due to a smooth user experience resulting in the increased use and purchase of your product or services. 
  • A better understanding of user requirements that leads to a better and more loyal customer-brand relationship.
  • Decreased expenditure on customer services and training as your UI design is simple enough to be understood and easily used by your target users.
  • Improved brand credibility in the user market due to the amazing user experience your business application offers.

According to a Mckinsey research report, businesses prioritizing design thinking generate 32% more revenue on average. Moreover, they have higher total returns to shareholder value. 

At this point, you must be getting ready to start investing in a design-led development approach. Partnering with an expert UX designer is an efficient way to get started with the design thinking process.

We will now discuss how to go about this in detail.

Why Partner with Top UX Design Agencies Instead of Individual Designers?

As with software developers, there are two options when it comes to working with user experience designers. Individual UX designers and UX agencies.

Both of these options let you add a UX designer to your existing software development team.

For an individual UX designer, you can hire an in-house designer or a freelancer. For in-house, you will likely have to choose from a limited pool of talent available in your region.

You will also have to invest in the form of employee recruitment, training, benefits, etc.

A freelancer marketplace will provide you with a lot of potential designer candidates from all over the world.

The downside is that you will have to assess them for their skills and credibility remotely, something many managers lack confidence and experience in. 

This is a huge responsibility as a slight misjudgment can cost you a lot of effort and money. If a freelancer decides to leave your work mid-project, you cannot do much other than accept the loss and start looking for a replacement.

Moreover, freelancer designers and developers mostly work on multiple projects simultaneously. There is a chance that your hired designers are not giving one hundred percent of their time and effort to your UX design project.

Given all the cons that come with working with individual UX designers, it is better that you partner with a UX design agency.

By partnering with an experienced digital agency for UX design, you will gain the following benefits:

Experience and Skills:

A UX design agency will have experience in carrying out successful projects for a number of clients. This experience will help you choose the right design strategy according to your user market and business needs. 

Moreover, every team member in a UI design agency is specialized in a specific design job. By partnering with an agency, you will get access to a variety of user experience talent and skills.

As a UX design agency has already developed and deployed several user products in the market, they will almost certainly have a mature design process in place.

This means that you won’t have to worry about designing procedures and structures from scratch.

Cost and Time Efficiency:

Professional design tools like Sketch and Adobe require companies to buy a user license. UX agencies have such paid tools available for their designers for smooth and efficient working.

As such, you won’t have to pay for these while working with a UX design agency, unlike you will with individual designers.

Overall the UX design phase is much more efficient with a UX design agency. They have faster workflows in place with multiple designers available for each other’s assistance. 

You also get a clear idea of the project cost at the beginning of the job. Since an agency has worked on similar design projects, they are able to accurately quote you almost definite figures.

This means that you are freed from most likely trial and error costs.

Now that you have made up your mind about partnering with a UX design agency, the next important question is how to find the best one.

Next, we will answer the same question.

How to choose the Best UX Design Agency to Work With?

Go through the following steps to select the best UX design agency that suits your business requirements:

Outline the Scope of your UX design project 

Firstly, you will have to plan the scope of your design project. This will also include planning your business objectives. Ask yourself, what do you want to achieve from your business product? 

An increase in sales, improved customer service, more subscriptions, etc., will likely be your ultimate business goals. This will help you decide what kind of services you require from a UX agency.

As stated previously, user experience design agencies have a varied range of skills and scopes.

A development-oriented agency will be better at designing complex software functionalities for web or mobile app development, on the other hand, a more design-oriented agency will offer you better product usability in a mobile app or web design through research and analysis.

A better understanding of your target audience and business objectives will help you understand what you want to achieve through a smooth UX design.

A Request for Proposal

Write a request for proposal (RFP) or a simple document listing your UX design requirements, product features, end goals, end-users, time frame for deliverables, etc.

This will help a digital design agency measure the overall complexity of a design project, give realistic deliverable deadlines, and cost quotations.

Go through Agency’s past projects 

A UX design agency’s portfolio will give you an idea of the kind of design projects a UX agency has undertaken in the past. You can go through these projects in detail to see the quality of their work. 

As much as visual appearance and neat placement of elements in the app’s UI are important, a good user experience goes beyond these face factors.

You should consider and evaluate the actual user experience and its effect on metrics such as customer conversion rate, customer retention rate, etc.

Examine their Design Process

UX design is now a diverse discipline. An agency may provide selective services when it comes to UX research, design, and development.

A complete UX process includes the following stages:

Product Strategy:

This includes competitor research, user research, mapping product features, and content development.

Prototyping:

This includes design implementations like wireframing, design testing, software development specifications, etc.

Execution:

This includes UX/UI design, front-end user interface development with developers, etc.

Analytics:

Measurement of set metrics, analysis, and improvement.

Look for Design Skills 

Technical design skills are important for vetting a UX design firm. UX designers should have a broad range of expertise in user research, design, testing, and integration procedures.

Look for the following UX skills:

User testing or A/B testing

To understand user behavior and achieve the users’ desired results, your designers should know tools like HubSpot’s A/B testing kit and Google Optimize.

These tools will help carry out effective user testing for your digital products.

User personas:

These are created to understand the goals and characteristics of the larger end-user market. Your design team can use tools like Make My Persona by HubSpot to create your customers’ personas.

User journeys:

These are created to understand user interaction with a software application all the way from the brand awareness stage, and using an application through different channels, to passing through different stages to meet goals.

Sketch, Adobe XD, etc., can help your designers create excellent user journey maps.

User flows:

These show a path taken by a user on an application to complete a specific task, i.e. placing an order. JustInMind, Wireflow, etc., are important tools to create effective user flows.

Information architecture:

Designed to understand how content and information will be structured and organized on a website or an application.

Your designers can use tools like Microsoft Visio, PowerMapper, etc., for this purpose.

Wireframing:

Wireframing is used to draw the structure and flow of interactive apps. It helps designers explore different design solutions quickly.

Adobe XD, InVision Studio, etc., can be used for creating wireframes.

Mockups and prototypes

To show how a product will look and feel and how users will use its different features through a user interface.

UX designers should also be proficient in design tools like Sketch, Adobe Photoshop, etc., for designing, and Invision, Axure, etc., for prototyping.

Usability testing:

Also known as UX research, Usability Testing helps to evaluate how a product or service performs when a user interacts with it.

Maze, UsabilityHub, Userfeel, etc., are good tools for performing usability testing efficiently.

Your designers should also know how to use software like Zeplin that makes collaboration easier between designers and developers for a mobile app or web development.

Price:

Cost is an important factor in deciding on a UX design agency. You can determine the expense of partnering with a UX design agency from three factors. 

The first is the hourly rate. The second is an estimate of how many hours a UX agency will invest in your UX design project. The third involves you determining the efficiency and effectiveness of the design work.

A highly experienced design firm may do your work in fewer hours but charge a higher rate, and a medium-tier UX design agency may take longer hours but charge less, etc.

You will need to find the right balance, given your business needs and resources.

 Evaluate your Options

After assessing multiple UX design agencies, you will shortlist a few of them.

Now, you need to evaluate these shortlisted user experience design agencies and choose one that best fits your design project needs.

You can evaluate UX design agencies’ portfolios on the basis of the following criteria:

Designer Team:

Look beyond the agency’s marketing and sales team. You need to know the designers and their expertise in information architecture, product usability, interaction design, etc. 

A good UX design agency will have specialized teams for user interface design, user experience, and front-end development. 

Proof of Concept:

A good idea is to request a POC or proof of concept from a UX agency. This will give them a chance to showcase their design knowledge and skills.

A good UX agency will include a structured UX design process that they will follow according to your project’s requirements. 

This will also give you an insight into whether the UX design firm has dedicated enough time to understanding your UX design goals and to mapping out a customized process that suits your project specifications and user interface design.  

Repeated Clients:

Recurring clients are a great sign for the credibility of a UX agency. If a client is satisfied with the experience and comes back again, it means the business knows its craft well.

You can also ask for references and testimonials from the agency’s previous clients.

Where to Look for UX Design Agencies with the Best Skills?

Now that you know how to choose the right UX design agency and all the skills and qualities to look for in UI and UX designers, the next question is where to look for them.

Google is your friend, of course, but here we will list a few online resources that will help you locate the best design agencies.

Platforms like Behance and Dribbble are great websites to find individual designers, but it is difficult to find a suitable and professional UX design agency through them.

You can visit agency listing websites like Clutch, GoodFirms, and Sortlist to find a credible UX design agency.

Clutch, for example, lists reviews of real clients describing their experience of working with a particular design or development agency. 

By partnering with the best UX agencies, you have the option to outsource experienced designers remotely from anywhere in the world.

The hourly cost of UX agencies also differs greatly depending on the geographical locations.

Top UX agencies in Eastern and Central Europe are preferred usually due to reasonable hourly rates, less difference in time zones, better cultural fit, and of course, good general work quality.

Final Thoughts

A great user experience is an important part of custom software development.

An attractive graphic design or visually appealing user interface won’t do much if the user is unable to navigate your app easily and can’t finish tasks without constant prodding.

A good UX/UI  design will deliver a better user experience and a better return on investment through increased sales, increased customer retention rate, increased customer conversion rate, etc.

The best UX agency will help you in drawing up the best user experience for your digital products.

They will be able to provide you with all the relevant information regarding product usability and interaction design that will help you meet your business goals and user needs.

To avoid falling for design agencies with inexperienced UX designers, and a lack of skills and resources, look for well-formed research, digital strategy, and design process, a portfolio for previous design projects, and testimonials from previous clients when partnering with a UX design agency.

If you are still looking for a UI/UX design agency to outsource experienced UX professionals and plan an effective UX strategy, DevTeam.Space can help you.

You can get in touch with technical managers at DevTeam.Space by filling out this quick form with your initial UX design requirements.

One of our technical managers will get back to you to further discuss your project in detail and to link you with suitable UX/UI designers to design world-class digital products. 

Top FAQs on How to Choose the Best UX Design Agency to Work With

1. How can I partner with the best UX design agency?

You can find the best UX design firms on websites like Clutch and GoodFirms with real clients’ reviews. You need to evaluate a UX design agency on the basis of your design requirements and budget and their design skills, past design experience, and design procedures they work with.

2. What are the common mistakes when hiring a UX design agency?

Some common mistakes that occur when working with UX designers are not completely understanding user experience and individual UX goals for a business. Too many design requirements or not performing enough target market research can also affect the end result. 

3. What qualities to look for when partnering with a user experience agency?

Important qualities in an experienced and professional  user experience agency are
Design expertise and skill set required for your UX design project, detailed explanation of how they plan to meet your design requirements through clear deliverables and expectations, how structured their design process is, and how much flexibility they show in incorporating the client’s suggestions and input. 

4. How to write a UX RFP?

A  request for proposal to user experience companies is a document explaining your digital products goals, business objectives, end-user goals, UX deliverables, and estimated time frame for the design project. You can also mention your estimated budget. Then, you ask for a relevant work portfolio to better assess if the design agency can meet your digital strategy, and design needs and fits well with your business values.


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