How to Hire a UI/UX Design Company
Website development is important for businesses—that much is clear. However, just having a website alone isn’t good enough anymore. One must have a site that has usability, functionality and frankly looks pretty. This is where a User Interface/User Experience (UI/UX) design comes in. In this article, we discuss what UI/UX design is, how to find the perfect designer, mistakes to avoid, and ultimately why outsourcing is your best bet.
What is UI and UX Design?
When it comes to software design, including application and web, the terms “User Interface (UI)” and “User Experience (UX)” are ubiquitous. Although these terms are not new, they are becoming more familiar in the common vernacular. However, they are often used interchangeably which is incorrect. To understand how to hire a UI/UX designer, it is good to make sure that you understand what these design elements are and the differences between them.
User Interface (UI) Design
User Interface design (UI) is the more technical element of software that optimizes the connection between end-users and computer systems. This process designs the interface through responsiveness and information architecture so that the software is intuitive. UI is more connected to the features of the device or software, like the buttons, icons, screen, sound, and scrolling usage. User Interface is also only used with digital products, while User Experience can be applied to non-digital devices.
An example of User Interface would be to create a sitemap on a website so that the content is laid out in a hierarchical system, where the user’s usability allows them easily to find the information they are looking for. UI design also includes the visual design, including choosing appropriate colors and design for a button that calls the customer to buy a product.
User Experience (UX) Design
User Experience design (UX) is the design element of software that focuses on how the end-users interact with the product. The best UX design creates a user-friendly experience, allowing the user to find the information they need quickly and engage with the product in a fun way. Ultimately, when a business has good UX design, their client leaves the product feeling positive. As a result, part of UX design is focused on creating a positive emotional response.
User Experience design focuses on who the target audience is, their needs, struggles they may encounter, and their ultimate goals when they use the product. For example, if you own an e-commerce site selling fair trade clothes, there are several things to consider. First, what type of customer would come to your site? Is it easy for them to find the product they want? How quickly can they come to your site and then checkout, having paid for the product? These are all questions that a UX designer considers when designing a product. For any product that is designed, the ultimate goal is to bring a customer in and convert them into a sale, whatever that “sale” means for the business.
Why Do I Need to Invest in UI/UX For My Website?
Unless you plan on having a static website where you have very basic information to impart to your customer, having quality UI/UX is imperative for any website. Combined, User Interface and User Experience design can ensure that your website serves as a quality informational platform or sales tool. Here are some additional reasons:
Increasingly, mobile devices are used to look up information or purchase products from companies. As this UpCity article shows, following UI/UX trends is key to having successful designs for your website. Current trends include designing for a bigger screen, creating a story on the site, and using virtual reality (VR) and AI to create an easy experience for the current customer. However, staying on top of these trends can be quite taxing. Therefore, investing in quality UI/UX design is smart.
There is nothing more annoying than going to a company’s website that you are interested in and having a hard time finding the information you need or the product you are looking for. Good UI/UX design makes the steps to accomplishing the end-user’s goal simpler and faster. At the end of the day, your business needs high conversion rates to achieve the goals to keep you afloat. In this article, UpCity explains in more detail the principles one should follow to achieve higher conversion rates. Investing in a good UI/UX designer will allow you to achieve that goal.
Should I Hire an Agency, a Freelancer, or Handle UI/UX Design In-House?
Now that you have a firm grasp on the importance of UI/UX and how it benefits good design for your business, it is time to decide how to hire your designer.
Positives and Negatives of In-House
When hiring in-house, the ultimate benefit is that you have control over this hire – within the recruitment, onboarding, and day-to-day processes. When hiring for someone to work in your business, you can choose someone who has the exact expertise you need as well as ensure they understand your business culture. Additionally, the product that they create is inherently proprietary and is owned by your business, so it reduces issues with the security of content and cyberattacks. The flip side of hiring someone to work at your company is that it is much more expensive and time-consuming. The costs associated with recruiting and salary/benefits, coupled with the time it takes to find (which ultimately costs the company money), mean that a lot of resources have been dedicated away from operating your business. Plus, even after all the work of finding someone to hire, there is no guarantee that they will ultimately work or stay very long.
Positives and Negatives of Freelancers
While it is true that you have more control in finding the “perfect fit” when hiring in-house, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t possible to find the right person when hiring a freelancer or agency. When outsourcing your UI/UX design needs, you should be picky and choosy before settling on the desired service provider; ensuring that you have chosen someone who has the necessary skills and attitude. When you do find the perfect freelancer, you also have the benefit of not having to pay the overhead to keep them. Finally, when the project is complete, the contract is done. As a result, you save lots of money and company time by outsourcing your design needs. The benefit of hiring in-house means you have total control over the hiring process and security, so the opposite is true if you decide to outsource your UI/UX needs. When hiring a freelancer or agency, they will have other customers, which means they are not 100% dedicated to your project. This also means that there is an increased risk for cyber attacks or insecurity in the project.
Why You Should Hire a UI/UX Design Company
Investing in a UI/UX designer is clear. If you want your business to thrive in the digital space, hiring someone to optimize your website is key. And unless your company can afford a large marketing team that includes a UI/UX designer, then the smart choice is to outsource your design essentials to a freelancer or agency.
Hiring a UI/UX Design Company
Ok, so you have now smartly decided to hire a design company. But how much does it cost and where do you start? Take a look at our thoughts below.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a UI/UX Design Company?
When you are looking at the cost of hiring a UI/UX designer, there are three key differences in price: whether you are hiring a freelancer or company, the scope of work, and location. If you decide to hire a freelancer rather than a company, then the work will be hourly. However, if you plan to hire a company, then the fee will most likely be a flat project-baste rate. The cost of outsourcing your UI/UX design needs will fluctuate depending on the scope of your project.
If you end up hiring a freelancer, then the hourly rate can range between $35-$150 (based on U.S. specialists). The range depends on their level of skill and expertise, but it also depends on the type of work you are looking for them to do. For example, freelancers may charge more for interface layout/design vs visual design.
As for the scope of work, there are several things to consider. Have you done a customer analysis already? How complex are the storyboards, prototypes, and wireframes going to be? If the project is quite large or complex, then there will likely be a lengthy user testing phase as well as the time needed to ensure the information architecture is correct.
Finally, UI/UX designers are universal and can work from anywhere. Depending on the region that you find a designer, the cost can increase or decrease based on the cost of living in that part of the world. For example, European designers may charge between $50-$99/hour while Indian designers could charge as little as $25/hour.
Hear From Industry Experts
Read the latest tips, research, best practices, and insights from our community of expert B2B service providers.
How to Find a UI/UX Design Provider
UI/UX designers are technical and creative wizards. They also can specialize in different areas or even between User Interface design and User Experience design. To make it simple, we have a detailed list of experienced providers.
Once you find a few options, it will be time to narrow down the providers to one that works for you. Things to consider will be their reviews, testimonials, and their portfolio. Many designers keep their portfolios on Behance. It is important to understand their expertise and way of working. This means their communication style, values, and project management style.
Project management will be key for hiring a UI/UX designer because there are several different stakeholders, processes, and stages that will have to be accomplished before the project is considered successful. You will want to find a designer that uses a tool that you are familiar with or one that makes sense to you.
Expert Tips for Choosing the Right UI/UX Design Partner
While we could share some tips and tricks to find a suitable UI/UX designer, we thought we would reach out to the experts themselves. UpCity surveyed leaders in the UI/UX industry, and this is what they had to say:
In your opinion, what are your top tips for finding and hiring a great UI/UX design agency?
“Be prepared to ask questions that revolve around your goals and challenges and how their agency team will solve them visually. Ask to see their portfolio and ask them about how their designs complement and support their client brands. Ask about their research process to learn about your industry and client needs, to ensure they know how to effectively solve those challenges visually.”
-Aubrey Burkhart, Owner, ThinkPod Agency
“For many organizations, UI design is important. But, UX also encompasses user research, information architecture, visual concepts, accessibility, content strategy, content development, prototypes, animation, and more. If you’re hiring for your first position, you may find individuals with several UX skills, but finding someone with all skills is unlikely. What’s most important to you? Are you hoping to hire someone who can help make your organization more user-centered (e.g., UX Director), or do you need someone to do UI design for your agile workflow (e.g., Product Designer)? If you’re hiring someone for a hands-on role, consider that in your search. There are many amazing UX leaders who haven’t been in the pixels themselves for periods of time because they’ve been focused on strategy (PPT decks!) or leading others. They are likely to be a little rusty with the tools.
-Erin Young, Founder & Principal Consultant, Slide UX
What traits should you look for in a skilled UI/UX Design agency?
“Aside from looking at the agency’s website, client examples, and pricing, get to know the agency! Typically, agencies will also provide a free consultation call. Pay attention to the three C’s: Communication, collaboration, and culture. You’ll want to find a UI/UX design agency that will communicate with you clearly about expectations, processes, or assets needed ahead of time, as well as one that will ask questions about your audience and really want to understand who your customers are. Make sure you will have clear POCs at the agency. Collaboration is huge. You know your brand best, and the UI/UXdesign agency has the expertise to reach your customers at each journey point of your website. Together, you should make a great team. You will be working with your UI/UX design agency a lot, so look for one that aligns well with your company culturally.”
-Sarah Barrett, Content Manager/Web Designer, Symboliq Media
“They must be curious, process-oriented, and data-hungry. A good UI/UX design agency is first an investigator. They should be trying to understand your business objectives and the customers’ objectives and will strive to marry the two for a win-win design. They should have a very specific process for asking questions and uncovering answers. And they should be hungry for data so they can make data-driven decisions. Otherwise, they are just guessing what will work and going off of best practices that are not optimal for every situation. If data is not available because you’re starting from scratch, then the best UI/UX agencies will want to interview the users to start collecting data.”
-Andrew Peluso, CEO, Bananas Marketing Agency
Are there any mistakes that you should avoid when hiring a UI/UX Design agency?
“1. Being unclear about what you want
Clients are often unclear about what they want, which can lead to conflict with the design team because the client doesn’t like the way the designer is interpreting their ideas. The best thing you can do is be very clear about what it is you want, and communicate that effectively with the designer. This will save everyone time and energy and allow for a more productive working relationship.
2. Getting too comfortable
It’s easy to get too comfortable with your first design choice and not give your designers enough freedom to explore other options. While it can be nice to feel like you’ve already got something, remember that there may be better options out there that your designers may not feel as comfortable.”
-Anders Rydholm, CEO, PrimetimePokemon
“Allowing cost to determine viability is a huge pitfall many people fall into. A designer willing to do something for way less does not always denote poor service. And someone charging an arm and a kidney doesn’t always prove great service, either. Look for reviews. Look for credibility.”
-Kate Gainard, Owner, A Dying Art Company Ltd.
Once you have found the right designer and your contract is ready, you can expect a few things once the work gets started:
- Reconfirm understanding of project requirements
- Conversations around business goals, objectives, and deliverables
- Initial work gathering information and data on any potential existing websites and any communication platforms you use
- Conducting an application audit to identify content gaps and technical opportunities
- Follow the project management model (e.g., InVision) established in the project management proposal
- Regular reports on successes and opportunities including how user-testing is going for the site