By Chintan Bhatt 

Being a business leader, you must already be aware of the significance of building an outstanding user experience. Offering useful features and benefits to your users is all well and good, but a stellar UX is what separates your business as a memorable brand among a sea of similar so-so businesses.

While you can hire one or two full-time UX designers to take care of the UX aspect of your startup or small business, there is plenty in favor of outsourcing it to a dedicated UX design agency. For starters, an extended UX Team brings a battle-tested UX methodology to the table. They bridge the gap between your users and the product and help avoid silly design mistakes and costly blunders.

Furthermore, an external company that is dedicated to providing you with constructive criticism and insights on how you can make things better for the end-user is surely going to boost the quality and hence, the desirability of your product. So, it is definitely a good idea to hire a UX design agency that knows their trade.

But finding the right one for your business can be a tall order. To help you with your hunt, here are the top three important characteristics to look for while hiring a UX design company:

1. Ideation Process

Take a discovery session with the agency. It helps a lot in establishing fair expectations and getting clear insights on their level of understanding of UX in your industry. The discovery session should allow for a series of flexible questions, responses to which will answer the following key questions you should have as the hiring business:

  • Do they show a passion for your business and its goals?
  • Have they done any prior projects in your domain?
  • Do they strive for high quality and quantity of ideas?
  • Do they take ownership of their work and decisions?
  • Are they open to feedback and flexible in their problem-solving approach?
  • Is your team inspired to work with them?

2. Technical Know-How

Analyze their proposed UX methodology. Put great emphasis on how well they conduct user research and usability testing. For the latter, it is important to take care of time, mode, and target audience.

User research must comprise buyer personas, customer journeys, and information architecture. Almost every UX company will speak of being agile, but it is essential to evaluate how they bring those ideas to reality and if they implement them in a sustainable way. Doing so will allow you to answer some more vital questions:

  • Do they have at least one example of a creative solution to a problem?
  • Can they intelligibly explain their design rationale?
  • Do they use common patterns and interaction models aptly?
  • How do they navigate disagreements?
  • Are they good listeners?
  • Does their design feel fresh, or does it look derivative and rehashed?
  • Do they drive discussions to consensus?

It is also necessary to check if there is adequate development support offered by the partner. UX design is an iterative process, and thus enough visibility should be there on their part in all the different phases of the product life-cycle.

3. Solid Reputation

Last but not least, evaluate the previous work of the company to see if their team has sufficient exposure and expertise in your particular industry. An analysis of various cross-industry use cases will help ascertain the depth of their practice.

An unbiased recommendation from a past client can aid your decision-making. Also, try and get a sense of the attitude of the team you choose to work with with a proper reference check. Does it fit with your company culture? Make sure it does.

Over to You

Picking the right UX design partner is a crucial stepping stone in the overall digital strategy for any business. Diverse skill-sets and shared experiences from different projects help professional UX companies in finding answers to tricky problems.

Besides, a couple of full-time UX designers would cost more than an outsourced UX team with years of combined experience. And that dedicated UX team will be able to provide fresh perspectives that your product team, or any employee working within your startup for that matter, won’t be able to provide. So, keep the above-mentioned characteristics in mind and hire the right UX design agency.

Featured photo credit: Depositphotos