Working with the right User Exeperience (UX) design agency is vital to your business and can help you get ahead of your competitors, enhance your product, and grow your user base. We know it can be hard to find the right agency. With so many design agencies offering UX services these days, how do you choose between them?
We wrote this guide to help you navigate the hordes of UX design agencies to find the one that will work best for you. Let’s get started.
#Understand the UX Design Agency’s Specialties
This one is easy: What's the agency’s focus? This list continues to grow as more devices and technologies emerge.
Here are the most common types of specialties at the time of this writing:
- Communications design
- Web Products
- Mobile Products
- Artificial Intelligence
- Internet of Things (IoT)
If this information is not apparant from their messaging, you can extrapolate this through their portfolio. What types of projects are they highlighting?
Of course, you can also inquire with the agency directly. This is an important decision criteria as you want to pick the agency that best aligns with the types of experiences you're looking to build.
If they aren’t specialized, it might be better to move on. A specialized agency will save you time and money as their knowledge of their craft will help you ship great user experiences more efficiently.
#Understand Their Design Process
Learn about their design process, in as much detail as possible.
You can do this from their website or inquiring with their account managers.
As a side note, if they aren’t easy to reach or they’re not responding, that’s a mark of an agency you should avoid.
A quality design agency will have a rigorous design process that's focused on:
- The end user: UX design agencies should advocate on behalf of the end user. This can be customers or employees depending on the type of experience you're building
- Data-driven design: You want to work with an agency that backs up their concepts, designs and prototypes with data. This should include first-hand research
- Iteration: UX and UI design requires multiple rounds of concepting and testing. The best agencies will be transparent about this and factor this into their process
- Technical acquity: Ideally, your UX design agency will have a strong command of modern technologies. This will ensure the designs they deliver are optimized and feasible, and are easy for your development team to work with
From a deliverable perspective, this will look like:
- Discovery research
- Persona development
- User interviews
- Usability testing
- Concept design
- Customer journey maps
- Site and app maps
- Visual designs
- Design systems
- And more
The biggest takeaway is that the UX agency should be entirely focused on enhancing your product with the user as the focus. If they’re talking about anything else, they might just be a general design agency, and you should move on.
#What’s Their Track Record
A great agency will get work, and even more importantly repeat work. Looking through the target agency’s portfolio will help you get a solid understanding of the work they’ve done. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you examine their portfolio:
How many projects have they completed? You should see a portfolio brimming with active examples, not merely design concepts. We also like to see an agency with a counter of how many projects they’ve completed.
How's the quality of their design? Look across their projects. Do their projects share similar designs? This could be a strength if they're hyper focused in a specific type of design. Otherwise, you want versatility as applying a human-centered design process will manifest in unique design solutions.
Do they describe how they made the final product? You want to see a portfolio entry that isn’t just a link to the product, but you want a description of the process they followed to make it. This should include the before state, the solution and the results.
How do they handle critique? Look them up on social media or review sites. It’s inevitable that they’ll probably have some bad feedback. How did they react to it? If they’re responsive and professional, that’s perfect. If they ignore it or they’re argumentative, better to leave them in the dust.
Do they have repeat business? Good work translates into more work. And good design work is design work that delivers real business impact. You want to see an agency that’s done multiple projects for each client.
If they hit all the right marks, they might be the perfect agency for you. Of course, there’s one more thing to think about: Cost.
#How Much Do They Charge?
You don’t want to get involved in a money pit. Ask for a quote upfront, so you know if that agency is within your budget. There are two elements to look for:
1. How do they bill? Is it by the hour, day or project? 2. What's the average cost of their projects?
You should also ask what happens if the project takes longer than expected or is not delivered on time.
It’s better to have these questions answered upfront so that there’s no conflict should these situations pop up. Of course, you need to make sure you get everything in writing.
#We'd Love to Work with You
Our design philosophy puts the user at the front and center of the entire process.
With Pulp is a UX design and dev agency. We specialize in Web and Mobile apps including e-commerce, publishing and modern dashboards.
We work with our clients to bring their vision to life, and create tangible business impact. Contact us today for your UX design needs.