Choosing the right UX agency

  • Feb 9, 2023
  • By: Slick
  • 8 min read

Choosing the right ux agency for you can be a headache. We've brainstormed a few tips we think are crucial

    A bright idea can only come alive with proper UI/UX design service. Not everybody has the privilege to hire their own in-house design team of professionals, so UX agency is usually a go-to option. You’re in a great position if you’ve already worked with a company previously, and you just have to drop them a line to resume your partnership, but what if you haven’t? There are a few strategies to make sure you end up working with an agency that can deliver an end result that aligns with your organization’s goals.

    Here’s a visual representation of what the process usually looks like:

    You start with research, create a short list, narrow down your options, and then eventually proceed with someone. But how do you know that you’re on a good track and that initial shortlist is established correctly? Where should one search for a good UX agency? How can credibility be checked? What are your company’s criteria for picking an agency to work with, and how should you vet each criteria? Let’s elaborate.

     

    Satisfying look n’ feel

    Let’s be honest, we all love satisfying design as stockholders, and even more as users. It helps your product to have that ”wow factor” and customers are more likely to stay with you if they enjoy that look & feel, flashy motion elements, and fun interactions.

    This is an incredible platform full of outstanding work from proficient UI/UX designers. It satisfies the eyes of people of all tastes. You’ll find everything from clean minimalistic design to busier and shiny visuals, well-thought-out, well-researched creative solutions. We love most of the content that we see.

    But how do we know that these products actually work and won’t backfire when put into action? How can a design agency prove their UX design skills?

     

    Usability

    There are a few ways to go about showing your off your UX skills. The first and most important way is to track metrics. UI/UX designers sometimes fail to realize that, at the end of the day, all designs are evaluated by their results in numbers, as is everything in business. While numbers are primarily important for those in business development, marketing, or sales roles, it is of no lesser importance for product designers. So going through case studies gives us the best understanding if we’re going to give our customers something they would visually enjoy, as well as get good results.

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    Process and frameworks

    Case studies are useful in many ways. You can’t always create a viable, usable product on the first try. It takes time and effort to master frameworks and implement the right processes.

    Design thinking is a problem solving method that begins with understanding the customer’s unmet needs. From there, you can develop an innovative process that applies concept development, creativity, prototyping, and experimentation. When you use design thinking and apply it to business, your room for growth, improvement, and success increases.

    Sometimes outcomes are defined before even we start doing anything. Does the company follow well-tested and strict processes with the right frameworks? A team that does is a step closer to the success than the ones who only count on their creativity.

    Design Thinking framework visualisation by NNG Group. 

    Domain knowledge

    The corporate world has changed. While 30-40 years ago most people had general occupations like Journalist, Doctor or Attorney, nowadays professions have become specific, especially in tech. Specialty job titles include Java Developer, Scrum Master, Product Manager, Python developer, Data Scientist, and AI developer, just to name a few. Same goes for design. Companies no longer search for a UI/UX designer in general; they need people with specific domain knowledge.

    We have the luxury of choosing from top UX agencies. While freelancers and corporate UI/UX designers might have worked on couple of projects during their career, agencies have dozens of projects in their portfolio – fintech, SaaS, web design, app design, crypto, marketing websites, etc. The only thing you have to do is go cherry picking. Making the right choice means bringing huge experience and benefits for your team to the table.

     

     

    Size

    Let’s say we’ve come this far, and the candidates satisfy our high standards. You’ve probably selected a variety of UI/UX agencies of different sizes, but the question of which size is best still remains. This aspect does matter greatly.

    The experiences of working with small boutique and big design agencies are totally different. This scene from the legendary TV show ”The Office” summarizes it all. Big fishes can provide infinite resources and experience while small ones care much more about customer service and are ready to pay more attention 24/7. At the end of the day it’s up to you to decide what’s more important.

     

     

    Credibility

    Everybody talks a big game on sales calls. The sales representative assures you they care about customer satisfaction, and will deliver dope UI/UX. But how can you trust them (or verify their bragging)?

    The good thing is, nobody is pushing you to rush your decision (we hope!). Luckily, platforms like Clutch have your back. They provide a high level of credibility in different ways.

    First of all, you can see if company is verified – if a company actually exists and all of their credentials are right. Plus, one can quickly gather all kinds of crucial data – hourly rate, minimum project size, location, timezones, and more.

    The most powerful tool, however, is that platforms like Clutch review functionality. Real people are leaving reviews for real projects, evaluating everything from the onboarding process, team, and costs to actual results. You can’t fake clients feedback, and honest reviews can be an invaluable tool in selecting an agency for your project.

    Slick’s profile on Clutch

    Summary

    In conclusion, there are many methods of evaluating UX skills and selecting the right agency for your project. This evaluation process involves analyzing metrics and case studies, using design thinking, taking into account the specific domain knowledge, considering the size of the agency, and checking for credibility through reviews on platforms like Clutch. Your final choice should depend on what your organization believes is the most important aspect for your project, whether it is the resources and experience provided by bigger agencies, or the personalized customer service of smaller ones.

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