10 Tips on Hiring the Right UI/UX Design Agency in 2021

Find the best UX design agency for your website, mobile app, SaaS, or startup digital product. A list of practical tips on how to select a top UI/UX design firm.

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If you’re a business owner and you’re not familiar with the concepts of user experience (UX) or user interface (UI) then now’s a good time for a quick lesson.

Put simply — UX is the experience a user has when interacting with an application or website from start to finish. UX design is the design-based curation of that experience. UX design considers the brand image, company vision, and target audience when developing the design of the user experience.

UI is the mechanical dimension of the design which is tied intimately to the larger user experience. UI is essentially a subcomponent of UX. The user interface design is responsible for choosing the colors, typography, and other core design elements. It is the nuts and bolts of what is referred to as usability.

Both UX and UI do not appear out of thin air — they must be designed. For this reason, when business owners are developing an online presence they must hire someone to create, build, and develop their website. But it’s crucial that this step is done professionally, regardless of the particular industry a business owner is in.

In order to build a professional website that helps turn web visitors into loyal customers, it is crucial to hire a professional and reputable UX design agency. The vast majority of web design firms function as UI/UX design agencies as well because it is a base component of their web design, and web presence building services.

One of the key things to keep in mind when hiring a UI/UX design agency or web design firm is to ensure that everything is clear and communicated from start to finish — to wholly eliminate the possibility of miscommunication. For this reason, we’ve compiled a list of ten important tips to follow when hiring a UI/UX design firm. If you’re going to venture into that complex and confusing process soon, then the list below is for you.

5 Tips to Consider Before Meeting With An Agency

Tip #1: Figure Out What You’re Looking For
It’s important to not start your search in the dark. Instead, have a basic understanding of what you’re looking for. There’s a simple way to do this. Think about the companies and services you like, their websites, and their brands. Go to those websites or apps and write down notes about what particular, concrete elements you like. The more you understand about UI and UX design before this search, the more detailed this list can and will be. But even the most simple observations can be helpful — color schemes, text placement, feel, and other dimensions.

Tip #2: Create a List
Once you’ve determined which designs you like and why, figure out which UI/UX design agencies or web design companies were responsible for making them. This is the easiest way to determine which agencies you should consider working with. This will allow you to bring concrete examples to meetings with prospective agencies, and provide a basic, real-life vision of what your tastes are. Given the fact that there are tons of web design companies out there, this is a practical way to narrow things down.

Tip #3: Make a Realistic Budget
When hiring a UX/UI design agency, there’s always the possibility of hidden costs. This is not necessarily the fault of the agency per se, but rather a problem of communication. For this reason, before meeting with a potential agency, it’s important to develop a realistic budget for the project you’re hoping to undertake. This will save time and headaches later. Knowing where your budgetary red line is located is important so there’s no overspending or misunderstandings. Agencies will be able to tell you which aspects of your budget are realistic or not — but approaching them with a basic budget is critical so the limits of your spending are mutually understood.

Tip #4: Project Timeline
Just like your budget, a project timeline is important to develop before meeting with any agency. The reason is you need to determine which dates are absolutely critical to be finished with pieces of the project by, and which dates have more flexibility. If there are particular deadlines that are critical to your project, determine these in advance. If other aspects are less deadline-dependent than this should also be clear from the beginning.

Tip #5: Contact Former Clients
Once a list is made of potential web design agencies and UI/UX design agencies, your next step is to contact the former clients these companies worked with. The reason is that these first-hand accounts of how the work process went will tell you more than merely seeing the agency’s portfolio of finished projects. You can ask a client for references prior to meeting them or contact the companies whose websites you liked from the beginning.

5 Tips to Consider While Meeting With A UX Agency

Tip #6: Project Organization — Who’s Doing What?
When meeting with an agency, you want to get to know who is who. As much as is possible, you should meet the team who will be responsible for working on your project. Understanding the talents, skills, and portfolios of the individual UI and UX designers working on your project will personalize the agency and help you make sense of the design process. Further, this will help gain a better grasp of what the distribution of tasks will look like. If a larger firm is only dedicating one person to your whole project the results will be different than if a smaller boutique firm has a whole, but smaller, team only focused on your project.

Tip #7: Learn the Process
One major reason it’s important to have a basic understanding of UI and UX before meeting with clients is so that you can ask direct questions about their design process. See how they go about doing things like conducting UX research, building wireframes, and structuring the fundamentals of design. By seeing what the agency’s particular process looks like, you’ll be able to get a feel for how your project will be done.

Tip #8: Communication
Communication is something that you should both feel out and plan. On one hand, you should use the meeting with a prospective agency as a moment to get a feel for how they communicate. Do you feel like your questions are being understood? While this may seem like something insignificant in the larger picture, it is the basis of how your working relationship will function. This is why it is critical to have great communication from the beginning. On the other hand, you should explain to the agency how and how often you’d like to communicate for the project in question — if they are willing to communicate on your schedule then you’ve likely found a good agency.

Tip #9: Do they See What You See?
You want to make sure that you bring a vision of your brand to the meeting. You should have a general vision of what you’re hoping to accomplish and get across with your website. The UI/UX agency you hire should have the ability to understand what you’re hoping to accomplish and always compliment it. They should be able to make it better. This is crucial, because if the agency acts more like an impediment to the successful bringing to life of your vision, then they are likely not going to be who you want to hire. Instead, a symbiotic relationship of mutual understanding and vision development is critical.

Tip #10: Create a Plan Together
Last, but surely not least, once you’ve gotten to a point where you’re planning to hire a particular agency, develop a plan — TOGETHER. Create a situation where miscommunication is impossible. Instead, work with the agency to develop a working plan for the project that is agreed upon from the beginning. At this point when you’ve decided who you will hire, it’s important to leave an open mind for the concerns and conditions of the agency. There may be some places of disagreement — but with good communication, these disagreements can be worked out and likely strengthen the final results of the project.

Conclusion

Your process for finding the right web design firm or UI/UX design agency to work on your website or application might not be quick and might not be easy. For such a big decision, you have to keep a number of factors in mind. But if during the process you keep in mind the tips we’ve provided, it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll find the right agency to work with. Given just how big of an investment in time and resources hiring a UI/UX design agency can be, it’s crucial that you find the right one the first time. With these tips you will — you’ll thank us later.

My name is Nik. I write about UI/UX, Web Design, and Branding. https://uxplanet.org/top-ui-ux-design-agencies-user-experience-firms-8c54697e290