The term “design” may seem deceptively simple. But, at the same time, it is very vague, and if you ask different people to explain this concept to you, their answers will be strikingly different.
There is a growing sector of tech companies on the market today that tend to focus on producing a variety of screen interfaces, which in turn leads to new design features.
What are UX agencies, and what do they even do? Right now, the UX industry is increasing. Just look at how much the number of UX (or “User Experience”) professionals has grown.
The work of the best UX agencies is usually related to the perception of a product or service, so design issues, in this case, are not always obvious. They are subjective and may have more than one solution. In essence, it is the responsibility of the UX designer to make sure that each step of the product design process flows from the previous one.
This can be achieved through face-to-face user testing to evaluate what has been done. If users can perform both verbal and non-verbal tests, the conditions for effective UX have been created. For example, creating a user-friendly adaptation for new users would be a good solution.
What do UX agencies do?
A good UX expert can combine all aspects of a great user experience into one product. This can be done only if you ensure that those aspects work well together, not separately. The professional we are considering is fully responsible for the future results and, in particular, for the UX itself.
A good UX designer should have communication skills, passion, a love of innovation, a propensity for creativity, and the initiative to understand when it is possible to experiment and when you should stick to established frameworks. In addition, he or she must be able to describe and intelligently use communication mechanisms, task algorithms, and interface requirements.
The UX team must be able to explain the user interaction from start to finish and the features and context used. With the support of a strong team, a UX designer can transform the characteristics of any platform into a valuable and accessible toolkit.
Wireframes and sketches are just a tiny part of the job
Wireframes and visual plans result from the careful preparation that needs to be done to create a product. Therefore, it’s essential to present the preparation process in a visual form, such as a PowerPoint presentation, for future use by designers and programmers.
It’s easy enough to get data on product prototypes during usability tests or even create screencasts. These tools can be just as crucial as wireframes.
UX agencies focus on a carefully crafted plan to improve a product’s design to enhance its effectiveness. However, there is no proven method for choosing a good UX specialist because their responsibilities can vary. The latter has an extensive variation and covers interaction with individuals, businesses, and new technical developments.
Conducting user testing
UX design is much more diverse than just having to sit down with customers behind your online platform or app, periodically asking their opinion on a particular feature.
The evaluation process should involve observing the customer’s ability to perform the designed actions. They can provide you with their unedited response about their own user experience.
For this type of evaluation, the number of evaluations from customers, individual assessments, and the selection of test participants depend mainly on how much money you are willing to invest in conducting it in the early stages of product creation.
Fortunately, customer-centric testing is as valid and simple as observing user interactions with your product online.
Defining and creating “personas”
The term “persona” refers to a fictional character who represents one of the categories of users for whom you are developing a product. This type of persona assessment can be the subject of careful research, if it is appropriate, of course.
While such an undertaking may seem very tempting — to completely invent a character nevertheless, unfortunately, if your “persona” is not based on statistical data about your actual users, it will be useless. Creating a character will also be irrelevant if it has nothing to do with your business.
The best way to create a character is to take advantage of different types of research, such as user tests, surveys, questionnaires, focus groups, and other methods.
What to choose if you need UX: UX agencies or freelancers?
Quality UX is necessary for any business aimed at the general consumer. Contact an agency or hire a freelancer? Who will get the job done faster and better?
A generation of very cool freelancers has grown up in the last decade. One such specialist can quickly develop a logo and logo book to draw possible logo placement options on different media. Its pros and cons are because the freelancer is a loner.
Advantages of the freelancer
The freelancer is alone. Therefore, it will cost less than an agency. But that’s not for sure — there have been some excellent freelancers lately that are expensive. Also, the freelancer works faster than the agency with a ready-made brief, but not always. Often a good freelancer has passed the agency as a step in his development and started his own business.
The freelancer alone is his slight advantage and a massive disadvantage for the customer. Unfortunately, one person is subject to various influences: sickness, laziness, vacations, and moves. Also, a freelancer can get distracted by a more monetary project. Then the cheaper projects will pause indefinitely.
The freelancer is alone. So he won’t be able to do quality research if he suddenly needs it. He alone will not gather the right people and hold a strat session, brainstorming session, or any other idea-generating event. Even conducting a focus group is a problem for him.
The freelancer is alone. He can’t effectively do two things at once. He has to lead the project. As a result, one of the tasks is delayed or fails altogether.
Compared to a single freelancer, UX agencies are more inert a priori. One person alone decides for themselves faster than the team — they need time to deliberate. The only issue is that a quick decision is not always correct.
The agency consists of several professionals: staff and non-staff. For any project, the cast of performers is formed literally in five minutes. And there is always a reserve. The agency does everything that a freelancer does. And can do much more.
The agency is a team. The team does not get sick all at once and does not go on vacation and maternity leave at the same time. Moreover, the agency runs several processes in parallel. For example, while the project manager deals with formal documentation, the creative team is already studying the brief, conducts an additional conference with the client, and starts to work through some variants of the concepts.
The copywriter takes on texts, headlines, and promotional materials, designers make sketches, and everything happens quickly. If we can’t agree in words, UX designers make sketches and drafts, show them to clients — and the process continues.
UX agency designers are experts in their field. And the fact that there are several of them that marketing specialists participating in their work helps create a more well-thought-out concept from every point of view.
If other specialists are needed for the task — the agency will find them. The same goes for 3D graphics or complex animation. The agency always concludes a contract with a work schedule attached to it. Of course, anything can happen, but it is not profitable for the agency to drag out the deadline. The contract also prescribes financial responsibility for failure to implement the plans.
If there are too many concepts, the team plans and conducts additional marketing research, makes a more detailed portrait of the target audience, and registers the contact points.
UX agencies practice several methods of idea generation: brainstorming sessions, strategic sessions, focus groups, and other ways to extract the problems of the target audience, to work out the possible contradictions.
A freelancer is one person. In UX agencies, there are several specialists. Therefore, all of the agency’s projects are different. The agency can start working from scratch. Spend many hours communicating with the client with the target audience to make a quality brief and implement its provisions.
Yes, the services of UX agencies with their quality approach can’t be cheap. Here, the client needs to compare the costs and expected profit.
Working with a freelancer is a lottery. On the other hand, working with UX agencies guarantees results.
Read also: 5 Elements of UX Design