Whether you need a new mobile app, web-based app, or website, you likely need to hire a UX designer.
As a relatively newer field, many businesses have no idea how to find the best design firm. In fact, many business owners may not even know what a UX designer does.
What’s a UX designer? The UX definition simply refers to the user experience. Websites and most applications provide users with a graphical user interface (GUI).
With UX design, the UX designer aims to enhance this interface to provide a better user experience. Designers may focus on usability and overall design aesthetics to meet the specific needs of the user.
Before hiring a UX designer, you should know what to look for. Here are the main skills, traits, and details to keep in mind.
Review Design Portfolios or Case Studies
The first place to start is with a review of the UX designer’s portfolio or case studies. The portfolio should include a sampling of past projects, providing an indication of their overall design skills.
Unfortunately, you cannot fully grasp the skills of a UX designer simply by looking at his or her portfolio. The portfolio may contain work that was completed during a collaboration with another designer. It may also include work that looks aesthetically pleasing, but does not meet the needs of the users. Not to mention, many top clients request an NDA which means that the designers may not legally be able to share with you their best work.
Reviewing the portfolio is just a starting point for finding the right designer for the job. It allows you to determine if the designer can create an attractive layout. However, you still need to dig a little deeper during the interview process.
Look for a UX Designer That Understands Their Audiences
One of the primary goals of a UX designer is to create an interface that matches the needs of the user. To create an effective interface, they need to understand the target audience.
Designers that have experience in a variety of industries are often more capable of creating designs for different demographics. Each market has its own specific need. Creating a SaaS targeting insurance companies will likely involve different requirements compared to creating a SaaS for developers.
Evaluate the UX Designer’s Conversational Skills
When interviewing designers, you can get a better sense of their ability to think and converse rationally, which are skills needed to create effective designs.
The best UX designers provide information in the most efficient manner possible. A great designer should be able to relay information in the same way. Designers should answer questions directly and provide clear rationales for their design choices.
The designer that you hire should also be a good listener. Designers need to listen to your objectives to understand exactly what you are looking for. They also need to listen to learn more about your company and the needs of your customers.
Determine What Problems the Designers Have Solved
Problem-solving is one of the most essential UX designer skills. Most of their work revolves around solving a challenge, such as finding the best way to deliver information to website visitors or creating a mobile app that is easy enough for senior citizens to use.
Consider the main problems that you need to solve with your project. Start with your business goals and your customer’s goals. At this intersection, you’ll finds gaps in your product.
For example, you may need to focus on increasing the amount of time that the average user spends using your SaaS or boosting conversion rates on a landing page.
Before hiring a UX designer, ask about past problems, challenges, or goals that the designer has dealt with. You should then ask if they have any ideas on how to address your specific needs.
While the designers may not have an immediate answer, they should offer details that show their understanding of your problem. Their level of engagement with this question helps you determine if they are critical thinkers and problem solvers.
Find Candidates with Strong Technical Backgrounds
UX design is not a subjective field. The goal of the design is to provide the best user experience possible, which includes a focus on both the aesthetics and the technical aspects of the interface. If users struggle to navigate a site or find settings in an app, the UX design has failed.
Designers should have a solid understanding of the technologies used by your application or website. This may require the need for knowledge of wire framing, interaction design, or specific platforms, such as SaaS.
While an attractive design is great, you want an application or website that works. Designers often work with others throughout the planning, development, and testing of your product. However, technical experience ensures that everything comes together to create an effective UX.
Look for a Design Team That Works Closely with Businesses
The design team that you hire should work closely with your business or the necessary departments to bring your project to life. They essentially become a part of your team, gaining a thorough understanding of your product or services. At WANDR, we like to think of ourselves as an extension of your team.
Working closely requires constant communication. Ask the design firm how they keep businesses updated with their progress and what steps they take to understand the needs of their clients.
You want designers that are dedicated and involved from the very beginning of the project. They should offer input and suggestions at every stage of the development life cycle, from planning to launch.
Choose UX Designers That Understand Your Timeframe
Everyone has different timeframes for reaching their objectives. A startup may require a demo of their product as soon as possible, while a larger enterprise may move at a slower pace, allowing them to thoroughly evaluate each stage of development and report to additional stakeholders.
The design team that you hire should understand your objectives, including your intended timeframe. For example, the team at WANDR has completed projects within a couple of months.
When discussing your needs with candidates, communicate your time requirements. Let the design firm know when you need the work completed by so that everyone remains on the same page.
In addition to time constraints, you should discuss scalability. In some cases, you may need to develop a demo or a small project before launching a major product. If the product that you develop needs to be scaled up, ensure that the design firm can handle your needs.
Look for a Design Firm That Remains Flexible
Some design teams take your requirements, shut themselves off, and then submit the final product when it is done. However, there is always room for improvement. There is also a chance that some of your requirements may change slightly during the design stage.
To deal with the flexible nature of product development, it is important to work with an adaptable design firm. While no one enjoys having to constantly shift gears, the designers that you work with should remain open to minor variations during the design process.
Last Thoughts on Hiring a UX Designer
Choosing the right designers is critical to the success of your project. Take the time to vet each candidate. Review their portfolios and ask questions about their experience. You should also find a team that you feel comfortable working with. They are likely to be closely involved with the design of your products which is the core of your business. It helps to work with a team that understands your needs and the needs of your customers.
WANDR has been working with hundreds of startup founders and enterprise firms. We’ve spent a lot of time in hiring the best UX designers, reach out to us! We’d love to help. Our designers have created some of the best UX SaaS websites out on the market. Contact us here and learn more about our services.
What additional points would you consider when hiring a UX designer?
Let us know in the comments below.