Don’t know if you should hire a UX designer or UX consultant? Here’s a guide on the best path for you. Brought to you by WANDR, ranked the #1 UX design and product strategy firm in Los Angeles.
If your product is failing to address the needs of your target audience, you should consider working with a UX consultant.
As with UX designers, UX consultants help deliver a better user experience. This is an area that tends to lead to confusion — causing many businesses to overlook the value of hiring a design firm or consultancy agency.
Do I need a UX designer? What does a UX consultant do and how can they help your business? How much does a UX consultant charge for their services? We’ll tackle these questions and more below.
What is a UX Designer?
User experience (UX) design is the creation of products that provide relevant, meaningful experiences to users. UX designers work with a team of developers and UI designers to create user-friendly applications, software, and websites.
UX design involves more than just the user interface (UI). While a quality user experience requires an easy-to-navigate interface, UX design focuses on every aspect of the product, from design to usability and function.
Unlike the UX consultant, the UX designer is directly involved in every stage of development, conducting user research and testing different features. The designer also develops wireframes and the overall task flow based on the specific needs of the end-user.
Businesses often hire UX designers during the initial development stages of a product. However, designers may also come in later to solve issues uncovered during testing.
What Does a UX Consultant Do?
While UX designers may help resolve known issues, a UX consultant is often hired to find the problem and then solve it. UX consultants may also help find new opportunities by improving the user experience.
Consultants rarely get directly involved with the UX design of applications and software. They offer valuable insight and feedback based on the specific needs of the business. This also means that the role of the UX consultant varies depending on the project.
For example, you may hire a UX consultant to audit a product that has already launched. Alternatively, consultants can also provide beneficial UX research needed at the beginning stages of product development.
How Much Does a UX Consultant Charge?
The cost of hiring a UX consultant depends on a variety of factors, including the specific projects that you hire them to complete and the scope of the work.
When Should You Hire a UX Designer?
A UX designer often works on a project from the beginning, helping to ensure that the application addresses the needs of the users. UX designers work closely with UI designers, programmers, and engineers to ensure that the product includes the most relevant features.
Some of the benefits of working with a UX designer include:
- Create a better user interface
- Develop better information architecture
- Increase product accessibility
- Help meet the needs of end-users
Create a Better User Interface
UX designers assist with the creation of the user interface (UI). The UX designer develops the UI or works with a UI designer to create the UI.
UX designers understand the best practices for UI design. They know to avoid adding too much clutter and how to make the best use of the available screen space.
Develop Better Information Architecture
Working with a UX designer also helps ensure that your product has solid information architecture. The information architecture includes the overall structure of your application, such as the organization of pages or content on different screens.
With ineffective information architecture, users may struggle to find information. When people cannot find what they want, they tend to find other solutions, limiting the success of your project.
Increase Product Accessibility
Skilled UX designers also understand what it takes to make an accessible product. Depending on the application and the end-users, UX designers may include responsive design or customization options. Not only do these features make the product accessible to a larger group of people, but also increases the optimization of the product across different displays (desktop, mobile, and tablet).
Help Meet the Needs of End Users
The main goal of the UX designer is to ensure that your product meets the needs of your users. Designers may complete UX research and customer research to determine what features your users want most.
When Should You Hire a UX Consultant?
A UX consultant is typically used for auditing applications and software. If a product does not meet your expectations, a consultant can help find ways to get better results. You may also hire consultants for assistance with prototyping and other steps during the design and development of your product.
A few of the main reasons to hire a UX consultant include:
- Gaining a better understanding of your users
- Developing effective usability testing
- Devising a UX strategy
- Conduct audits of applications or websites
- Improve your return on investment (ROI)
Gain a Better Understanding of Your Users
If your product fails to become a success or you want to increase the chances of a successful product development cycle, work with a UX consultant. The consultant can help you gain a better understanding of the needs and wants of your users.
Common methods include the use of customer journey mapping and other visualization techniques. Additional input may come from customer surveys, interviews, and analytics.
Develop Effective Usability Testing
Usability testing also provides insight into the needs of your users while determining if your features work properly.
Consultants may complete usability testing to focus on specific areas of your product. This often requires a sample size of users. It helps identify problem areas and provides unbiased feedback that can help shape the development of your project.
Receive Help Devising a UX Strategy
You may also need a consultant to assist with the development of a new UX strategy. Businesses often reach a point where they need to adopt new strategies to experience growth or tap into new markets.
UX consultancy firms (like us!) can help create a long-term vision for an organization. Through careful research, consultants provide a set of recommendations that the organization can implement into its new UX strategies.
Conduct an Audit of Your Application or Website
Conducting audits remains the most common reason for working with a consultant. A consultant can review your application or website to find areas that need improvement. The goal is to increase conversions for overall user satisfaction.
Audits are detailed, with consultants examining every aspect of the UX design, from the information architecture to the user interface. Typically, consultants uncover issues that you didn’t know existed.
After completing the audit, the consultant offers suggestions for addressing the problems discovered during the auditing process.
Improve Your ROI
Along with the benefits discussed, working with a UX consultant helps improve the ROI of your UX design. By creating a better product, you should experience increased sales and customer retention.
Last Thoughts on UX Designers and UX Consultants
Do you need a UX designer or UX consultant? Most projects benefit from the expertise of a skilled UX designer. UX designers help build an effective user experience from the ground up.
Unfortunately, some issues remain undetectable until the product is released. Users may uncover problems with the interface. The software may not deliver the results you want.
A UX consultant helps find the root cause of these problems. They audit websites, applications, and software to find out why things are not working as planned, and propose a better solution
Interested in Hiring a UX Consultant?
Let us know in the comments below! Or schedule a call with Jinny, founder of WANDR, here.