Choosing a UX provider: What you need to know
UX when applied correctly will transform your business. Find out how to choose the right UX provider to help you achieve your business outcomes.
User Experience (UX) can encompass a lot of factors from accessibility, usability, design, utility and overall interaction, however it is the emotion and connection that a user feels with your website or that will influence how they feel about your brand. Investing in good UX is necessary to quickly gain trust, develop brand recognition and ensure user retention.
If you are serious about investing in user experience and don’t have the resources in-house to do the UX then you will need to look outside your business and engage a reputable UX partner. The hardest part is choosing a trusted and reputable partner that will enable you to improve your business outcomes.
So how do you chose a provider that understands UX and can introduce great UX into your project? We recommend 5 key things to consider that will help you find the best UX experts:
1. Request for Proposal (RFP)
2. Agency search
3. UX team expertise
4. Agency culture
5. Try before you buy
Preparing for a Request For Proposal (RFP)Take the time to be thorough when preparing a RFP, it is a good reflection of your business and the best agencies will want to work with you. In turn you will receive accurate and thorough proposals from appropriate companies and avoid time wasting.
Consider these things:
- Describe your business, its core services / products and its values. This assists an agency to understand who you are and what you do. It also helps to attract an agency that aligns with your values.
- Ensure you understand the goals of the project. Typically there are business goals that need translating into an online solution. These could be anything from increasing sales to reducing call centre costs.
- Add information about the users that typically use your product or service. This will form the starting point of any UX Research.
- Add as much detail into a Scope of Work with definition around the deliverables (if possible). Some areas that you may need for a UX project are: UX research, UX design, information architecture, usability testing, interface design, prototyping, click testing and project management.
- Define a deadline based on real world requirements. Perhaps there is a tradeshow you want to attend, or your business may be seasonal.
- Ensure you ask the agency for references and make sure you interview the referees. Ask if there were stand-out results e.g. Increased conversions
Agency SearchThere are multiple agencies out there that could design and build your website or app. How do you go about finding prospective agencies that can add value to your project?
- A Google search will garner a few results. Some keywords to search would be “UX Agency [City]”, “UX Design Agency [City]”, etc.
- Seminars, trade shows and networking events often have attendees from agencies. Spark up a conversation and see what UX services they may offer and their approach to delivering UX.
- You would be surprised how often your professional or social network deals with digital agencies. Ask them for any recommendations they may have.
- Once you have found some likely candidates, check out their website and be sure to find evidence that UX is one of their key services and that UX methodology is followed. See if they have case studies that demonstrate how they used UX to improve a solution. Look for testimonials from previous clients to see if they have been recommended.
- Contact the agency and set up a meeting. This is your chance to validate that the agency has a team that knows what UX is about, how they approach UX delivery and for them to demonstrate their UX successes.
UX teamSo you have found some agencies that appear to have UX skills. Great!
How about the team that will be working on the UX? Here are some questions to ask:
- What is the size of the team and what are their strengths? Some teams will have specialists in various areas, but some will have team members that are across a number of disciplines – that is not a problem, but core disciplines need to be present.
- So what disciplines will the team need? Make sure they cover the following disciplines: User Research, Information Architecture, Interaction Design, Prototyping, Usability and Visual Design.
- What experience and/or training does the team have? Formal qualifications are not necessary, but tertiary qualifications in user experience or with a recognised course will mean that the team have learned the fundamentals properly. Self-taught UX is not going to cut it, however training under an experienced and qualified UX practitioner is also excellent.
- Does the team have access to development resources? It is good practice to have an experienced developer validate that proposed solutions and designs can be implemented. If validation does not occur in the UX and Design phases, there is the potential that when a project reaches the development stage that solutions and designs cannot be implemented the way that was intended.
- Does the team just get straight into creative design? If so, then this is not UX. Understanding users and their goals and undertaking research is fundamental to the success of creative designs.
- Agency Culture
- What values does the agency have? This can contribute to the way a project is run. Having values that serve clients, that instil passion and help inspire success will always go a long way to ensuring the client gets a great result.
- How does the agency foster team environments? Do they celebrate successes as a team? Does the agency regularly run team building activities?
- Does the agency support their team and help them reach their dreams?
- Is innovation part of the culture? Does the agency actively explore new technology and share how this could be used in projects?
- Does the UX team contribute to regular blog posts? This shows that the team are passionate about UX and engaged in what they do. Do they have an opinion and are they thought leaders?
- Try before you buy
Agency CultureSo you have found some agencies that seem to have a UX team in place that understand UX methodology, have experience and follow a good UX process. What is next?
Agency Culture is very important for a number of reasons. Here are some questions to ask to help assess that the agencies culture is going to benefit your project.
Try before you buyIf you have whittled your list of agencies down to the top two contenders, consider asking them both to run a workshop. This workshop should revolve around business goals, understanding users and requirements gathering. This allows you to see how they operate, how they problem solve and if their style will gel with your organisation. This is a relatively small investment that may help you decide long term where to invest your time and energy.
Book a complimentary UX discovery meetingDeveloping a new website or app can be a costly exercise. UX is a crucial step in ensuring users’ needs are being met, the system developed is usable and the user experience is a great one.
Finding the right UX team can make all the difference to an amazing project that people love!
If you are preparing for a new website or app project and you would like some advice, feel free to contact us for a 1 hour UX discovery meeting. We can provide more detail on our approach and answer your UX questions.