Popular, bestselling products have one thing in common: the delightful user experience they offer. No matter how powerful, feature-rich, or technologically advanced a product is, it can’t become a favorite unless it encompasses UX as its central design objective. This is a universal axiom that applies even to everyday physical goods.
User experience assumes a more significant role in the digital age. In an increasingly online, connected world, apps and websites determine how people search for information, interact with businesses, entertain themselves, learn a skill, or keep in touch with friends and family. In every digital tool or website, people look for a wholly gratifying experience. This is the lofty goal UX designers pursue. They strive to achieve it by integrating creative skills, scientifically sound techniques, and meticulous practices.
What UX designers do
UX design is a multi-dimensional specialty. It encompasses several processes, each of which is a complex activity by itself. Leading UX design companies in India and around the world produce inspiring user experiences by leveraging their competence across several areas. Before discussing how to identify the best UX agency for your business, let’s list the design services that are indispensable to crafting appealing and valuable products. This will help us recognize the factors pertinent to a specific business need.
During product development, the concerted focus of individuals and teams is on implementing the required functionality. The foremost objective is to deliver a working product, and user experience occupies a lower position in the list of priorities. With a UX audit, stakeholders can obtain an unbiased, thorough assessment of the product’s usability. It reveals what’s good about the design and what needs improvement.
The audit process starts with a comprehensive understanding of the user’s needs and a methodical plan to examine all the aspects that impact the user’s experience. A professionally conducted UX audit goes beyond identifying potential, costly design mistakes. It also suggests remedial measures to save costs, shorten the design cycle, and fast-track product launches.
User interfaces play a pivotal role in influencing the user experience. Optimizing the element’s position, size, and arrangement makes the user’s journey hassle-free and enjoyable. UI designers obtain valuable insights by studying the customer’s expectations and visualizing how to fulfill them with interactive controls. The principles of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), when applied to the design, suggest the most appropriate UI objects and their strategic placement. Striking a perfect balance between aesthetics and utility is key – the interface must be both attractive and intuitive.
Wireframes, prototypes, and mock-ups
Professional UX designers include wireframing, prototyping, and mock-up development in their workflows. As inherent parts of interactive user testing programs, they fortify the design against costly, troublesome corrections at a later stage. Though the objectives are similar, the three processes adopt different approaches: a wireframe is a skeletal outline of the structure and information architecture; it focuses on the requirement rather than the appearance. Prototypes are realistic models that can vary from lo-fi, hand-drawn sketches to hi-fi, digital representations. A mock-up simulates the visual feel of the product with graphical and textual elements, closely reflecting its style and perceptible character.
A website is an integral part of the modern business leader’s marketing toolkit. An emphatic online presence is imperative to grab people’s attention. This fact is backed by research: according to a Stanford University study, 75% of users form an opinion about a company from its website. And 38% will never patronize an organization if the experience doesn’t enthuse them. Though web design skills are widespread, sites created by UX specialists offer much more. They give organizations a competitive edge by reinforcing the brand image and enhancing customer trust. When optimized for user experience, websites inspire visitors to stay engaged, facilitating a surefire conversion of business opportunities.
Evolving a robust UX strategy
Building rewarding user experiences requires a diligent, systematic approach. It entails multiple steps, including requirement analysis, the definition of the user’s journey, UI design, content planning, and usability testing. The organization must in fuse UX-centric thinking into design processes and augment its competence across multiple domains. The product manager has two choices: forming an internal team or engaging a specialist UX design studio.
An in-house team may appear to be the ideal option as it ensures the availability of resources on demand. However, except for large industrial houses that line up regular product launches, not all companies need — or benefit from — such an idea. For one, the workload may not justify the recurring costs; employee’s innovative spirit and knowledge may be boxed in by their environment, leading to dated, lack luster designs.
Partnering with a reputed UX design company is beneficial in several ways. Their professionals ensure streamlined planning and project management; they employ scientific, robust techniques; they introduce refreshing, novel ideas; their designs leverage the latest tools and keep pace with contemporary trends; they help you save time and money.
There are hundreds of UX design companies in India and across the world. The challenge before business leaders is to find the right agency to partner with and draw the best results out of the association. This may look daunting, but there are a few simple ways to identify the ideal UX design partner for your needs. We’ll review them here.
How to choose the right UX partner
A great UX agency distinguishes itself from others by possessing the best of talents — and its capability to harness the collective skillsets to fulfill client’s expectations. Evaluating the following factors will help you make the right decision:
- Portfolio: Every UX design studio showcases its past accomplishments — a portfolio that reflects the diversity of products, markets, and objectives is a great place to start. Review it closely to check the nature of projects, the intensity of the challenges, and the distinctive approaches adopted to address them. Follow it up with a hands-on usability check on the products wherever possible. Seeking feedback from their clients also helps.
- Scope of services: Does the agency simply follow your brief or give you the advantage of a holistic consultant approach? Do you need just a design vendor or a business partner who can collaborate with your team to create impactful UX? Does the design studio have the experience and resources to handle multiple tasks, such as research, wireframing, prototyping, and user testing? Check if the company employs full-time specialists or hires them when necessary. Will they be available to help you manage upgrades and scalability challenges? Can you lean on them for corporate branding and marketing strategies?
- Processes: A review of the agency’s internal processes is immensely beneficial. Each UX design company follows its unique approaches and methodologies. Check if they sufficiently cover the scope of your project. Are they structured and well-defined? Do they clearly highlight the deliverables, milestones, and dependencies? Are they result-oriented, representing the efforts needed to deliver a value-optimized product? For a hassle-free design program, the chosen agency’s processes must seamlessly align with your operational policies.
- Tools: Digital design apps are constantly evolving. They keep pushing the limits of creativity, opening up exciting possibilities for designers. Progressive design studios never stop updating their resources and skillsets. Your project may not need the latest invention in the world. Yet, it pays to take a quick look at the designer’s tools. It tells you how modern their thinking is and whether they would serve current and emerging needs.
- Empathy: UX is all about being sensitive to the user’s expectations. The design agency must be cognizant of other’s perceptions, needs, and wants to assure fulfilling experiences. Stepping into the end-user’s shoes is critical to acquire a realistic impression of the product’s suitability and practicality. Empathetic designers are open to ideas; they seek inputs, analyze their importance, and assimilate the relevant ones in their design. They put into practice the fundamental principle of a winning design — placing the user at the center of all activities.
- Communications: UX designers need to keep exchanging ideas and updates with stakeholders throughout the duration of the project. This means they must possess excellent communication skills to keep the conversation going. A free and open dialog ensures the integration of diverse inputs while eliminating misinterpretations and subjectivity. It steers the project forward, moving it closer to the objective.
- Cost: The overall project cost is one of the decisive factors. Business leaders must consider how the UX development tasks fit into the budget. While engaging with a design studio, it’s essential to analyze if the deliverables and figures in the agency’s quote justify each other. The fine print could reveal more crucial details. There may be hidden costs related to updates, redesign, or maintenance, which must be included in your calculations. If some information is missing or ambiguous, get your concerns resolved before signing on the dotted line.
- Engagement model: Take a step back to reexamine what your project attempts to achieve and decide on the tasks that need to be delegated to the UX design agency. With some design companies, a contractual model works best; with some, you may want to try fulfilling a specific requirement; a few offer flexible options. One size doesn’t fit all, and the answer may also depend on the size of your organization – startups, growing businesses, and large companies need different strategies. Study the engagement models available and choose one that meets all your needs.
Looking for top-notch UX ideas that deliver? Talk to us. Ours is a young UI/UX design studio in India driven by a passion for excellence. We love building new-age design strategies for businesses keen to benefit from futuristic thinking. With our customer-focused approach, agility, and positive attitude, we fulfill the exacting needs of global organizations. Our services span the entire UX spectrum, addressing the unique challenges and expectations of startups, mid-size companies, and enterprises.