When it comes to building your website or software product, and you are not a design studio, many questions come up. Should you trust a UX design agency to make it for you, work with your current in-house design team with no UX experience, or hire UI/UX designers?
Pros and Cons of Hiring a UX Agency
First of all, hiring a user experience design agency allows a better cost control. After signing a statement of work (SOW), companies must stick to the figures and scope delineated in the contract. This contract, in turn, allows keeping design costs lower compared to hiring just one senior in-house UX designer. Moreover, you don’t want to have a specialist sitting at the desk without work. If you only have one project and you can’t say for sure there’s going to be more work in the future, hiring a UX agency is more practical.
Secondly, UX design agencies have a much higher collective experience, as they have to work on many projects with radically different requirements. Since providing top-notch UX design services is an agency’s bread and butter, they hunt for specialists with skills that would fit into their existing design process.
You get to work with a team, rather than a single person, which includes strategic advice from different experts that you’d never get from a freelance UI/UX designer. Take Clay, for example, a UX company from San Francisco. While working with clients from various niches, this agency delivers top-notch designs thanks to a team of expert UX designers and other practitioners who know how to address this particular design aspect. You can’t have all of that in one senior in-house designer.
UX agencies often have to meet strict deadlines. For the reasons described above, they can work faster and deliver better results. While, in the case of a new in-house designer, one might need the same time to get used to a new workplace and get the work going step by step. After all, hiring a UX design company will help you avoid unnecessary costs of trying to retain a talented UI/UX designer without a steady workload.
When looking for a UX design agency, you should stay on the lookout, because many companies will promise you to complete the work they aren’t capable of achieving. Either within the set deadline or in terms of competence levels. The search for a reliable UI/UX agency requires quite some time, as you will have to study the market first and get acquainted with at least a dozen companies. Look for UX agencies that have a research-driven process, teams of UX experts, robust design portfolio, and a tried and tested UX practitioners. The biggest issue for many clients is hiring such a design company costs a lot, and not everyone can afford or wants to splurge on a third-party UX agency.
The Bottom Line
Hiring a UX agency can open the doors to some unprecedented UX design talent pool that may get your project completed within the set deadlines while meeting the highest quality standards one could have. Also, if you keep it within your SOW, you may considerably cut your costs compared to having an in-house UX designer. But keep in mind the shortcomings of working with a third-party design contractor. Not all UX agencies can perform as they promise or submit the completed work on time.
Pros and Cons of Hiring an In-House UX Designer
An in-house UI/UX designer is an expert who understands your company’s strategy and knows to deliver it to your audience in the form of a digital product. No matter how good a UX agency could be, it won’t be able to provide you with years of knowledge about your audience and product. The only issue would be that a single UX professional won’t be able to handle an enormous task that requires a big team.
An in-house UX team will provide your company with the expertise needed to optimize your user experience according to the current needs of your particular audience. If a product designed by an agency gets outdated, you will have to hire it again to take care of the product’s optimization. But, if you won’t have enough work for your in-house design team after the main project is completed, you’ll still be paying salaries. You have to take it into account before building a UX design team within your company.
Even if you build a UX team to work on your website or app predominantly, it can also have a profound effect on other areas of your business. That is, they may boost your marketing campaigns via optimized landing pages or visual ads, for example. But these support tasks are rather tedious for creative professionals to endure, and you will end up paying their salaries for no particular original work.
It’s hard to keep a UX design team consistently busy. Design tasks come and go, and it can take months before you have enough workload. So you’re on the hook for salaries for a team of people not having enough stuff to work on. You will either have to create some UX tasks for them or let the entire department go.
Also, most in-house UI/UX designers are quite expensive. A competent UX professional has to possess a wide range of skills while performing well. The demand for UX talent is high, and salary expectations reflect that.
The Bottom Line
It’s always good to have a UI/UX designer in your team who can convey the company’s strategy to its customers through excellent user experience. But you don’t need to hire a massive in-house design department if you can’t guarantee workload. Instead, consider finding a UX design agency with an established team and impeccable reputation to create a product or service that would meet your needs and the needs of your audience.