How to go about selecting a UX agency / partner

August 11th 2015 Samir Chabukswar
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Research has established that improved customer and user experience has a direct impact on product and brand loyalty and ultimately revenues. It has become critical for businesses to choose UX partners that are ‘right’ for them. You may have already received tons of advice on how to zero in on a good UX partner. dns analysis. To understand the design process they follow, to enquire about how they construct and leverage research insights, to check the team composition being proposed, to get them to recommend changes to your current design strategy – and see how it all suits your business goals. This is a very rational approach to evaluating prospective UX partners or providers, helping you to create a comparable scorecard based on which you can make an informed decision. But, the variables in engaging with a UX provider are not always known or quantifiable. For instance, one of the key factors for a successful UX engagement is the cultural fitment between people on both sides. Such factors are too complex to check-off in a scorecard and are best evaluated through experience.

Most businesses, especially those in the IT industry, are used to the RFP-presentation-pitch-negotiation cycle. The problem with applying this to UX Design is that it mostly focuses on the sales and presentation abilities of the provider, which after a point settle down in parity for all mature firms. Businesses, instead, should direct their evaluation criterion towards ascertaining whether or not they can trust the partner. Towards their ability to empathize with your users and design solutions that ensure market success.

Here are some pointers.

Define your goals before anything else: A more relevant and effective way to find out which UX Design partner is best suited for your business is to first define your UX goals. What is it that you want the UX partner to deliver as an outcome for your business? The more specific you can get here, the easier it will be to evaluate providers. In fact, a good UX partner will ask you this question in the very beginning of your interaction with them.

Go much beyond the visual WOW: At the core of a UX Design firm’s capability is their ability to conduct and glean insights from user research. Creative UX Design firms apply their out of the box thinking at this very core aspect too. Businesses need to be wary of digital marketing agencies, who claim to deliver UX Design, but are mainly focused on only the visual / aesthetic aspect of design.

Talk to their customers: When it comes to checking references, go further from what is published and actually talk to businesses who have engaged with the UX Design firm. A good provider will not hesitate to provide you those references.

Make the time to workshop: This is arguably the best way to find out whether or not your business has a cultural fitment with the UX Design provider. Agree to field your most diverse candidates for a half-day or full-day workshop at either your location or theirs. The workshop itself can be about business goals and how they translate to UX goals – giving you a usable output at the end of the day.

Remember, that while these methods may meet with some resistance from some UX firms, the good ones will actually welcome them!

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Samir Chabukswar

A sharp focus on value (and nothing less) is the mantra with which Samir leads YUJ Designs vision into the future. He believes that good design, innovation or even a business idea will only unfold strongly through deep thinking. Keeping up with market and business needs, Samir drives ‘User Experience’, from strategy-to-design-to-market.

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