We have touched on this previously but it is something really worth remembering at all times – whether you want to improve an existing product or create a new one. Without great design even the best product is destined to fail. And there’s a lot that goes into the design. That’s why most of the freelancers won’t be able to handle it. It’s best to partner with an agency. But how to find the right one?

Why should you choose an Agency rather than an in-house Designer?

Some people think it may be better to hire an in-house Designer. It can be a good solution but, as does anything else, it has some downsides. The most important things for every business are time and money. And working with an agency saves you both.

Experience, processes and tools

A design agency will be more experienced with a variety of projects, markets and niches than an average designer, because as a team they combine all the skills and knowledge. This means that their insights will help them along the way of designing your product and save up time during the process. On top of that, an agency will already have processes in place for doing research, wireframes, prototypes etc. This is something your in-house designer won’t have right away. You will need to take time (and money) to develop the processes and to make your designer’s work structured and predictable. When you pay an agency to work on your project you pay for the experience they have as well as their processes. That’s why it may seem more expensive than hiring someone in-house. But in the long run, to money you put into your in-house designer will be the same or even higher than what you’ve paid the agency. What is more, the cost of hiring an agency includes all the tools and licenses they need. With an in-house designer you will need to cover them. That’s one thing less to worry about when working with a design agency.

More control over communication, workflow and costs

With an experienced agency you will get more accurate estimations regarding the time and cost of the project. That means, that at the beginning of the project you will know how much it will cost and how much time it will take to complete your project. Because an agency doesn’t work in-house they also have better communication processes and workflow processes. They need to keep you in the loop and make sure you’re all on the same page at all times. Otherwise, well, let’s just say it won’t be a successful project. With an in-house designer, to get to the point where you all will work together smoothly, it will take a lot of time and excellent onboarding. And if your business isn’t centred around design you need to ask yourself whether this investment is valid.

How to find the one?

There are hundreds of thousands agencies on the market. How to find the one that will do the job perfectly? It’s a tough one. Fortunately, here are some tips on finding the best design agency.

Look for a partner rather than a contractor

While looking through the agencies, see how they communicate with their clients. Are they just offering outsourcing? Or are they offering consulting as well? Because the agency you choose should be your business partner instead of just getting the job done and leaving. A perfect partner will be invested in your project and excited to work on it. Check out their case studies and see if they have come up with solutions of their own or proposed their ideas. This way, you will be sure that your project will be well taken care of.

Check out their portfolio and case studies

Real cases and real clients are the best indicator of whether an agency is good or not. Check out their latest projects and their Clutch profile. It’s important to see the agency’s previous work, because everyone has a certain style and you need to make sure that their style matches your vision. Read their case studies to see how they approach certain problems, how they work and which solutions they use.

Learn about their process

The process is where it’s at. See how they do things, what are the stages of each project and how they work. Learn about their communication tools and about their workflow. It’s important that the process includes you and is based on research and not guess-work. It’s also good if they have several experts on board and not just a few UX designers. If there is a separate Researcher and a separate Designer you can be sure that each one will do their job extremely well, while someone who’s the kind of “all in one” guy might be good at one thing but not so great at the other.

Make sure they can overlook the whole process

UX is just one of the stages of developing a product. It is much better to keep the whole project in one place and within one team, because it makes the communication better and everyone is always on the same page. Make sure that the agency you’re looking at also employs developers, software architects and so on, so that they can be of assistance at all times. They will know best what works and what doesn’t and come up with much better solutions that the designers on their own.

If you’re looking for a partner to develop or improve your product – contact us!