Working with a UI UX design agency
Technology drives the modern world. Digital devices have granted us the power to perform several tasks at the tap of a finger. Want to shop? Order online. Need a reminder for the next business trip? Update the calendar app on your phone. We leverage digital solutions to simplify our workflows, customize our entertainment – virtually manage everything around us. At the heart of all these are cross-platform apps, mobile applications, websites and web apps. Millions of digital solutions exist on the internet, yet each offers unique experiences thanks to UI UX design.
UI UX design gave birth to thousands of agencies – businesses that help companies and individual entrepreneurs to achieve their goals. Wondering what a UI UX design agency does? Read on. This is a comprehensive guide to help you understand the value a UI UX design company has, the tools they use, the skills required to work in such agencies and a breakdown of a typical UI UX design process.
Understanding UI UX Design
What comes to mind at the mention of UI UX design? It is a strategic process in product design and development. UI UX design represents multiple activities for designing and developing user interfaces and improving user experiences when using digital products. UI UX design cuts across the digital spectrum. Mobile app and web app development is incomplete without the UI UX design stage. Skipping this is setting up the product for failure.
UI UX design aims to deliver seamless and enjoyable user experiences using optimized product designs. A UI UX design agency specializes in UI design and UX optimization – they ensure target customers enjoy similar user experiences on different devices.
Simply, the agency creates unique app and website layouts, organizes content on the user interface and participates in the branding and visual design. After developing an intuitive app and website layouts, they focus on robust information architecture to streamline the flow of information between the servers and the customer terminal to give the digital product the desired functionality.
UI UX design focuses on intuitive user interfaces and experiences
Why does UI UX design matter? The success of a digital product depends on its UI UX design. Poorly designed digital products are difficult to use – they have complex navigation panels, are unresponsive to user inputs and are frustrating. Acing UI UX design enhances user experiences, increasing customer engagements and maximizing conversions, a win for the business.
The role of a UI/UX design agency
A UI UX design agency is a jack of all trades. Customers can throw any project at their faces. They have experience developing a wide variety of digital products. Some roles of a UI UX design agency are:
- Researching and understanding the target audience. They must empathize with the target audiences and get a feel of their preferences. Initial market research enables the agency to create easy-to-use and well-functioning products.
- Developing wireframes and prototypes. Wireframe development is an essential process in the digital product development lifecycle. The agency creates a blueprint that represents the outline or layout of the desired digital product. The blueprint determines what buttons or features will appear on the app layout. It also compares the impact of multiple design elements on the functionality and usability of an app or website.
Wireframe development is a crucial part of UI UX design
- Creating visual designs and branding. A UI UX design agency has access to several graphic design tools. They can design attractive branding products and customize their sizes to meet diverse marketing needs. They can also create animations and videos to meet the branding needs of their clients.
- Implementing and testing features. A UI UX design agency helps you to create prototypes and product models. They test these prototypes using in-house tools and in collaboration with their partners to identify and remove bugs or problems that can impede the product’s performance.
- Optimizing the product for different devices and platforms. After launching products, the UI UX design agency sticks around. It collects feedback from multiple users and uses this information to redesign products and enhance their performances.
Each of the above roles varies when handling different projects. A UI UX agency can provide web app development and cross-platform app development services. The agency leverages its resources to develop web-based applications accessible on a web browser on any device. Cross-platform app development enables a UI UX design agency to create digital products that work across multiple platforms. These apps give users native-like user experiences and can be deployed on iOS, Windows and Android platforms.
Some clients prefer native apps over cross-platform or web-based solutions. A UI UX design agency needs to grasp the operation of native apps to guarantee seamless iOS app development or Android app development. The agency ensures these apps perform optimally on the targeted operating system, for example, iOS apps should offer exceptional user experiences on Apple devices.
Outsourcing UI UX design to Agencies
We live in a competitive world, and every minute translates to several dollars in revenue or expenditure. Outsourcing app design to a reputable agency can save business money and time. What benefits does one gain by engaging UI UX design firms?
Expertise and experience
A UI UX design agency builds expertise and experience by completing several projects. They build the resilience needed to overcome digital product development challenges. As they transition from one product to another, they gain insights into the best work practices and can develop a cheat sheet to expedite future projects. The agency can also create a database of frequently used tools and a list of recommendations to simplify future workflows and ensure timely project deliveries.
A UI UX design agency relieves you of the stress of hiring and sustaining in-house teams. Building a digital product development team is time-consuming and costly. The company also upskills the designers and developers to retain their competitiveness. Working with an outsourced company offering UI UX design services ensures the company saves substantial amounts. Companies can redirect the small savings to other business development needs.
App design needs vary over time. Sometimes, a company needs to develop an application that demands a bigger team of designers and developers. On some occasions, an agency of fewer than ten experts can complete the project in time. Outsourcing UI UX design means you can enjoy the flexibility offered by the agency. The agency can adapt to changing app design needs without worrying about new hires.
Outsourcing UI UX design to an agency means the company or innovator places their focus on the business needs. They do not have to worry about the design process. The client delivers a project brief, and the agency handles the technical aspects.
Clients join the designers to discuss project progress and provide feedback if the agency requires clarifications on the brief or when the project scope is changing to accommodate new app features. The separation of functions ensures other business objectives do not derail at the expense of a product under development.
Things to consider when working with an outsourced UI UX design agency
Are all design agencies up to the task? Not all companies with flashy websites and an online presence can deliver projects. As a client, you must do some extra digging and negotiations to verify the credibility of an agency and its capabilities. Some companies may overstate their capabilities. For instance, a web design agency may market itself as a UI UX design agency. While the company may be capable on both fronts, it may be disadvantaged when working with complex UI UX design projects.
Here is what you should look for when engaging an outsourced UI UX design firm.
How many projects has the agency completed? Work with an agency that has a proven record. The company should provide a portfolio of past projects. A company that has completed projects similar to what you anticipate building gives you the confidence that things will flow smoothly. A company that hides its portfolio could be risky to engage in. They may deliver the project but not have the relevant experience required to meet the quality standards and desired deadlines.
Digital product development can be tedious. One requires a suitable strategy to streamline software development and manage complex workloads. Ask the company the methodology they intend to use to realize the goals of your project. The agency should use a structured approach to guarantee continuous engagement between the client and the UX agency.
Size of the agency and communication
A design agency hires several people. The size of the team reflects the skill levels and can provide a glimpse of how fast the agency can complete a project. A good team should comprise experts with different skills and experiences.
The company should also provide reliable communication channels. That will ensure seamless collaboration with clients. The feedback between these parties ensures all design components are included in the design process. The teams can also exchange ideas on possible app design modifications and their impacts on user experiences.
Conduct extensive research before settling on a UI UX design agency. Look for reviews and testimonials from multiple online sources. Compare the pricing ranges and discounts provided by competing options. The operations of the selected design should align with your goals and values and have provable expertise and experience.
Typical UI UX Design Process
UI UX design processes are almost similar for all digital products. Developers and designers should complete several tasks. These are step-by-step procedures to foolproof the entire process and facilitate iterations to improve the quality of products. Agencies employ different strategies to achieve this. UI UX design goes through the following stages.:
Research and planning
The preliminary phase is crucial for gathering information about the product, target audiences and prevailing market competition. The UI UX agency can gather information using surveys and targeted interviews. The research helps teams to define project objectives and plan resources.
Wireframing and prototyping
The designers create simple product blueprints. The wireframe is beneficial for optimizing app layouts and visualizing how customers can interact with digital products. A good agency should develop several wireframe designs to ensure they settle on the most interactive design.
At this stage, the product’s branding comes to life. The designers assign color schemes to the app, resize elements on the screen and optimize typography and app layouts. The UI UX design team creates style guides and app design templates to foster app consistency across platforms.
Development is the UX design process when development teams integrate design features with graphic components defining the app’s layout. The development phase involves coding and debugging to strengthen the performance of an app or website. UX design ensures the digital product is functional.
Testing and optimization
The agency must test the product on the target platforms and devices before releasing it to the client. These tests are intended to evaluate the responsiveness and app appearance on different screen sizes. The initial testing phase provides the agency with the feedback required to optimize the app and fix a few bugs impeding the functionality of an application or website.
The UI UX design agency may choose to tweak these procedures depending on the project’s complexity. The team can iterate several tasks to refine user interfaces and enhance user experiences. The deliverables at each stage can also vary from one project to another.
Who works in a UI UX design agency?
UI UX design is not a one-man undertaking. It requires collaboration among different experts. A UI UX agency hires individuals with diverse skills and experiences to ensure they handle any project irrespective of its complexity. The team of experts manages design and development tasks to ensure the final product is functional and meets the desired performance characteristics.
UI UX design agency requires individuals with diverse technical skills
Although these individuals perform specific roles, they should acquire diverse product development skills. The following people work in a UI UX design agency.
These individuals handle the layout and appearance of an app or website. Their roles span layout design, visual design, product branding and interface optimization. The designers create wireframes and develop prototypes to showcase how products work.
This group of experts works on the user experiences of digital products. They design information architecture and user flows. They optimize the flow of information and ensure layouts and navigation buttons are responsive.
These experts use coding to integrate different components of an app or website. The UI UX design agency relies on developers to manage front-end and back-end development.
Developers have experience using multiple programming languages. They optimize layouts and server configuration to keep the app responsive.
A UI UX design agency can hire researchers to gather information about digital products, innovative development solutions and market competition. The researchers summarize survey information, providing developers and designers with sufficient insights to initiate planning and development.
These experts are skilled in design and development. UI UX designers and developers have one or more of the following skills.
- Visual design
- User experience design
- Front-end development skills
- Backend development skills
- Prototype development skills
- Communication skills
Tools and frameworks used in a UI UX design agency
A UI UX design agency leverages several tools and frameworks to support digital product development. These tools are pivotal for mobile app development, web app development and cross-platform app development. Some tools are simpler to use than others. Each tool or framework has desirable features making them preferable among different design teams.
A web design agency will invest in multiple tools to facilitate web app and website UI UX design. The requirements for mobile app development may vary if the apps target native devices. Such products may be designed using proprietary tools.
Some popular UI UX design tools are:
Sketch is popular among UI UX design companies. It provides multiple tools for creating app wireframes and prototypes. It is vital for UI design and allows remote design teams to collaborate through the platform. A UI UX design agency can use this tool to create mobile and web applications.
Figma is a powerful design tool used by design agencies. It is a feature-rich, cloud-based design tool for users to design and test unique user interfaces. Figma has powerful design features and allows real-time collaboration among developers and designers. Figma is a suitable solution for cross-platform app development.
Adobe Creative Suite
It is a collection of several design and development tools. The creative suite comprises design utilities like Photoshop, Adobe XD and Adobe Illustrator. The Adobe creative suite is beneficial for UX design.
InVision is a robust tool for a UI UX design agency to design interactive app prototypes. The tool contains several in-built features for testing app prototypes.
Swift and Xcode
A UI UX design agency using this tool specializes in iOS app development. Swift and Xcode have platform-specific templates to help designers create interactive user interfaces and integrate several functionality features.
Android studio is the primary tool a UI UX design agency utilizes to develop apps for the Android platform. Developers can create interactive user interfaces and optimize user experiences for android devices.
Starting UI UX design agency
Anyone with a background in software development can start a profitable UI UX design agency. It takes time for the agency to turn profitable since the entrepreneur has to build an online presence, assemble a team, market their services and complete a couple of projects.
What should you do to establish a reputable UI UX design agency?
Identify the focus market
One should have a clear picture of the clients one intends to serve. The agency should identify the right target audience. If you specialize in mobile app development, it may be appropriate to begin an agency that handles mobile app UI UX design. Identifying the right market is essential for creating a solid foundation for the design agency.
Build a competent team
The other component for success is building a competent team. This involves designers, developers and researchers. The team members should possess remarkable competencies in their trade. Assembling the right team means your agency delivers high-quality work from the start. Interview several candidates and recruit them on contractual or permanent terms. The number of members in the product development team depends on the available budget and the adopted business model.
Establish a marketing strategy
A new UI UX design agency has to build a strong identity. New agencies face stiff competition from existing companies. The marketing strategy should outline the unique services offered by the agency and other attractive incentives to attract as many clients as possible.
Set up business support infrastructure
A UI UX design agency requires a physical office. It should also invest in adequate infrastructure to ensure timely communication and provide sufficient computing power for multiple projects. The agency should be registered with relevant authorities to ensure compliance and protect it from liabilities or legal repercussions.
The company should join online forums and job boards to bid for attractive jobs. The agency can scale operations as they gain traction in the market and grow its portfolios from referrals from satisfied customers.
Starting a UI UX design agency from scratch is challenging but rewarding in the longer term.
How much does a UI UX design agency charge?
It is difficult to estimate how much UI UX design agencies charge. The costs incurred for outsourcing work to a UI UX design agency vary significantly, depending on several factors. The price of a single project depends on its scope and complexity. Experienced developers and designers will charge more per project compared to their green counterparts.
Some agencies use an hourly rate for their services, while others use fixed-price rates for UI UX design projects. The hourly rates can be as low as $50 and as high as $200 or more per hour. Fixed-price project rates can cost a few thousand dollars for small projects and several hundred thousand dollars and more for complex projects.
The cost of a UI UX design project does not necessarily equate to quality. A UI UX design agency can charge several thousand dollars and deliver a low-quality project. It is beneficial for design agencies to focus on delivering high-quality work even if the rates are lower. The client should receive value for their money. The app or website should offer substantial returns on investment.
UI UX design agencies should embrace innovation
Future of UI UX design agencies
Technology is revolutionizing the approach to UI UX design. Some emerging trends are significantly shaping the future of UI UX design and will impact the operations of UI UX design companies. Any innovative UI UX design agency should keep an eye on the following technologies.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning
AI and machine learning are increasingly gaining popularity in digital product development. The technology will enable UI UX design teams to personalize user experiences and generate more intuitive user interfaces. AI and machine learning can analyze user behaviors and experiences, informing advanced app designs. UI UX agencies can leverage AI technology for automated research to deliver personalized recommendations to customers.
Voice and gesture interfaces
Brands are aware of challenges facing less privileged individuals when using digital devices, including people with health conditions limiting their interactions with digital devices. The need for inclusive product development is pushing the integration of voice and gesture interfaces in UI UX design. The future UI UX design agency should incorporate innovative solutions in new products. They must create user flows to facilitate the integration of voice and gesture inputs.
Virtual and augmented reality
These technologies are beneficial for building immersive user experiences. The target customer becomes part of the digital system. The UI UX design should explore how to implement VR and AR in designing mobile applications, web apps and websites.
Responsive design and accessibility
The sizes of digital devices keep changing. These changes affect the performance of different apps. The future UI UX design agency should factor in the proliferation of devices. Advanced apps should adapt to screen sizes. These apps should also provide additional accessibility by allowing multiple contrasts and availing navigation tools like text-to-speech.
How will these technologies affect UI UX design agencies?
They increase the demand for advanced technological skills. UI UX design agencies should train their teams and equip them with advanced technical skills. These skills will enable them to deliver high-quality work. Some companies will need to hire new staff with experience in technologies like AI and machine learning.
The advanced technologies will drive change in business models. UI UX design teams will adopt flexible work patterns and focus on project-based appraisals. The amount charged per project will change depending on the number of advanced features added to new products. The clients will also increase demand for more responsive products.
The UI UX design sector will experience increased competition. Advanced technologies mean companies will deliver projects faster and at lower rates. The technologies are assistive and simplify some workflows. Companies will also scramble for a few skilled individuals to fill gaps in their teams.
Working with a dependable UI UX design agency provides several benefits to businesses and consultancies seeking to build an online presence. These agencies leverage their skills and expertise to deliver high-quality products at affordable rates. They can create reliable products and provide lifetime support. They have round-the-clock access to sophisticated design and development tools that may be expensive for new businesses.