Considering hiring a reputable UX design agency? If you are, you probably already know that fixing a problem in the development stage costs ten times as much as fixing it in design. And it costs 100 times as much to fix a product that’s already been launched. That’s why you’ll save you and your team some trouble by hiring a firm that specializes in UX design. Here, you’ll find 20 of the top candidates along with a detailed guide that will help you shortlist and discover your perfect match.
A Step-by-Step Evaluation Methodology
Our goal is to present you with objective rankings that can help you find the right agency for your UX design needs. To accomplish our mission, we’ve devised an all-inclusive evaluation methodology that considers multiple aspects, including the agency’s proficiency, project management methods, processes, customer satisfaction, and more. The following is a walkthrough of what we did to make sure you end up with a website that satisfies all 6 core UX qualities.
We begin our evaluation of each UX design company with its website. Once we land there, we consider how UX-friendly the design is because we firmly believe in the saying, “practice what you preach.”
The next step is going through the agency’s portfolio to determine their experience and expertise. Beyond the attractive screens, we consider the variety and quality of work done and try to answer the following questions:
Finally, we gauge the testimonials that the UX design agency provides. It’s worth noting that we don’t put too much weight on this factor mainly because companies can easily alter the testimonials. That’s why we go a step further and assess client satisfaction through the reviews and ratings shared by clients on review sites, social media, and Google. These give a clearer picture of the agencies’ strengths and weaknesses. Of course, unless the number of negative reviews is overwhelming, we won’t necessarily disregard the agency.
Once we have our potential candidates, we continue evaluating more specific aspects to shortlist the companies. Examining the processes they use provides us with important information regarding the agencies’ experience and credibility, as well as the quality of their work.
When assessing whether the UX design companies have a reliable process that combines visual design and usability, we look for the following:
First of all, we assess the agency’s research methods. Research gives insight into the target users—their needs, goals, behavior, and motivation. There are different types of user research, but we consider these to be most important:
Card sorting is a research method in which individuals of the target audience organize topics into groups according to what makes sense to them. Card sorting helps in creating an information architecture that meets the audience’s expectations.
Effective UX design firms will use focus groups to learn the needs, ideas, attitudes, and desires of users and how your product addresses them. They’re best used to test the product’s usability or to collect direct feedback on proposed features.
A heuristic evaluation is used to discover usability issues in the design. Expert reviewers can assess the interface and compare it against set usability principles.
The goal of creating personas is to have reliable representations of the most important audience segments so you can identify the different types of users that might use your site, brand, service, or product. A top UX designer would base personas on qualitative and quantitative research, as well as web analytics.
Surveys are quantitative methodologies that help you learn more about the people visiting your site: who they are, what they want to accomplish, what information they’re looking for, and more.
Use cases outline the possible interaction sequences between users and systems in a specific environment regarding a specific goal. In simpler terms, it’s a collection of possible scenarios related to achieving a certain goal.
A usability evaluation explores the quality of the users’ experience with a particular product. To collect this information the agency needs to be agile in the following practices:
User experience design firms should be able to create an illustration of the website or app page that presents how the space on the page will be allocated, how the content and images will be distributed, and what functions are available. This guides how a visitor will use the website. The focus here is on the site navigation and structure rather than the visual layer.
The UI/UX design company should then move on to prototyping. This is the first version of the site, which should be a close representation of the user interface and how everything will look. This enables the designer to experiment with ideas and check the usability and functionality before coding. By building a prototype, the agency will save you a lot of time and money.
Testing is an essential step for the UX design agency because it allows you to polish the design. It gives a great opportunity to resolve any errors or usability problems before the site is finished.
The UI design is all about predicting the users’ needs in order to make sure that the interface has all the necessary elements. UI brings together several important concepts:
Information architecture shows a website’s navigation structure and thus, the organizational hierarchy. Working through this format gives the UX/UI designer an opportunity to learn whether the individual pieces of the site fit together and to see how they relate within the structure.
Interaction design involves creating captivating interfaces based on a deep understanding of how users interact with the product. This enables the designer to anticipate the user’s interaction, fix any issues, and guide the user into fulfilling the desired outcome.
Aesthetic design is centered around the site’s visuals. It involves a strategic placement of colors, fonts, images, and other elements like shapes, lines, and textures. The best UI/UX design companies can effectively create a visual design that gives users a smooth transition throughout the page. This helps them stay focused on the content and reinforces trust in the brand.
We also look beyond UX design and consider whether the agencies offer other important services. While not a decisive factor for rankings, offering a broader scope of services certainly adds favorable points to the companies we evaluate. Here are a few extra services we assess:
While hiring a content marketing company works well, it also doesn’t hurt to have the experts crafting your design strategize your content too. The design is a tool that presents your content with the user’s intent in mind. Preparing a content strategy as part of the design process ensures that the content will be well structured, useful, and engaging.
Although not all of you will need this, we made sure to list verified UX design agencies that know the best practices for accessibility. This way, you’ll have options in case you need a design that’s navigable for people with disabilities.
This refers to collecting, reporting, and analyzing data. If you want to modify an existing design or see what worked and what didn’t, know that the agencies we listed will deliver actionable insights that rely on multiple tools and KPIs.
On our list, you’ll find UX design companies that also handle web development. The only companies we feature from the latter group are the ones that tick all the boxes on our evaluation methodology for web development companies too.
Even if you have an in-house team to handle the hands-on work, you need someone who has a deep understanding of how to oversee your site. We filtered the companies that are skilled in providing consultant UX design services. A UX design consultancy embodies different subdomains. This can help the designer complete a UI/UX audit, fulfill business model validation, prioritize ideas, adopt new technology, implement user research techniques, and more.
This is the next big step: evaluating the agency’s ability to plan and organize a project and its resources until completion. Here’s what we look for:
A user experience agency needs to determine whether there’s a good market fit for your site before starting the design process. Also, a full-fledged competitive analysis should outline your top competitors and what they’re doing right. It should also list their weak points and show how a better UX can make a difference. From this, they can plan and create a product with a competitive advantage that provides a superior user experience.
What tools the agency uses and how its workflow looks are two important factors that should rule your final decision. We don’t trust companies that aren’t familiar with the tools used by the best UX designers, such as Sketch, MockFlow, Axure, and Adobe XD.
Furthermore, learning how the agency handles its workflow shows us whether they work in teams and what the focus and skills of each staff member are. Some of them might be UX-oriented only, while others can also provide UI skills or additional tasks like documentation.
The top UX design firms have a skilled team that knows how important transparency and good communication is. They should know how to deliver information so that you as a client can understand them. To assess this ability, we go through customer reviews to find specific references to the company’s communication style. Sometimes, we even reach out directly to the agencies and present ourselves as potential clients.
Top UX designers know the importance of putting together a style guide and specifications. These resources ease the next steps for the development team, ensuring that the designs will be implemented in a consistent manner.
Most UX design pricing depends on the scope of the project. We consider the companies that charge both by the hour and by project. However, it’s important they’re clear about the type of pricing model they use. Additionally, we assessed whether the agency’s rate complies with industry standards. And if it doesn’t, we verified whether there was a solid reason for the discrepancy.
Our list encompasses the leading UX designers out there. However, to shortlist the candidates and find the best UX design agency for your needs, you need to follow several important steps.
Understanding your objectives is paramount. You need to have a clear vision of how you want the site to benefit your business so that you can properly convey it to the design team. Also, consider what deliverables the designer should create and what your main requirements and expectations are.
Each industry is different, so you need to ensure the agency you choose has experience in yours. This way, they’ll be able to come up with unique ideas and deliver a better output.
Another important factor to consider when shortlisting your UX design firms is your budget. If you’re on a tight one, consider the agencies that offer more affordable services. However, always make sure you know exactly what’s included in the price and whether you’ll be billed for certain additional services.
UX design takes time, so your partnership should be a healthy one. Assess the agency’s culture and the personalities of the team members. You should go for mutual respect, good understanding, and a smooth rapport.
Setting and meeting deadlines are two major aspects of time management. If you have a fixed deadline for launching the site or app, you should be clear about it so that both you and the agency’s team are on the same page.
The cost of hiring a UX designer will depend on the scope of your project. In fact, the biggest factor for determining the price is your project’s level of complexity. The designer’s job includes learning how users can best interact with each feature on the website or app, which is far more complicated for larger projects. On average, you should expect to pay $25–$75 per hour for a general UX design project.
UX design is all about delivering customer satisfaction by improving a site or app’s usability. Designing with the customer in mind is vital because it helps you leave a great first impression. In a nutshell, UX design helps you with several factors:
A user experience consultant is concerned with the part of a site or app that the end user sees and interacts with. This involves the layout, the interface, and any interactive elements. The job of a UX consultant is to make the site or app easy to use, ensuring that it works how users expect it to.
The average cost you should expect a good UX consultant to charge is between $15 and $75 per hour. The price varies according to the project scope and what’s expected from the consultant. However, be sure to check whether your chosen UX agency provides this service, since the best usually do.
A user experience strategist is responsible for shaping and communicating UX strategies and design. The role requires a high level of organization since they envision, plan, and drive the UX project with the other team members.
There are many tools that UI/UX design firms use for prototyping, but some of the most popular ones are Sketch, MockFlow, Flinto, Marvel, FIGMA, and InVision.
While it shouldn’t be a deciding factor, you might want to keep the agency’s location in mind. You need to consider when and how the team will be available to communicate with you. If you prefer face-to-face meetings, you should go with a locally based UX design agency. However, if you don’t mind having Skype sessions, you can consider candidates from all over the country.