What not to miss when outsourcing UX design

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April 8, 2019

There are many aspects to consider when outsourcing UX design. That’s why we decided to make this guide that companies may find helpful when contracting this service.

In the digital era, it is well known that user experience design is a practice that must be implemented in all types of products or systems, especially when companies expect their clients to interact with their brands in a unique way. Therefore, discovering what the main needs and interests of users are will help companies to develop products specifically designed for them, thus ensuring their satisfaction and engagement.

Because of this, in recent years, companies have realized that outsourcing UX means an investment for their business because it offers many benefits such as reducing costs or drawing on the software development company’s experience, among others. Thanks to this, it’s no wonder that the global outsourcing market amounted to 85.6 billion dollars in 2018, according to Statista.

Considering the above, we decided to make a guide of 5 things that companies shouldn’t overlook when outsourcing UX design.

Before that, let’s see why you should go for it!

Outsourcing UX services is highly recommended. If your company does not have its own design department, this is the best decision. Whether it is a large or small business, it is very convenient since building an internal department takes a lot of time and is certainly more expensive.

For its part, the UX design company already has a team formed which has the necessary skills and expertise. Although we occasionally work on projects in which a few designers are assigned (even sometimes just one), they are backed by the entire team, so the experience ends up being much more rewarding.

On the other hand, if the firm does have its own team of designers, outsourcing is still an excellent option, as many times they are very focused only on the visual part of the design. By hiring a UX company expert, they work together with your employees so that you can start thinking further ahead, focusing on the user experience and thus enriching your work.

Having this clear, let’s go back to the guideline.

1. Set the scope at the beginning

The scope should be established at the beginning of the project, at least defining how far it is going to get, unless it is an on demand project and objectives are set as time goes by. However, it is advisable to plan a strategy beforehand that defines the steps to be taken, the deliverables to be provided, and the result to be obtained.

As for the scope, it varies depending on the type of project. Sometimes it focuses on a single product and the scope reaches up to the point of the product’s lifecycle where it was agreed, but other times, it can continue to be improved after the launch.

Generally, the UX process first allows you to determine how to build the product and then, through tests, to identify areas for improvement where you can continue building.

2. Stick to the process

The process usually begins with a first stage of discovery or research, whose purpose is to fully understand the problem, delving into what the product is, what it is used for, who it is aimed at, and what needs it will fulfill for the user. To this end, different things can be done, such as analyzing the competition or interviewing the target directly, which is much more valuable.

This phase ends with a delineation of the focus of what is to be done. After that, the stage of sketch or wireframes begins, where a low quality prototype of what the product is going to be is built, and then, it is tested with the users themselves (if possible), and if not, it is validated with the product specialists within the contracting company. Once this is tested and approved, that is when it is possible to start designing visually.

This is an iterative process, which means that every time something new is improved or designed, it is tested again, and the same steps are repeated from scratch. Therefore, it is advisable not to rush or be anxious, as each phase is essential to the success of the project.

Still, although the process per se is the same, the dynamic of the deliveries changes according to the project’s methodology, depending on whether you are using Scrum or if it is more like an on demand work. Whatever the case may be, sticking to the process is crucial in order to have a more organized workflow and achieve better results.

3. Be part of the team

When outsourcing UX, it is crucial that you understand that the designers’ work is not solo. In our experience, we have seen better results in the development when we have worked closely with the client’s team. That is why we always try to involve them as much as possible throughout the UX design process.

For example, during the discovery stage, we take them to do fieldwork with us so that they can see what is being done and where the results are coming from. That is why it is important to be willing to get fully involved and not just when we present the final results.

For this, it is necessary to be open to maintain constant communication, provide feedback continuously, and be available to engage in a conversation in order to see and understand the process and work as a whole.

Make sure the outsourcing company that will provide your UX/UI solutions puts focus on this and lets you be part of the process.

4. Leverage everything the UX company can provide

There are tons of things that can be done in user experience. Take advantage of the team’s capabilities to analyze, investigate, propose ideas, and design visually, while you learn from their good practices, techniques, tools, experience, user understanding, communication, and team collaboration. All this knowledge can be implemented within your internal design team.

Bear in mind this can be a beneficial experience for both parties. For example, what the outsource UX team can do will depend on the times of the project, but within its scope, it can participate up to the implementation and even code a little.

At the same time, there are certain things that are not usually contemplated but could be considered. For example, one of the untapped capabilities of user experience designers is to set the tone of the content for the app or product as they know how it works and understand firsthand the needs of the end user and how they interact with the app. The UX designer can offer, not only some communication guidelines that go with the visual and usability proposal, but also an integral experience throughout the different points where the user interacts with the brand/product (website, advertising, the app by itself, etc.).

Although you usually have a person inside the company who generates content and is in constant communication with the designers, if you want to get a comprehensive UX proposal, it is a good option to get everything from the UX firm you hire.

5. Have your feet on the ground

The biggest challenge to face when outsourcing UX is to understand and accept that sometimes the concept of the product that you have in mind for developing is not always the one you end up launching.

The main reason why this happens is that it is a priority to understand what the user expects from that product in order to provide the best possible solution, and many times, their expectations do not coincide with the idea you had in the beginning.

Make sure the outsourcing company involves you in the process so you will better understand if in the research stage you get different results to those you had in mind. This will allow you to be more flexible to make the necessary changes so that the product ends up being ideal.

To Sum Up

Outsourcing UX is an excellent opportunity for any kind of company, whether it has its own design team or not, as well as for any type of project, whether it has a product that has already been started or not. In order to do it, it is essential to be willing to get involved in the process and maintain a close relationship with the firm that has been hired.

Follow this guide to make the most out of this practice. Outsourcing UX design, why not?