Outsourcing UX Design? Here's How To Set Up a Productive Partnershipby@mariannasnitko
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Outsourcing UX Design? Here's How To Set Up a Productive Partnership

by Marianna SnitkoDecember 13th, 2021
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If you don’t need a UX designer for several projects over the long term, it’s better to hire an out-of-office worker than an in-house designer. If you want to hire a freelancer, there are many ways to find a suitable candidate for the job, and how to work productively together.
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Whenever you design a software product, its usability is paramount. Users come and go if they don’t get an intuitive interface and a seamless experience of navigation. Thus, hiring a UX designer is essential if you don’t have an expert in your in-house team.

If you don’t need a UX designer for several projects and can’t offer them a steady workload, it’s better to opt for an outsourced provider. But how to find a good one? Which pointers can show you that the agency or individual can do a good job? Here is a detailed guide on finding a suitable expert.

Key Questions to Answer First

As soon as you start searching for an outsourced UX design specialist, it would be best to clarify some things for yourself first. These decisions will become your signposts in the search and recruitment.

Outsourcing vs. In-house UX Design

First, you need to be perfectly clear that you need an outsourced UX designer. It’s not only about the money (though money matters), as many large companies also resort to outsourcing for many reasons. This option has a realm of advantages:

  • Access to the global talent pool without geographical restrictions.

  • No need to pay taxes and suffer office expenses for a new in-house employee.

  • Cost savings with more flexible pricing rates of outsourced providers.

  • Time savings result from no need to recruit and onboard a new employee.

  • Better flexibility in the choice of specialists for the task.

Still, outsourcing comes with a set of drawbacks that you also need to take into account. Knowing them can help you avoid disappointment or frustration regarding work with a distributed team.

  • Communication gets harder.

  • Time differences can further hinder project communication and performance.

  • You’re not in complete control of the distance team.

  • You suffer confidentiality risks, even if you sign an NDA.

  • You need to weed out hundreds of options before choosing the best provider.

Make a decision by weighing all these pros and cons. If you still want to outsource UX design, let’s go on to find how to do it hassle-free.

Freelancer vs. Agency

Once you’ve decided that you need outsourcing, it’s time to choose who you will work with – a standalone freelancer or a web design agency. Both options have their peculiarities:

  • Individuals typically charge less, which suits startups on a budget.
  • Agencies are more reliable in terms of deadlines and communication. Thus, if you have a serious project with stringent deadlines and premium-quality expectations, it’s better to engage an agency. But be ready to pay extra for the intermediary’s services, project management, etc.

Source: Horizontal Digital

What Criteria to Consider?

Now it’s time to search for the best outsourced UX provider (person or agency). Here are the pointers that highlight the candidates’ professionalism and competence in their industry. Looking at these criteria, you will get at least an initial idea of what to expect from the contender.

#1 Portfolio

Even a beginner has a portfolio to show to their potential clients. Thus, a web design agency must showcase an extensive collection of previous works and projects. Even if some cases are NDA-covered, a provider always has some open-source, public examples as exhibits of their mastery. So, be sure to check the portfolio first to see whether their UX solutions are what you need.

#2 Speed and Quality of Communication

Attitude to communication is a critical contributor to outsourcing success. As you don’t have physical access to your UX designer, you need to know when and how to contact them and discuss all current matters. Thus, as soon as you send an inquiry to a company or individual, take a close look at how quickly and effectively they respond. Delays or the absence of details are the red flags for a long-term outsourcing relationship.

#3 Client Testimonials

We live in a world of fake reviews and spammy testimonials, so we don’t recommend believing everything you see on the agency’s official website. Instead, you need to ask the firm’s previous clients for references directly. All agencies (and most individual designers) place the information about their past projects on the website or resume. So, you can quickly make a reality check with them to see whether the provider is worth your time.

#4 Tech Stack

Another aspect worth checking when you want to hire UX designers is their tech stack. It’s much more reassuring to work with people with extensive expertise in the UI/UX design and web design niche so that they understand other project aspects and fit in the team seamlessly. The agency’s tech stake is even more critical as you might find a go-to provider for other related tasks on your project. In this way, you won’t need to hire several specialists for one task, having it all done in one place.

Source: Pexels

How to Set up a Productive Partnership?

Okay, so now you have an outsourced UX designer. What are your next steps to ensure that the project workflows smoothly? Here are some pro tips to jumpstart your collaboration the right way.

#1 Detailed Project Discussion

It’s hard to demand some specific output if you didn’t communicate your expectations and benchmarks precisely. Thus, to avoid confusion and double work (for which you’ll need to pay), tell your designer what you need. Be as specific as possible; it will pay off.

#2 Engage a Project Manager

If you work with an agency and have an in-house development team, it’s better to have a PM as a bridge between the two team parts. PMs are good at arranging communication, reporting progress to the project owner, and solving problems early. So, with a PM, your chances to finish the project on time rise.

#3 Set Communication Channels

Communication is key, so you need to set up several channels for prompt discussions and inquiries. Schedule daily and weekly meetings, consider the time zone differences and prioritize communication in all ways.

#4 Don’t Skip Onboarding

Some business owners think that they don’t need onboarding for project-based teams. Still, if your outsourced provider feels a part of your in-house staff, they will work better and show more commitment to your goal.

Outsourcing Is Flexible

As you can see, outsourcing UX design is a flexible solution suiting many business needs. Plan ahead, prepare for this step, and you’ll enjoy numerous benefits of engaging distributed teams.