Hiring a UX Designer Is Not a Piece of Cake Anymore
Since UX design plays such a vital role, businesses often find themselves in a fix when it comes to hiring a UX designer.
This is because there are more than 900,000 UX designers on the LinkedIn network alone, which are either working as a freelancer, or as a part of a UX agency, or are providing their services as an in-house UX designer to businesses,
Choosing one between these three options is not an easy task. But we will make it easy for you. Let’s weigh each of these options based on their pros and cons.
Different Ways to Get UX Services
1 – Hire a freelance UX designer
When it comes to hiring a freelance UX designer,there is no dearth of options. As of 2017, about 36% of the U.S. workforce was freelancing, and this figure is expected to rise to 50% by the next decade.
Thus, hiring a freelance UX designer could prove to be an ideal option if you are looking for skills that are not limited to a certain region.
Let’s have a look at a few positive and negative aspects of hiring a freelance UX designer.
When compared to full-time employees, hiring a freelance UX designer or UX Strategist is definitely a cost-effective option. If you go by hourly rate, you only need to pay them for the number of hours that they work.
This means that if in a certain month, no UX upgrades or new changes are required, you don’t have to pay anything to them. This is definitely a better option compared to hiring an agency or full-time employee.
Pro: Easy-to-access remote skills
Hiring a freelance UX designer doesn’t limit you to a certain area or region. You could be running a startup in Australia and still be able to hire a UX designer from India, or the other way around. This exposes you to a wider pool of talent and ensures that you get nothing short of the best.
Pro: Specialized skills
You might already have an in-house designer, but you are now looking for a particular skill set, like data visualization or user onboarding. This is when a freelance UX designer can fill the gap and work with your in-house team to add value.
If you have a time-sensitive project and you want a UX designer to get started on it ASAP, a freelance UI UX designer is your best bet. This is because they tend to start working on short notice. The quicker they get started, the more they earn! Secondly, since they are experts in transitioning from one project to another and toggling between various projects, they are good at delivering quality work at the maximum speed.
Although most freelancers are quick to get started and quick to deliver, you can still have sour experiences working with freelancers. They might go unresponsive, delay your work, and/or submit substandard quality.
Since a freelancer might not necessarily be in your city, communication could become tough, especially if they are in a different time zone. Tools like Slack, Skype, Trello, Basecamp, and the like could make things easier, but you would still need to analyze things well.
2 – Hire a UX agency
If you are ready to invest more of your budget into your company’s success, meaning the best quality work and utmost professionalism, you should hire a UX agency. Let’s see why (or why not).
A UX UI design agency is professional. These agencies are often run by people who themselves have years of experience as a UX designer. This makes them familiar with the industry inside and out.
Because top UX design agencies care about their reputation, they tend to be professional in their approach.
Pro: Timeliness and Reliability
If you are looking for timely submissions with proper communication, a UX design will fit the bill. Generally, a dedicated project manager is assigned to you and takes care of your needs and serves as your ultimate point of contact.
Therefore, you no longer have to fill your head with all the aspects related to UX — the interaction design agency will take care of everything.
The best UX design agencies are known for delivering quality work. This is because each project goes through a rigorous quality check before it is delivered to you. Furthermore, a UX research agency is backed by experienced professionals who know how to meet clients’ expectations flawlessly.
Although hiring an agency sounds like the best choice, be prepared that they will cost you more. This is because most agencies follow a systematic approach that includes research, planning, analysis, goal setting, and prototype creation.
All this requires extensive knowledge, experience, and understanding that a freelancer or an in-house designer might not have.
3 – Hire an In-House UX Designer
The third option that you could choose is the conventional path:hiring an in-house UX designer. This option has its benefits but it also comes with many hassles: From documentation to training and insurance, so much needs to be taken care of.
Pro: Product Experience
When you hire a UI UX designer in-house, they will only work on your product and application day-in and day-out. This will make them intimately familiar with your product, audience, and end users.
Although this is what a freelancer and agency can also achieve, if an in-house designer is working at your setup, they are more likely to get accustomed to your requirements.
Pro: Long-Term Value
Since designing UX is a long-term process, you need to make changes and introduce upgrades quite frequently. Hiring an in-house designer equips you with the long-term expertise that will work on your UX as and when needed.
Con: Limited Skills
One of the drawbacks of hiring an in-house UX designer is their limited skills. They might be the best at user research, but landing page creation is not in their wheelhouse. Alternatively, they might be good at designing interactive design and prototyping, but not doing content strategy.
In situations like these, you are left with a gap in your team, which puts you in a tough spot.
Hiring a UX designer is never easy on the pocket. According to Glassdoor, the average salary of a UX designer working at a company is $81,906. According to Payscale, it is $72,504. Either way, this is a hefty sum, even if you opt for junior to mid-level designers only.
Needless to say, these figures will go toward the higher end as the designer’s experience increases.