7 Ways a UX Design Agency can Create Value for Your Business

With the world going digital, there is no doubt in saying that the end-user experience defines a brand. Also, as the UX is a subjective element, it is defined as an aggregate of many factors including the UI of the website, navigation, and transaction ease. And when it comes to making it perfect, only an experienced and well-versed UX Design Agency can help.

According to the McKinsey & Company Report on ‘The Business Value of Design’ there is a strong link between the financial performance of an organization and its design capabilities. They found that design-centric organizations increase their revenues and shareholder returns at nearly 2x rate compared to their industry counterparts.

McKinsey Company Report

With every dollar invested in design returning up to $100, it is vital to treat ‘Design’ as a core piece of your business.

So, if you are looking to “invest that dollar” to achieve design-driven growth, then don’t limit yourself to your own ecosystem. Consider taking help of a UX design company that can help create value for your business in ways that we are going to talk about in this blog.

7 Ways a UX Design Agency Can Add Value to Your Business

Jim Collins quote on importance of hiring a good UX design agency

Embarking upon a design-driven journey with an expert UX Design agency as your co-passenger can help you reach your destination quickly and easily in the following ways:

1. Conducting User Research

“Empathy is at the heart of design. Without the understanding of what others see, feel, and experience, design is a pointless task.”–Tim Brown, CEO of the innovation and design firm IDEO

In today’s user-centric business environment, it is important to find a holistic view of user expectations where design can make a difference rather than just ‘copy-pasting’ technical aspects from the last product. The ideal design approach goes further ahead by gathering customer insights of potential users in their own environments.

McKinsey&Company stat on importance of research-ux design agency

A good UI/UX Design Company always begins with an approach that blends the two forms of user research:

  • Quantitative: such as conjoint analysis,
  • Qualitative: such as ethnographic interviews

This is where having an experienced UX agency comprised of user researchers on the team will make a difference. They will help ensure that any user research studies undertaken follow best practices and target appropriate user profiles.

User research benefits

On the contrary, skipping the user research phase will grow the chances of your product failure because the User Experience of the end product will not be optimized for the target end-users.

2. Perform UX Assessment of Your Digital Products (Get some outside perspective)

Companies have been investing considerably in digital assets, like mobile apps, for the past few years. But these may not be delivering the intended experience or the desired performance. Before you think about embarking on a redesign project, it is advisable to find out the gaps in the User Experience that the existing products are delivering.

A UX Design company can perform the assessment that can help identify gaps in the existing capabilities. The insights gained can be utilized to build a redesign strategy. Performing a UX assessment requires knowledge of Usability Heuristics and techniques like Cognitive Walkthroughs and Pluralistic Walkthroughs, which only an experienced UX design agency will possess.

3. Perform Usability Testing of Your Digital Products

Usability is about people and how they understand and use things, not about technology.–Steve Krug

Usability lies under the umbrella of the term ‘User Experience.’ It determines how easily a user can interact with your website or a product. Jackob Nielsen has suggested the following qualities of a usable product:

qualities of usable product according to Nielsen

Usability testing suggested a minor tweak in design of Apple’s Mac UI. And the company got 90% fewer support calls.

Being such an important phase of the UX Design process, many organizations still do not find it relevant to invest in usability testing. The reasons vary from “no budget” to “no time”. This is why 70% of online businesses fail – because of bad usability.

Jeff Bezos on importance of usability testing

Usability testing offers a direct assessment of the usability of a system. Thus, performing it in the right way with the right UX design firm at the right time helps reduce the risk of building the wrong product, thereby saving you tons of money, time, and other resources.

Jackob Nielsen on Usability improvements in UX design process

4. A UX Design Agency can Help You Create Rapid Prototypes

The ideal prototype should be of Goldilocks quality. If the quality is too low, people won’t believe the prototype is a real product. If the quality is too high, you’ll be working all night, and you won’t finish. You need Goldilocks quality. Not too high, not too low, but just right.–Daniel Burka, Google Ventures design partner

Design flourishes best in environments that encourage learning, testing, and iterating with users. Rapid prototyping accelerates design iterations from the concept to the prototyping stage.

Net Solutions, a UX design agency, design's process

Prototypes help validate the potential design concepts by testing how the design ties in with customers’ needs at the design stage. Still, the majority of organizations fail to use this valuable technique to their advantage efficiently.

McKinsey&Company stat on prototype in UX design

An ideal rapid prototyping approach requires a design thinking mindset, the necessary tools, and the ability to work collaboratively with all the stakeholders (marketing, design, research, operations, development, and sales).

Pareto Principle (80% of the effects come from 20%of the causes) holds true in the case of prototyping. Follow the approach of starting with breadth, then diving into depth.

In other words, design all key user flows, but don’t focus too much on details. Or, consider taking the help of an experienced User Experience Design Agency for the same.

How Net Solutions helped an Ed Tech Startup in its Successful Prototype Journey

One of the leading Ed Tech startups wished to launch an app that would address some pertinent questions related to the education sector – aligning the right tutors for the student community and providing frictionless payment interaction between tutors and students.

Net Solutions helped design a mobile app prototype for both tutors & students to facilitate frictionless payments.

We built two interactive mobile app product prototypes for the tutor-student community – Teacher Application and Student Application – using visualization tools such as sketches, user flows, and wireframes. Here, we leveraged Product Prototype as a service and methodology to design the app, with our target profiles being, the real audience.

5. Build Cross-Functional Teams

In a digital world that is quickly evolving, user-centric design is not meant to be a siloed function, rather it should be everyone’s responsibility. Thus, it is important to overcome the isolationist tendencies and set up nimble, cross-functional teams that can quickly iterate on ideas.

McKinsey&Company findings on cross development

For instance, when UX approach is integrated into the DevOps team, requirements are researched and designed. The solution is user-tested before the engineering team plans to build it.

However, it is not an easy step to build a cross-functional team without the help of a UX agency.

You will be surprised to know that out of all the organizations that claim to have cross-functional teams, 75% are actually dysfunctional. The study says, the cross-functional teams fail because of the following reasons:

  • Unable to meet a planned budget
  • Unable to stay on schedule
  • Unable to adhere to specifications
  • Unable to deliver a seamless customer experience
  • Unable to maintain alignment with the company’s corporate goals

Thus, a systematic approach that a UX Design agency brings on the table along with a design-thinking mindset can help break the departmental silos and foster cross-functional collaboration, based on a shared mission and shared ownership.

6. Identify Relevant Metrics

If you can’t measure it, it doesn’t exist.–Brene Brown, Ted Talk

A design process involves determining the factors that should be measured, how and what an organization can do with collected data, and setting up the data collection in advance. And if you are unable to measure anything with your UX Design, remember your product does not exist.

A gut feeling might help your product achieve success but those chances increase with the application of data-driven UX Design. UX measurement includes three types of metrics:

  • Perception metrics (e.g. NPA scores)
  • Descriptive metrics (e.g. abandonment rates)
  • Outcome metrics (e.g. conversion rates, average order sizes, number of calls by reason, how often customers escalate to the call center.)

These metrics are typically owned by different departments, like IT, Marketing, and Customer Service. Google’s UX research team has come up with a framework called Google HEART, which precisely measures the quality of experience delivered to your consumer. It is one of the good ways to measure the quality of User Experience to gain actionable insights.

Google HEART framework explained through an example

Now you have a tool, Google HEART, in your kitty that can help evaluate your product’s design backed by large-scale data. But the question is how will you manage to collect the data that you require? That’s when a UX design firm comes into the picture. It can help uncover this large-scale data that can be fed into Google HEART.

7. Brings More Innovation

There’s a way to do it better – find it.–Thomas Edison

Ideally, innovation happens at the crossroads of the following three factors:

  • Business strategy (what the market at a certain context and moment in time deems viable)
  • Design (what the potential customers desire)
  • Technical constraints (what the limits of technology render feasible)

The following Venn diagram illustrates the said intersection:

components of innovation that a UX Design agency brings

The diagram suggests that the three elements must blend together to build a successful innovation design. But this convergence does not happen by chance. Design is a driving force that aligns business strategy and customer’s needs with technology.

Thus, it becomes vital to partner with experience UX Design agency who apply the principles of Design Thinking and Human Centred Design to create memorable digital experiences.

A survey by Design Management Institute and Motiv Strategies states that when design principles are implemented to business strategy and innovation, the success rate of innovation improves drastically. Design-led companies like Apple, Coca Cola, IBM, Nike, and Target have outperformed the S&P 500 over a 10-year period by an extraordinary 228%.

Investing in a UX design agency is a proven strategy

Now the question arises what to look for in a UX design firm before hiring? How can you ensure that a UX Design Agency will deliver value? There is no doubt that you will have to look out for certain things for hiring the best UX design agency.

5 Things to Check Before Hiring a UX Design Agency

Once you decide to hire a UX design company to improve your product’s experience, it will not be easy for you to just hire the one right away. You will have to evaluate several companies in detail by taking a closer look at things, such as:

1. UX Design Process They Follow

If a UX design agency is well-versed in creating great user experiences, it must have a well-defined process.

Before hiring, you should analyze what steps they include in the process? Find out how they conduct UX research, build wireframes, and on what grounds do they handle the basics of design? Your main motive should be to find the answers to the following questions:

  • What is the importance of each step they follow?
  • What will be the outcome of each step?

By analyzing and knowing about their process, you will learn how they will handle your project. Here is what an ideal UX design process should look like:

Hiring a UX Design Agency

2. Is Their UX Design Process Flexible?

The logic that applies here is that your UX design partners should be flexible enough to accommodate your time and budget constraints.

So, stay cautious of the agencies that are too rigid when it comes to processes. Your UX design firm should believe in finding a way, not in staying rigid or complex.  Also, if an agency holds true expertise, they won’t deny or say no to challenges.

3. Check Out their Portfolio

Before you think about hiring a UX agency, it’s always a smart idea to glance through their past works first. Study their past projects vary carefully and find answers to the following questions:

  • What value did they add to their past projects?
  • How much experience do they have?
  • What was the budget of their past clients?

Another thing that you should observe is how are they handling projects? Are their past works following the same design process, or is each project’s approach different?

An organization that adopts a new approach to each project implies that more ideas have been placed into their work. These organizations will be more reliable regarding sorting out what kind of design approach would best suit your product.

4. What Do They know Beyond UX Design?

UX designing is a critical stage of the product launch. But, there are other stages as well, and the entire process of building a product should sync well.

An experienced UX design firm will be aware of all these stages and issues that can arise during the process. This way, they will be able to advise you on different parts, such as UI development, maintenance of product, and more.

Their knowledge beyond UX design will help you choose the right solution from the very start of the project.

As a result, you will be able to avoid situations where the product looks terrific but lacks functionality, so it needs to be re-developed and re-designed. A UX agency that holds experience and expertise beyond the field of UX design will help you save time as well as money.

5. Analyze their Project Management Skills

A UX agency’s Project Management Skills decide how well they can handle your project. The UX firm you hire must be specific and strict when it comes to timelines.

In digital product development, don’t forget that time is money. Therefore, ask yourself the following questions and then make an informed decision:

  • Do you think they will deliver the design as per the schedule?
  • What does the agency need from you?
  • Which project management tools do they use?

Also, don’t hesitate while asking for references. Talk to their previous clients and analyze how they talk and how frequently they used to give updates?

Finding out in advance how the UX agency will perform is a bit tough, but it can be done if you analyze the things mentioned above before-hand. Remember, a UX agency can make or break your product’s experience. So be careful while hiring the one.

Partner with a UX Design Agency to Create Amazing Experiences and Products

The goal to achieve with an ideal UX Design is to build solutions that are optimized for your potential users, which ultimately provide business value for your organization. Unfortunately, not many businesses understand the true potential of implementing UX tactics to their product development strategy.

Selecting the right UX Design partner is a vital stepping stone in the overall digital strategy process for any business to thrive and disrupt the market.

15-Point Checklist to Select UX Design Agency

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Sahil Mahajan

About the Author

Forte: Relationship based selling / Interpersonal communication / mentoring / Management in General
Likes: Straightforwardness / humility / appreciation / a human touch
Dislikes: Hypocrisy / high handedness/ narcissism
Claim to fame: Can't think of any per se. Managed to bring a few decent sized projects.
Biggest tech blunder: None / My tech skills are pretty average
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