How do you choose the right UX agency for your design project?

an open sketchbook with drawings, a pen and a phone

When starting on any design project, the most important thing to consider is the people using your product. You have to know what kind of experience they will have, and how you can improve it. This process is known as UX, or ‘User Experience’.

While the name might seem innocuous, UX design incorporates more than you’d expect. You have to take into account the branding, technical handling, and usability. You then have to design it according to the users’ requirements and needs.

Why shouldn’t I just use any UX agency?

UX industry experts understand very well the complications that can arise with mismatched clients and agents. A good design agency should be able to balance both user experience and the company’s requests, but that can be tougher than you think. 

The right UX design agency can help you to edge out the competition through quality visual designs, highly intuitive page navigation, and meeting the needs of both the company and the user.

For instance, Daikin Singapore reached out to us to create an all-encompassing app that integrated smart technology with electronic devices and appliances. We delivered as per their requests. 

Here are some ways to pick the right UX agency:

1. Clearly define the constraints of your project in the brief

Your first step is to understand what you want in your project, and what kind of message you want to portray. You will also need to come up with an estimated budget, and how much you’re willing to stretch it. This will help your chosen UX design vendor to get a general idea of what your final product should look like, and give them an idea of how the design process would go.

A good timeline would also work in your favour. For instance, if you want to get a website up in three months, you can set milestones for each month after each major change. This will help UX vendors to gauge if they have the manpower to accept your projects. 

Your project brief should ideally contain the following information:

  • The goal of your project
  • The target audience of the website
  • Your budget
  • The features you wish to include 
  • Project timeline

Once you’ve prepared all your documents, you’re ready to look for your UX design agency. But with so many agencies in Singapore, how do you select the right one for you?

2. Go through the agency’s portfolio

Before you consider enlisting an agency’s services, it’s always a good idea to look through their previous works first. Study their projects carefully. Has the company done any live projects? And if so, how much experience do they have? 

Another thing you might want to take note of would be their previous projects. Are their previous works following a similar design template, or is every project’s design different?

A company that takes a fresh approach to each project means that more thought has been put into their work. These companies will be more reliable when it comes to figuring out what type of design would best suit your project.

Read more about the project we did for CASE, Singapore’s first mobile application that allows you to compare and contribute in-store prices of groceries, household items and hawker food. 

3. What is their design process?

Good UX companies should be able to accurately describe design processes. For instance, they should be able to tell you why the menu is located at the top-left or top-right corner of an application, instead of at the bottom. 

This shows that they have full knowledge of their craft and understand what comprises good user experience. Preferably, the agency should also include metrics and tracking information. By understanding which pages attract more viewers, the UX design team can put in more resources to revising and improving that page. 

Understanding their design process can also help you to estimate the cost of the overall project.

Three questions that you could ask about their design process would be:

  • Which factors are absolutely vital to the design process?
  • How will each feature enhance the user’s experience?
  • What would you say is the most important function in the design process, and why? 

4. How often do they communicate with their clients?

Effective communication is important in any industry. A good way to find out if a design agency is a good fit for you is to ask them about their frequency of communication with their clients. If they display a general lack of enthusiasm to be working with you, it’s a sign that they’re not going to communicate with you a lot. 

Preferably, agencies should update you on the completion of tasks, milestones, and any issues that they run into. Once the design process is underway, you should always know what tasks the UX agency is working on.

5. Ask for references

A good way to gauge the feasibility of a UX design agency in Singapore is to ask them to provide you with a couple of references. Of course, they will only give you a list of satisfied clients – but it does still show that they have satisfied clients. 

If an agency is unable to supply any references, that might be a sign that they are unable to provide exemplary work, or are difficult to work with.

You really don’t want to have a partner who is difficult to work with, especially if the project is due to run for a long time. After all, you’re hiring them to work for you, so why should you put up with inefficiency?

6. Do they have any specialty resources available?

Experienced UX design teams sometimes provide more than just UI/UX design services. They also include workflow/functional design, visual design, user research, and content strategy services. Usually, most designers are strong in only a few of these areas. It’s very rare to find a designer that is well-rounded in every single field.

For instance, designers may be able to create a website mockup with beautiful visual illustrations, but fall flat when it comes to stuff such as micocopy, which is also an important design element. A capable UX design agency would be able to provide specialty resources as part of their in-house services. This will make it easier for them to make changes on the fly and address issues as they crop up.

At JIN Design, we have it all covered. For Singlife, we’ve provided a range of services on top of UX and UI design. These include services such as journey design, user research, and custom illustrations.

7. Check if the company has enough resources

Product development is the first step of UX design, but it is by no means the last. A suitable UX agency should have the resources to juggle post-production issues, such as product maintenance or UI design. If the agency is unable to support your project past the development stage, it may come down to choosing a new UX agency, or outsourcing post-production maintenance to another company.

It’s not a bad idea to pitch a brief to several UX agencies before seeking out the ideal match for your company. However, finding a capable UX agency is just the tip of the iceberg. 

How do I distinguish a good UX agency from an incredible one?

With technology growing at an exponential rate, it’s no surprise that more and more UX companies are popping up over the years. How, then, should you filter out what the best UX agencies in Singapore are?

Ability to provide consultation

Your agency should be your business partner, not just another outsourced vendor. Designers should have the expertise to recommend operational services and professional advice when it comes to improving a design.

One of the signs of an outstanding UX agency lies in its ability to develop a UX that can turn the spotlight onto your product rather than simply showcase it.

Look for business value in their portfolio’s works

When you’re looking through the UX agency’s portfolio, look out for the ways in which their projects managed to bring in value for the business. After all, there’s no point in a pretty website if it doesn’t help to draw in customers. Some of the things to take note of would be the location of Call To Action buttons and the tracking metrics/ statistics.

Look for a UX team with varied skills

Most UX agencies prize themselves solely on their excellent UX design capabilities, but there are agencies who can offer a much wider variety of skills. If you’re going to partner yourself with an agency, you might as well make full use of them and get them to help you with other parts of your business. 

Some of these additional skills could include business development, content creation, branding, and growth strategies. 

Looking for the right UX design agency in Singapore?

There are many things to take note of when hiring a UX agency. Ideally, they should be able to handle all aspects of production, including post-production and alteration. 

If you’re having difficulty finding a suitable UX agency, you can always give us a call. We’d be glad to help.