User experience has been in the spotlight for a few years, with many companies employing full-time UX designers or working with UI/UX design agencies. In 2023, an intuitive user interface (UI) is a must for any digital product, such as a mobile app, website, SaaS, and even B2B and enterprise software.
When the success of your product hinges on having a great user experience and UI design, and you can’t immediately build your product team, the only option is to work with an agency or find a consultant offering UX design services.
On the other hand, many top UX agencies who do excellent work fly under the radar and get new projects only through word of mouth. Knowing that finding the right company can be a huge pain, I made a list of the leading experience design firms from major tech hubs in the United States (SF, NYC, LA, etc.) and Europe that specialize in digital products and have worked with early-stage startups as well as Fortune 100 enterprises.
Top UI/UX Design Agencies — February 2023 Rankings:
UI/UX Design Agency in San Francisco — clay.global
Location: San Francisco, CA
Key clients: Slack, Facebook, Google, Credit Karma, Coinbase, Coca-Cola
Team Size: 55 employees
Clay is a full-service UI/UX design, branding, and development agency in San Francisco. Most of their engagements are confidential. They mainly work with Silicon Valley unicorns and Fortune 100 enterprises. As a full-service digital design firm, they do everything from UI/UX for mobile apps and brand identities to marketing websites and enterprise software.
They also partner with hand-picked Bay Area and global startups to work closely with their founders to bring their vision to life. Clay is one of the few UX design agencies that can take a project from an initial idea to a finished product and beyond.
A full-service UX design agency — instrument.com
Location: Portland and NYC
Key clients: Nike, Sonos, Levi’s, Spotify, Intercom, Airbnb, Dropbox
Team Size: 330 employees
Instrument is a top UX and digital agency headquartered in Portland. The firm designs and builds digital products, from mobile apps to websites and communications for the world’s most ambitious brands.
In 2019, they expanded to the East Coast with the acquisition of a Brooklyn-based digital design studio ThisAlso exclusively focused on product design, UX, and UI.
They are famous for distinctly modern and interactive marketing websites thanks to their ad agency roots and UX UI design upbringing. As a multi-faceted design firm, Instrument combines the best parts of a business consultancy, creative agency, and engineering firm to deliver stellar work.
Global experience design and UX agency — ideo.com
Location: San Francisco, Palo Alto, NYC, London, Tokyo, and more
Key clients: Verizon, Swarovski, Ford, IKEA, GE, Procter & Gamble
Team Size: 1300+ employees
IDEO is a global design consultancy specializing in digital products, services, and UX design with offices in the US, Europe, and Asia. Formed in 1991, they’re one of the industry's most influential product and user experience design firms.
They are the company that invented the design thinking approach, which they have been practicing for decades, building websites, mobile apps, enterprise software, and multiplatform digital experiences with the user in mind. This human-centered UX design methodology made them world-famous in the design world and helped expand their offering to organization design and management consulting.
4. Red Antler
A User Experience Design and Digital Agency — redantler.com
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Key clients: Casper, Allbirds, Foursquare, Betterment, Zagat, Brandless
Team Size: 121 employees
Red Antler is one of the best UX design and branding companies for startups and new ventures headquartered in Brooklyn, NY.
They only partner with early-stage companies on defining and executing the complete brand experience — from strategy and brand identity to UI/UX design and marketing.
Red Antler decided to work exclusively with startups to drive growth and scale through the power of branding and digital strategy. They’re the UX UI design agency behind some of the most successful direct-to-consumer startups such as Casper and Allbirds.
5. Bakken & Baeck
A UI/UX design and development agency — bakkenbaeck.com
Location: Europe (Oslo, Bonn, Amsterdam)
Key clients: Coinbase, Vipps, Kron, Wake, Kolonial, Alva
Team Size: 60 employees
Bakken & Baeck is a digital strategy and UI design studio founded in 2011 with offices in Oslo, Bonn, and Amsterdam. By forming close relationships with their clients, they build mobile apps and websites from the ground up and at full speed. In addition to digital product design and development, they’re web design, machine learning, and artificial intelligence experts.
Aside from client projects, they host a one-day design conference, An Interesting Day, and a hackathon called Stupid Hackathon. They’ve launched their products, such as the Daylight app and a design collaboration tool, Wake, which was recently acquired by Vision.
The Ultimate Guide to UX Design and UI/UX Design Agencies
A comprehensive step-by-step guide about fundamental principles of user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design and how to hire the right UI/UX design firm for your digital product.
What is a UI/UX (User Experience) design agency?
A UX agency is a design consultancy that specializes in user experience. Those companies can design and build a mobile app UI, website, and B2B software. There are many subtypes of user experience design companies depending on what their core focus is:
UX research agencies
These firms mainly provide services like user research, competitor evaluation, customer insights, workshops, personas, and a high-level UX strategy.
UX design consultancies
Most of these firms position themselves as CX (customer experience) experts researching and executing user experiences across all touchpoints. An excellent choice if you want to understand the holistic journey of your users.
- UI/UX design agencies. These folks are generalists who work in an agile process and focus on the user interface first and foremost. They usually do just the right amount of research. And then proceed with an iterative process nailing down the user experience and UI design, while testing it with the users and stakeholders. You can find many of these firms in San Francisco or New York.
- Full-service design firms. Usually, it’s a bigger agency scenario. You’ll have a dedicated account manager and interact with different teams depending on where you are: researchers, strategists, UX and UI designers, web design experts, developers, and analysts. Some agencies will assemble a cross-disciplinary team that will be engaged throughout the project operating like a startup.
If you’re looking to build a digital product from scratch and have some basic requirements, we recommend hiring a UI/UX design agency that can do everything at a moderate cost. Or, if the money and timeline are out of the question, go with an established full-service design firm.
UX vs UI: What’s the Difference between UI design and UX design?
Let’s clarify something right off the bat. In the lexicon of design, user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) are not the same things. It has become something of a trend to use the terms interchangeably these days. But this is understandable — there is quite a bit of overlap between UX and UI. But erasing what distinguishes them is not just a small oversight — it is an error that can cost time and money. Worse, not differentiating between UX and UI can interrupt the smooth flow of the design process and create problems in the hiring process for UX design firms. If potential employees can’t define their talents on a resume, and web design companies can’t properly identify what they’re looking for, mutually beneficial employment arrangements are quickly lost. You don’t want a lower-quality design team because of the wrong definition!
While plenty of great UX/UI design agencies clarify this difference, we’ve decided to help with a little explanation below.
What is User Experience (UX) — More Than Just Visual
The key to understanding user experience (UX) lies in the word experience. UX encompasses the entire experience an end-user has from the moment they land on a site or open an application to the moment they leave. Sounds simple enough. But unlike other elements of digital design that focus on the creative yet technical mechanics of visual representation or back end programming, UX is about incorporating the perspective of the user and the subtleties of brand communication into the overall web design. It is the information architecture that systematizes visual content within the framework of a larger strategy. UX designers are the ones responsible for overseeing this dimension of the design process. Further, they are responsible for effectively incorporating the psychology and perspective of users. This crucial piece of UX design relies on UX research.
Typically, a UX designer does research (or this task is given to a UX researcher) to understand the audience the website is targeting, the psychology of these potential users, and how the dynamics of the user’s interaction with the interface in question affect their overall experience. The UX designer is then responsible for synthesizing this data with the broader brand vision or intention to help imagine a type of usability that is dynamic and user-informed.
What is User Interface (UI) — Visual and Technical
Simply speaking, the user interface (UI) is what you directly interact with on an app or website. It is the sum total of the technical, visual dimensions of the web design. This includes images, texts, links, color schemes, and even buttons. Whenever a user has a micro-interaction, like scrolling on a page or clicking on something, they rely on these technical-visual components. While UX is concerned with the broader experience the user is having, UI is the structure of the minutiae of the technical aspects within that experience. Quality UI requires both technical know-how and artistic creativity.
A UI designer embodies the true essence of digital product design. They are responsible for not only stitching together technical components to enhance the overall functionality and usability, but the many creative decisions they make are like pieces of a larger puzzle that unifies the broader vision of the design. This most common type of UI that is dependent on the graphic representation of commands in design is called the graphical user interface. Voice-based interfaces are also becoming more common. This type of UI, most popularly known through Amazon’s Alexa, is when voice commands replace screens, graphics, and touchpoints. However, it’s not likely voice-based interfaces will replace graphics-based interfaces any time soon.
UI and UX: Different, But Connected
UI and UX are entirely interdependent despite their major differences. In any good digital product design firm, UI and UX teams are in constant communication and interaction. UI is essentially the process of piecing together the working technical parts of a broader UX strategy. But UX is also inclusive of the design and functional elements that form the foundation of UI. Therefore, it’s wholly understandable how the terms UX and UI have gotten confused. But from now, despite what UX and UI share, you’ll never mix them up again!
Why is UI/UX design good for business?
Customers are spoiled with great web design and user experiences provided by the industry leaders, and they expect the same from any mobile app or website they interact with.
Having an intuitive UX is a critical requirement these days, not an added value or a differentiator. If you run an online store or have a mobile app, you should level up your UX game and make it a priority. Your success depends on it.
People don’t notice great UX UI design, but they will complain even if their experience is anything but awesome. User experience is a strategic business tool, and if you know how to use it, you’ll see a lot of positive changes such as:
- Increase in sales due to simplified navigation and purchase flow.
- More engaged customers translate to repeat purchases and more interactions with your content.
- Improved brand loyalty, credibility, and recognition as people are more likely to come back if their first experience was stellar.
- Reduced training and customer service costs because great UX is intuitive and needs no excessive documentation.
- Build better products by understanding what your customers need, design for their needs, test, and improve with user involvement.
Still not convinced if you need to invest in UX? Let the numbers speak:
- A one-second delay in page load yields a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction.
- UX design unification resulted in 100% productivity gain in development teams and helped save General Electric an estimated $30 million.
- Virgin America saw a 14% increase in conversion rate and 20% fewer support calls after the significant website and UI/UX redesign in 2014.
- The top 20% of CX leaders outperformed the S&P 500, says a study by Forrester.
- Every dollar invested in UX can generate a 100 dollars return
User experience design is an intricate combination of tools and processes to manipulate your customers by giving them a delightful and user-friendly product they can’t stop using. As with any specialty field, you need to be a professional to do it right or you can hire one.
You can enlist an in-house designer and build your product team later on or work with a UX agency that has design teams readily available.
How does UX align with the strategic goals of a company?
When stakeholders in companies or entrepreneurs first learn of the concept of user experience (UX) they almost always want to know — how does that actually relate to our bottom line? Our success? Our growth as a company? But the answer is quite simple — good UX is a critical tool in any business reaching their goals in this day and age.
Whether a business is selling a product or creating an application or providing a service, the overwhelming importance of the internet cannot be expressed enough. The internet is — in the case of a business selling a product, the main way the public is introduced to the said product — and in the case of an application the medium through which your application will be interacted with. Either way, both websites, and applications are experienced by those who interact with them. The goal of UX design is to ensure that this experience is one that sits fondly in the hearts and minds of the visitors. The better, more effective, and professional the UX design is the more likely visitors will turn into recurring visitors or even customers. This means that UX design when done well by a professional UX design agency, can help your business expand and grow. This is crucial for helping companies reach their bottom line — creating a profitable and popular product, service, or application.
Another way that UX relates to the strategic goal of a company is that UX design is about understanding the needs and wants of your target audience and incorporating that into the initial interactions that same audience will have with your company. Because UX design and branding are often intimately interlinked, the UX design process will actually help flesh out the brand with the understanding of your target audience in mind. This means that your brand’s goal of finding a place within the consciousness and imagination of your target audience will go through a practical refining process during the UX design process itself. The importance of digital platforms in all businesses these days means that the UX design should actually be understood as a component of a larger, holistic, and thorough process of branding.
At the end of the day, the question should not be “how does UX align with the strategic goals of a company” but instead how can you have a company without UX? These days you can’t — so finding the right UX design agency to work with and making the investment is not only a good idea, it’s necessary for ensuring your business’s longevity and success in our highly internet-dependent and digitized world.
What’s the difference between UX designers and product designers?
Within the world of UX design, there is a misconception that whole UX design teams are made up of designers with the exact same skill sets. This is false. One of the more crucial divisions of labor within the UX design process is that between UX designers and product designers. They are related to each other, and interdependent in the UX design process, however, each has a unique and specific role to play.
UX designers are focused on user experience. This means that their focus is on the development of the user’s experience of the product or application or website from the moment that they first visit the interface until they leave. A UX designer might also function as a UX researcher — diving headfirst into the wants and needs of the target audience and the market at large then taking that information and developing the architecture of the website that creates a particular experience the client is hoping to create. A UX designer is like a curator — their job is to curate a particular experience for every user so they are more likely to revisit the site, continue using the application, or purchase a product. When you think about a UX designer you can imagine them as an expert in understanding the wants and needs of the target audience and translating this understanding into impeccable, effective design.
A product designer has a slightly different relationship to the UX design process. They are deeply involved in UX design and often have a UX design background and skill set. But their main focus is on ensuring that the company/client’s needs are reflected in the design process. They are involved in incorporating the company’s vision within the product design from start to finish and make sure that the user experience and user interface aspects of the design process are complimenting what the client wants to see. This means they are in tune with the business and marketing side of things. This does not mean that the product designer is not concerned with the needs of the target audience and eventual user or consumer. It’s more that they consider the company’s business and marketing objectives within the design process and figure out how to synthesize those objectives with the UX designer’s understanding of the target audience.
On any UX design project, both the UX designers and product designers are integral pieces for ensuring a successful outcome. Their differences are always complimentary and linked and help bring a company’s UX vision to life in an effective way.
What are the typical services of a UX/UI design agency?
All UX/UI design agencies are unique in both the services they offer and how they offer them. For example, a huge difference exists between small scale boutique UX/UI design firms and larger corporate agencies. However, there are some basic services that most firms, big and small offer.
Full user experience design from start to finish is a service that all UX/UI design agencies offer — or they wouldn’t be a UX/UI design agency in the first place! This service is not something short and simple, but rather a long multi-step process. UX design usually begins with UX research. UX research is the process of studying the target audience and market in which the application or business will exist. UX/UI design agencies will after doing the research produce a report in order to continue forward. From there UX/UI design agencies will begin the actual design process until the user experience design is complete.
UI design is another related and nearly universal service these agencies offer. User interface design is the visual and technical component of the design. This service is what shapes the text, the colors, and the actual usability of the site or application.
Beyond these two basic services, UX/UI agencies can offer a number of different services to choose from. For example, almost any full-service UX design firm offers the following services:
- Business discovery & user research
- Product & marketing UX strategy
- User interface & visual design
- Front-end engineering & platform integration
- Usability testing & analytics
- Experience innovation consulting
- Design sprints & prototyping
- Customer journey mapping
- Service blueprints
- UX workshops & training
These services all relate to UX/UI design but notice they are more specific to particular elements of the overall branding process. In this case, the firm also offers steps within the larger UX design process as individual services. This is because some companies that need UX services do not always need the entire design process but rather need usability testing or consultation on UX strategy. Also, because the user experience is so intimately tied to branding, many UX firms offer services related to branding, marketing, and strategy.
Some firms also specialize in particular services that are relatively unique. For example, Clay offers and specializes in enterprise and B2B UX and UI design — a service that not all design firms or agencies offer.
So at this point, it should be clear — while most firms offer basically similar UX/UI design services — more specialized and concrete services may differ between agencies. In this case, it’s always good to know what exactly the design firm in question is offering.
How to hire the right UX design agency
Researching and shortlisting agencies is just the first step. Once you’ve narrowed down your selections, the real work begins. You’ll be reaching out to agencies, having calls and meetings, writing RFPs, evaluating proposals, making a decision, and, finally, signing all legal paperwork to start your project. It could easily take weeks if not months to get to the finish line.
And you need to have a solid plan to find the best-fit UI/UX design agency in the shortest amount of time.
Here are just a few questions you might ask yourself:
- Should I go with a local agency or find a remote design firm?
- Is it better to hire a large agency or try a boutique UX company?
- How much my UX design project would cost?
- What capabilities should an agency have to provide the best results?
- What do I need to prepare to get proposals from agencies?
…and the list goes on.
To make the agency selection process as seamless and smooth as possible, I’ve put together the FAQ below.
FAQ: Working with a UI/UX design agency
A list of common questions asked by startups and established companies looking for UX design services by hiring a UX design agency or UX consultant.
Q: Is an in house UX design team or UX design firm better?
A: For companies in need of UX design, this question at some point will surely come up. But truth be told there isn’t a one size fits all answer — the parameters of the project, the size of the company or business, budgetary limits and longer-term UX design needs are all factors that determine whether creating an in-house UX design department or hiring a UX design agency is the right way to go.
An in house UX design department can, in the long run, prove to be a worthwhile investment. On one hand, it’s possible to forge proximity and intimacy between the UX team and the details of the project they’re working on on a level not possible when the project is outsourced to a UX design firm. Essentially, as employees of the company for which they are doing UX design, an in-house UX design team will interact with the corporate vision and brand identity of the company up close and personal every single day. However, for many companies in need of UX design, creating a whole new in-house department may not be necessary — only if your digital product needs long term, continuous UX design support is this a worthwhile option.
A UX design agency on the other hand is a tried, true, and reliable option. While professional-grade UX design isn’t cheap, you can be sure that with experienced UX design agencies, the final product will be excellent. Ultimately, it is reliability and experience that make agencies an attractive option. Their longer-term, professional, and focused experience on UX design projects means that designers and management alike bring on the ground know-how to every project they work on. Despite an initial hefty investment, because you won’t be creating a whole new permanent department, you’ll end up saving money in the long run.
Both options have their pros and cons but at the end of the day, UX design firms present a more realistic and reliable option for most UX design needs.
Q: How much would a UI/UX design project cost with an agency?
A: Since each UX design project is unique, most agencies would like to get as much information as possible before they give you a proposal. A well-written design brief will go a long way — make sure to include all relevant project information and provide a budget range and timeline.
Many agencies will tailor their proposal to your budget, so give them a number that’s lower than what you’re ready to spend. You can increase it later and they can re-estimate the project as required.
Most likely, they’ll want to hop a brief call to learn more about the project, evaluate you as a potential client, and ask additional questions. Then may also request some UX UI documents like user stories, research takeaways, and design references to provide a more accurate proposal. If your project’s scope is well-defined, you should expect a fixed fee estimate with a 15–20% buffer factored in. If your project is still in the early phases of development, working on a time and materials basis would make more sense. Hourly rates vary depending on the size and location of an agency.
For a US or Western Europe-based UX agency, the rates are in the $150-$250 range with a minimum project engagement of $50,000+. You can expect even higher rates in places like San Francisco and NYC. Sometimes, UX design agencies use weekly rates for a team of designers plus a design director. Weekly rates depend on the team composition and generally are in the $7,000–15,000 range for an average firm in the United States.
Q: What do I need to share with an agency to get a proposal for my UI UX design project?
A: You should start by sending an email with a brief description of the project without too much detail. Make sure to make it look exciting and easy to understand. It will increase your chances of getting a timely response. Once you hear back, schedule a quick phone call to see if an agency is a good fit.
Be ready to provide more information:
- Tell them about your goals, KPIs, and other metrics of success. What are you trying to accomplish? Is it designing a new mobile app or refreshing a legacy enterprise product?
- Describe your product’s target audience.
- Document the history of your product and how the user experience changed and why. Tell them about any user tests and experiments made.
- Many agencies will inquire about a product demo to understand the product better — its features, strengths and weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement.
- Create a demo account with some data in it and ask them to create a new account to see the first-time experience.
- Gather any available product documentation on existing UX and UI such as user stories, product roadmap, research materials, and other requirements.
- Provide access to your analytics (or export data) and any other tools used to gather quantifiable data.
- Finally, create a project brief to summarize the project and your expectations — overview, goals, requirements, budget and timeline, proposal guidelines. Make it sound friendly because agencies hate and make fun of RFPs that are too official.
Q: Should I hire a large design firm or go with a boutique UX company
A: It depends on your goals and budget. Many large companies only want to work with high-profile UX (and especially branding) and UI design agencies, mainly because of their reputation and experience with other big brands, but also to eliminate any risks.
You’ll likely get a team of an account manager, a project manager, and a creative director. They will assign as many people as possible and expect you to pay for their time. In reality, you’ll see your product design director once or twice during the project, and the majority of work will be done by interns. That’s how big agencies operate. Plus, you’ll pay an extra premium for their brand. Sometimes, working with a legendary San Francisco or Silicon Valley-based firms like IDEO or Frog Design who pioneered the user-centered design can be beneficial for marketing, but for the most part, it’s just a waste of money.
Companies who choose to engage with smaller boutique UX firms do so for a few reasons:
- Smaller firms are less spoiled with big-name clients. They are hungry for projects and do everything to get the best result possible.
- They have less overhead because they don’t need to support an army of managers and other supporting personnel.
- They provide a more personalized approach. You’ll be interacting directly with UI/UX designers and design directors without unnecessary extra layers of management.
- They are more willing to integrate with your in-house development or product resources and become a design extension of your team.
You will likely spend less and get your project done faster with more considerable attention to detail and better quality. However, you may run into some organizational issues and hiccups — a lead designer quitting the agency or a project manager escaping to Bali searching for inner peace.
Q: Is it better to work with a local UI/UX design agency?
A: The short answer — local is always better. I’m not against having some remote resources on the project, but I’m a firm believer that UX design projects can not be done 100% remotely. Here’s why:
- Nothing can replace in-person digital strategy workshops and white-boarding sessions. And usually, most key UX and UI decisions are made this way.
- Key people on the project from an agency’s side need to understand the cultural nuances of the country and industry genuinely. There are many peculiarities in the US that Europeans don’t have. And most Asian cultures are a mystery to Western people.
- User research and testing are often done in person at a usability lab or a user’s workplace. It requires some local presence or expensive travel.
- Finally, working with a local agency means you can always come to their office and have an honest conversation when something goes wrong.
- Many agencies have offshore production teams. It is fine (and can even save you some money) as long as key people in charge of UX strategy and product design are local.
Q: What process should I expect from a UX design company?
A: The UI/UX design process is flexible by its nature and usually defined by project details and your needs. Many agencies have a process similar to the Design Thinking framework, which may look something like this:
- Discover. It includes interviewing key project stakeholders to better understand their vision and requirements as well as transfer knowledge. Some firms will also interview your users, run surveys, or carry out other user research activities. They will analyze your competitors to understand common UI/UX patterns and industry best practices.
- Digital Strategy & Design. The design process begins with defining the information architecture, exploring UX, visual design, and branding ideas as well as crafting a content strategy. The result is the UI/UX design concept that covers the critical aspects of future user experience and defines the design approach going forward. In the enterprise world, a term digital transformation is quite popular, and it usually means modernizing a legacy software solution.
- Execute. Once the design concept has been established, the UI and UX design production starts. It includes mapping out the core user flows, creating wireframes and then designing the user interface (UI) of a mobile app or website. A competent UX agency will always involve users and project stakeholders throughout the product design process by conducting continuous tests using clickable prototypes and then incorporating that feedback. Often, the final deliverable is an overarching style guide that defines all UI/UX design and branding aspects. It also serves as a practical guideline for ongoing product development.
Q: Where can I find more UX/UI design companies online?
A: There are lots of lists of top UI/UX design agencies, and you can easily spend days just researching. While most of them are garbage, there’s the one you can trust called Clutch (and their publication The Manifest). They do phone interviews with agencies’ past clients and conduct industry research. You should also check out different design communities like Dribbble or Behance.
More thoughts on hiring a great UI/UX design agency
User experience (UX) has become one of the most crucial parts of a wide range of business aspects, including products, websites, services, applications, etc. User interface (UI) is the same as necessary — if not more important — because UX ultimately depends on it. The modern market has quite a few UI/UX design agencies out there, who provide services to pretty much any company from any niche whatsoever. How do you find a design firm that will be perfect for you, considering your business goals, message, technical requirements, etc.?
- Define the Goals You Want to Achieve
Perhaps, one of the most efficient ways of finding out what UX company suits your business best is to define the results you expect to achieve when the project is done. What exactly do you want the UI/UX design agency to deliver as an outcome for your business? The more specific you can identify your ultimate goals, the simpler it will be for you to evaluate potential contractors. The right UI/UX design agency will ask you about this when you first start discussing your project with its representative.
- Don’t Focus on UI Design Only
At the very center of a UI/UX design agency’s core powers is its experience in conducting research and get crucial insights from it. Creative UI/UX designers use their out-of-the-box thinking at this core aspect, too. Businesses need to be cautious with digital marketing companies that claim to provide UI/UX design services but mostly focus on the artistic side of a digital product.
- Get a Hold of Client Testimonials
When it comes to reviewing references, make sure to go beyond the information published on an agency’s website, and contact individuals or companies that have engaged with the UI/UX design agency you consider hiring. A reliable UX consultant will readily provide such references to you upon immediate request. And even though you will never get the contact details of a client that has had a negative experience with the agency, you will still get to talk to people that have worked with it and can give you an idea of its strongest and weakest sides.
- Conduct a Workshop
Arguably, this is the best way to find out whether or not your business can get along with the UI/UX design company of your choice. Arrange a half-day digital strategy workshop with the shortlisted agencies. This workshop should be focused on business goals and how they translate to UX and UI goals, thus providing you with a helpful output at the end of the day.
- Offshore is an option too
There are two ways of working with a UX design agency — onshore and offshore. Each of these ways has its advantages and disadvantages. But it mainly depends on how quickly you want your project to be completed, how closely you want to work with the design firm, and your budget. Working with an offshore UX agency is an excellent option if your budget is tight. Most companies work with creative agencies located in India, the Philippines, and Pakistan since the cost of their UX design services is the lowest, and they ensure a quick turnaround. But, the time difference will make it harder for you to keep an eye on the process and introduce any possible changes to the project. Also, the quality of the end product usually matches the price paid.
- Local design agencies are always better
Onshore companies are the best choice if you have a sizeable budget and are ready to go hand in hand with the agency throughout the product design process. Working with an onshore UI design firm will provide you with an unprecedented insight into your target audience and possible solutions to your problem. Because the agency is from the same country or even city (which is a perfect match by all means), its team will have a better understanding of your market niche and what to look at during the research phase. You can always reach out to the design team and get an update on your project. In the US, the San Francisco Bay Area is the heartland of UI/UX design and tech industries. Design agencies from San Francisco and surrounding areas will have an up-to-date understanding of the modern design trends and make sure their teams are on the frontline of the UI/UX design niche.
Thanks for reading!