In this internet and digital marketing era, a well-built website and mobile application can do wonders for your business. But, there are times when companies launch an app or site that, while performing exceptionally on the technical side of things, isn't able to reach the envisioned business goals.
Is it a marketing issue or are the UI UX designers at fault — even though it works fine by the definition of the developing team? If you're struggling with this scenario it may be time to improve the overall user experience (UX) — that's where UI UX consultants come into play. Let's take a look at what UX consultants do, their roles, the work process, and when you may need one.
Who Are UX Consultants?
Often, when people hear UX consultant, the first thing that comes to mind is some corporate advisor who comes into the UX team and starts to boss everyone around, criticizing every step taken by the development team. But, that isn't how UX consulting works. They're there to help find a solution to help companies achieve web and application goals.
A UX consultant is an expert in UX design thanks to their years of expertise in the field. They don't need to be the best UX designer in the business, but the main requirement is experience. So, in simple terms, a UX consultant is an advisor that joins your UX development team, conducts UX research, business analysis, and comes up with solutions that solve complex business problems so that your consumers can get a better user experience.
What Does a UX Consultant Do?
The job of a UX consultant differs highly from the work done by UX teams. While UX designers develop complex projects to solve certain problems, UX consultants focus on research and use those findings to improve the human-computer interaction between the consumers and your digital products.
The work of UX consultants consists not only of suggestions and research on UX development, but they also venture into visual design and marketing areas. Consultants need to see the bigger picture for the company and its digital products. They have to communicate with both the UX team and management — keeping everyone in the loop. For a UX designer, these skills and knowledge base increase over time.
How UX Consulting Process Works
When you hire a UX consultant to look into your digital assets and projects, they follow a set of procedures before providing suggestions to improve the product design and usability testing results. Remember that the process can change depending on the technology and a company's needs.
Conducting Initial Research
The first and most important step for UX consultancy is gathering essential information about the products, the problems they solve, and the approaches taken in prototyping. A UX consultant is responsible for understanding what's going on so they can provide solutions to the challenges that the UX development team couldn't overcome. To do so, thorough research must be conducted. Effective communication with the project team and clients is crucial, so the consultant must have excellent communication skills.
Gathering Market & Audience Data
The UX consultant needs to generate customer personas to understand the market and what changes will be necessary for a better user experience. This data is generated through surveys and interviews conducted with the general public as well as previous clients. Once all the data is present, a customer journey map (CJM) is generated. This allows for a deeper insight into what the consumers want from the company and what the UX designers need to focus on to improve the product design. It also points out the challenges that the designer might encounter during engineering.
Once the consultants create the CJM, they will report their research findings to the client and UX designers. Keeping contact with the UX designer and partner is key because the job of UX consultancy isn't about dictating the issues and demanding a solution. It explains what’s wrong with certain methods and suggests better alternatives.
Implement UX Design Changes
Once everyone is informed about the findings, it's time to use that knowledge and develop solutions to create a better UX. The UX consultants work closely with the UX designer throughout the entire process and create a roadmap that the UX design teams will follow.
The changes generally conducted by the consultant are page outlines, wireframes, site maps, and can even lead to the initial coding as well. As they have to take care of the business side of things, the UI design at the front end might also need changes. Innovation is the key in this sector. If the current elements don't interact much with users, UX consultants will also help create new elements from scratch and work side-by-side with the UX designers.
Testing the Changes
After implementing changes to the UX design, the consultants will conduct user experience tests on target users. There will be multiple usability tests before the final report is submitted to the partners.
Benefits of UX Consulting
If you hire the right UX consulting company for the job, your business will see positive increases in product usage and conversion rates. Here are the most common benefits that UX consultant services deliver:
1. Increase in Sales: It's been proven that consumers will pick a shop with a better shopping experience over a poor one. If you've selected the services of a well-reputed UX consultant like UX 4Sight, then you can feel confident your leads will be more likely to hang around on your site, resulting in a significant increase in sales.
2. Lower Customer Complaints: A better UX means consumers will be satisfied, which leads to a low number of customer complaints. Happy customers mean more brand exposure, which is always helpful for any business.
3. Increased Conversion: If the UX design offers good usability and customer satisfaction, the conversion rate will skyrocket and your business will start booming.
4.Save Resources: UX consultants can be the solution to cut down on resources for UX development. Their knowledge will help your business generate an optimal interface, so you won't have to spend resources on making changes to the web or mobile design.
UX vs. UI design: What’s the difference?
The two terms are often used interchangeably. However, there are subtle differences. UX refers to user experience design. On the other hand, UI refers to user interface design. They are completely two different things.
UI refers to visual elements that you interact with when using a website or app. Its examples include screens, buttons, toggles, and icons. On the other hand, UX refers to the entire interaction you have with a product. It focuses on curating a user’s complete interaction with the site or app from beginning to end.
Why do businesses need UX/UI consultancy so much?
In today's modern business world, it's impossible to succeed without websites or apps. The customers experience the business digitally rather than physically. This is where UX/UI consultants come into play. They help you in building an effective strategy and finding the right target audience. They design a curated experience by keeping the audience in mind. As a result, your site will deliver a unique feeling during user interaction. People will effortlessly find all the product information. They will love to visit your site because of the great user experience. Hence, you can effectively convert the target audience into regular visitors and customers.
That's why businesses need talented UX/UI consultants. Because they can play a big role in getting new customers and generating more sales.
Why should I work with a UX/UI consultant?
There are various reasons behind the necessity of working with a UX/UI design agency. Let's find them out.
1. You Need a Clear Project Perspective - Top UX/UI consultants provide expert and objective perspectives on your project. They can view your situation from out of the box. Therefore, they can provide unique and transparent solutions. You cannot necessarily see the clarity while looking at it from the inside. The top UI/UX consultants have experience providing services to firms with different needs. Therefore, they can easily understand your project perspective.
2. You Require Skills Not Available at Your Company - When you work with a UX/UI consultancy firm, you get access to highly experienced professionals, like UI/UX designers, research experts, and strategists. Also, you meet talented people who are experts in their fields, such as usability testing or digital strategy. Therefore, the talent pool is broad. If you want to create an in-house design team with the same experts, you will have to spend an incredible amount of time and money. It won't be a cost-efficient approach. That's why you should hire a firm of UX/UI consultants, It will make your life a lot easier.
3. You Need Your Core Staff to Focus on Your Company’s Immediate Matters - Does your management have other tasks to handle? Adding a design project to your existing work will affect your productivity. That's why you should consider working with a UX/UI consultancy firm. They will deal with all the additional work. As a result, your team will stay focused on the essential tasks. They will face no issues with meeting the deadlines.
What abilities should I look for in a top UI/UX consultant?
To find a top UI/UX consultant, you have to look at three important abilities. Let's find them out.
All the best UI/UX consultants have strong emphatic abilities. They can empathize the information into purposeful and relatable stories. They extend these stories over the user interface design.
Hence, UI/UX consultants can effectively establish relationships and trust between businesses and end-users. Hence, you will get more potential customers on your site.
Helping and Teaching
Like any other professional, UX/UI consultants love to get respect and acknowledgment for their work. However, top firms aren’t protective or territorial about their design process. They never want to hide their knowledge.
Instead, great UX/UI consultants are always eager to share their knowledge and experiences. They love to help others learn new things. They often teach design thinking to the client’s teams. Hence, people of different backgrounds can acquire valuable skills. It can significantly benefit your company.
Strong User Research
The best UX/UI consultants conduct extensive user research. They are always eager to collaborate with you to deeply understand your real needs. And they love to get raw user feedback. Because it drives them to valuable insights for creating a meaningful experience.
Top UX/UI consultants often invite your engineering and product management teams. They are eager to get hands-on experience through collaboration. Also, it helps them to learn valuable information through the usability test review.
Is it better to work with local UX/UI consultants?
Should you go to the local UX/UI consultancy firms? The answer is a definite ‘yes.’ Hiring a local UI design agency can provide you with many benefits. Let's find them out.
1. Local UI/UX Consultancy Agencies Have a Better Understanding of Local Business Needs
A local UX/UI consultancy firm has a strong understanding of local business requirements. They know how the needs of small businesses differ from reputed brands. Budgets tend to be low. Also, the audiences are narrowly defined. Besides, products are more niche-oriented. Overall, local businesses have limited needs.
To meet the restricted requirements, you have to implement particular strategies. You need to understand and follow best practices that are only suitable for local businesses. The local design agencies are well aware of these factors. They take time to efficiently apply the methods in your product's user experience design. Hence, they can effectively meet your business objectives.
2. Better Understanding of Local Audiences
It is very important to have a strong understanding of local audiences. What are their needs? What information are they looking for? Local design services have a solid understanding of these critical factors.
For example, local audiences are more interested in practical information. What are the open hours of the business? What is the phone number? How can I easily reach the physical location of the business? These are some of the questions that local audiences frequently ask. Local design services know about it. Therefore, they design your product accordingly.
3. Individualized Attention towards Each Customer
Local UI design agencies provide more personalized attention to you. For example, they are keen to hold regular in-person meetings with you for planning the digital strategy. You may not get this type of attention from non-local design firms. Local UX/UI consultancy firms focus on building mutually beneficial long-term relationships with clients. That's why you will always get individualized attention.
Top 5 UI & UX Design Agencies For 2022
1. UX 4Sight
UX 4Sight is the best UX design agency for 2022. It specializes in strategy, user experience design, UI design, user research, design validation, and website development. The UX/UI consultants at UX 4Sight can create a meaningful and delightful design for your product. It makes your site conversion smooth and effortless. Also, it helps you effectively build brand loyalty. Hence, you can increase your business value and convert more visitors into customers.
Clay is a UI/UX design agency based in San Francisco. It works with established tech companies and well-funded startups. The UX designers of Clay are combining behavioral science with user-focused design to create digital products. They can create an amazing user interface that perfectly represents the company’s brand.
3. Frog Design
Frog is a global UX agency. It started back in the 1970s as an industrial and product design firm. Eventually, it transformed itself into a full-service agency. The company covers everything from CX strategy and branding to product innovation, UX, and service design. It creates products and experiences that facilitate digital transformation.
IDEO is a user experience and digital design agency. It specializes in design thinking and human-centered design. It can create everything from delightful user interfaces to amazing digital products. It's one of the top UX/UI consultancy firms for 2022,
ustwo is a digital product design studio. Its headquarter is located in the UK. The user experience design firm creates meaningful products. They offer a variety of services, including UX strategy, UI/UX design, and mobile app development.
What is usability testing?
Usability testing refers to evaluating a product or service by testing it with representative users. During a test, participants will try to complete typical tasks while observers watch, listen, and takes notes.
What is UX research?
UX research is the systematic investigation of how customers interact with your product. It enables you to gather valuable insights for driving the informed design process.
UX UI consultants should have the necessary skills to take simple UX design and elevate it to a well-performing, consumer-pleasing digital product. If you want your business to thrive and your current UX isn't reaching the levels you want, then you should opt for the services of a UX consultant.
Just make sure to get the right one for the job. 7 Interview Questions to Ask Any UX Design Agency is one of our articles that can help you with questions for hiring the right UX consultant.
Abdul has helped over 40 Fortune 500 companies make informed user-centered design decisions through evidence-based user research and UX best practices. As an Adjunct Professor, Abdul has taught in DePaul University’s graduate UX programs and for nine other universities.