If you’re a business owner or entrepreneur with limited knowledge of web design, you may wonder where to start when hiring a UX or UI designer. Evaluating any type of “technical” specialist can seem intimidating. However, the key to hiring for a UX/UI role relies on many of the same basic elements you use to evaluate any other professional.
Your Specific Needs
Hiring for any job starts with specifying exactly what you need. In this case, you presumably want someone to improve your website. More specifically, what kind of improvement are you looking for? If the problem is your site’s appearance, then you need someone to tackle the user interface (UI). If the way your site is organised or functions is clunky, it’s the user experience (UX) that needs fixing. You may find one expert who can handle both areas, but you may feel more confident working with someone who specialises in one or the other.
The level of expertise or technical know-how that you already have in-house, whether your own or an employee’s, is another consideration. Someone at your company has to coordinate with this designer, which means being able to at least broadly understand the UX/UI concepts and make decisions about them. Also consider how much time you have to devote to this project.
Portfolio or Work Samples
The next step is in some ways both the most basic and most difficult – evaluating the quality of a designer’s work. While it’s essential to see proof of the candidate’s skill, trying to judge the quality of work that is outside your expertise can be tricky. This is where you will benefit from having a clear understanding of the user experience design services you need.
When you don’t have the professional knowledge to critique the technical details of design work, you must rely on clues that the designer is capable of producing a website with content or an interface or the overall “look” you have decided you want. You can also check their educational background, but remember this is a field where practical ability is worth more than impressive credentials.
Once you’ve established what your needs are and verified that a particular designer has the ability to meet them, you have to judge whether you can productively work with this person. The subjective side of hiring is where you can fall victim to lazy thinking and bias if you’re not careful. The key is to focus on objective measures and things you can observe.
Talking with a UX/UI designer should give you an idea of their preferred work process. Ask yourself if their way of working will integrate easily with yours. You may also find it more valuable if a designer has a focus on your industry or similar specialisation that makes their work particularly relevant to your needs. Finally, observe how well they listen and how clearly they explain and express their ideas. Poor communication and collaboration skills are not a good sign in a candidate for any job.
Partnerships and Added Value
How do you choose between two designers who are equally qualified and seem equally easy to work with? The “tie-breaker” could be whether a particular designer offers additional services or expertise that you may need in the future. They may offer search engine optimization or social media management in addition to their UX/UI design services. Maybe they partner with a graphics firm or printer that can help coordinate your printed marketing materials with your upgraded website. Think about how a designer can maximize results for not only the current UX/UI project but also future design or promotional needs you may have.
Ultimately, the right UX/UI designer for your website will be one who understands your goals and has the skills to deliver what they promise. A designer like that will earn your trust and your business.