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Top UI/UX Design Agencies

Find the best UX Design Agency in the world for startups, B2B, SMB, enterprise, SaaS, boutique. In San Francisco (SF), New York (NYC), London (UK), Portland, Los Angeles (LA)

Last Updated: February 21, 2024

UI/UX design agencies are key in making digital products both appealing and easy to use.

They focus on creating interfaces that are not only good-looking but also functional and user-centric.

The role of these agencies is essential for businesses aiming to improve their online interaction and provide a smooth user experience.

Their expertise covers a range of digital needs, making them important partners in the digital world.

1. Ramotion

Digital product agency: Web, Mobile, UI/UX

ui ux design agency
  • Website: ramotion.com
  • Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
  • Clients: Stripe, Firefox, Oppo, Descript
  • Hourly Rate: $100 — $149 / hr
  • Team Size: 50+ employees
  • Founded: 2009
  • Services: Branding, Web Design, UX/UI Design
  • Industries: Consumer products & services, Financial services, Information technology, eCommerce, Business services, Retail
  • Best for: Tech SMB and Startups
  • Clutch rating: 4.9 out of 5.0 (25+ reviews)

2. Goji Labs

  • Website: gojilabs.com
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA, United States
  • Clients: World Health Organization, World Wildlife Fund, USC, UCLA, Digital Medical Tech, City of Los Angeles, Kitchen Table, Kangarootime
  • Hourly Rate: $100 — $149 / hr
  • Team Size: 20+ employees
  • Founded: 2014
  • Services: Mobile App Development, UX/UI Design, Custom Software Development, Web Development
  • Industries: Business services, Consumer products & services, Education, Medical, Non-profit
  • Best for: for startups, Fortune 500 companies, and large non-profits seeking a digital product agency with a decade-long track record of success
  • Clutch rating: 5.0 out of 5.0 (55+ reviews)

3. Codal

UX Design and Development Agency

  • Website: codal.com
  • Location: Chicago, IL, United States
  • Clients: United Airlines, Pepsi, DEMDACO, Charles Schwab, Boppy, QuickBooks, CallPotential, Baxter, Orderve, Motorola, Mahlkönig
  • Hourly Rate: $150 — $199 / hr
  • Team Size: 350+ employees
  • Founded: 2009
  • Services: E-Commerce Development, Web Design, UX/UI Design
  • Industries: Medical, eCommerce, Business services, Consumer products & services, Financial services, Legal
  • Best for: clients seeking comprehensive digital solutions, from websites and mobile apps to eCommerce storefronts and custom dashboards
  • Clutch rating: 4.9 out of 5.0 (20+ reviews)

4. Dreamten

  • Website: dreamten.com
  • Location: Raleigh, NC, United States
  • Clients: AARP, Adwerx, Aiwyn, Apple, Clari, Clarivate, Coastal Credit Union, Fathom, Intuit, Let’s Get Offline, Microsoft, Mysten Labs, PetScreening, RepVue, Second Nature, Sui
  • Hourly Rate: $100 — $149 / hr
  • Team Size: 30+ employees
  • Founded: 2014
  • Services: UX/UI Design
  • Industries: Advertising & marketing, Business services, Consumer products & services, Financial services
  • Best for: digital businesses seeking a design studio focused on generating significant ROI through simple yet effective solutions to complex problems
  • Clutch rating: 5.0 out of 5.0 (35+ reviews)

5. QU’ARTE

  • Website: quarte.design
  • Location: Carmichael, Canada
  • Clients: Perforce, Kroger Group, MediaShout, Walgreens, HILTI, Dassetti, Methodics, Extractable, SyncHealth, Energeia
  • Hourly Rate: $50 — $99 / hr
  • Team Size: 10+ employees
  • Founded: 2014
  • Services: UX/UI Design
  • Industries: Medical, Education, Financial services, Supply Chain, Logistics, and Transport, Advertising & marketing, Business services
  • Best for: businesses looking for user-centric digital product design
  • Clutch rating: 5.0 out of 5.0 (20+ reviews)

How Do We Review These UI/UX Design Agencies?

To deliver an informed review of UI/UX design agencies, we have adopted a comprehensive set of criteria. These criteria enable us to evaluate each agency’s capability and alignment with potential client needs. Our review parameters include:

  • Location: Understanding where the agency is based can influence considerations like local market understanding and time zone compatibility.
  • Clients: Reviewing an agency’s client list gives insights into the agency’s experience and specialization.
  • Hourly Rate: This helps gauge the financial feasibility for potential clients with varying budgets.
  • Team Size: This can reflect the agency’s capacity to handle projects of different scales.
  • Founded: The year of establishment can often speak to the agency’s experience and evolution in the field.
  • Services: An overview of the services offered helps in understanding the agency’s expertise areas.
  • Industries: Knowing which industries the agency primarily serves can indicate their niche or versatility.
  • Best for: Identifying which type of clients or projects the agency excels in handling.
  • Clutch Rating: A third-party rating can provide an unbiased view of the agency’s market standing.

How to Choose a Proper UI/UX Design Agency?

Selecting the right UI/UX design agency from a list requires a systematic approach. Consider these steps, aligned with high-quality review principles:

  1. Identify Your Needs: Clearly define what you want to achieve with your UI/UX design. Consider factors like project scope, industry-specific design requirements, and target audience.
  2. Match Your Requirements with Agency Strengths: Look for agencies whose services, experience, and expertise align with your needs. Pay attention to their portfolio and client history.
  3. Consider Logistical Aspects: Assess factors like location and team size to ensure they can effectively collaborate with your team.
  4. Budget Alignment: Ensure the agency’s hourly rate is within your budget. Remember, the cheapest option may not always provide the best value.
  5. Read Reviews and Ratings: Utilize Clutch ratings and other independent reviews to gauge the agency’s reputation and reliability.
  6. Engage in a Dialogue: Reach out to agencies for initial discussions. This can provide insights into their approach, communication style, and willingness to adapt to your specific needs.

Simple-to-use and user-friendly design is the key to any digital product. When a mobile or web UI is easy to understand, product adoption is much smoother for new users. Having an experienced in-house UI/UX designer, or hiring an outside user experience design agency or a company makes a lot of sense.

The internet is full of different ‘listicles’ of top 10 design agencies or best UI/UX companies, most of them are basically SEO-optimized paid listings with terrible design. We think that the quality of the websites/articles is very low because most of the really good digital product design agencies are not even listed there. So we decided to add our 5 cents to that and provide a list of great user experience design agencies and companies who (based on our research) deserve much more attention.

Make sure to check their portfolio, their social profiles, and feedback from their customers to feel confident for hiring one of them for your product. Their prices are pretty high though, but there is a good quote by CEO of Jaguar about it:

What people say about this list:

feedback of Morissa Schwartz (Dr. Rissy) on this selection of the best UI/UX design agencies

To correctly understand every single aspect of UI development companies, we took an opportunity and collected the most popular questions about them. Each of them has a rich answer that will unveil every detail that you may didn’t even know about UI UX design companies. So let’s start with the most obvious one.

Common Questions about UI UX design companies

What is a UI UX design company?

A UI UX agency is a ux consulting company that is highly specialized in producing a quality user experience for a given digital product. Typically they are capable of producing the design and architecture of a marketing website, mobile user interfaces, and in some cases, B2B software.

Whenever a UX company is developing a product or redesigning an old one, the main objective is to increase its performance. However, if the product and its capabilities are not understood, the chances of success are not that high. A UI UX firm may assist you in building user interfaces that are simple to grasp by developers and can inspire users to interact with the product.

The difficulty in this process is to ensure that the UI and UX of your product are almost flawless and match the demands/wishes of your users. Thus, as a result, top UX designers are frequently integrated into product teams. They serve as a middle man between the user, the development team, and the primary stakeholders in the business. Nowadays, more and more businesses are recognizing the importance of user experience and actively hiring user experience employees into their companies.

How much does a UX agency cost?

If you are looking to hire a user experience agency located in the United States, we can estimate a sum of around $75,000 to produce high-quality results.

Each user interface design firm is unique and different from the other ones. They offer a range of customer types and take a flexible approach to engagement (fixed price, project-based, performance-based, time & materials, etc.). The user interface is an iteratively improved component of a digital product that is constantly changing. That is why, rather than entering into a one-time contract, it is a better idea to seek an external user experience design agency as an extension of your product team.

However, these are just the estimates based on a US region. When it comes to quotes in other countries, the price is determined by a variety of criteria, including the scope of the project, the user testing, the experience, and the complexity of the product. Let’s take a look at each of them in detail.

The Project Scope

The project’s complexity is determined by whether a client employs native or custom app solutions since each platform has its own set of design standards. When creating a native design, the UX designers pay close attention to the rules and, as a result, spend less time in this situation.

Although, all elements like buttons, icons, and images will retain their default appearance. As a result, custom design involves additional time and work because everything must be created from scratch. On the other hand, you can choose a blended style that incorporates both standard and customized components.

Storyboards and Personas

This process involves conducting various interviews, surveys, producing heavy user testing, and other tasks. All of this is done in order to get actionable intelligence on the target audience and the people who will eventually use the product.

Amount of User Testing Required

After determining the target audience, a top UX designer spends the majority of their time outlining the user’s preferences and building wireframes to demonstrate how the user would interact with your program.

Geographical location

The total cost is heavily influenced by the location of the chosen UX design firm. The average hourly wage for specialists based in the United States will be $50. If you’re considering hiring a third-party user interface design company to participate in the development of your app, you should evaluate the rates in various areas. Typically, North America and Australia are the most expensive ones. India is the cheapest freelance design region if you need to save money. And if you’re seeking an optimal choice between money and quality, try Eastern European experience design companies.

Below are some of the major quotes depending on the designated region. Take note that this is the cost of developing an app for a single platform. If you need to create an additional one, you should double the fee. Additionally, the total amount will vary according to the location of the business.

  • USA and Canada: $7k — $21k
  • Australia: $7k — $21k
  • Western Europe: $7k — $14k
  • Eastern Europe: $4k -$7k
  • India: $3k — $7k

How much does a UI UX designer cost?

According to data gathered by Indeed in the United States, it was estimated that the average monthly payment for a UI UX designer in the U.S. is $102,443.

So if you want to determine whether you want to hire the best UI/UX designer in your team or if this professional path will provide you with an acceptable pay, the numbers above will help you out with it. Naturally, the cost or compensation for UI/UX designers varies depending on the location and the number of years of experience that they can bring to your table (as we have already discussed above).

Is UX design dying?

No, the UX design is not going to die any time. In fact, it is currently on its rise since more and more UI design firms understand the true value of UX designers. So this profession is currently getting more and more attention.

The reason why everyone has been asking this particular question is due to the blog article from UX Designer Stew Dean. Exactly there, he explored some prevalent facts about UX, including the notion that it is both a new and dying subject.

Neither of these statements is correct. User experience design services are not going anywhere. The process of building a user experience based on user demands, shaping, and building an end product is something we will always require. While the term “user experience design” has developed over time and continues to do so, the general task of a designer will not alter.

What does a UX agency do?

The short and concise answer is: the UX agency is responsible for ensuring that products and technologies are usable, pleasurable, and accessible to humans. Exactly they are the ones who connect the user, the development team, and important business stakeholders.

All of the famous UX designers typically operate as part of a larger product team and are primarily responsible for advocating for the end-user or customer. Whether creating a completely new product, developing a new feature, or modifying an existing product or service, the UX designer must consider the user’s best interests and the overall user experience.

Simultaneously, the experience design firm is accountable for ensuring that the product or service fits the business’s requirements. There are different business projects on which the digital design company typically works, as does the size of the team and the number of priorities. These top UX design firms may develop websites, mobile applications, and software, as well as design for augmented reality, AI, and virtual reality devices.

Despite the role’s breadth, there are certain responsibilities that are anticipated from a UX designer, such as:

  • User research
  • Analysis of Target Audience
  • Information architecture
  • User flows and wireframes
  • Prototyping
  • User testing

It’s critical to understand that UX designers are not often responsible for a product’s visual design. Rather than that, they concentrate on the user’s journey and the way the product is built to enable that trip.

Are UI UX designers in demand?

Yes, the UI and UX designers are in active demand. Right now is the most demanding time for every UX designer, as a lot of digital products are being made every single day.

Let’s start with the fact that it is impossible to maintain a great website without UX/UI design. Modern users are more intelligent and require a more interactive approach. That is why UI/UX designers are becoming increasingly important as Artificial Intelligence and other technologies are constantly growing. There is an increasing demand for user interface consultants that are working alongside other UI experts. In addition, according to LinkedIn research, UI/UX design is one of the top five most popular skills among recruiters. So you have all chances to be quickly recruited by a professional company, which is in demand for UI/UX designers.

Which institute is best for UI UX design?

There is no doubt that there are quite a bunch of universities/certificates that you can apply to and have high chances of getting into for Ux designing. Here we picked the best ones that can increase your chances of getting into a professional company:

CareerFoundry

This program is ideal for beginners and anyone wishing to start a new career in user experience, who require a high degree of flexibility to work, and who desire extensive, individualized mentorship from a subject matter expert. This program delivers a comprehensive immersion in all things UX. Start from the fundamentals to specific expertise in important areas with the extra certainty of individualized mentorship and a special emphasis on breaking into a new career.

Media Arts and Sciences Program at the MIT Media Lab

This is a good choice for individuals who have some expertise in the UX area, are interested in shaping the future of design, and are willing to commit to two years of full-time study. MIT is a prestigious institution with a track record of industry-shaping leadership and innovation. They accept only 50 applications each year, so admission is competitive. You’ll need to bring your A-game and be prepared to dive in and perform admirably.

Austin Center for Design

This course is excellent for anyone interested in learning about design through the lens of social change and entrepreneurship. It is an intense program of excellent quality that results in a non-accredited completion certificate in “Design Strategy and Social Innovation.” If you’re passionate about a more strategic and social/humanitarian approach to design and can commit to a year of full-time study, this program may be ideal for you.

University of California San Diego

This school is ideal if you’re seeking an approved certification from an American university, have a relatively flexible budget (the price is an estimate and may vary), and wish to choose from a diverse selection of electives.

Google UX Design Certificate

The Google UX Design Certificate is aimed at total beginners who wish to gain an understanding of the core elements of user experience design. You do not need any prior experience or qualifications to enroll in this course, but you should be prepared to learn online and independently.

General Assembly UX Design Immersive

This is an entry-level program with no prerequisites that is excellent for people new to the profession as well as those with some experience who wish to formalize their practice. While this is an online course, full-time attendance is required Monday through Friday, with classes taught at particular hours. This is an excellent alternative for people who are willing to pay a premium for the classroom experience without the travel.

Nielsen Norman Group UX Certification

The Nielsen Norman Group’s UX certification program is designed for individuals who wish to add UX design to their existing skills in order to establish credibility and distinguish themselves as certified experts in the industry. It’s also perfect for businesses looking to instill a user-first mindset throughout their organization by certifying their personnel in UX.

Flatiron School

The Flatiron School is open to anybody interested in pursuing a career as a designer, regardless of their prior experience or professional background. As one of the more expensive programs on this list that requires a six-month full-time commitment, this is a viable choice for individuals ready and able to make a significant investment in their career shift.

How do I get a job in UI design?

Once you have attained proper certification, you are finally ready to start your career in a digital design agency, and you have the right skills for it, it’s time to look for a job. And while it is pretty much straightforward on what exactly is the process of hiring such a specialist, this section is dedicated to how you can potentially increase your chances to get yourself in a professional interaction design firm.

1. Compose your profile

As obvious as it is, the CV is crucial for every employer and employee, as it is practically hard to find any job without it. Each vacancy requires you to submit a resume and, in some cases, a cover letter. Therefore, if you want to successfully land a job, you must develop an excellent CV that should include the following:

  • A brief introduction with your abilities and strengths.
  • Reverse the chronological order of your entire experience, beginning with your most recent job.
  • Mention concrete details inside your responsibilities and tasks descriptions. For example, you may state, “Was responsible for the onboarding user interface on the mobile app,” and tasks could include “designed seven versions, developed 15 micro-animations,” and etc.
  • Include a digital link to your portfolio.

Along with your resume, make sure that your LinkedIn profile is always updated and has a clear overview of your entire career.

2. Display a UI/UX portfolio

You may claim to be whoever you want on the Internet, even a dog, if that may matter to you. But to correctly distinguish yourself from the rest and show the qualities and abilities that you possess to a UI agency, you must have a portfolio of UI/UX designers. Providing a hiring manager with a portfolio of your created interfaces can considerably improve your chances. Here are some core tips to follow:

  • Include only the best examples of your work, not all of it. That way, the interactive design company you want to apply to can quickly assess your skills.
  • Mix your portfolio with various design styles and formats, like mobile app design, illustrations, animations, etc.
  • Show the complexity factor in your work. Present the complex concepts that you have created in a simple and easy approach.
  • Place your portfolio on relevant social networks. It could be, for example, Dribble, Behance, or even your blog.
  • Carefully narrate your design. Don’t just paste a set of images and graphics to your profile, and that is it. Describe the challenges you were attempting to solve, your thoughts, the entire development process, and the results.

3. Join UI design communities

Just like you learned a lot from your university and your previous job careers, it may also be a good idea to learn about user interface design by listening to professionals and discussing their work. Furthermore, it may be a good chance for you to get to know someone, get recommended by him to his company and land a job. So here’s what you can do:

  • Connect with UI designers and interactive design firms on social networking networks.
  • Join LinkedIn communities that are dedicated to UI/UX design.
  • Subscribe to communities that host various relevant events.
  • Actively participate in conversations rather than simply listening.

4. Look for the relevant UI design job

Not every single career that is directly or indirectly connected with a UI/UX designer is the same as the previous one. Therefore, if you are unfit for one of them, there is a good chance you will be fit for another. Determine the roles you qualify for the most and apply to them. This significantly increases the likelihood of being invited for an interview. So do:

  • Look for UI/UX design openings on various job-seeking platforms, like LinkedIn, Naukri, or MonsterJobs. Read the job description carefully to determine whether you do or do not fit it.
  • Consult the prospective employers to determine whether they currently have any open career opportunities.

5. Personalize your job hunting

Every young professional should always submit a unique and personalized resume and cover letter to significantly differ from the rest of the applicants. This strategy will work in highly competitive fields such as user interface design agencies, so you should carefully approach each job position and address your candidature individually.

  • Personalize your cover letter. Put more focus on the talents that the chosen career is looking for.
  • Make your cover letter unique. Avoid common phrases. Address the recruiter by his name (if possible). Reiterate your suitability for the position in this section.
  • Maintain regular contact. It is highly recommended to keep in contact with the recruiter at least once a week to inquire about your application status.
  • If you are not hired, do not worry and try to understand how you can do better next time. Grow as a result of your failures.

6. Online Courses / Certifications

If you’re a design enthusiast who just started looking for a job, then it might be a good idea to go for online certification courses since some of them can give you a very solid idea of how the company projects work and how you will be responsible for the work that you’ll do. Otherwise, if you already have experience, you might want to just refresh your skills and see what new things you can learn from these courses. Some of the most popular certifications courses include: TryDesignLabSpringboard, and Learn.Design.

Why should I consider a career in user experience design?

Not only are UI UX design services considered as one of the core technical jobs in every digital company, but they also come with lots of benefits. So if you are still unsure whether or not you should go to user experience design university, we’ve got some heavy reasons for you to choose your career path in this constantly growing field.

UX designer salary

As we’ve already mentioned, the salary received by a designer varies according to their level of experience and region, but overall the work of UX design consultants is often well compensated. It is one of the most uprising jobs of 21 century, and it’s not going down any time soon. Plus, lots of digital and enterprise companies are willing to pay a good amount of money for a rapid boost in the performance of their product or UX services with the help of user interface design companies.

Combination of creativity & technical skills

Suppose you already work or at least have experience in a creative profession like graphic design. In that case, you may discover that a UI/UX design services company allows you to greatly expand your creative capabilities. UX allows you to freely express your design thinking and mix it with the web design and front-end parts accordingly. Additionally, whatever you’ll be drawing, will be based on human psychology during the user study process. Those who enjoy both the artistic process psychology and technology tasks may find a very suitable way to merge their interests in a UX Designer career.

Growth opportunities

As time passes in a UI design firm, designers are able to get their income and change roles. UX design wages typically will improve as one gets more experience. Additionally, there are numerous opportunities for promotion. A common UX Designer may begin from a Junior position and slowly make his way up to a Head of Design in a given user experience firm.

The job specification variety

There are a few options that fall under the broader category of user experience. There are two kinds of UX roles: UX Designer and UX Researcher. A UX Researcher frequently possesses research abilities in addition to good written and vocal communication abilities. A user research role entails the following responsibilities:

  • Usability evaluations
  • Interviews
  • Investigation Surveys

A UX Designer must have prototyping, graphic design, and research skills. Additionally, they should have familiarity with data analysis and the front-end. A UX designer’s responsibilities include the following:

  • Wireframing and prototyping
  • Developing user journeys
  • Visual design

UX design helps you help others

For those who are altruistic, UX design may be an immensely appealing field. It has quite a lot of empathy on the part of its practitioners. The UX/UI designers must understand the user’s feelings in order to produce a fluid and pleasurable user experience. If you’re an empathic person with strong communication skills and a passion for combining technology and art, the profession of UI consultants may be a good fit for you.

It suits those who want to change their careers

User experience design is an excellent subject for job changers due to its acceptance of transferrable talents and a diverse range of life experiences. If you walk into a room filled with UX designers, you’re likely to meet the people busy in the UX consultancy processes. But at the same time, all of them will have knowledge in graphic design, web design, marketing, psychology, and other disciplines.

A person with an undergraduate degree in psychology, for example, could thrive as a UX Researcher. A writer or marketer may discover that they appreciate working on User Experience’s features generation. There are numerous ways for individuals to transfer their talents from another profession to UI consulting.

Communication, critical thinking, and an interest in human psychology are all transferable skills that can help you succeed in a satisfying user experience career. Of course, any designer will require training in the job-specific design skills required, but those talents are easily reachable.

How to choose a UI UX design agency?

As a business owner, the process of hiring skilled UX design studios is not as simple as it may appear. There are hundreds of UX businesses competing for attention. It’s a daily occurrence for them, but for you, it may be a win-win or a lose-lose situation. So to understand how exactly you can come out on the right path, use these four criteria to identify the top user experience agency for future collaborations.

1. Check their portfolio

Every UX design consulting should have a portfolio of completed projects. It demonstrates experience, the industries in which a company has worked, and the level of quality you can expect if you choose to engage with this certain interaction design agency.

Here are some criteria that you should consider when browsing through the UI UX consultant portfolio:

  • Visual design examples: Clients and links to their websites.
  • Types of projects: Design, research, branding, audit, etc.
  • Business Industries they were working in.
  • Project success factor.

While you may not discover all of this information in a portfolio, it is advised to investigate these details and choose the most suited UX partner. These insignificant moments can be critical in the decision-making process and hence are worth considering.

2. Credibility Criteria

Here we would like to suggest several important points to consider before selecting one agency among other UI UX consulting firms.

Credibility is all about the ui design company’s online profile and reputation. Because it cannot always be controlled, a simple Google search will reveal the extent to which a UX design organization has created an online presence. Additionally, it is a good idea to conduct background checks on personnel, contact corporate representatives, and ask questions.

As an additional step, contact a couple of the top UI design companies that seem most promising. These are the UI UX design firms that have a high probability of becoming user experience companies. This way, you can focus your search and save time.

3. Former project’s success proof

Another significant factor worth the attention of a business owner is to see the successful proof of the UI/UX agency’s past projects to testify the UI company’s skills.

While the process of qualifying a UX design firm’s worth is not always straightforward, this is how a large number of UX firms will evaluate the potential return on their future design investments. Most likely, you want to see who exactly their works have improved performance, conversion and bounce rates, and user flows.

And without efficient website performance, visually appealing design is meaningless. To provide context, the following is what should be included in their portfolio of successful projects:

  • A detailed review from their partners.
  • The testimonial should demonstrate that the UX design studio’s solution was a big success with certain business results.
  • Look for the accomplishment of their works.

4. Look for true professional user interface design firms

Lastly, remember that leading user experience design firms will not simply accomplish what you request. This is an incorrect strategy for your project. As a client, you want to work with true UX professionals. They always begin by listening to your concerns, then asking the appropriate questions, conducting research to pinpoint the core issues, and finally offering the right solutions.

FAQ on finding the right UX design agency

Some of the common questions people ask while looking for an agency

Q: How much does UI/UX design cost?

A: All design firms are unique, they focus on different types of clients (startups, enterprise), use different engagement models (fixed price, project-based, performance-based, time&materials, etc.). User interface is a part of a digital product that evolves and requires constant iterative improvements. That’s why we think that the best option is to consider an external agency more like an extension of your product team, rather than a one-time engagement. We’d recommend setting aside a budget at least $75k+ for hiring a U.S. based user experience agency.

Q: How does the UX design process usually go?

A: There are lots of different flavors of UX Design Process, Lean UX and Design Thinking for example.

The basic steps don’t change a lot, except for the labels and a few techniques for executing them.

  1. What’s the Problem — Do your research and plan your approach.
  2. What’s the Solution — Brainstorm and test ideas.
  3. How to make it happen — Refine, user research, and iterate.
  4. How to bring it to life — Provide your design and functional specifications to the developers.

The important themes in all the major methods are iteration and user input.

What’s the problem?
This first phase is usually called something like “discovery.” It’s all about figuring out the goals of the product or web site you are building. Is there a task your users can’t easily do on their own or with another tool? Are you looking for a better way to do something? Boiling it down to a simple problem statement clarifies and helps focus on the real purpose of your project. This phase is all about the scope and intent.

During this phase you use tools including; brainstorming with stakeholders, marketing teams, and your design team; conducting interviews with potential users and subject matter experts; research into the competition and current trends.

At the end of this step, practitioners of Lean UX develop a hypothesis that summarizes the problem and a possible solution. It includes the feature, user type, what it will achieve and how they can measure success. Other artifacts of the discovery steps may include personas, stories, workflows, or other documentation related to how

What’s the problem?
This phase is often called “definition” or “ideation.” You take all the work you did in the first phase and start thinking about the best ways to accomplish whatever task the user needs to do. This is a great time to bring your team together to collaborate in whiteboarding, mapping things out with sticky notes, and generally brainstorming solutions. Look for themes and surprises in your data and information. You are trying to generate lots of ideas and possibilities that can be run by real users and either thrown out or refined.

Your artifacts at this point are sketches, low fidelity wireframes, draft content, and architectures.

How to make it happen?
In the first couple of phases, the intent is to explore the breadth of the project. At this point, it’s more about digging deeper. The best one or two ideas from the previous phase get fleshed out. Every detail is examined and refined. User testing iterations are a big part of this phase. Wireframes become higher fidelity and then evolve into prototypes. The content and graphical assets are also created and delivered at the end of this phase.

This is also a great time to touch base with your stakeholders or clients to ensure you are all on the same page. Have them look at and play with the user interface prototypes. Concerns and suggestions can be addressed during earlier iterations rather than later when it’s harder to change directions.

How to bring it to life?
Finally, the final design from the previous phase is handed off to the development and testing teams. It should be a full flown user experience at this point. All specs, high fidelity wireframes, prototypes, text strings, and other assets are handed off. You aren’t completely done though, it’s always a good idea to work closely with the dev team making sure you can answer questions and clarify points of confusion.

What are your thoughts?
Iteration, user involvement, and open minds are key ingredients in any flavor of UX design methodology. Which methodology do you use?

Q: What are the most popular user interface (UI) prototyping tools?

A: Depending on fidelity of an interface prototype, there are a few most popular interactive prototyping tools for designers: InVision, Flinto, Marvel and some others.

Q: What makes a good UI & UX Design portfolio?

A: There are few aspects that define good ux portfolios:

  • An overview of the project
  • Explanation of the design process
  • The main steps taken during the design process
  • The final measurable outcome of the design/redesign

These are very basic but important signs of a UX design portfolio.

Q: What information is necessary for an UI design agency to start working a UX project?

A: The agency may require the following details:

  • Brief description of the business
  • Current business goals and issues that led to a conclusion of hiring a UX firm
  • Target audience
  • Competitors
  • Key stakeholders
  • Deadlines
  • Budget

Q: What are the main geographical locations of the best UI design firms?

A: The tech world today is getting more and more globalized, and lots of key players are becoming remote-friendly. It is related to both their employees, contractors and external agencies they hire. Location makes a much smaller difference now. However, lots of UX design agencies gathered in the main tech hubs and big developed cities of North America (San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Austin, Portland, Boston), UK (London, Manchester), Canada (Vancouver, Toronto), Australia (Sydney, Melbourne) and Western European cities like Berlin, Amsterdam, and Paris.

Working with an onshore company opens up the options for finding and selecting the right team, and could save you money over a local agency. However, most interaction will be conducted remotely so if in-person meetings are your preference, local may be a better option. Onshore companies are located in the same country as you, and will likely speak the same language, have access to a similar population for user testing, and be within a couple of time zones of you.

Nearshore and offshore agencies are outside your own country and can offer significant cost savings. Those near your home country may also share a similar time zone like onshore agencies. If you are located in the US, these agencies may be located in South America. Offshore agencies are often in India. Agencies in these locations will have more difficulty in testing your product if you intend to market it within your own country. If you intend to sell abroad, a team in the location you intend to market in could be a great advantage as they know the culture and language, as well as having access to the target user population. The biggest obstacles in working with offshore companies are communication, but established agencies will have tools in place to streamline meetings and communication.

Q: Beyond the list above, how to find and hire user experience designers online?

A: One of the options would be to find them at design community websites like Bēhance (by Adobe), Dribbble, Google Search.

Additional thoughts on hiring a UI design agency

Your company is building or revamping a product with a user interface but you don’t have a UX team. You are going to need to hire a professional UI/UX design agency. Selecting a UI/UX design agency may sound daunting, particularly if you don’t have much experience working with UX or agencies in general. How do you know where to start with researching companies? Our team suggests considering these key aspects in your search:

  • Agency Type/Style
  • Agency Location
  • Rapport and Working Relationship

Agency Types

There are different types of UI/UX design agencies, including:

  • Boutique Agencies: typically small teams offering close, personalized relationships
  • Enterprise Agencies: larger scale, may more easily support large, complex app, web, or software projects

Whether boutique or enterprise, agencies may specialize in a particular type of user experience:

  • eCommerce
  • Marketing Website or Web App
  • Mobile App

Look for a company that suits your working style, and has completed projects similar to yours in the past.

Location Considerations

You have many options when it comes to agencies, they can be local, “onshore”, “nearshore”, or “offshore”.

Local companies will offer the ability to easily visit your company, and vice versa. This can help to establish your working relationship and ensure a personal touch. Depending on where you are located, this could limit your options and impact your cost. Larger urban areas will offer more options but may cost more.

Working with an onshore company opens up the options for finding and selecting the right team, and could save you money over a local agency. However, most interaction will be conducted remotely so if in-person meetings are your preference, local may be a better option. Onshore companies are located in the same country as you, and will likely speak the same language, have access to a similar population for user testing, and be within a couple of time zones of you.

Nearshore and offshore agencies are outside your own country and can offer significant cost savings. Those near your home country may also share a similar time zone like onshore agencies. If you are located in the US, these agencies may be located in South America. Offshore agencies are often in India. Agencies in these locations will have more difficulty in testing your product if you intend to market it within your own country. If you intend to sell abroad, a team in the location you intend to market in could be a great advantage as they know the culture and language, as well as having access to the target user population. The biggest obstacles in working with offshore companies are communication, but established agencies will have tools in place to streamline meetings and communication.

Working Together

Once you’ve identified a few candidate agencies that look like they meet your needs for size, specialty, and location you’ll want to do a little deeper digging, and then need to interview them.

You can start by reading the client reviews. Most agencies also have websites with information about their culture, staff, and past work. These are good sources for assessing past successes and potential issues.

Just like hiring a direct employee, meeting or jumping on a Zoom call with potential vendors can give you a good understanding of who they are, beyond what they have listed on their website.

  • Ask for references. A reputable firm will be happy to share.
  • Find out who would be working on your project. You are hiring the agency, but they are hiring the team. You need to feel confident that they have the right experience and specialists available to complete your job successfully.
  • Get a feel for their processes. You want a team that has consistent, repeatable processes, but can still be flexible when it needs to be.

Starting Your Project

Before you or your top pick agency fully commit, you may consider doing a discovery phase or exploratory engagement together. If an agency you are considering doesn’t require nor offer a discovery phase or exploratory (e.g. 1 month of commitment-free work), that may be a red flag.

A discovery phase gives you an opportunity to see how well you work together and verify that this is the right team for your project. Discovery phases could include things like:

  • Conducting user research
  • Competitive Benchmarking
  • Sketching wireframes and flows
  • Scheduling out the project work

Once this phase is complete you will usually receive a more detailed estimate for the remainder of the project. You can then, usually, continue the project, or take the research and deliverables provided and look for another UI/UX design agency. If you are happy with the UI/UX design agency’s work, price, and communication after this preliminary work, you can be more confident in hiring the agency.

User experience design is complex. Take your time to find the right design agency, to avoid ending up with a difficult process or unacceptable product.

Disclaimer

This review is intended to guide businesses and individuals in selecting a UI/UX design agency that best fits their needs.

The information provided is based on thorough research and is presented in good faith.

However, it is important to note that the selection of an agency should be based on individual requirements, preferences, and business objectives.

The review does not endorse any specific agency and does not guarantee the same results for every user.

It is recommended to conduct personal research and engage directly with the agencies for detailed information.

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