Outsourcing Project Success: How To Find the Right UX Consulting Team

Seamless user experience (UX) lies at the forefront of any winning software solution. To deliver intuitive and user-centric products, you need a UX consulting team that understands both your audience and your product. It’s also important that their skills match your needs.

The demand for UX consulting services is rising. While outsourcing rates vary by industry, about 60% of organizations outsource app development.

Most companies want to reduce costs without compromising quality. There’s also a need to focus on core competencies, flexible engagement models, and digital transformation strategies to stay ahead of the competition. While not all product teams will outsource the entire process, most outsource their UX/UI design during some part of the journey.

Let’s look at the essential criteria to consider as you choose a UX consulting agency. These insights will help you identify gaps in your development process to ensure you find a UX partner that can meet your needs.

Why Outsourcing Can Be a Challenging Process

While in-house UX/UI design gives you a large degree of control, it takes a substantial investment to acquire, retain, and maintain an in-house team. High demand for UX design may strain resources and lengthen development timelines. In addition, the industry necessitates continuous learning and professional development.

UX consulting

External UX consulting offers several benefits. For instance, businesses can access experienced designers from a diverse talent pool without the overhead costs of an internal team. This cost-effectiveness allows an efficient use of resources. External teams can also provide fresh perspectives and industry best practices. Their external point of view can help identify blind spots and missed opportunities.

However, there can be some potential challenges with UX consulting. This is especially true when it comes to communication, cultural differences, and work methodologies.

Communication challenges can arise from distance and time zone differences. What’s more, external teams may need time to grasp your vision, culture, and target audience so they can design user experiences that match your brand identity. This initial learning curve can affect the efficiency and effectiveness of the design process.

Quality control and protecting intellectual property are two other concerns that can make businesses reluctant to partner with an external team. While choosing a suitable UX consulting partner can help prevent unnecessary roadblocks, there are also strategies that can help businesses mitigate these challenges.

Finding the Right UX Consulting Team

Before you evaluate the suitability of potential UX consulting teams, clearly define what you want to achieve. Identify the project or product development goal as well as your long-term strategy. You should also determine where you are in the product development process and the specific gaps you need to fill.

For instance, your product or project goal might be to:

  • Develop a new digital product or app
  • Improve an existing digital product or app
  • Solve a complex or ambiguous software or system problem
  • Get a better understanding of prospective and existing customers to improve your offering
  • Modernize legacy systems and processes

In addition to the specific design activity, your long-term objectives may involve some of the following scenarios:

  • Our goal is to streamline our online process to decrease customer service inquiries by x% and enhance customer satisfaction by y%. Doing so will lead to cost savings of $x and boost annual sales from returning customers by $y.
  • We need to gather customer feedback on our current mobile web app to see if they want any new features that a native mobile app could offer. This will help us determine if investing in a native mobile app is the right decision.
  • We must develop a strategy to incorporate a newly acquired company’s products into our portfolio or maintain them as a separate brand. This strategy should also consider the creation of new buyer personas and buyer journeys.
  • We’re developing a three-year leadership plan and aim to present impactful ideas that will significantly impact the business. We want to build this plan around concrete customer insights, concept designs, and strategic narrative.
  • We need help synthesizing research data and personas into journey maps and an actionable web content strategy that will be the basis for our corporate website redesign.

UpTopUpTop Perspective

Providing clarity regarding your objectives, goals and scenarios helps the UX Consultant to understand the “What”, then they can dig deeper to identify the gaps that define the best approach to solve your problem.

UX consulting

Key Considerations and Criteria for UX Consulting

Once you’ve identified your objectives, use the following considerations and criteria to evaluate whether prospective consulting agencies can meet your specific needs. After all, there will be challenging moments in any project. It’s important to choose a partner you trust and feel you’ll be able to work well with.

In terms of relevant expertise and experience, ask these questions:

  • Has the UX agency worked on a problem, product, or solution similar to ours?
  • Do they work in our industry or an adjacent industry that can provide perspective to their thinking?
  • Have they worked with clients in our industry, and what do past clients say about them?
  • Do they work with companies similar in size to ours?
  • Do they have a track record of success?
  • Does their approach fit our company culture and work style?
  • Who are the individuals that will work on the project?
  • What specific expertise and experience do individuals on the team have?
  • How do they stay updated with the latest digital trends and technologies?
  • Do I like them, and do I trust them?

Also consider the agency’s ability to achieve goals within budget and the dedicated time frame. For instance:

  • Are they responsive?
  • Do they understand the problem and/or situation?
  • Do they have a process or system that they follow?
  • Are they organized?
  • Do they have a communication strategy within and between teams and stakeholders?
  • Do they offer post-launch support and maintenance?

How To Handle Common UX Consulting Challenges

Once you’ve decided on a suitable UX consulting team, the following strategies can help you manage project challenges:

Minimize communication barriers resulting from timezone, language, and cultural differences.

Use tools such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, or email to establish clear communication channels. Schedule regular video calls to build rapport and ensure everyone is in alignment. Maintain detailed documentation of requirements, feedback, and changes to keep everyone on the same page.

Ensure the outsourced team meets quality standards.

Set clear expectations from the very beginning by defining quality standards, deliverable formats, and timelines. Regularly review designs and present constructive feedback. Use prototyping tools to share mock-ups and facilitate feedback loops.

Keep the project on track without direct oversight.

Assign a dedicated project manager to act as a liaison between your company and the outsourced team. Use tools such as Asana, Jira, or Trello to track progress, assign tasks, and manage deadlines. Break the project into smaller milestones with specific deliverables to monitor progress and address issues early.

Ensure the outsourced team has the necessary background and understanding of your project.

Conduct a comprehensive onboarding by providing detailed briefings on your company, product, and user base. Make relevant research, user data, and brand guidelines accessible to the team.

outsourcing porject success

Protect your intellectual property and sensitive information.

Have the outsourced team sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) before you share any sensitive information. Limit access to information and systems based on the necessity to know and use secure sharing tools. Offer the necessary company security training as part of the onboarding process.

Address potential challenges proactively through planning and clear communication. Also, implement appropriate tools and practices from the beginning. In doing so, you can create a productive and efficient working relationship with the external consultancy.

7 Red Flags To Avoid in a UX Consulting Team

When evaluating UX consulting teams, there are several potential warning signs to be wary of. Watch for the following red flags and conduct thorough vetting to make an informed decision about which UX consulting team best fits your needs and goals.

  1. Limited Client References: If a team is hesitant to give client references or has few testimonials available, it may suggest a lack of successful past collaborations.
  2. Overpromising Results: Be cautious of teams that guarantee specific outcomes or results without fully understanding the scope of the project. Unrealistic promises could lead to disappointment and delays. You may also overshoot your budget.
  3. Poor Communication Skills: Communication is key in any collaboration. If a UX consulting team is unresponsive, ambiguous, or fails to keep you updated on project progress, you could face misunderstandings.
  4. Resistance to Feedback: A good UX consulting team should be open to feedback and willing to make revisions based on your input. A defensive or dismissive team could hinder the collaborative process and result in a less-than-ideal outcome.
  5. Pricing Structure Lacks Transparency: Ambiguous pricing can lead to unforeseen expenses. Agencies should disclose all fees, including possible additional charges.
  6. No Project Management Strategy: The agency should have a robust project management strategy in place to ensure deadlines are met efficiently.
  7. No (or Limited) KPIs To Measure Success: A reliable agency should establish clear success metrics and provide regular progress reports to keep you informed about the status of your project.

UpTopUpTop Perspective

Good design goes beyond the surface. An experienced consultancy will find the nexus between desirability, feasibility, and viability. That’s why we believe that great UX is about engineering the entire experience, not just the design of the screens.

Achieve Measurable Success With the Right UX Consulting Team

The journey to finding the right UX consulting team is paved with critical decision points. Successful collaboration is more than just avoiding mistakes. You should partner with those who share your vision and possess the skills to execute it effectively.

UpTop helps businesses expand their reach and capitalize on market opportunities through the development of top-tier digital experiences. Our teams collaborate with clients on UX strategy, product design, and software development to guide initial design decisions and then validate them through in-depth research.

Connect with us to chart a path toward a user-centric future where your investments become measurable success.