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How to Hire a UX Designer in 2021

Hiring a User Experience (UX) designer can be a solution for different projects and needs. You need a UX professional to launch your new app concept from an idea to a functional prototype. It can also be a way to get your website more fine-tuned, fitting a wider audience, or even a narrower niche if you desire. UX designers specialize in many different parts of the development and design workflow and process, so you need to know what you need before approaching the workplace.

By the end of this article, you’ll have a good understanding of the ins and outs of hiring a UX designer in 2021.

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What Are the Benefits of Hiring a UX Designer?

User experience defines how users behave with the product throughout their journey, including before and after interacting.

UX designers try to understand the person behind the user, analyze your target audience and understand how external factors influence their purchasing and behavior when it comes to your product.

Whether you have an application or website, the user interface is carefully adapted to minimize “dropoff,” or users become disinterested. UX aims to foster sales and conversions – to get your users to do something and maximize the time they spend with your product.

User behavior works with emotion. Hiring a UX designer allows you to understand how your product emotionally affects your users. Then you can make the right decisions to improve your users’ experience and increase sales and customer loyalty.

What Is Good UX Design?

Good user experience (UX) design is product planning that incorporates the user from the beginning stages of development.

It starts with in-depth target audience analysis, the development of persona examples,” and a consistent tone and style for your brand.

UX designers will need to start again without this groundwork, interviewing your brand’s stakeholders to understand their commonalities and compare this sense of identity with the composed product.

Good UX designers will ask many questions, often metaphorically, about you, your team, and your intended users to understand the central values and interpret them to your audience.

What Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring a UX Designer?

Hiring new talent in your company always comes with challenges. The position of UX designer is not an exceptionmany people think that this profession is about exceptional creativity. Still, there are a lot of other required tech skills to become a qualified professional.

What to consider when looking for a UX designer, and what common mistakes employers make? Read on!

Hiring a UX Designer Just to Make Beautiful Prototypes

That’s a common misconception. Employers often focus on prototyping and storyboards in UX design which is the initial visual stage of development.

Although a beautiful design product is created as a clear deliverable from the designer, the target audience’s core analysis may have been overlooked.

If all you need is a beautiful design, you need a UI designer, not a UX designer. UX is about people, their experience, and your product’s identity, not just about the way it looks.

Hiring a UX Designer Just for a UX Audit

UX designers may also come into a project in the auditing phase or when the project is mainly completed. The main task for the UX designer at this stage might be to edit the website copy or look over the texts and graphics.

As we mentioned before, the UX development process focuses on understanding the audience and user experience. So, hiring a designer just to check some product parts is not a good idea.

People often hire a UX designer far too late in the process, and they also fail to get a second opinion. Hiring multiple UX designers, even ones who don’t agree with each other, can be valuable to hone your optimal user experience.

Creating Brand Identity, Style Guides, or Target Audience Analysis (TAA) Without a UX Designer

A UX designer’s core study is about your product and brand’s personification and the users who interact with your product. By keeping the UX designer out of the loop and treating them as a graphic designer, you’re missing out on the core use of UX.

The UX designer needs to have full access to your company’s top leadership and stakeholders and be allowed to ask the necessary questions.

Good UX designers may be uncomfortable working with – much like psychologists. They are trying to get inside your head and the minds of your users to predict the reactions.

Although it can be uncomfortable, you need to trust the process, and in the end, you’ll know much better who you are as a company, brand, and how others perceive you.

How Much Do UX Designers Charge?

Good UX designers might charge upwards of $75 an hour. For that price, they’ll create personas for your brand and perform a comprehensive Target Audience Analysis. For simple prototyping and wireframing work, UX designers might cost $25 an hour or even less. But you should understand that these numbers are the specialists’ rates without additional expenses. If you hire in-house designers, you will also pay for the hiring process and have additional expenses like bonuses and taxes. See the comparison of rates depending on the hiring model.

In-house UX designer from the USFreelancer on UpworkCandidate from YouTeam
Average hourly rate$43$32$39
Extra costsTaxes, bonuses, non-financial benefits, office rent, and supportUpwork commissionNo commission
Hiring costsHR costs, job promotional adsManagers’ time for candidate sourcing, screening, and interviewingYouTeam does candidates’ sourcing and assists with interviews for free

Source: Salary.com, YouTeam, Upwork

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If you’ve already done a lot of work, however, and you have style guides, user personas, and user experience journeys, you might be able to hire a cheaper designer.

If you don’t quite know what UX journeys and personas are, check out these resources over at UX Lady, where they talk about UX designers’ commitments in-depth. That would be helpful for you to understand what you need and what to ask in interviews.

How to Hire a UX Designer

First, identify the development stage for your product. What have you already completed?

  1. Keyword, market, and demographic research
  2. User research and target audience analysis
  3. Brand identity and style guides
  4. Stakeholder analysis and interview process
  5. User persona generation
  6. User experience journey analysis
  7. Wireframing, prototyping, and user testing
  8. A/B testing and market demographic research testing
  9. Product UX auditing
  10. Product marketing
  11. Product and customer support

As you move further along the product development process, your needs for a UX designer will change.

Specific tasks in their approach like wireframing are less demanding than functions like style guides that require interviews with your company’s significant influencers and stakeholders.

Ask Yourself: “What Are My Company’s Business Goals?”

Is your product on a fast track with a large marketing budget? Are you a startup with just a concept sketch? Depending on your budget and needs, you may need a single designer for all of your UX and UI development processes or the whole team to build software with your developers from scratch.

Ask How Much of the UX Process Can You Complete On Your Own?

Many stages and processes are good to complete, even if you don’t need a UX designer right now. User testing, TAA, and keyword research can all be done by various tools and roles.

For example, UX developers might be helpful to execute designs and maintain consistency across your apps. They can more easily complete projects with an established structure, such as adapting menus or maintaining a look and feel across a new web app to match the iOS app.

Suppose you’re looking for a professional for a completely new design process, and you haven’t done market research before. In that case, you’re more likely to need a senior UX designer to holistically look at your needs, build your product design and make it stand out above the other options on the market.

When you decide to hire a designer, consider signing an employment contract with them to keep the relationship professional and safe.

Do You Need a Senior User Experience Designer?

If you cannot hire a senior qualified UX designer, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hire anyone. If your project and budget require a junior UX specialist, we highly recommend hiring a part-time senior specialist to consult you at the beginning. This professional can help identify your UX needs and create the core design structure. Then you can employ junior UX designers to take care of the defined tasks.

Also, be aware of designers marketing themselves as UI/UX. It can be hard to distinguish between UI and UX from the customer perspective, as we can often see them together as “UI/UX”. From the industry perspective, however, they are different things. UI only deals with user interfaces, so when you are hiring a UI designer, you might need a graphic designer, not a thought leader, or someone with skills in user behavior. But when you hire UX professionals, they should be skilled in creating great customer journeys with your product.

When Junior Designers Can Be a Good Choice

UX can include animation and interactive design. You might not need someone who calls themself a UX designer. You can search for animation designers on job sites and apply them to UX tasks like A/B testing.

You can have these designers introduce slight changes to your product, like adding animated buttons, and see how your user behavior changes.

Junior designers might not yet call themselves UX designers or UX developers and are more likely to occupy both roles. But the lack of experience means that their “crazy ideas” might be genuinely original, out-of-the-box thinking, or just off on a tangent.

Many junior UX designers only know one platform, which matters when integrating their new designs into what your company already has. Even further, some junior UX designers don’t know how to code.

Not every UX designer works with every application or operating system, so you’ll need to make sure they’re familiar with the ecosystem and unique workflows associated with your product’s platform.

If you have a design team, a junior UX specialist is a good option, as they will grow with others. Newcomers always learn a lot, and even if they are not familiar with your team’s toolset, they can upskill quickly.

So, hiring junior specialists is a great option if you can hire a UX consultant to help initially, or you already have other experienced UX designers in your team.

UX designer

Top UX/UI Designer Positions: Whom to Hire in 2021

UI Strategists: they are like UX designers who specifically look at your digital user interface’s layout.

They’ll maximize the way your app performs on your platform or device and help your users be more intuitive and natural.

iOS/Android UX Designers: such specialists specifically know the ecosystem of iOS and Android operating systems, and they ensure your product runs smoothly on different screens and works on every smartphone.

They can help understand how your users perceive your brand as a mobile app, always with them in their pocket.

UX/UI Relationship Managers: can help your company interface with your partners and integrate great user experiences. They’ll determine how users behave differently between your app and your partner’s apps, and they will help identify synergies between the two companies and brand identities.

Adobe UX Design Managers: might specifically work with Adobe XD, Spark, and other professional UX design toolsets. Managers are often required to help transition UX from one stage to another and allow individual designers to deep-dive or specialize in their specific part of the workflow.

Your UX design managers can see the big picture and connect many UX designers into a comprehensive unit.

UX Designer Recruiters: can help decide what type of UX designer you need. If it’s all too much information to choose from, there are people to help. UX is a complicated industry, bridging the gap between behavioral psychology, data science, engineering, and the pure art of design.

The good news is that if you need them, UX designer recruiters are people who understand that you’re busy. They work hard to find just the right team for you, so you can focus on running your company.

What Are the Popular Resources to Look For UX Designers?

  1. Dribbble: inspirational desk for designers where you can find and hire specialists open for opportunities
  2. UX Collective: A blogging resource for designers, by designers. A great place to learn about all things design and find professionals
  3. Behance: Adobe-centric creative social network for designers to market themselves, find collaborators, sell their work, and post job opportunities
  4. Designer News: Many designers promote themselves and their favorite resources here.

However, sometimes freelancers cannot provide quality solutions. To find an experienced UI/UX designer with high-level expertise, you may need to spend at least a month just searching and interviewing. Furthermore, you have to verify the skills of your potential candidate, but if you come from a non-design background, it would be challenging indeed.

You can browse already verified profiles of UI/UX Designers found in professional agencies, check out their hourly rates, and YouTeam will help you to hire the needed specialist in a few days.

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Written by
Darya Jandossova Troncoso

Darya is a photographer, artist, and writer working on her first novel and managing a digital marketing blog - MarketSplash. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, creating art, and learning everything there is to know about digital marketing.

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