Business | 17 min read
What to Expect When You Choose a Design Agency to Work With
Constant development and keeping pace with the marketplace are key factors for the growth of the company. Businesses are constantly on the lookout for ways to expand their reach among customers and gain a better place in the niche.
If you want to improve your business, then there are a lot of areas where you can start. Talking about design as an important component of business development is very important to understand what to expect from a professional design agency while working with it.
Let's understand why you need to hire a web design agency or a professional designer and what benefits of hiring an agency for web design and development a business can get.
First, it is important to understand that your business is perceived by the whole world through its website or application. And, no matter how incredible your business is, if its website is not modern and convenient for the client, then the income will be minimal.
The site must meet the current demands and trends. It should be attractive. And for a professional UI/UX design studio, the implementation of all these points is not rocket science, but a common thing.
Hiring a design agency can bring a breath of fresh air in your company, this is a chance to learn something new about design.
Secondly, hiring a design agency most often turns out to be several times cheaper than the independent work of the client's company on it. It happens because professional agencies know exactly what they are doing and why, and know how to improve the client's original idea so it is suitable for today's market.
When there are no more questions about why you should hire a design company, let's look at each stage that a company goes through, after making the choice (the right one) to hire a UX/UI design studio.
Stage 0 or Pre step
Firstly your company should choose the design studio to work with. Choose the agency that will comply with your requirements one hundred percent. Here are some points which can answer to the question “How to hire a web designer?”:
Satisfying all requests.
A design company must perform tasks of the complexity that you need.
To understand what you should expect from a professional design agency, you need to look at the portfolio of studios (see works to comprehend the main points which should be illustrated in a good portfolio), view past client testimonials, communicate with other companies which sites or applications you find interesting and suitable for your needs.
Do not be afraid to ask for advice. (You can even ask us)
Here the rule is simple: reject the cheapest price. Seduced by the cheapest offer, your company may end up paying more. When service is cheap, you may also get poorly written code, lack of tests and poor communication, and moreover, lack of transparency in the development process.
The design may be poorly structured. Here the matter is not even appearance, but the fact that it may be unsuitable for the developer to work with it. And the larger the project is, the more issues may appear.
Hiring an agency for web design and development, look for one which guarantees that the budget won’t exceed a set rate or a maximum.
Communication is a key moment.
Pay attention to how reachable the company is and how much it communicates with the client during the implementation of the project. An ideal design agency should maintain constant communication on Slack, Skype, e-mails or other apps.
It is also worth considering the aspect of how open the company is when answering the questions regarding their work.
Sometimes you may see that the agency meets all your technical requirements, but you're just not on the same wavelength. In this case, it is better to believe your feelings and continue the search for the perfect candidate.
Now, having examined all the candidates and thought over your decision very carefully, you should end up on the threshold of the next stage with a design studio that meets all your demands.
Stage 0.1 or Goal Setting
Now it's time to answer the question “What do I need to work with a design agency?”.
Having the perfect company to work with, you need to analyze all your wishes. The clearer you understand what you need, the better the result of your collaboration with the studio will be.
Before holding the first meeting with the studio, you can create a vision board or just sketch your ideas on paper. You must first understand what exactly you want. Think of all your design expectations. Create a sheet of your must-haves and dislikes. By doing this you simplify and speed up the work of the design agency.
Do not leave a chance for a mistake - imagine the whole project as clear as you can.
Sometimes, as a client, you don’t know what your website or application should look like. Then the design studio can create a mood board with ideas on how your project might look.
In such cases, at Cadabra Studio we study the market, look for examples among other companies and help the client to make the right choice. You just have to choose the most attractive options.
Stage 1 or First Official Acquaintance
This is the stage of the client’s closest communication with the studio. Here you meet the team that will now turn your dreams about the project into reality. Now you have to tell the design agency about everything that you thought up while working on stage 0.1 and answer all the questions.
If this is a website redesign, then be sure to explain why the old version is no longer suitable. If this is the launch of the application, then familiarize the studio with the site of your company.
At the first meeting, you will walk from beginning to end of the project, discuss all the details and agree on the main project milestones. At this stage, the client and the team agree on how the company can get the finished project. It can be done in Sketch, Invision, Zeplin or other tools the company works with.
At Cadabra Studio, we first make a call with the client, find out goals or offer our ideas if the client cannot decide how exactly the design should look like. Then, based on this call, we send a proposal - presentation of our ideas concerning the project, the latest testimonials from our clients, detailed presentation of the company and estimation.
The estimation is a rough calculation of the effort and cost required to complete the project. Estimation depends on the wishes of the client and the features that will be in the project.
Using estimation we understand what the budget of the project will be and whether a minimum viable (MVP) product will be provided or not. We don’t always have MVP at Cadabra, it’s more like an option if the client’s wishes and the project budget do not match.
Also, if the project is a startup, we advise the client to do MVP initially to assess the final version of the project and avoid unnecessary features.
At the end of the first stage, you must sign a contract and complete the familiarization phase.
Stage 2 or Strategy Development
Now the studio begins its intensive work. This is the time for research of the design company. Here the studio finds answers to questions about how the product can satisfy the needs of the customers, how to stand out from the crowd and how to get the best income.
User research allows the studio to get a full understanding of the user needs and how to satisfy their future or present clients. This is the period when the design studio builds up expectations concerning the project.
At the end of this stage, when the work plan is told, the main priorities are identified, the design of the project officially begins.
Stage 3 or First Results
At this point, the team begins the most active process. This is the period when a prototype of a future project is created. This will allow the design studio to see the client's design expectations in reality and avoid misunderstandings in the future.
The initial presentation of the project allows the client to see the tone and the concept of work. Here the client sees how his ideas will look in real life and makes corrections. At Cadabra, we create a clickable prototype via InVision App that helps the client to get involved in the design process.
As a result of this stage, the customer receives the first version of the project. Here you need to understand that the first version is a preview. This is not a finished product, but a prototype that has the main characteristics of the project.
When the prototype is confirmed (this may happen after several changes) the UX stage is completed. After that, the customer receives several designs and interface options that the company will use creating the UI.
Stage 4 or When The Time Slows Down
Once all the pieces of the project have come together, it is time for the final touches. And this is the quiet work that requires time and full attention. Fixing bugs, checking the functionality of all mechanisms, improving the design - this is what happens at this stage.
During this period, you, as a client, can control the progress of the project, consult the schedule that was discussed with you at stage 1. The most important thing that the client must do now is to have communication with the team, give comments on the work they have done.
The importance of constant communication between the client and the company is needed because in case of bad communication the price and duration of the project may increase.
As a result of this phase, the company completes the design phase and either send the result in the form of source files (as agreed during stage 1) or proceeds to the development phase.
Stage 5 or Finishing Touches
It is time for the development stage. If the development is carried out by the design studio, then it is the designer who controls the whole accuracy of the implementation of the design in the code and makes corrections.
The client company may want to implement the design itself. This decision can make working with design more difficult, as the communication between the designer and the developer may deteriorate due to the remoteness of the designer from the project.
It is important to understand that all changes should be made at the first stages of the work on the project, as changes at the final stages are very expensive and disadvantageous for the company.
Be attentive that this is only an approximate description of the stages of work with an agency. This assessment was made based on the work of Cadabra Studio. The process may differ from company to company, but it is the general outline of what you should expect from a professional design agency.
You must understand that a good design studio should be open, ready to adapt to your requirements, modern and be on the same wavelength as you are. Remember that creating a design is like magic. And the result depends on the skills of the magician.
Share your experience of how it was like hiring a design agency.