As it suggests in the name, user experience is all about ensuring that the product's user (the product can be physical or online) has a good experience while using it.
There needs to be clarity going on between UI design and UX design; a lot of people think both of them are the same thing. But they're not.
Ken Norton, Partner at Google Ventures and Ex-Product Manager at Google, effortlessly put the difference by saying, "UX is focused on the user's journey to solve a problem; UI is focused on how a product's surfaces look and function."
UX design starts with identifying a problem and then finding the best possible way of solving that.
Henry Dreyfuss, an industrial engineer, puts the measurement of whether the UX design is good or not in an understandable manner, "When the point of contact between the product and the people becomes a point of friction, then the [designer] has failed. But, on the other hand, if people are made safer, more comfortable, more eager to purchase, more efficient—or just plain happier—by contact with the product, then the designer has succeeded."
Before hiring, it starts with understanding what a UX designer actually does. Here is a simple explanation of the works of a UX designer:
Although it seems simple, UX is a broad umbrella. Therefore, if you go deeper into understanding UX design, you must divide UX into four parts.
Experience Strategy (ExS)
Interaction Design (IxD)
User Research (UR)
Information Architecture (IR)
Let's briefly understand each one of them:
UX is not only about giving service to the customer; it also has to take care of the company's needs. Experience strategy is where the design and business meet each other and help each other to get stronger. Experience strategy creates a strategy to inculcate customer needs and company needs.
IxD is one of the most critical parts of UX design. Interaction design aims to create designs that allow users to complete the core tasks and actions effortlessly.
UI (a subset of IxD) focuses on visuals while IxD focuses on making the interaction between a human and a computer more human-like. It includes animation, micro-interactions, search, transitions, and other motion-based designs.
User research is about identifying the existing problems users face and finding solutions. This job requires extensive research and interaction with users through forms, interviews, and surveys. After the research, the next step is to create a user persona (a character sketch of an average user) to understand the needs and objectives of an end user. Finally, if the research analysis is a mixture of qualitative and quantitative data, it helps to make good decisions.
The purpose of information architecture is to organize information and use it in an accessible and meaningful way. This job helps the user learn, adapt and navigate the product. Therefore, extra attention is paid during information architecture to ensure the language used everywhere is short, consistent, and convincing.
As you see, UX design is more than just wireframing and sketching; it also includes working on communication design, usability engineering, psychology, computer science, cognitive science, and so much more. It is a multidisciplinary work.
To not make things complicated, you can say that UX designing is all about making the product as user-friendly and accessible as possible.
UX Design = Humanizing technology
Despite the variety of roles, if you make it simple, the roles and responsibilities of a UX designer boil down to six essential things:
All the trusted online platforms, like Refrens, Indeed, Glassdoor, etc., can be an easy and fastest option to look for people who want to get hired. Almost everyone on these platforms has all the details required to evaluate them. But sometimes, good designers are not actively seeking to get hired; to find those people, you have to find creative ways.
You can search LinkedIn for keywords like UX designers, and you will get 1000s of results. To minimize the number of designers and choose only the credible ones, then you look for mutual connections with any designer, and consider them first. Ask your mutual friend whether they know their work or not. If they don’t, then look at the designer's portfolio and find the recent companies they have worked for, and then see the company's designs, and then you can message them to connect.
This process can also be done on social media like Instagram or Twitter, but LinkedIn is preferable as most people come on LinkedIn to showcase their professional work.
Platforms like Pinterest and Behance can be wise choices for looking for someone who is a designer. Looking for good UX designs on these platforms is like looking at a catalog, once you start finding, gather the ones that resonate with you, and then look for the creators of those designs and approach them.
After finding appropriate candidates, you must judge their work before hiring them for your project.
First, look for the live projects they have worked on. And evaluate them on two fundamental parameters:
Are the people who are targeted using the product? If yes, what are the reasons for using this product, and what are their experiences and feedback?
Is the design helping the product to achieve the desired business goal? If yes, how much does the design play a part in generating business?
The best way to evaluate a UX designer is to see their recent work. After all, their work speaks for itself. And the above simple parameters will give a lot of clarity to the designer's capabilities.
The next step of evaluating is to ask a question:
What are the products out there that are poorly designed, and if you get a chance, what are the significant changes that you will make? And what products do you think are exceptionally designed, and why do you believe that?
The answer to the following questions will tell you about how much the designer is passionate about their work, whether they are constantly looking for places for inspiration and improvements (even if they can't do anything about it), and whether they make sense or not.
If you are looking at their designs, you can check a few things in them:
Whether the design is made with the alignment of the intent of the particular page? If you are a stranger looking at the screen, what is the first, second and third thing you will see? And whether those are also in the same priority-wise hierarchy. This means the first thing you see or read is the first thing that the product wants you to see or read.
Look for how the colors are used. Firstly whether the contrast and the choice of color are friendly to people with poor eyesight, or are the product usable under sunlight with the glare of the sun? Secondly, look for the consistency of color. Does the color is consistent and linked throughout the product? Finally, does color make understanding the product easier for the user by differentiating things from color?
Words used in the product, is it accurate and understandable?
Are there visual cues that give the user feedback so that the user feels that they are interacting with the product?
Small products can be deceiving. Because of less information on small products, you need help understanding the reality of having essential information about a product. The question is when the product is scaled with information, will the design be able to achieve the business's core purpose?
Many designers need to pay more attention to new users; they get so involved in the existing design and give more to the current users that they end up creating a product that looks alien to someone unfamiliar. Is the creation of the product easily understandable to first-time users?
And the last area to look at is the designer's skills, personality, and qualities. Having below things in a designer means that they are suitable to achieve any given task and keep improving in the process:
After evaluating the designer, the next step is to get clarity on their deliverables and the timeline; most of these are common in a lot of other fields too:
Letter of agreement: There should be a simple, easy-to-read document that states all the terms of the arrangement. The written document helps prevent misunderstandings, and in worse situations, it can protect your legal rights.
Scope of work (SOW): A significant range of work must be cleared from the beginning. What will be the deliverables from the designer's end? What will indicate that the project is complete? What will be the measurable outcome? How many drafts and revisions will be offered by the designer? Everything clear before starting the project makes the work much smoother and easier to execute.
Expiration Dates: This includes the time you can give feedback on edits. This saves the designer from clients who don't reply after the first draft, and they never get paid.
Project Outcome: Here you can expect user personas, user journeys, wireframes, mockups, and interactive prototypes that visually communicate the overall user experience of a digital product. Additionally, a UX designer also conducts user research, testing, and validation to ensure that the design solution meets the needs, goals and pain points of the target users.
The timeline can vary from designer to designer and work to work. Still, if the UX design includes everything, it takes a minimum of 3 months to generate satisfactory results. But again, it all depends on the depth of the project, the expectations of you (the employer), the scope of work, and the number of people working. Even after aligning the timeline, you should be aware and ready for the fact that this is a subjective field; no matter how much planning has been done, there is a possibility of delay due to n number of reasons.
Once the timeline and deliverables are aligned, the last step is understanding what not to do. Here is a not-to-do list to follow:
Do not look for a superhuman: If you expect one person to do everything in your company, from UX to UI, it is a big mistake. Making one person do all the work seems tempting, but better choices exist. Even if it looks like a benefit, people will impact your project in the long run.
Do not fall for the "More experience = Better designer" trap: In a field like designing, there are so many clients out there that even if someone has mediocre design sense, they can still find projects for them. Thus, evaluating a designer on the number of projects they have done is a bad idea. 3-4 projects are more than enough to judge the quality of their work.
Please do not overlook the hidden gems: People tend to ignore people who don't have much experience in this field, the moment they don't see the experience, they read further. When looking for a UX designer, look at what they did before entering this field. Professions like teaching, psychology, architecture, etc., give a unique perspective that should be noticed. We recommend that you take these candidates as viable options.
Don't try to micromanage: Many people have this habit of not letting people do according to them. Even after doing all the research before hiring, they still want to control the process. Micromanaging and not giving space to creative expression and freedom to experiment will result in a disaster. They'll end up with a possible design without the UX designer, and the time, resources, and talent invested in the project will go to waste.
Well, now the last part of the process is money! Of course, you want to pay the designer fairly. That's why knowing the industry standards will help in decision-making.
Pricing in the UX designing industry happens on an hourly basis.
Some UX designers may charge a flat rate for a project, which can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the complexity of the project and their experience.
It's important to understand that the cost of hiring a UX designer should be seen as an investment for the long-term benefit of the organization. A well-designed user experience can help improve customer satisfaction, increase engagement, and ultimately drive conversions. It's also important to have a clear understanding of the cost and the deliverables before proceeding with the project, to avoid any unexpected expenses.
It's important to note that the cost of hiring a UX designer will depend on the scope and complexity of the project, the qualifications and experience of the designer, the location, and the needs of the organization. It's always a good idea to get quotes from different designers to ensure that the cost is reasonable for the services that will be provided.
| Sample UX Designing Charges
|PROJECT TYPE||AVERAGE FEES RANGE|
|Web design||$1000 - $5000+|
|Mobile app design||$1000 - $5000+|
|Software design||$1000 - $5000+|
|E-commerce design||$1000 - $5000+|
|Dashboard design||$1000 - $5000+|
|Game design||$3000 - $7000+|
|User research||$1000 - $5000+|
|Usability testing||$1000 - $5000+|
So, here is the guide to help you answer the "How to hire a freelance UX designer?"
Do share this article with someone looking for a guide to hiring a freelance UX designer. Feel free to ask any questions or doubts in the comment. If you are looking for a UX designer, check out Refrens to find the right fit for your next project.
Can you walk me through your design process and how you gather user insights?
This can help you understand how the designer approaches problem-solving and how they gather user insights.
Can you give an example of a particularly challenging project you've worked on and how you approached solving it?
Knowing this can help you gauge the designer's ability to handle constraints and navigate trade-offs that are inherent in the design process.
Can you show me some examples of your previous work and explain the design decisions you made and the results achieved?
Knowing the designer's level of experience and the types of projects they have worked on in the past can help you judge whether