For startups, it can be difficult to know when to spend and when to save, when to outsource and when to hire and also how to hire. While trying to differentiate the essential team members from the valuable (but not necessary) extras, there seems to be no clear answer; different strategies work for different startups.
One consideration for startups is whether or not to bring a UI or UX designer on board during the early days. Here are some considerations when trying to determine whether or not your startup agency needs a UI or UX designer.
When building your product, everything comes down to your user experience. From how you approach your clients initially to how their invoice is generated, presenting your startup in the best possible light is essential.
UI-- or user interface design-- design plays a significant role in the user experience, through visual stimulus and interaction. It’s not only about how the visual effects, such as the typography and formatting, impact your user; it’s also about the finer details that take place as someone moves about your site. What happens visually when someone clicks a link? Is it apparent that the desired action has been successful? UI design takes the framework assembled by the UX team and shows users what to do and how to do it to achieve their desired goals.
UX-- user experience-- is more foundational. The UX designer looks at the target demographic and determines the most effective way to have them move around your product to create conversions. Whereas UI designers address the minutiae of user interactions, UX designers take a higher level, macro approach. They determine the user flow and build a prototype based on their findings. After testing to determine the effectiveness of their design, they hand it to UI for the finer details.
To understand how UX and UI come together, consider this analogy: UX is the architect who determines how a building should be laid out to allow a visitor to effectively get from point A to point B. When the building is constructed, UI is the interior design that creates a positive experience, complete with signs to direct visitors and illuminated buttons that show when an elevator is on the way.
If you want your startup to be competitive in the market and an app is the foundation of your offering, then yes, you will want to have UX and UI designers. Startups that are less app-centric and more focused on digital marketing and B2B work should also have UX and UI designers in their contact list.
However, with limited resources available, how do you choose between the two?
For startups that can only hire one, resources should be allocated to hiring a UX designer to be on staff while working with an independent contractor for UI design. For one, it’s better to have a continuous relationship with someone who will be building a framework for an organization. This rapport allows for a better understanding of style and expectations during a project.
From an economic standpoint, having a UX designer on staff also makes sense rather than paying per project. Some organizations estimate that UX design is responsible for 90% of the workload before UI comes in.
Outsourcing to a UI designer allows for better budget management and expert opinion on the visuals of a project. It also allows for more versatility if a client is looking for something specific-- you aren’t always confined to the vision of one designer.
Whether you decide to hire a UX designer for your startup or outsource until you can find someone you want to bring on full-time, there are a few key characteristics to look for. These traits include:
Many of the desired traits in a UI designer are similar to that of a UX designer. Here are some to consider:
Finding a valued UI and UX designers can be your startup’s secret weapon. As you scale up, consider making your outsourced UI designer a full-time employee.
Nikita Ross is an experienced business writer and developer in the tech industry with a passion for UI and UX design. With functional knowledge in studying user psychology and identifying ideal user flows, Nikita knows that the key to a successful application is bringing together strong framework and interface for an optimal experience.