Category: UX Design

Category Added for Website – 2017

Time to Redesign your Twitter Bootstrap Product?

twitter-bootstrap redesign

Several products start with a simple design, mostly using a responsive framework such as twitter bootstrap. As the product evolves and gathers momentum new features are added to it. You realize that the current design has its limitations and the competition has a much better and appealing design. It’s time to redesign your product.

You would love to redesign. But it always stays as an important activity in your business roadmap, but never an urgent one. This is because you are supporting your existing customer base and probably adding those new features that are business critical.  Does this resonate with you?

What’s the Reason to Procrastinate?

As we found out, here are some myths that run through the minds of entrepreneurs and CTOs:

  1. Design is not a show stopper yet
  2. The team is busy with other features in the product roadmap. They are urgent
  3. You are more of an engineering firm and do not have a design team in place
  4. The design changes might make the existing customers uncomfortable and they may lose trust
  5. Moving away from twitter bootstrap will slow down the development

It is important to realize that you may lose good prospects to competition with better design. People buy what they see and even though your competition might have a few features less, it would be more appealing. It would hurt even more if you start losing existing customers to them who might not be extremely pleased with your product.

Does your Product need a Redesign?

Let’s address the elephant in the room. Below are some of the key indicators that you should look for which will move the redesign project from being important to urgent. Nonetheless, you still want to act on it while it is important and not urgent.

  1. If your monthly active users are reducing with each passing month, you need a redesigned strategy
  2. When users are spending more time searching and less time engaging, you need a redesigned Information architecture
  3. If the users are coming on your mobile footprint and you are failing to convert them, you need a redesigned approach
  4. When your competitors are getting ahead of the game and you are watching them go feeling helpless, you need a redesigned product

So how do you go about Redesigning?

If you do not have a sharp design thinking team in place, hire one.  Your product team can continue to focus on the urgent feature development and bug resolution tasks. This new team could help you identify the gaps or give you a complete overhaul. This depends on several factors and that would be out of the scope for this blog.

Before you begin you and the design team must:

  1. Nail the problem. Identify the design weakness and reach the core of the problem. It will help you get a holistic view and aid in further decisions
  2. Keep an eye on the competition. Conducting competitive analysis is the key here. It’s always good to know where you stand
  3. Focus on the ever-evolving user and all else will fall into place. Identify the needs and pain points of the users through various user research techniques
  4. Prioritise the friction points and create a plan for the design and release of user task & features
  5. Always be aware of the quantitative data. Keeping track of the important KPIs is the key to inform the design decisions

You may find problems with your product. You may even redesign it completely. But how do you plan well for the launch?

Here are the two broad approaches you may take:

  1. Launch the new design all in one go
  2. Launch In Phases

Does one go all-in or take calculated steps and release one thing at a time? The answer to this question is not straight. But not that difficult to find out too. User research helps here by leaps and bounds. If you have an idea about the user and their perspective about your product, this decision is easy to take. You must keep a few things in mind for both the approaches:

Launch the New Design All In One Go

One of the ways to go about it is to launch the redesign at once. The advantage is you get to instantly wow your users and on the flipside you could end up confusing your users. Kind of confusing, isn’t it? These strategy help products that are relatively new and the user count is moderate. But it has the potential to go further and we are missing to hit it big due to bad design.

Launch In Phases

Another approach is a more conservative take on launching a redesigned product. Launch in bit and pieces. Micro launch as we call it. This approach doesn’t startle your users at once and you do the hand holding till they are used to that redesigned piece. Good thing is that if the new design section or component doesn’t work as planned, you could experiment with another option. Test it, fix it and hit it. This way you are constantly evolving your design and slowly but steadily you end up launching the redesigned version. Your users don’t even realize the change consciously but end up having a great experience with your product and you have a redesigned product.

So what do you think? Still unsure? Ping us and let’s talk about how can we help you realize your redesign and be your change partners.


The Devil’s Side of UX Design - A Hidden Secret

UX Design Playing the Devil's Advocate

UX Design & the Hobson’s Choice for Startups 

As a UX Design consultant, it’s been a fun ride to work with innovative, aspiring startups. What gives me a heady rush working with any startup is – a simple Hobson’s choice I need to make every time; it’s about either making it or breaking it. I remember the way Guy Kawasaki puts this, though I would like to build a parachute on the way down.

Working with startups is like taking off from an aircraft carrier; you’re either going to take-off or die. There aren’t too many choices anyways.

This puts a design consultant like me at the centre of the startup volcano. However, what intrigues me personally is how should I define whether or not my services added any value? Whether I made any difference to the startup? By designing a beautiful UI? Flawless navigation? Intuitiveness? Simplicity? Friendly UX design? — I think all of this is bullshit!

I think all of this is as utter crap, at a time when a startup is just learning to crawl, forget walking or running.

This makes me think that design has to be more than just skin-deep attributes that measure the value of my services. This blog is about one such measure I’ve discovered over the years.

Playing the Role of a Devil’s Advocate to a Startup

But why should I play the devil’s advocate? Why the heck should I question the founders who are a lot more immersed than me in their idea? Who understand the problem they are trying to solve far better than me? Why should I push a startup to a different tangent? Why ask the tough questions? Why not just deliver wireframes, sleek UI’s, super cool features and just follow the requirements? Isn’t that much easier to do than taking my ass to the field to conduct user studies? Or to validate the hypotheses? Why get into all this trouble when most people don’t care about it?

The Creative Itch

I think the answer that I’ve introspected for myself is the word creative itch. The itch to hold myself true to my profession (which is abused in the name of good-looking screens). The itch to hold myself responsible for the startup’s fate. The itch to hold it’s success or failure close to my heart.

I’ve worked at a lot of UX design agencies now, seen projects of varied sizes, team dynamics etc. The unfortunate insight from my career is that most of the UX design agencies don’t give a shit about playing the devil’s advocate role to clients, especially when they’re dealing with startups.

The way I’d like to think about it is like this. If I am consulting for an established enterprise, it will survive with superficial make-up in the name of UX design. But a startup is a completely different ball game. There’s too much at stake. Isn’t it? I think it is our responsibility as UX designers to be true in terms of defining our value to them, other than just executing great pixel designs.

Final Word of Advice

So if you’re a startup founder looking to hire a designer or an agency, I suggest you to take a pause and think about what you really want from design services. There is a lot more than what meets the eye when it comes to UX design. You would be surprised how much value design thinking can add to turn your product idea into a successful business.

And if you would like your design team to tell it like it us, you may want to look up one of the best UX design teams around, if we do say so ourselves 🙂

Download UX design ebook for startup founders & entrepreneurs-  How to leverage Design Thinking

Can Design Thinking Teach You Humility?

Design Thinking

Humility & Design Thinking

I was listening to Sean Rad, the Founder and Chairman @ Tinder, the world’s most popular dating app for connecting with new and interesting people around you. I am sure it doesn’t need any further introduction. Sean is also the chairman of Swipe Ventures.

What intrigued my interest was his philosophy on how he narrows down to fund the right startup team. Here’s how he puts it in his words…

“I gravitate towards founders & teams which are humble…who have a healthy degree of humility…ones which are not jaded by any pre-conceived notion…”

And I couldn’t agree more. This brought me into a zone where I started thinking about all kinds of startups I have worked with over the last one year. Were all these startups humble? If yes, did it bring any value to them? If not, did they really miss out on anything? In the end, did it really matter if they are humble or otherwise?

Humble Startups

My inference came to something like this. As a UX consultant I think my services delivered more value when I was able to instil a degree of humbleness-quotient within a startup. For that matter, this is true for any company at any stage of growth. We try and drive home the relevance of Design Thinking for delivering a great customer experience. Our job is half done, when clients acknowledge the importance of design thinking.  It’s a sign that my clients paid for much more than just product strategy or wireframes that we create, at the end of the day.

Case in point, for US based startup that was looking to build a NBA fan-engagement app, we had suggested a novel approach to design, based on ambient factors. The client was humble enough to give us a free hand and craft an experience based on a lot of critical design factors. Another startup with an idea that had few chinks according to user research, was open to making the changes in the app. Now that shows great humility.


If you are someone who hired a design agency recently, how do you feel about your last engagement? For instance, did the agency make you answer the tough questions? Did it push you hard enough and help you to see the playing field clearly? Have they challenged any of your pre-conceived notions? Do you feel the agency did enough to help you understand the finer nuances of design thinking? Did you get a taste of the humble pie before you tasted success 🙂


Download eBook : UX Design eBook – How to leverage Design Thinking

Enterprise Design – Is an Internal UX Team Your Best Bet?

Enterprise UX Design

The short answer is NO. I am a UX consultant right now and I’ve worked within enterprise design teams as well. So I’ve been on both sides of the fence.

Enterprise Design – In-house team or External Consultants?

Yes enterprise products need design as a core competency. Without this discipline, the products simply grow into beasts. As UX consultants, people like us are called to tame these beasts. We are supposed to cajole them into being more humane. To convince them to be more soothing, and look much better. And that’s a hard task to be honest.

I’ve always wondered why does this scenario arise? Given that budgets aren’t a constraint, can’t enterprises figure out the nuances internally?

I think the answer is ‘Yes’ enterprises can work solely with internal design teams. But they shouldn’t. It just doesn’t work. Here are the reasons why.

My 3 bits on why enterprises should go with external consultants 

In-house design teams need to be nurtured carefully. And it’s hard.

Unless you are one of the organisations like Apple, Airbnb or Basecamp, for most companies design is an after-thought. Most enterprises I’ve worked are rooted in some kind of technology innovation.

In other words, they simply aren’t inclined to build a design-centric culture and mind-set. It’s just not their forte, no matter how hard they try and hire the best design talent. Institutionalization of design is simply an ineffective strategy. Many companies attempt to introduce design into existing setups, but they underestimate its complexity.

In-house design teams are more prone to compromise on their craft

A friend of mine works at a major SaaS enterprise. When he tells me how the product-technical-design folks hang out on Friday evenings, I wonder if these social gatherings have any impact on work? (I am all for Friday parties, I usually like a barbecue with beer). But, here’s the thing. We’re all social animals. An in-house designer can get influenced when it comes to taking the tough calls.

There are times when one feels that design is being undermined. Many a times, I’ve had my manager telling me to compromise just so that we make the release. As a designer, I hate such calls. It’s better to service an enterprise as an external consultant. it keeps me free from organizational politics and obligations.

In-house design teams usually run into creative blocks

A friend of mine recently mentioned, that his company (a large MNC) was hiring an external design agency for their new line of products. And I was mighty surprised. This organization had multiple in-house design teams. So why did they still need an external agency?

It’s simple. Finally, it boils down to bringing fresh thinking into design. In-house design teams usually get too much into the sameness trap. And I think it does deplete the creative-quotient. I’ve felt that way personally to be honest, at some point in my career. So I completely get it.

In conclusion, this blog isn’t about undermining in-house designers. I’ve been one during my career. Rather, it’s about reflecting on how large enterprises should think about design. I rest my case. What’s your take?

Download eBook : UX Design eBook – How to leverage Design Thinking

Adapting a Design First Mindset – The Key To Innovation

Design First Thinking

Back in July 2016, Forrester’s CX research group published a paper exploring the hypothesis that embedding design practices in digital CX strategy creates a tangible and measurable business advantage.

It was an exhaustive research which surveyed 399 digital Customer Experience (CX) decision-makers at enterprises in the US, the UK, France, Germany, South Korea, Australia/New Zealand and Japan. The quantitative approach was complemented with qualitative interviews with CX practitioners during the research.

To cut it straight, the results confirmed the business advantage proposition with three key findings.

This blog isn’t my commentary on this claim. Rather, this is my take on how a design-led mindset can be key to innovation from a consultant’s point of view. My insights aren’t based on formal surveys or interviews. This is what I have learnt by working with companies of all sizes and varied organizational mind-sets during my career as a consultant.

So, why a design-led mindset is key to innovation for companies of all sizes?

Design-first mindset amasses data critical to Innovation

Design isn’t just about beauty; it’s about market relevance and meaningful results. What’s relevant or meaningful depends on who you are; whether you are startup or an established enterprise. In either case, you’ve got to have data that leads you to innovate.

Most of all, this is where a design-led mindset gives you an advantage. Design thinking builds data from qualitative & quantitative research and puts all of it at the centre-stage for the company. I have seen many examples where such empathy-rich data has been the source of new ideas, inspiration that leads to innovation. Here’s just one of the example of how design thinking led to a radical pivot in product strategy for a startup.

Design-led mindset keeps your innovation-muscle flexible

I have seen this more relevant to established enterprises where products products turn behemoth over a period of time. These products scale in all directions under silo-directions from many product owners. Even though, such companies grow in revenues for a period of time, at a certain point they become too stiff to pump fresh ideas into their products. What I have seen most useful for such enterprises is to seek external agencies that can bring fresh perspective and ideas to the table. So this external agency can think unbiased, fresh and question the pre-conceived ideas within established enterprises. I’ve seen such engagement model do wonders for enterprises in flexing their innovation quotient.

Design-led mindset internalizes empathy as a core ingredient to Innovation

Innovation isn’t just the job of a company founder or a specific department. A key differentiator of design thinking is it’s ability to nurture collaboration. Whether through design sprints or other participatory techniques, design thinking fosters innovation from anyone in the company. As a result, everyone gets at the same place, in the same room and facilitate a way of thinking that spawns new ideas and converges varied perspectives into a meaningful direction. At the end of the day, everyone within an organization ends up embracing deep empathy for the customers. A key ingredient to create differentiated products and services in today’s experience economy. Finally, it helps in driving innovation and positive business outcomes.

Download eBook : UX Design eBook – How to leverage Design Thinking


5 Commandments of UX Design

We had organised a UX webinar last week and shared a few UX Design commandments and business insights into design. The topic of the webinar was “Design is not Skin-deep. A business driven approach to UX”. We had the privilege of sharing our design experiences and business outcomes achieved through UX. A big shout out to our client Sashi – the Co-founder & CEO of FanKave, who readily agreed to be a panelist on the webinar.

For the benefit of a wider audience, here are the 5 UX Commandments that we covered in last week’s session. They should help you in aligning UX design to drive business outcomes.

Commandment #1  UX IS ALL ABOUT TIMING

As UX consultants, we work with startups who are at different stages of their business lifecycle. Many use our services to build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), more like a prototype to validate their idea and pitch it to investors. The other set of startups are further down the road with Seed or Series A funding. Now one thing we advise in either case is that startups introduce UX early in their journey. By early we mean introducing design thinking right at a time when your business idea is fresh and fluid. It’s  better to factor in UX at the initial stages of the product idea. It gives the design team a chance to strengthen your idea. 


As a product owner you are already married to the product idea. The right UX design team acts more like divorce lawyers than design consultants. They will help you see your idea for what it is, and you may not like it. And it’s really hard for startups to do that, since they are sold on the idea.  You need to understand one thing – that the design team making you push your boundaries is not your enemy, but they are trying to make your vision bullet-proof by questioning every aspect of it. Working with the uncomfortable kind of design teams is more likely allow you to derive business value out of design thinking.


A startup is a volatile, fast moving, aggressive chain of thoughts and ideas. It is this randomness that makes a startup lean, agile and creative. The downside is that it also makes a startup prone to ambiguity and chaos. What kind of chaos are we talking here? Chaos are the loose ends flying here and there. Questions like who are we building this product for? Is there really a market out there? Is there a repeatable revenue model? What are the adjacent markets? And the list just goes on. Always align your design team to answers these questions.

If have a design team that helps you tie these loose ends, then you have successfully aligned design to drive business outcomes.


As a startup, you are very likely to ride your boat in rough waters. There are enough aspects of your business that are going to walk an unchartered territory. One of the key values you should reap out of the design team is de-risking  your business. And this is where a design team with a data-driven mindset becomes critical.

In UX data is about people and their behaviors, and it is this qualitative data which has a lot more significance. For instance, has your design team validated the problem your product attempts to solve, through research? Have they validated your initial customer hypothesis with facts? Has the data actually brought in objectivity to your assumptions?  

Bottom line is that the team should turn the founders’ initial hypothesis about the business model, market & customer into factual information.


Whether you are building a consumer product or a b2b product, you need to figure out the early-adopters of your product or service. You need to be in control of things that are working well. And you will also need to be in control of aspects of your business that are not working. As a startup you need to be prepared to brace for impact at all times. So, how should you leverage a design team in such post-launch situations?

Because you gave the design team a chance to do ground research right from the early days, they should have built connections for you. As part of the research, they must have identified people who would be early adopters of your product or service. These are the people who don’t just believe in your product but believe in your vision. These are the people who are most likely to pay for the MVP version of your product.

In short, ensure that your design team doesn’t go into oblivion after the launch. Rather, the team should prepare an evacuation plan for you in case your flight refuses to take off.

These are some of the design related aspects that were covered in the webinar. To access the full version of the webinar click on this link.

Design is not Skin-deep. A Business Driven Approach to UX/UI.

Design is not Skin-deep

UX Design is no longer skin-deep and superficial in nature. It has evolved into a business enabler from just making screens look good. Today, UX is instrumental in defining business outcomes and product success. Product owners seldom realise the true power of design thinking. It can make or break a business idea depending on the customer experience and adoption rate.

At Idyllic we interact with Product owners of all kinds – from Startup entrepreneurs to Enterprise Product Managers. What we have learnt is that very few really understand how to use this fancy Hattori Hanzo sword. Use it right, you can Kill Bill and drive  business outcomes. It’s not that difficult provided you know the rules of the game. Its a journey that encompasses user research – primary and secondary. Along the way, product owners discover the benefits that UX/UI design delivers.

Having gathered crucial inputs and critical insights into how UX/UI design influences businesses, we would like to share the knowledge with the wider business community. We are hosting a Live Webinar next week that will offer key insights and practical take-aways on the following –

Webinar Topic Areas

– Traditional approach vs Business-driven approach to UX.

– How to align UX/UI Design to drive business success?

– Should you hire a UX designer or a UI designer? Or none?

– How much should you pay for UX/UI design?

– A Business-driven UX case study – FanKave

If you’re product owner/manager or a Startup Founder looking to build your Product/MVP, the webinar will give you some food for thought surely. We also have  a Startup Founder/CEO on the panel to share his UX/UI design journey and how it has defined the product evolution.

Who Should Attend

  • Startup CEOs/Founders
  • CTOs of High Growth Firms
  • Product Owners/Product Managers
  • Business Heads with Product Development Needs
  • Businesses looking for a design revamp (Apps/Websites) 

     Click here to access the On-demand Webinar

UX/UI – Designing a Rush Hour Experience for NBA Fans Part-2

Rush Hour User Experience

In the first part of this blog, we covered the physical attributes of designing the Rush Hour User Experience. In this part, we will cover the human limitations that influenced practical design work.

Human Limitations & Design Implications

1. Memory

The Ebbinghaus Forgetting curve

Ebbinghaus forgetting curve hypothesises the decline of memory retention over time. This curve shows how information is lost over time when there is no attempt to retain it. Ebbinghaus hypothesized that the speed of forgetting depends on a number of factors such as the difficulty of the learned material, its representation and physiological factors such as stress and sleep.

Recalling the Concession Stand

Concession stands are central to servicing the orders. A closer look revealed the role of memory in this hypothesis. Will the user even remember the concession stand s/he chose while placing the order? A classic example of forgetting curve in a real life situation.

Decision Making

Rush-hour moments inherently limit our ability to think rationally. They disengage the pre-frontal cortex, part of the brain that is essential for making good decisions. Our ability to weigh the risks, rewards, and consequences of our actions is negatively impacted. In such a context, how can decision making be expedited?

Perception of Time Pressure in Decision Making

Time pressure can distort how we consider and choose between options. Severe time constraints can make decision processes and individual judgment less objective and more intuitive as more formal and rigorous approaches are ignored.

Choice of Menu

An important aspect of decision making was the menu itself. To minimize the decision-making time, the menu at all concession stands was standardized. Same items would be offered from each stand. These stands would sell no more than 8-10 food and drink items.

Choice of Concession Stands

In addition to the menu, another challenge for the design was to take into account the 20-25 concession stands located at each level. From a User Experience point of view, what role does a concession stand play in placing an order? While the stands appear to be an important entity on the face, but deliberating about them brought an interesting perspective.

Situational Awareness

Situational awareness (SA) is the perception of environmental elements and events with respect to time or space, the comprehension of their meaning, and the projection of their status after some variable has changed, such as time, or a predetermined event.

Situation awareness about the concession stands

Situational awareness was a critical aspect to factor in our context because of two reasons (a) space, due to the colossal size of the arena and (b) time, placing an order is a mental countdown to the time it is ready for pickup.

Spatial orientation to nearby concession stands

Before users could place the orders, it was important to give them a sense of space around them. They would need to know the nearest concession stands, distance to the stands and their location relative to the stands. We needed a way to build such a spatial map in the user’s mind.

Navigation to the concession stand

Once the order was ready, the users were notified for a pickup. At this point, the environmental factors like noise, crowd, crammed aisles threw new challenges that made navigating to the concession stand a daunting task. So how could we design an effective navigation for an order pickup?

Based on the physical attributes and limitations of the human mind, we crafted the experience to minimize the customer effort and maximise sales.

Download the Case Study: An Amazing Rush-hour Mobile App Experience for NBA Fans: User Experience Design

UX/UI – Designing a Rush Hour Experience for NBA Fans Part-1

UX/UI Rush Hour Fan Experience

User Experience designing is never easy, especially when we have to craft a rush hour experience. We often face situations that make us anxious, tense and restless. Such situations make our heart beat as if it were on steroids. We sweat, we freeze, losing our capacity to think rationally. Remember that subway train you missed, that 911 call you made as the person next to you collapsed? Those final 10 seconds of an NBA game that sends shivers?

All examples of what we call rush-hour moments. Such moments make us micro-focused on a task, dedicating most of our mental bandwidth to handle it. In short, we momentarily lose our capacity to multi-task. This raises an important question.

What are the implications of rush-hour moments on UX/UI designHow can research findings from Human Factors and HCI be applied to the design of such systems?

This blog is about a research based real-world case. It takes you through a journey of how research and practice came together to design a rush-hour experience for die-hard NBA fans.

The Context

For a die-hard fan, the sport is more than just watching a game. It is about self-esteem, living every moment based on how their teams are performing. For these fans, watching a game is more than just being a spectator. Studies have found that the spectating brain is also the playing brain. Psychologists have studied the intricacies of what goes within the mind of sports fan.
Watching a live game is about intense engagement, resulting in high emotional responses within the brain. A perfect example of a micro-focused, mentally-engrossed context.

The Design Challenge

The real-world design challenge was to sell food and beverages in an action-packed environment. Sports fans have to use a mobile app to place their orders while watching a live game in. Using the mobile app would require fans to multi-task while being engrossed in the game. Expecting fans to pull out mobile phones from their pockets, fire up the app, browse the pickup stands, scan the menu, decide on what to order, select items, check out, pay, wait for the orders, and pick the prepared order from pickup stands, was a tall order. This raised an interesting question.

How can we craft an experience that is minimal? An experience that is non-intrusive? An experience that will not let fans miss even a minute of the game? How can the task be designed considering the human cognitive limitations in a live arena?

The Ambience

Watching a live basketball game on TV is one thing. Witnessing it live in a stadium is quite another. Before we delve deeper into how research and practice came together to craft an enriching experience, it will be useful for us to highlight the problems and challenges in a live arena.

This will setup a strong context to evaluate design opportunities. Some of the critical aspects are listed below.

The Layout

NBA arenas are colossal in size. A single game can be attended by close to 20,000 fans. The seating would spread over three levels in the arena. Each level is enclosed by a surrounding corridor. These corridors house the concession stands. Additional facilities like restrooms, merchandise stores and customer service kiosks are also a part of these corridors. In short, the corridors are busy places.

Noise Levels

Watching a game is never a quiet affair. With fans cheering, hooting and applauding their teams, it is a noisy place to be in.

Crammed Aisles

The arena is jam-packed during a live NBA event. The super excited fans don’t leave much room to navigate the aisles easily.


The lighting in the arena is not uniform. Lighting could range from being the brightest near the court to the darkest at higher levels.

These are the physical attributes that influence the task at hand and then there are human limitations that impact the design. More on that in the second part of this blog which we’ll publish next week. Watch this space.

Download the Case Study: An Amazing Rush-hour Mobile App Experience for NBA Fans: User Experience Design

A 5-Point Guide to Hiring the Right UX/UI Design Firm

How to hire User Experience Design firm

Hiring the right User Experience Design team for your Mobile and Web development is never easy. What you see as an outstanding portfolio of work, may not guarantee a great end-product for you. You need to be aware of your product design needs, the constraints and the UX team’s strengths. And spend some time with the potential UX/UI team to see if the partnership will deliver.

Here’s a quick 5 point checklist before you zero-in on the UX team for your next design project.

1. A Great Portfolio – This is one thing you will see at any user experience design firm.But this is not what should matter to you while reaching to a conclusion. Rather, start by looking at the company’s work. Look at their industry and domain experience. Look for experience across different form factors; web and mobile. Across different operating systems; iOS, Android. Look for experience across consumer and enterprise verticals.

2. Jack of All Trades – Talk to the design team. Be extremely wary of titles like UX/UI/HTML/CSS all-in-one expert. UX design is a really vast field. It borrows from user research, ethnography, human factors, information architecture, interaction design, visual design to name a few. Someone claiming to be a jack of all trades should set the alarm bells ringing and you need to exercise caution.

3. Yes-Men Attitude – User Experience Design is very subjective. If the design team is a bunch of yes-men agreeing to all you are saying, then there is a problem. A good designer needs to have the ability to explain the rationale behind design decisions. He or she should be showing you the right door to enter instead of agreeing to all subjective opinions.

4. Strategic Design Thinking – UX Design does not start with a wireframe. UX design is a process. A good UX designer will be able to think holistically, analytically and strategically about the problem. He or she will never jump to design from day one. A good designer will ask you a number of questions during the entire journey before arriving on any designed artefact.

5. End User Advocates – There is no one-size-fits-all approach to solving a design problem. You may have the luxury to conduct elaborate research, but in many cases, you may be short on budget and/or time. In either case, a good UX designer will take in all the constraints into account, and still find a way to include the end users. If you find the design team shows no curiosity to include the end users in the process, the design will be subjective.

Now that you have an insight into what to look for in a User Experience Design team for your next design project, go ahead and talk to a few firms before you decide on the best fit for the job. Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to design. It’s often horses for courses and the right design team will factor in all your requirements with an open mindset in a consultative approach.

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