4 Criteria to Assess When Looking Through the UX Portfolio of Your UX Partner

Jun 24, 2020
UX services and solutions

UX designers are everywhere in this digital age but choosing the right one to partner with can be excruciatingly painful. This is because it is no joke to review every designer’s or user experience design firms portfolio and try understand how much expertise they have in the field just from wireframes and visuals alone. Before you choose a UX designer to partner with, it is critical that you look at 4 key areas in their UX portfolios that will give you insight into what it will be like to work with them.

These areas include how well they understand human psychology, whether they take time to develop a well-thought out web design solution, and how they approach user flows and design thinking on a personal level. Assessing how well they incorporate human-centric design methodologies into their work is also important as this will tell you how valuable the end-user is to them in the design process.

Let’s explore all 4 areas in more detail to see exactly what you should be looking for when trying to find a partner that provides the best UI UX design services in the market.

How Well They Incorporate Human-Centric Design Methodologies into Their Work

When evaluating a portfolio to determine who your next UX partner will be, it is critical that you assess how good they are at using human-centric design methodologies. These design methodologies involve 4 distinct stages. Firstly, the UX designer must understand the context in which a user may use the system.

This will include identifying the people who will use the product, under what conditions they will use it, and what they will use it for. Once done, they will have to identify and define the user’s requirements. This will involve identifying any user goals or business requirements that must be met for the product to be a success.

This is followed by a design phase where the design team will develop the solution. This step will likely involve many sub-stages, building from a very rough concept to a complete design that is ready to be shipped. Finally, the team can then proceed to the evaluation phase where they assess the key outcomes against the user’s requirements and context.

By going through this process, they can see how well the design is performing its job. This last phase is usually carried out through usability testing with actual users. It is almost the same as quality testing in software development, and just as important.

Evaluating how well they implement human-centric design methodologies into their mobile app UI design is critical to understanding just how well they understand their users and how much care they have taken to cater to their specific needs. Only designers that take the time to develop solutions for challenges that users are really struggling with truly help create meaningful products.

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Human-centric design is key to the success of product as it focuses on putting users at the center of product design and development. This way you develop a product that considers important criteria like user’s objectives, requirements, and their feedback.

Only through human-centric design can companies really create a large base of users that truly get the product because designers took the time to really study the market. Human-centric design improves the user experience. It is beneficial to understand the user’s preferences and needs regarding the features of a product, goals, tasks, user flows, etc. At the end of the day, what matters is what your users say and do.

Every customer touchpoint that the user has with the product should be analyzed, well designed, and developed to fulfill a specific need that they have.

Whether They Have a Well-Thought-Out Solution to the Problem

When evaluating a UX portfolio, you should always determine how well-thought-out the designer’s user interface design tends to be when compared to other candidates. This has many parts to it but first and foremost they have to ensure visibility. Users must be able to see from the very beginning just what the product enables them to do or how they can use the product and what it is about.

Without great visibility, users will pick up a product because its design is compelling but pretty soon realize that they have no idea what the product accomplishes, despite its beauty. Having a stunning product that does nothing is a huge waste of time and resources, so a designer needs to ensure that they have put a lot of time into establishing the true purpose of the product beforehand.

Designers should also help with accessibility or with offering ways to find more information about the product through call-to-action buttons, menus, search options, etc. If a user attempts to use a product and quickly realizes that there are plenty of call-to-action buttons and menus that provide her with more information as to how to use the product, the product has been comprehensively designed.

Another area that designers should be well-versed in is the language that is used. The language and communication that a designer will use must fit the product exactly.

Products that are more technical or sophisticated should come with technical language to explain how to use them. Similarly, simple products like beauty products or accessories should come with very simple language so that it is widely accessible to the masses.

Designers should use short sentences and less sophisticated words to help describe their product so that it attracts the attention of more users. If text is not easy to read, no user will come within a mile of using the product again, as it can be a great demotivator. Designers must understand that first impressions matter, so if the language or instructions that accompany their design is not easy to comprehend, they just lost another customer.

Only designers that have put great time and effort into thinking through their designs will end up with clear solutions to the problem they were trying to solve.

Do They Use Well-Designed User Flows and Documents Their Thought Process

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Another key area that you should look at when trying to find an UI UX outsourcing partner is to determine how well-designed are their user flows from their UX portfolio. Each project in the UX portfolio will require a different user flow or steps that the user has to take from the first step to the final interaction. What is important is to check how smooth the user flow is and whether there are any redundant steps that do not need to be included for that particular product.

A well-designed UI UX design process will help the user make the best use of the product. This is by spelling out the easiest way for them to reach their intended goals and tasks. By recording the thought process behind each step in the user flow, the designer is effectively communicating how they think to you.

The best UI UX design companies will demonstrate good problem-solving skills in their work as they create the best user flows, and hence products. Because user flows are just a series of actions that the user has to take to achieve a goal, designers with extensive experience in the field know how to get the user to their end goal with the least number of steps required.

It is also critical that you look for examples of their thought process when you scan through different candidates’ UX portfolios. When you partner with an UX designer, you are also partnering with the way they think and solve problems. You want to make sure that you are only teaming up with the best in the field so that your products stand out as well.

One way to evaluate a designer’s thought process is to go through their notes and see how they came to make certain design decisions. If, for example, they choose to use red as their primary color when designing buttons, they need to explain why red was the best color for that task. If they can explain why they chose red over say yellow or blue in a persuasive manner, they may have just won over a new client.

Look for designer notes in their UX portfolio so that you can ensure that you follow and understand their decision-making process when it comes to their user interface design upfront. By seeing how they come to certain design decisions, you can then determine how well they think through solutions for themselves. If the way they come to deciding is logical and well-reasoned throughout their UX portfolio, you can be sure that working with them will not be a battle every time.

Ensure that the user flows and thought process behind the designs result in clean, intuitive, simple, and engaging user experiences to get the most bang for your buck.

How Well Do They Understand Human Psychology and Does It Show in Their Work

When looking to partner with an UX designer it is important that you find one who takes understanding human psychology seriously. Not only does the designer need to have a good grasp on the way users feel about the user flow and product itself, they also have to have key insights into what the user is really looking for in a certain solution.

For example, one designer created a simple app that replicated how a lighter works by allowing users to flick a lighter on by dragging down on the screen and then see the virtual lighter ignite on the screen. Another designer created a more sophisticated app with the option of lighting a fireplace and a candle along with the simple lighter used for lighting cigarettes.

They also added a feature to play your own background music while igniting all the different flames and allowed users to personalize the settings as they saw fit.

Which one do you think did better on the market? The simple one, of course. This is because the designer who developed that product understood one fundamental psychological truth. He understood that humans do not have long attention spans and that the more options you give them, the more lost and confused they become.

This is because of a simple concept called analysis paralysis. The more options a human being has, the longer it will take them to go through and compare one option against all the others to arrive at a conclusion. And the longer it takes, the greater the frustration they experience, until they just give up the analysis altogether and just pick a random one, hoping for the best.

The designer who developed the more sophisticated lighter app was betting on more options delivering a greater user experience to the audience. What he failed to consider was that more options do not always result in a better user experience.

Also when you flick a lighter on to ignite a flame, it only takes a split second and the satisfaction you experience is immediate. The designer who developed the simpler app was right on the money when he considered immediate gratification to be the foundation of his user experience.

Because the other designer was not quite as well-versed with fundamental human psychology, he missed out on that critical point and so went through the trouble of developing a beautiful app that no users could appreciate.

When looking through different UX portfolios, you must determine which designers have a knack for understanding human psychology and incorporating that understanding into their work and which ones do not meet that mark.

The greater the empathy a designer has for the user, the greater their chances of ending up with a successful product that users love. Not only do designers need to spend time observing user behaviour, but they also need to see their designs from the end-user’s perspective to get it right. Designers that have taken the time to conduct interviews, arrange observation sessions, and collect feedback from the end users will be the ones that you want to partner with as they are the ones that get the results.

Anyone can design an app or software application, but not all designs are created equal. When looking through some of the best UI UX design firms to partner with, you should always look at a host of variables that suggest how strong your partnership will be.

Although these factors may run in the thousands, only 4 critical variables will shed the most light on what you are in store for when you partner with them. When you take the time to understand how well-versed they are in human psychology and how much importance they place on the user flow, you will gain insight into where their priorities lie.

Moreover, when you spend time evaluating how well-thought-out their website design solutions are and how much they value human-centric design methodologies, you will better be able to predict whether they will be an asset or liability to your company. Pick the UX partner that excels in all 4 areas and has the entire design process documented for you to see how they approach different design problems close up.

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This article is brought to you by getSmartcoders, an enterprise-grade software development company with over 8 years of experience in the field. Our expertise in the field gives us unique insight into what new tech trends to expect as technologies continue to evolve and unprecedented knowledge of how the software industry has been advancing over the years. Our comprehensive UI UX design and development services help our clients achieve greater cost savings and build strong user bases for the products we help design and develop.