When’s the best time to hire a UX Designer?
We all know that superheroes are called on when someone’s in trouble or needs help. They use their superhuman powers to fight evil, protect the public and make life better.
And every superhero needs a sidekick: a right hand man (or woman) that provides them with the knowledge or skills they need, or even just offer a valuable alternative point of view, that helps them figure out their next move.
That’s the perfect metaphor for a UX designer.
Like a superhero sidekick, a UX designer can work alongside your business to help get you out of a sticky situation. In fact, UX designers can help you unearth what the problem is in the first place. The trusty backup you need – like Robin is to Batman – they provide support, knowledge and customer insights that can help you make bold and powerful decisions.
But when you’re a business, especially a startup, paying people to do work for you is a big decision. So you want to make sure you not only bring on the right people to do the job, but also that you engage them at the right time.
There’s a number of situations when calling a UX designer is the best course of action to take. Here are the main ones:
1. When your product is not making you money
Most businesses want, or need, their digital products to work hard for them. You need your website to bring in traffic, create leads and ultimately convert these to sales; you need your app to continually delight your users; you need your software to be intuitive and simple to use.
If your products are failing to do these things, then a UX practitioner can help you figure out what’s wrong and to turn things around. In fact, an awesome UX designer should be able to make changes to your digital products that will increase your bottom line: as we’ve said before, the ROI of UX is unparallelled.
2. When you have problems you don’t know how to fix
The best time to call a UX sidekick is when you’re in trouble. For example, you might be getting lots of traffic to a particular product page, but no one is filling in your enquiry form or buying your products. Or you might be getting a lot of negative feedback about a particular product on your website.
UX practitioners can research and analyse your digital products with your customers and identify areas that need improvement. Using this information, they can help you get rid of the bad eggs that are giving your customers grief and in turn, enhance the user experience.
Much like any superhero sidekick, UX designers have the deep knowledge required to help you sniff out any issues and make sure you address them pronto.
3. When you want to improve conversions or leads
On the other hand, you may not have a problem at all – you may simply want to increase the leads and conversions you get already, or polish an existing interface that you feel could be improved.
In this case, you can use the UX designer to help make your business stronger, faster and more robust, and to help you to further understand your customers and what they need, allowing you to make your mark on your competition.
4. When you want to fully understand your customers
It’s no secret that understanding your customers can help you build a successful product, but UX goes that one step further and helps you step into your customers shoes and make business decisions that will make them (and keep them) happy.
Many UX practitioners are trained in user research, to get deep insights into your customer base. Their main aim is to champion the needs of your digital users over and above all else, so they can help you figure out the logical steps to take to make your customers more happy.
5. When your competitors aren’t customer focused
A great UX designer could give you and your product the competitive advantage you need to stand out. We’ve seen design give many startups a huge advantage in industries that have spent years prioritizing functionality and features over ease of use.
If you’re in an industry where functions and features rule the day while usability is largely disregarded, then great design is a niche in which you can thrive, even as a new business.
6. When you’re launching a new product
The last thing you want to do is launch a new product and then find out no one likes it or needs it. UX folks can help you do all the research up-front, to ensure you have a proposition that is not only market relevant but will ensure you are competitive.
Good designers are experienced in business, competitor and data analysis and user research, all of which will give you the insight you need to make confident product strategy decisions.
7. When you’re making a big product change
Similar to when you’re launching a new product, if you’re about to embark on an upgrade, pivot or addition to your existing offering, you will want to make sure what you’re going to do is going to hit the mark with your users.
Make sure to enlist a UX practitioner to help you navigate this phase, as well as help you with new digital design components.
8. When your product has had some shelf life
Although it’s a great idea to do your user research before you launch a new product, UX designers can be just as, or even more, effective when your product has been in the market for a little while.
This is simply because you will have real customers, and real customers bring metrics and data, allowing you to see exactly what’s working and what’s not. You can enlist your customers as a sounding board for future design decisions. And even better: when you make changes, you can see straight away how customers are interacting with your product.
9. When you can afford it
You should hire a UX designer when you have enough work for them and the money to pay them. Although this sounds simple, it’s actually quite a complex decision to make, especially for startups or small companies on tight budgets.
10. When you can no longer put it off
It all depends on your company really. It could be when you have so much work that you need your developers to be freed up to just develop instead of having to think about design, or when you have a big project that you know cannot begin without some help from a UX expert, or simply when you think your product will have a better chance of being profitable with UX than without it.