We’re living in a world gone almost exclusively digital, and many companies struggle to adjust to the demands of 21st-century technology. It’s impossible to run a successful business without some sort of online presence, and the more accessible a company is by computer and mobile phone, the more profitable it will be as sales will increase.
Changing a business to fit this digital world isn’t just about adjusting the product—it’s about adjusting the team. Over the past few years, we’ve seen multiple job descriptions emerge for brand-new roles whose specific purpose is to assist businesses in creating a successful online footprint. The most prevalent of these is the UX (user experience) designer.
So, what is a UX designer, why is it important to have one as a major software company, and how do you hire one? Read on to begin optimizing your business’s digital presence and establishing yourself as a key software company.
Designers Wear Many Different Hats
A UX designer’s primary responsibility is to ensure that customers can interact with a business’s website quickly and painlessly. UX designers are jacks-of-all-trades. They need to be knowledgeable in many different areas, from graphic design to copywriting to marketing psychology and to be able to complete tasks in all those areas and more.
There are a few offshoots of UX design in which a freelancer might specialize. Some may consider themselves exclusively UX writers. A UX writer’s main job is to write the text, or copy, that appears on buttons, menus, and other functions in websites and apps. This could include anything from writing a snappy call to action to devising a humorous error message specific to a website. They ensure that every word on the website reflects the company’s voice.
However, a great UX designer doesn’t limit themselves specifically to writing. Designers wear many different hats and, sometimes, work with many other people, to create a website from scratch. They devise a plan for customers to interact with a company’s website and organize the company’s information according to that plan.
UX designers decide which features a website or app should include, and ensure that those features are as easy to use for as many different customers as possible. They are talented, creative, and versatile professionals who can take a business to the next level.
UX Designers And Software
You might be skeptical about hiring a UX designer for your software company, and rightly so. After all, as software engineers, you and your employees all have more than adequate understanding of technological systems—do you really need to hire another person to build your website?
But keep in mind that UX design isn’t for the benefit of you, the software engineers—it’s for the benefit of your clients and customers, many of whom have at best a limited understanding of technological systems.
UX designers conduct extensive research to discover your client’s pain points and needs, and how best to address them. They not only understand software’s innermost system workings but the human reasons behind their designs. A UX designer can save your software company time by creating a system that the general public can easily use the first time around, instead of after several grueling and expensive rounds of updates.
Why Your Software Company Needs a UX Designer
Hiring a UX designer makes it easier for potential customers to interact with a website, which makes it easier for them to purchase a product. We don’t need to tell you that first impressions are critical in gaining new customers, and UX designers create a great first impression. It doesn’t matter how amazing a product is—if customers can’t access it easily, they won’t buy it.
The same concept applies to software companies. In fact, a flawless UX design is even more important for software companies, since customers will already be on the lookout for a smooth technological experience.
Here are some of the benefits you can expect from hiring a UX designer:
- Boosted sales. As we’ve established, customers are much more likely to purchase a product if the purchasing process is streamlined and simple.
- Improved customer satisfaction and ROI. The smoother and easier a customer’s purchase is, the happier they’ll be—plus, they’ll be more likely to return to a company or to refer friends to you.
- Brand recognition. If the public associates a business with an innovative user experience, sales will skyrocket. Even better, customers will recognize this company over its competitors.
- Innovation. UX designers help to fully harness your software company’s vision and make it a reality.
- Fulfilled social responsibility. Smooth UX design helps make your company and product accessible to people with disabilities, so you can feel good about the work you’re doing.
Hiring the right UX Designer is Crucial
Now that you’ve decided to invest, you’ll need to know how to hire a freelance designer. First, take a detailed look at the project for which you need a designer since freelancers work per project. Some helpful questions to ask are:
- What is your budget for the project?
- How long do you expect the project to take?
- What stage is the project at currently?
- Do you need to hire more than one specialist, e.g. a writer and a designer?
Once you have your project’s scope, you can start looking at UX designer candidates. A few things to look out for are:
- Is the freelancer interested in your assignment?
- Has the freelancer worked on similar projects in the past?
- Is the freelancer asking for a fixed or hourly rate?
The most important factor to consider when hiring a UX designer is their portfolio. If they can’t provide tangible evidence of their similar experience—i.e. deliverables—you shouldn’t hire them. Remember as well to be honest and open with the designer about the size and scope of the project. Clear lines of communication will contribute to a harmonious working relationship.
Many of the world’s most successful companies are looking for UX designers to optimize their online presence. These companies realize that most customers find companies through their websites and apps, and thus it is critical to give them a simple, effective interface. You can be a part of that success by hiring a freelance UX designer to create a stellar first impression and ultimately gain business.