Is it better to hire a web designer or outsource the design and UI work?

Here are my thoughts –

  • When you work with on outside firm, you save by not having to hire a person and have them on staff for this purpose. The design won’t be too altered, so outsource is a good option. One can maintain the site internally once it’s done and delivered.
  • By hiring an outside firm, you also get the expertise and know how of a firm, that has hopefully been doing this for a living and for a while. They can offer you a range of solutions both in case of information architecture as well as design for the website. And the designs that you will receive are from a group of designers and not just one individual.
  • It is not always necessary to outsource to local firm /freelancer. For most web development projects there’s no need to see someone in person, especially for a smaller site. It can be done via phone and emails.
  • Design work will slow down after a month or two. A freelancer is flexible enough to pick up work as you need. You only need to pay a freelancer for the work they do. There is also a range of skill levels available to suit your budget.
  • If you are a developer, then you should ask the design agency/resource to provide you with static HTML pages. Paying for more (working templates) is not worth it, because you’re going to be modifying those over the life of your business; your employees need to know and love how they work. Paying for less is risky because it can be time-consuming to translate a mockup into a working HTML page (browser, screen-size compatibility, layout issues, etc).
  • Make sure you wireframe before you even think about look and feel. You can do this yourselves if you have prior experience with UX design. If not make sure your designer is skilled in that area and isn’t “just” a graphic designer.

Would love to hear your views…

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The importance of a good UI

Just like customers/consumers form perceptions about the company by looking at its office or retail outlet, in the online world, a great looking website/portal/application is the first experience that your customers have with your brand.  How they perceive you is likely to be influenced quite significantly by the quality of your UI and the overall experience of your online property.

Users don’t care about what’s lies underneath, but what they actually do and what they see, feel and experience. In other words, it is the quality of the design that affects the business results.

A good design and interface not only the impacts consumers, but can also influence the decision of potential investors.

From a non-designers perspective: a good, well thought-out and executed design is subliminal, yet very powerful. Product User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) – regardless of web, mobile, or software – and it’s ease of use is one of the critical factors with respect to its popularity.