24 min read

What To Expect When Working With A UX Design Agency

Trying to decide between hiring a freelance UX designer or working with a UX design agency? There are a LOT of pros and cons to choosing an agency, and we'll tell you everything you need to know to make the right decision for your startup.

Mikenzi RossFeb 10, 2022

What To Expect When Working With A UX Design Agency

We frequently reveal the secrets to successfully working with UX designers—but we usually describe UX designers as singular entities that your startup hires onto your team.

However, freelance UX designers (or a professional you hire full-time) aren’t the only options. After all, The Design Project is the coffee-addicted example of that!

Working with a UX design agency is a very different animal. It carries its own set of advantages, challenges, and nuances (like those adorable Pitbulls carrying puppies in a backpack—AKA “sub-woofers.”)

An adorable blonde pitbull wearing a red and blue backpack. Each pocket of the backpack holds a tiny puppy. The text on top of the image reads: "Subwoofers"

But in all seriousness, pending on the goals and stage of your startup, hiring a UX design agency may be a dream come true option. Below we’ll walk you through the whats, whys, hows—and even the why nots—of working with a UX design agency.

What Makes A Good UX Design Agency?

When deciding between hiring a UX designer or working with a UX design agency, there are multiple factors to consider. However, the best UX design agency should always provide your startup with the following:

  • A team of experts that can adapt to your specific company and enhance the product
  • Understands and prioritizes your goals
  • Experts who aren't afraid to tell you the truth—even if it isn’t necessarily what you want to hear
  • Knows how to lead the design process effectively

Dianne, our lead UX design extraordinaire, offers insight on how she ensures The Design Project is a good fit for clients.

“The reason why The Design Project has grown so large is because of our internal processes.

We invested a lot of time studying and implementing best practices, learning from our mistakes, and taking advantage of every opportunity to learn from other designers.

All of this allows us to ensure we provide the best support and expertise to every client who works with us.”

-Dianne Eberhardt

How To Decide If An Agency Is Better For Your Startup Than A Freelancer

While both an agency and a freelancer have their advantages, deciding which one’s for you comes down to what stage your startup is in, your goals, your backlog, and the team you already have in place. Here are 5 things to consider when hiring a freelance UX designer or a UX agency.

  • Your budget
  • Your level of UX expertise
  • Their expertise/experience
  • Non-monetary resources (like time and manpower)
  • Startup-compatibility

Before you make any final decisions, we’ve got one more thing to cover that most design agencies probably won’t want to talk about…

And that is:

What sucks about working with a design agency!

But we’re brave Millenials, and self-deprecating humor is integral to our generation. So let’s get negative!

What Isn’t Great About Working With A UX Design Agency

We play things straight with you guys, and that means—even though we’re an agency that would love to work with you—we’re going to be upfront about the justifiable reasons that might deter you from working with an agency.

  • You have less control
  • They may not adapt to the startup environment
  • They have a much higher price tag

Bu-u-u-ut here’s the thing…

We didn’t like those things, either—and that’s why we decided to change the way UX design agencies and startups work together. After all, problem-solving is at the core of effective UX, so it was only natural we’d find a solution, right?

Your product is your baby, and we know how much it means to you. Our design experts are here to help you succeed.

Sure, sometimes growth is uncomfortable—sometimes we may have to tug on the reigns to ensure your product is the best it can be—but at the end of the day, we value your expertise, and you’re always at the head of the table.

When it comes to adapting to startups, not only do we understand the unique demands of the environment—we specialize in it! The fast pace, fluid, all-hands-on-deck vibe is our happy place, and we’ve developed our skillsets to complement your workflow.

Finally, since budgets are significant elements of any business—especially startups—we created comprehensive UX design services that you can try for FREE with a 7-day trial! That way you can see for yourself without any commitment.

Now Go Take A Nap

Maybe not right this second, you should probably sign up for your free 7-day trial of TDP first—but when you’re done, we’ll take so much work off of your shoulders that you’ll have more time in your busy schedule for a well-deserved power nap.

Listen…

Rest is essential and productive, so get ready to keep one of these under your desk, and turn your Slack status to “In a meeting” for the rest of the afternoon.

A person wearing a dark blue shirt appears to be sleeping on their desk. Their head and hands are tucked inside a strange grey fluffy pillow-type contraption—looks comfy, though!

We hope we’ve dispelled some of the mystery around UX design agencies, their pros, their cons, and how to figure out which one is right for your startup.

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