How to find the right design and UX team for your startup idea?
Yesterday, my design team dropped a bomb - "We are tight on bandwidth to finish the design phase" Contract had been signed already, which was divided in three phases - Design, Development and Launch and now they want to jump straight to development phase with low fidelity designs. In other words, a sure shot recipe for disaster.
I have worked with few "design" firms and noticed that each one has taken a different approach. Question is what is the norm and how should a beginner go about the process.
This is my experience so far and what I have learned- Keep three elements in mind - Cheap, Fast and Good. You can only have two at a time.
Cheap and good won't be fast
Good and fast won't be cheap
Cheap and fast won't be good.
Most of us wan't "good" so let's take that as a base and talk about the process from what I have seen.
You have an idea, now what?
First step - Do something about it. Don't be like 99% others.
Second Step - Brainstorm how will you solve the problem and come up with a list of must have features for the solution to be complete. Remember, not to confuse must have's with nice to have. Very Important.
Third Step - Draw all the pages yourself with pen and paper. It is a good exercise even if you are paying a design team.
Fourth Step - Find a design team. Go search the web, talk to multiple firms and understand their processes. See below for the process.
Fifth Step - Right design team will first use all the design techniques like user research, empathy maps, user flows, personas and come up with the wireframes. They should consult with you for your input and be able to defend their decisions and challenge yours.
Below is an example output of this phase.
Above design is for a mobile app but it applies to website apps as well.
Sixth Step - Then comes an optional phase of visual design. Below is an example of how the output of this phase will look like.
If you want a really good product, do this phase, if not, then skip this step. All depends on what kind of product it is. My suggestion is to maintain a balance between a good design and launching fast.
Right team should more or less follow above steps. If any of the above steps are not followed, chances are you are dealing with an immature team or you are going the cheap or the fast route.
Seventh Step - Now you can just give the wireframes or the visual designs to developers to develop.
As for me, I have to discontinue my contract. Luckily, I had laid out payment terms in the contract so I am good to break away and start from Step 4.