Choosing the Right Engagement Model When Hiring a UX Design Agency

You decided that your business needs an additional online presence via a digital product or service. But, since your company isn’t actually about designing things, you need a UX UI design agency to help you out with this side of the question.

The question is: what engagement model should you choose when hiring a design firm? There are three mainline engagement models commonly practiced today: fixed price, dedicated resources, and time and material. Deciding on which one of them suits you better depends on many factors.

Because different engagement models suit different project types, you must have a clear comprehension of the advantages and disadvantages of each model. It will help you to make the right decision that would ultimately lead to a great collaboration with the UX team and better ROI after the product launch.

Fixed Price Engagement Model

Fixed price is one of the most frequently used engagement models when it comes to hiring a UX design agency. In a nutshell, this model allows you to know how much you’re going to spend before making the first payment. The trick here, however, is that it requires the absolute clarity and a distinct goal for correct estimates on both timeline and budget.

As soon as you get in touch with a UX design agency for a quote, you will be asked to provide a list of features and project goals. The agency’s team will then review this information and get back to you with a project estimate based on it.

If you don’t yet have a clear goal for your project, any respectable and reputable UX agency will gladly help define it for you. Usually, they proceed with inquiring some detailed information to clarify your needs, so if this is your case and you’ve chosen this engagement model, you’d better get ready for quite a few phone calls and emails.

As a result, you will get a document with all the estimates for your project. If it starts seeming like you’re spending too much time on providing the information they ask for, remember that the UX agency has to cover all the details about your product or service to provide you with a precise estimate.

Some UX design agencies can also first prepare a Request for Proposal (RFP) and send it to you before providing any project estimates.

Dedicated Offshore Resource Model

If you want to hire specialists that would be focused on your project only, then you should seriously consider the Dedicated Offshore Resource Model. This model is about getting a hold of an outstanding UX agency to work on your project and not waste their attention, time, and effort on other projects. Plus, since it’s an agency, you don’t need to worry about hassling with an in-house team and all of the related organizational matters.

In the case of this engagement model, you will have to provide the UX agency with the initial requirements that can be as simple and basic as a concept or idea. Based on this information and the planned launch date, the design company will provide you with a team that will exclusively work on your project. You should note, however, that not all agencies can afford this approach, so if you decide to choose this engagement model, you should ask the company in advance if it’s capable of providing you with such services.

The advantage of this engagement model is that it provides flexibility to introduce changes to your project requirements and goals along the way. You will have direct contact with the UX design team and will also have full control over all of the project’s aspects. In the meantime, the UX agency that provided you with a team will monitor the work quality, providing additional guidance, whenever they consider necessary.

Time and Materials Model

The Time and Materials model is somewhat similar to the Dedicated Offshore Resource model. That is, the payment will depend on the amount of time your project took to complete. Many companies prefer this engagement model due to its flexibility.

Much like the model described above, in the Time and Materials model, you can alter the project’s requirements along the way. Moreover, since it’s not just one exclusive team designing your product or service, you can talk to the UX agency and request the replacement of some of the team members, if you don’t like their work and if the agency can afford this. This engagement model allows you to work with the best people from the UX agency you hire.

Consider Your Needs Before Choosing an Engagement Model

When selecting an engagement model for collaboration with a UX agency, you should carefully consider your needs and objectives. A lot depends on your company’s flexibility. Your ability to extend or shorten the waiting period, while the team works on your project, is one of the significant factors that can either reduce your UX design costs or increase them.

The financial aspect is another crucial factor, if not the biggest. Your company’s size and budget can become real dictators in your choice of a suitable UX agency engagement model. That is, if you are a small startup, you won’t be able to afford to hire a team and have your project designed for as long as needed until you finally see that the design is perfect and your product or service is ready for launch. In most cases, companies have strict deadlines and objectives. It also comes with limited budgets.

Hiring a UX agency is a must nowadays if you want your product or service to be used and enjoyed by your target audience. And you need to choose the right engagement model that would ultimately result in excellent user experience for the end-user, thus promoting your brand and building customer loyalty.


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