User experience consultants are a must for any digital service or software design. This includes game, desktop or mobile applications, websites and SaaS designs.
User experience is crucial, because if the UX is bad, the software or service will be deemed bad. How many otherwise powerful software systems have we seen arise in the world that either become very specified to fields due to their interface complexity, or become completely disregarded because their navigation and UI are just too awful?
There is a reason Photoshop, for example, is the most popular image editing program out there, despite several American and Japanese image suites being far more powerful with less complexity- their UXs are just plain terrible. These software providers could have avoided this, and probably stolen Photoshop’s thunder, had they had Ux software consultants handy to show them the mistakes they were making (especially with interface design).
So, it’s pretty clear you need consultancy in order to ensure that the UX, for your product, is the best it can be.
What are the criteria for hiring a consultant for designing a great UX? What should you look for? What should you ask in an interview?
I’m no HR guy (thank heavens), but I do know a lot about UX, and I happen to have worked as a consultant many times. So I”ll go by the demands asked of me, and what I’ve experienced as a UX specialist who has worked for others.
First, a UX consultant needs to understand some programming. Someone who understands the programming behind powering UX is going to be more capable of recommending changes to better facilitate positive UX functionality. They will also be able to spot coding (within the design) that could bring about problems in UX.
Second, consultants need to have studied art, even if they are not artists. Computing is a visual and most of it is GUI-powered. This means that an understanding of visual presentation, layout, space and proportion is important. A UX consultant who understands the science of visual presentation will be able to spot flaws in consistency, flow and navigation.
Finally, a UX consultant needs to be experienced in a great number of platforms and variations of UX. Any design, created in this day and age, must have multi-platform, across-the-board compatibility. Consultants need to know a bit about web services, SaaS – and how each performs differently on PCs, set top boxes, and mobile. (So specialization for one platform or type of UX just won’t make the cut.)
Of course, there are many more skills that should be factored in when hiring UX consultants. This is only a general list, highlighting the three most significant factors an employee must look for in a UX consultant. Good luck with your search!