Product designers are innovators and problem solvers. They assess customer pain points and create products that fill the needs other products cannot. Product development companies are staffed with product designers who solve problems and guide creation throughout the entire design process. A product design agency and a product designer are knowledgeable about user experience and focused on their audience, which makes their product design authentic, innovative, and necessary to users.
Since a product designer and product design agency are so focused on user experience and innovation, they need to have a combination of both soft and hard skills. These will ensure the product designer and product development agency are both able to direct the entire design process, plan for end-user experience, and create the best product design possible.
1. Soft Skills:
Soft skills are imperative in product design. Soft skills are a combination of behaviours and personality traits, and include the following:
2. Hard skills:
Hard skills are also essential for a product designer to possess. These skills are both teachable and measurable and include various abilities, such as the following:
Now that we have a clear understanding of the skills a talented product designer needs to possess, you may be wondering if it is better to hire a product design agency or a freelance product designer.
Product development companies consist of product and graphic designers, mechanical and electrical engineers, prototyping resources, and project managers. This makes hiring a product design agency more expensive than hiring a freelance product designer, so budget is an important consideration, as well as the possibility of having more materials and resources than you may need for your project. However, product development companies bring a wide range of backgrounds, experience, and skills to a project that are invaluable to the product design process.
Alternatively, a freelance product designer may be the preferable choice if you are a small company and working on a tight budget, or if you are an engineer in need of a product designer who can bring important soft skills to your project.
Evaluate your budget, project complexity, amount of resources required, skills required, and size of your business and project to help decide if you should hire a product design agency or a freelance product designer.
Since we have determined the skills most necessary for product design, and have a firm understanding of the difference between product development companies and freelance product designers and which will be best for your design process, it is time to examine how to find the ideal product designer or product design agency for your project in order to craft the user experience you wish to create.
1. Do your research. Before you hire a product design agency or freelance product designer, you need to have a clear understanding of which specific skills you are looking for and which agencies will best match those requirements. Conduct interviews and seek feedback from your network or current team members to determine what exactly you need to make the best product design and user experience possible. To research effectively and find the best design agency, you should do the following three steps:
2. Decide if proximity matters to you. Consider if location and proximity will impact your product design process. This should take precedence in your decision-making process, as some projects will require in-person collaboration. Determine if distance is acceptable, or if you need your product designer close by. Will the product design agency you are considering be able to come to in-person to meetings? Will online meetings be sufficient? Determine this before you continue with any product development companies.
3. Narrow down your picks to 3-5 agencies and start from the top down. Before making a final decision about which product design agency to hire, narrow down your research. Determine which 3-5 product development companies seem like the closest fit and conduct further research. With these specific product design companies in mind, research thoroughly to determine which have the best skills, experience, equipment, and requisite proximity to be the right choice for your project.
4. Send them questions about hypothetical situations to see how they would react. Now that you have narrowed down your product design candidates, you need to ensure these product development companies think in a way that works for your project and complements the way you think and conduct work, and will create the best product design process for your project. See how they respond and determine which product design agency you are most comfortable with. Consider the projected costs; how effectively they answered your questions; and how effectively their communication skills, suggested solutions, and team members not only met your hypothetical needs, but meshed well with your personality, goals, and comfort level. By posing these questions and receiving detailed answers, you will be able to determine which product designer and product design agency has the design process that best fits your product design needs and offers the kind of user experience you most desire.
5. Set up a budget and make your choice. Before deciding which of these product development companies should do product design for your project, be sure to have a budget securely in place. The product design agency you hire should be a good fit in skill, experience, and cost effectiveness. The skills presented and equipment used need to be affordable for your company. Once you have determined which product design agency is the best fit in terms of all the above aspects as well as your budget, make your choice.
You now have all the tools and information you need to begin your search for an effective product design agency and to start crafting your design process in order to create the ideal user experience for your product. Not sure where to start? Check out Rocketplace’s curated marketplace and find your perfect fit.