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How to Choose the Best UI/UX Designer for any startup idea 

by Contributing Author

Hire a UI/UX Designer for a team is not an easy task. It is difficult to understand which candidates are perfect and who only seems to be a professional. In this article, we’ll look at how to select the perfect UI/UX designer.

Criteria for selecting a specialist:

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  • portfolio;
  •  interview;
  • aptitude test;

All three criteria are related, as each demonstrates a certain area of knowledge and skills. For example, the ability to pass interviews does not automatically mean the candidate has the necessary knowledge. It is not uncommon for candidates with excellent portfolios to pass the interview brilliantly but to complete the aptitude test at a low level.

How to Evaluate Portfolio

Perhaps the portfolio is the most important asset of a designer. For some reason, many designers still think these are beautiful pictures in the style of shots on Dribbble. This may be true if you are an illustrator, not a UI/UX designer. If a candidate submits a portfolio as a link to a Dropbox or as a set of hard-to-navigate files, ask him/her why the user experience specialist was so casual about the user experience of their potential colleague and employer.

Ideal Portfolio.

The ideal portfolio is a website. A designer with such a portfolio either has programming skills or is quite well versed in the case of website builders, which means he can easily make a beautiful presentation for a client or assemble a selling landing page on his own.

Sometimes UI/UX designers have problems showing off NDA-protected work. Most often this happens when working with startups or in large companies (for example, if a product is being developed for internal use or a feature that is yet to be released). In this case, you can ask if the work done by the designer will be included in the release.

Of course, the site should have a clear structure and easy navigation. The criterion, in this case, is your time spent on studying the profile and portfolio of the candidate. This is another advantage of the site in comparison, for example, with a profile on Behance: the designer creates an environment specifically for the recruiter, and this is an additional opportunity to evaluate his professionalism.

All basic information should be available without switching to third-party services (such as LinkedIn or Facebook), whose role becomes purely additional and verifying.

The structure of the information may be different – this is the individual handwriting of the designer, but the main sections will be approximate as follows:

  1. Candidate profile. There may well be a selection of several highlights so that the recruiter can easily draw up a portrait of a person. For more information, there is LinkedIn.
  2. Portfolio with a detailed description of cases
  3. Section with useful links and additional information about the candidate. There may be brief information about hobbies, links to articles, videos, etc. Although this section is optional, it can often reveal a lot about a candidate. A designer who shoots videos professionally in his spare time, or a designer who is good at 3D modeling – other things being equal, such information will tell you who will strengthen your team better.

What else to pay attention to:

  • What platforms did the designer work with?
  • Does he/she have design experience for iOS, Android, TV?
  • If the design is mainly for desktop, are there mobile versions (if not, why not?).
Photo by Christina / Unsplash

What to Ask in an Interview

Every employer has their style of interviewing. In addition, the employing company may have its specific requirements for the designer. Therefore, in this part, we will consider general questions that best show the candidate’s professionalism.

You need to prepare carefully for the interview. Study resume and portfolio, see additional links to GitHub or Dribbble, if any. All this can characterize the candidate well or become a reason for personalized questions (for example, if the author posted his framework on GitHub, some questions automatically disappear).

So here are a few common interview questions for a UI/UX designer candidate:

  1. What is information architecture? With this question, you can check the candidate’s system knowledge, make sure that he does not confuse information architecture and navigation, and also knows how to explain complex things in simple language.
  2. How do you get started on a new project in an unknown area? Here, first of all, should be domain research and design research, as well as methods such as personas and user journeys. After that, you can move on to the next question.
  3. What types of research do you know and use? With this question, you can ensure that the designer comes from the real needs of clients and the specifics of the problem, and does not apply the same solutions to different products just because he likes them. Design research is a way to gain valuable insights and validate ideas, so it’s important that the designer is well versed in the subject.
  4. How do you collaborate with other designers and developers? There should be a detailed description of the workflow. What tools are used (Figma / Sketch / Adobe XD), how the library of components is configured, who is responsible for its relevance, how files are structured, how tasks are distributed among designers. This may not be so important at the stage when the designer is alone on the project, but becomes critical when the team grows.
  5. What design systems did you work with, which ones did you create yourself? It is important to check that a person understands the difference between a design system and a style guide / UI kit. Several design systems, such as the Human Interface Guidelines and Material Design, are familiar to designers. Following the global trend, design systems are created by all large and progressive companies. It is worth asking how the design system made by the candidate was organized, whether third-party services were used, whether it was organized at the library level in Figma or at the level of made-up components. If the design system is publicly available, can it be viewed?

During the interview, you should pay attention to how fluent the candidate is in professional terminology – after all, this is what will help in the future to convey the position to the client reasonably.

If it was interesting and pleasant for you to communicate, the designer is erudite, understands the intricacies of UI/UX, is aware of trends, and it seems that you could learn a lot from him, then this is a strong argument in favor of the candidate.

What Can Be Given as a Test Task And How to Evaluate It

A good option for a test task would be to solve the problem of a small business. It is better if such a company does not exist in reality. This is due to two points. Firstly, the project has no commercial value, which is fair, since the test task is usually not paid. Secondly, it creates a slight lack of information, and at the same time some freedom. A competent specialist will ask the right questions and think out what is not mentioned in the assignment. It is very good if the problem described in the task can be solved in different ways – this allows you to evaluate not only the ability of the designer to turn words into wireframes, but also the ability to think more broadly, to see the essence of the problem.

In the task, you can propose the information architecture of the service that solves the business problem, and make 3-4 relatively detailed wireframes of any pages of the service. An additional check will be if you do not specify which pages are needed. A good candidate will show those that best demonstrate the essence of the proposed solution.

Assembling the screens into a prototype is not mandatory, but it certainly enhances the overall experience.

The main components of the evaluation of the aptitude test:

  •  whether the business problem is solved;
  • whether the solution is maximally efficient (saves the client’s time / simplifies the process / easily scales) or is more like a temporary solution;
  • assessment of wireframes: how logical each of them looks, whether certain components are appropriate, whether navigation is convenient, whether there are any children’s mistakes;
  • are there any serious omissions and inaccuracies in the information architecture;
  • appearance: how cohesive and selling the layouts look (imagine that you have to show them to your most valuable client);
  • neatness: how stylishly wireframes and diagrams are drawn; if the work is presented in Figma / Sketch, are the components used;
  • presentation of the work as a whole: how easy it is to navigate the project, is there a structure, what emotions does the work done evoke;
  • is there something in the test task that distinguishes it from others (the designer recorded a video / illustrated a complex case with animation / suggested something beyond what is indicated in the task) – sometimes it is this “icing on the cake” that allows you to get a valuable client or, in this case, the employer.

Freelancer or Agency?

When hiring a UI/UX designer, you will certainly be faced with a choice between a freelancer and an agency of the appropriate profile. Each option has its advantages, but from the point of view of Purrweb, it is worth giving preference to the agency:

  • There are always several specialists in the agency, so they can delve into the specifics of your business without being distracted by other projects.
  • The agency can always offer you an individual payment schedule. Freelancers take this step very rarely.
  • The agency has more resources, so the result will be better. Many software products and services are simply beyond the reach of a freelancer.

The main argument in favor of a freelancer is the lower cost of doing work. But this argument is attractive until you remember that a freelancer can get sick, take on a more attractive project, or simply disappear. The agency’s performance guarantees fully compensate for the difference in pay.

Where to Look And How Much to Pay

Here are a few of the most popular platforms for working with freelancers:

  • Upwork is a large marketplace with a wide range of freelancers in a variety of industries. It’s a good option for businesses that need a variety of services or that are on a budget.
  • Fiverr is a marketplace for low-cost services, such as writing, graphic design, and social media marketing. It’s a good option for businesses that need quick and affordable help with small tasks.
  • Toptal is a premium marketplace for top-tier freelancers in a variety of fields. It’s a good option for businesses that need high-quality work and are willing to pay a premium.
  • Freelancer is another large marketplace with a wide range of freelancers in a variety of industries. It’s a good option for businesses that need a variety of services or that are on a budget.
  • PeoplePerHour is a marketplace that connects businesses with freelancers in a variety of fields. It’s a good option for businesses that need a variety of services or that are on a budget.

Once you’ve chosen a platform, you can start browsing profiles and portfolios of freelancers. Be sure to read reviews and ratings before making a decision. And once you’ve found a freelancer you like, be sure to communicate your expectations clearly and set up a contract before starting work.

Here are some additional tips for working with freelancers:

  • Be clear about your expectations. Before you start working with a freelancer, be sure to clearly communicate your expectations for the project. This includes the scope of work, the timeline, the budget, and the deliverables.
  • Set up a contract. It’s important to set up a contract with any freelancer you work with. This will protect both you and the freelancer in case of any problems.
  • Provide feedback. It’s important to provide feedback to freelancers throughout the project. This will help them to stay on track and meet your expectations.
  • Pay on time. Be sure to pay freelancers on time, as agreed upon in the contract. This will help to build trust and ensure that they are willing to work with you again in the future.

Working with freelancers can be a great way to get the work done you need without having to hire full-time employees. By following these tips, you can ensure that your experience is positive and productive.



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