Hiring a User-Centered Design Firm: The Value of an External Perspective


Whether you call it design thinking, user experience or human- or user-centered design, there’s no question that companies who embrace it perform better than those that don’t.

Where to Start

For many, the first question is how to staff a project to capture the opportunities that a design-driven process creates:

  • Can existing team members do it?
  • Do you need to hire new talent?
  • Can you partner with an outside expert?

How an External Perspective Can Help

A client recently summed up their decision to engage Useagility during a retrospective on their mobile app design. 

“We needed an external partner who wouldn’t be afraid to tell us what our drivers really think. We also needed help designing the application to be usable today and planting the seeds of innovation and disruption that can make a real difference longer term. I knew we couldn’t do that with a team that was mired in the day-to-day.”

Our clients don’t need us for knowledge of their industry; they have loads of that internally. They need us for user-centered design expertise and for our external perspective. Because the same institutional knowledge that makes employees so valuable to a company also makes it difficult for them to innovate.

That’s where we come in. Armed with impartiality and a user-centered design process that includes methods of extracting user insights, we are an ace-in-the-hole to company leaders who are savvy enough to recognize that answers and ideas for innovation may lie in the hands of the users on the other end of the application. 

In any consulting engagement, some of the value the external partner brings can be attributed to the simple freedom of being an outsider. Together with years of experience applying user-centered design to software applications, this freedom from internal bias or hang-ups about existing systems and processes gives innovation a fighting chance.

Why Leaders Care

Figuring out what problem is worth solving and crafting a vision that teams can follow is hard, even without the bias of the enterprise holding you back. And it’s often a key factor in success or failure – or at least the difference between flushing hundreds of thousands of dollars in technology investment down the toilet and using that investment purposefully.

Astute leaders are not afraid to examine the truth of their business from the eyes of the customer. They know when their teams need outside help to understand the current state of their product or application from the user’s perspective.

“You brought us the gift of user insights early in the process, which prevented missteps and supercharged the product design process with user-driven ideas we hadn’t yet considered,” shared a client after we redesigned their eLearning experience.

Don’t get us wrong, your company should have designers on the inside as well! However, an external perspective is frequently necessary to:

  • Understand the reality of a product or company’s current state from the user’s perspective
  • Visualize products and experiences of the future
  • Provide a blueprint of the future vision that employees can rally around

This is what we do at Useagility. We leverage user-centered design to formulate an accurate understanding of user’s needs, motivations and behaviors to help you innovate without the inevitable bias and ingrained assumptions of the internal perspective. Contact us to up your innovation game today.