Pros and Cons of Hiring a Freelance UX/UI Designer
Many companies look for freelance UX designers to power up their projects and achieve new business objectives. In this article, you’ll learn what UX/UI designers do and how they can be a great addition to your team. Also, you’ll find tips on how to hire freelance UI designers with ease.
Who is a UI/UX Designer?
As the title suggests, this role combines the responsibilities regarding the design of the User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX). Usually, those are two separate roles where each professional works on their set of duties.
However, some experts have advanced skills and competencies to perform both of them. So what do those aspects include?
UI covers the way digital elements and information are presented in a web application. For example, you can open any website and see the work of a UI professional. It incorporates the layout, functions, and interactions presented. An expert UI designer freelance combines the duties of an information architect, visual designer, and interaction designer.
UX works with the business requirements and technical limitations of the project. Companies hire UX designer experts to create a unique, comfortable, and intuitive user experience. This means the ways users can interact with a product and use it. The customer is at the center of UX. This role is hugely based on user research, observations, and factual data. It deals with sitemaps, architecture, customer journeys, prototypes, etc.
Professional UI UX designer freelance is responsible for:
- Strategy and content of a web application;
- Competitor and customer research and analysis;
- Product strategy and structure;
- Development of user personas;
- Preparing user flows;
- Creating prototypes;
- Testing prototypes and iteration features;
- Providing heuristic analysis;
- Designing the interface layout;
- Developing the component library;
- Creating a style guide;
- Working on branding and its graphics representation;
- Interactivity and animation for a solution;
- Adjusting applications to various screens.
So if you are interested in the development or upgrade of a web-based application, a suitable UI UX designer freelancer can make a huge difference in the project.
As this is a wide field, there are different specializations within UI/UX. Let’s cover the major ones in detail.
UX freelancers work on computer-human interactions of a solution. It is not so much about the looks of a product but about its usability, intuitiveness, and comfort for users. The main goal is to design a solution that is simple, elegant, and extremely comfortable for people.
A freelance UX designer often deals with customer research, sitemaps, prototyping, wireframing, and user testing. UX covers not only the product itself but also the service, community, and website.
This role requires knowledge in different spheres from Psychology and Design to Technology and Programming.
This specialization is more visual-focused. The main goal is to create a beautiful visual language for those computer-human interactions prepared by UX professionals. Often, a UI designer and developer work with styles, layouts, branding, colors, fonts, multimedia elements, and overall aesthetics.
UI specialists are preoccupied with the visual aspect of mobile or web applications.
This role focuses on how humans interact with computers in this specific solution. They make it all come to life with interactive features, behavioral patterns, and best practices. This role requires deep expertise in goal-oriented design and usability testing. The goal is to make the solution not only functional but also enjoyable and intuitive for users.
This specialization for a UI UX freelance designer concentrates on the operating system they are working with. iOS professionals develop solutions for Apple products like iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch.
On the other hand, a freelance UI UX designer Android works on programs designed for Android-powered devices. Such specialists follow Google’s guidelines and best practices to create highly-functional and responsive programs.
UI vs UX: Comparison Table
Although you might find a suitable freelance UX UI designer, it is much more common to hire two different professionals. The main reason is that there are not enough experts to cover both those fields. Also, it is better to have someone proficient in one thing than somewhat knowledgeable in two.
To illustrate the difference between a freelance UX and a freelance UI designer, take a look at this comparison table.
|Focus||Human-computer interaction||The visual language of human-computer interaction|
|Goal||Create intuitive interactions that serve the business objectives of the solution (for example, do we need a “share” button)||Create visually and aesthetically pleasing representations of those interactions (for example, how the “share” button looks and where it is placed|
|Work scope||Background research, user personas, information architecture, prototypes, wireframing, and overall strategy||Design of front-end elements according to set prototypes and brand guidelines.|
|Main preoccupation||The functions and structure (user journey)||The presentation and looks (product itself)|
Although those are different roles, they always work closely together. Without one there could never be a successful another.
Must-Have Skills for a Remote UX Designer
When it comes to UI and UX designer freelance, it is essential to know what soft and hard skills a company needs to look for.
The main skills of a UI and UX designer freelancer are:
- Customer research, competitor research, work with qualitative and quantitative data (interviews, observations, surveys, tests, etc);
- Design of research tools like polls or surveys;
- Proficiency in wireframing and prototyping to draft the key elements on the page. Includes positioning, visuals, and features;
- Experience in creating mockups of a product;
- Technical writing;
- Strong understanding of visual communication essential elements;
- Expertise in design tools;
- Knowledge of interaction design principles;
- Basic HTML and CSS knowledge, some coding skills for front-end development;
- Information architecture proficiency;
- Analytical thinking;
- Strong communication and emotional intelligence;
- Attention to detail.
A great UX designer remote is well-versed in all those areas and has decent experience in the field. Also, if you are looking for an expert to work with a particular operating system, consider whether they work with iOS or Android.
5 Things to Review Before Hiring a UI UX Freelancer
When you are searching for an expert UX designer remote, it is important to evaluate not only skills but also 5 crucial criteria. These are as follows.
Every respectable freelance or part time UX designer should have a portfolio to show. This is evidence of their skills and competencies. The portfolio includes previous projects and the best works. It is a great example of what you can expect from this specialist in terms of performance, creativity, and UI/UX.
A portfolio should feature the latest projects, previous clients, and examples of works.
2. Industry Expertise
The next crucial factor to consider is the industries this UX designer part time has worked in. Every industry is different in business objectives, products, approaches, and best practices. So it is always beneficial to partner with a specialist that has experience in your field.
You can find information about industry expertise on a resume, portfolio, or among case studies.
3. Research Skills
Design is successful and efficient when it is based on deep research. It is not a game of intuition but a fact-based role. Therefore an expert professional needs to have strong research skills to define the strategy, objectives, interactions, and best practices for a specific project.
It is important to evaluate what impact one’s work has on a solution. Design should not only be appealing but also resultative in set metrics, like conversions, user perception, time of a page, or sales.
If a specialist shares the impact of their work in previous projects it is a great sign. For example, their upgrades led to a 15% increase in sales in 6 months. That’s an awesome result and you’d want such a player on your team.
5. Work Process
For a successful collaboration with a UX design freelance professional, there should be a smooth workflow and productive communication. This includes scheduling, meetings (online or offline), communication channels, regular updates, and overall well-established work ethics and policies.
Besides these 5 factors, you can also ask a candidate to provide some deliverables, namely:
- Branding and identity design;
- Competitive analysis;
- User research;
- User story;
- User persona;
- Customer Journey;
5 Platforms to Hire a Freelance UX Design Expert
Upwork is one of the most well-known platforms for freelancers in the world. There are plenty of specialists of all sorts, UI UX freelance included. Anyone can join the platform and any company can create a job offer for candidates to apply. After that, a business can select a suitable service provider among candidates.
Freelancers have a track record, testimonials, and overall ratings.
Mobilunity is an outstaffing agency that does all the work for you. A company needs to reach out and describe what professionals they are looking for and the team will recruit the best candidates. This is a comfortable model that allows focusing on the core of the business. And it gives access to a wide talent pool.
It is also suitable for those, who do not have the experience to vet candidates on their own. Mobilunity does it for you and you only get to choose the most suitable professional out of the top candidates.
This is a platform that focuses on IT specialists, which makes recruiting process a bit easier. Toptal checks all the applicants before featuring them on the site. So all the specialists there have proven their skills and competencies. There is a good database of talent however it is somewhat limited due to the rigorous selecting process.
This might not be a conventional way to hire a freelance UI UX expert, but it can be quite effective. Here you can look for specialists with specific skills, and review their work history, and client testimonials. LinkedIn offers a lot of information on one’s education, background, industry expertise, and projects.
Hired also vets all the specialists that are featured on the site. This reduces the risk of low-quality performance significantly and is always a plus. Yet, it limits the number of professionals to choose from. Often the best one might be already booked.
Businesses can create profiles and manually search for suitable candidates. After that, they can reach out and make a job offer. If it is accepted, the collaboration begins.
Hiring Freelancers or Outstaffing? Comparison Table
A company can choose to hire freelancers or partner with an outstaffing agency that will do it for them. Both models are cost-effective compared to in-house hiring. And both offer a high level of flexibility when it comes to cooperation.
But they are also quite different in several factors. Here is a comparison table to illustrate this point.
|Time||Often the quickest because professional recruiters can find suitable specialists faster||It depends on how fast you can do a candidate search, reach out, interviews, etc.|
|Cost||Budget-friendly especially if you are outstaffing from other countries as the rates there are usually significantly lower||Budget-friendly compared to in-house recruiting. But this benefit depends on how much a particular freelancer rates|
|Guarantees||Outstaffing companies serve as a guarantor of high-quality work, timely delivery, and data security||Guarantees are defined in your contract with a freelancer (if you have one)|
|Flexibility||High flexibility, cooperation is project-based, can be a part-time, or full-time||Flexible and also project-based|
|Pros||Fast, flexible, budget-friendly, efficient, secure, and simple. There are quality and performance guarantees. And you can focus on your core activities instead of recruiting. Also ensures all candidates are vetted and skilled.||Flexible, offers a large talent pool, and can be cost-effective.|
|Cons||Potential time zone differences||You cannot scale up or down. There is a risk of losing an employee due to illness without replacement. There are also risks of low-quality work or data breaches|
Salary Rates for UI/UX Designers in 5 Countries
The hourly rates for UI/UX experts depend on the location and the level of expertise. Here is a comparison table of hourly rates of junior, middle, and senior designers in 5 different countries.
*Ukrainian salaries are provided based on Mobilunity’s Recruitment Team research on the local job markets. All salaries are net and do not include the service fee (in case of hiring on a dedicated team model). The salaries are provided for comparison purposes and could be not entirely accurate. Contact us to know the exact cost of hiring a developer corresponding to the required parameters.
As one can see, Ukraine has the most cost-efficient rates among these countries. This is one of the major reasons why it is among the top outstaffing destinations when it comes to UI/UX services. Because the rates in Ukraine are lower, even small companies or startups can access a high level of expertise without breaking the budget.
Mobilunity is your UI/UX Partner in Ukraine
Mobilunity is an experienced outstaffing company that provides businesses of all sizes with exceptional IT talent. We have been doing this for more than 10 years and are ready to find the best UI/UX designer for your project.
Our team can find specialists with rare expertise that fit all of your needs. And we offer security guarantees along with flexible cooperation. You can collaborate with designers part-time or full-time, depending on your needs and goals. So it is as comfortable as working with freelancers but also safe, quick, and efficient.
We worked with businesses from many countries. Including BYG-E (Denmark), Paidy (Japan), Zenchef (France), Vayomar (Israel), Network of Arts (Switzerland), and ICUC Social (Canada). Our team is happy to recruit the best talent for your project.