Choosing the right vendor

Here are some questions you may want to ask to make sure you find the right UX vendor to support your mature UX practice.

Staff augmentation

Does the vendor have enough people?

Just now you might need a few people. But we often see that initial number grow as your team grows in its reputation and influence. Will your vendor be able to provide the number of people you really need? Has the vendor provided 20 people to one operation? How about 30 or 50 or 100?

Can the UX vendor provide the number of UX staff that you really need - even onsite?

Can the vendor adapt to your optimal geographic footprint?

You will need people onsite (full time or at least part of the time). You can control costs by having remote staff (in your time zone, or even saving more in remote time zones). Can the vendor adapt to your needs to find the best solution in terms of quality, convenience, and cost?

Is there a consistent level of high quality training and certification?

A vendor can try to recruit staff to match some criteria. And you might get a few staff with some useful skills. But only a solid training program can provide a scalable team of people with a reliable skill set. Do the practitioners have a foundation in core UX concepts? Do they have skills in the tasks you need now, and might need in the future? Can they do expert reviews, usability tests, detailed design, etc.? And how will you know that they really have the background claimed? Do they have testing or certification?

Does the vendor provide ongoing mentoring, training, and personnel management?

Providing initial training is great. But development and maintenance of practitioners means an ongoing growth path. They need continuing training and mentoring or they will get stale and leave. And they need management of their career plan and tactical needs. Does the vendor have an ongoing development process against a model of practitioner competency?

Will the staff work well in a mature practice, following your methods and standards?

Recruiting ad hoc people will likely get a set of practitioners that are used to working as freelancers. They will not be tuned to working in a mature operation. Will your vendor have staff that are aligned with the use of methods, UI standards, and industrial strength tools?

Can the vendor provide staff that are aligned with the use of methods, UI standards, and industrial strength tools?

Can the vendor manage turnover and any quality issues?

If you have a few UX practitioners you might get through a year without turnover or quality issues. If you have 50 people or more, a bit of trouble is just routine. Does you vendor have practices for handling turnover and quality issues? Will they handle replacement of a person who leaves, or gets sick? Will they be there if the quality of work starts to fall apart?

Can the vendor provide high level design and management support?

In some cases you will want to have full high level control of every project personally, or with your internal managers. But you may also want to have your vendor supplement their staff with high level experts, specialists, and project managers. You might need a cross cultural designer, or persuasion engineer to supplement the generalist UX practitioners. You might need a very senior designer who can manage cross channel strategy, innovation programs, or very complex applications.

Does the vendor provide an enterprise framework like HFI's UX Enterprise that makes UX work easier?

Enterprise UX tool

Does the vendor provide an enterprise framework that makes UX work easier?

Mature UX work requires an enterprise infrastructure that lets you use an integrated set of methods, templates, standards, wireframing tools, ecosystem objects (users, environments, scenarios, artifacts), and maintain an accessible record of projects and designs. Mature UX work is only easier if you can leverage all that your UX team knows, as opposed to working in little UX silos. Can your vendor solve this massive enterprise UX issue?

Training and certification

Does the vendor provide a complete and seamless training solution?

Does the vendor have a complete and seamless professional level training program for UX professionals? Do the courses use a consistent set of terms and concepts? Do they reflect global best UX practices? And in addition to professional training, is there training that can be used to promote your UX practice within your organizational culture?

Does the vendor have the capacity to teach the number of courses you need and handle the geography?

You may need many courses and you may need courses presented around the world. Can the vendor handle this, over time, with reliability, consistent quality, consistent content, and limited travel costs?

Does the vendor provide training in advanced UX skills?

Fundamental skills in usability are critical. But does the vendor offer more advanced training? Can they cover UX strategy, user-centered innovation, persuasion engineering, mobile devices? Your operation will usually need the advanced content eventually.

Does the vendor provide a way to validate accomplishment?

You might have people who you think already understand UX fundamentals. It makes sense to test them to make sure that the skills and knowledge are in place. It also makes sense to validate all your practitioners, to ensure that their training has been absorbed. Does the vendor have a certification program or test to ensure that you are deploying the capabilities that are needed by your organization?

Does the vendor have a certification program to validate that everybody has the required capabilities?

General

Does the vendor help build your company's UX infrastructure?

Many UX vendors are intent on just doing the projects. They don’t focus on helping internal staff to learn UX skills or building a UX infrastructure for their clients. Some even try to hide their practices. Get a vendor who is on your side in building internal knowledge and capabilities. Get a vendor who will work itself out of a job.

Does the vendor have staff specifically working on account management, legal, and accounting issues?

Is the vendor easy to do business with?

It is important to have a vendor that is easy to do business with. Do they have staff specifically working on account management, legal, and accounting issues? It is awkward to try to explain business requirements and contracting practices to technical specialists who don’t really understand the importance of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), master sales agreements (MSAs), reporting and other business requirements.

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Reviewed: 18 Mar 2014

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Contacting HFI

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hfi@humanfactors.com
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Terms and Conditions for Public Training Courses

Reviewed: 18 Mar 2014

Cancellation of Course by HFI

HFI reserves the right to cancel any course up to 14 (fourteen) days prior to the first day of the course. Registrants will be promptly notified and will receive a full refund or be transferred to the equivalent class of their choice within a 12-month period. HFI is not responsible for travel expenses or any costs that may be incurred as a result of cancellations.

Cancellation of Course by Participants (All regions except India)

$100 processing fee if cancelling within two weeks of course start date.

Cancellation / Transfer by Participants (India)

4 Pack + Exam registration: Rs. 10,000 per participant processing fee (to be paid by the participant) if cancelling or transferring the course (4 Pack-CUA/CXA) registration before three weeks from the course start date. No refund or carry forward of the course fees if cancelling or transferring the course registration within three weeks before the course start date.

Individual Modules: Rs. 3,000 per participant ‘per module’ processing fee (to be paid by the participant) if cancelling or transferring the course (any Individual HFI course) registration before three weeks from the course start date. No refund or carry forward of the course fees if cancelling or transferring the course registration within three weeks before the course start date.

Exam: Rs. 3,000 per participant processing fee (to be paid by the participant) if cancelling or transferring the pre agreed CUA/CXA exam date before three weeks from the examination date. No refund or carry forward of the exam fees if requesting/cancelling or transferring the CUA/CXA exam within three weeks before the examination date.

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There will be no audio or video recording allowed in class. Students who have any disability that might affect their performance in this class are encouraged to speak with the instructor at the beginning of the class.

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